Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tok Sori

During 2010, the Ukarumpa center (where we live in Papua New Guinea) and neighboring village were under significant criminal activity—house break-ins and invasions on an almost nightly basis. Of course, it was a very stressful time for the local people and our colleagues alike, but God was at work nonetheless.

Over Easter 2011, one of the village pastors conducted an evangelistic crusade. As a result, the criminals wanted to apologize to the director of our organization in PNG. The village pastors recognized, however, that the young men would still need to make a public apology to all the people who were impacted by their former criminal activities. Praise God that public apology took place on July 2, 2011.

imageOn that Saturday a number of our colleagues went to the neighboring village. The local pastors prayed and preached from God’s Word. The former criminals presented a drama that demonstrated how they had turned their lives over to Jesus, and they closed with a song that spoke of Jesus as being their only friend. Then each young man publicly apologized for his crimes and the hurt that he had caused. A few made a point to apologize directly to the owners of the houses they had broken into.

imageThe village community then gave a tremendous gift of garden food—their traditional demonstration of love. It took two vehicles to bring the gift back to Ukarumpa center where it was presented to all our colleagues during the Sunday morning meeting.

The worship service that morning overflowed with testimonies of how God was at work in their own hearts! Some of our colleagues recognized and repented of their lack of faith and belief inimage how God works through prayer. Some commented on a lack of balance between justice and grace and forgiveness by the missionaries at the Ukarumpa center.

But as the director stated in his report of the recent events in PNG—”We are all on a journey” of spiritual growth—those serving in PNG, the Papua New Guineans themselves, and even those here at home who support the work of Bible translation through gifts, prayers and encouragement. Our prayer is that this story of revival in PNG will be an encouragement to you as you make that journey.

*Adapted story and photos taken from a report by Tim Lithgow, director of SIL-PNG.  The pidgin term “tok sori” means repentance, or an apology—literally “talk sorry”.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cherishing the Ordinary

Thursday was just one of those days where I had to stop and thank God for making it ordinary.  Ordinary doesn’t happen often in our family.  We really don’t do normal around here much.  Probably because “here” changes so often.  Nothing very special happened yesterday….

In the morning Claire and Isaiah participated in the summer activities held for the missionary kids here at JAARS.  They meet with other kids to play games, do crafts, learn Bible verses and swim.  Now that Isaiah is riding a two-wheeler without training wheels, they go by bike.  I think that’s one of those “rites of passage” for a boy isn’t it?  Some pretty Big Stuff parked his bike in front of the activity building that morning!

007Jon also went very eagerly off to play work at the aviation hangar.  A spankin’ brand-new Kodiak airplane sits in its shade while “Mr. Project Coordinator” happily oversees its preparations for Papua New Guinea.  It’s even got that “new car” smell.  I know.  I checked.  And we know what that smell does to the male species—suddenly the whole world is a much brighter place.  <grin>

Mommy meanwhile enjoyed the quiet alone with the Bible and a cup of Scottish Breakfast Tea.  Time for reflection on a chapter in Matthew turned out to be very helpful when a friend called later to chat.  (I love it when God arranges real life application of something I just read in his Word.)

I washed dishes, wrote e-mails, and fetched children.  We all ate lunch together.  The kids and I played games.  I refereed bickering matches, picked up dirty laundry, looked for missing toys, helped Claire make chocolate chip cookies, and ate too many.  We apologized to the neighbor boy, washed four very dirty feet, watched PBS Kids, read bedtime stories and listened to the thunder.

At the end of the day, (after kissing two watermelon-scented foreheads goodnight), I determined to record this day and save it under “Days I Want to Cherish”.  It wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t all fun, and it definitely wasn’t spectacular.  It was, however, blissfully ordinary and for that I find I’m very thankful.