Sunday, February 10, 2008

Looking back at some events in the past week or so

This morning we went to church and had wonderful worship service...a sermon from Ephesus on the grace of God - that we are incapable of doing a single thing for our salvation, that it is all Grace alone. Now we are back home, and as Ashlyn is sleeping I thought I would take a few moments to spend some more time sharing stories:

As some of you may know, we have the Doulos ship here in Lae this month. And because it is a Christian ship, with a mission-type mandate, we have had a bit to do with them as Reformed Ministries here in PNG. A small team of 5 from the Doulos went into the Biwat settlement, and stayed there for a couple of nights with a family who attends our church. During the days they did some activities with the children and we were very impressed with the way they brought the gospel message and with their creativity and endurance, especially since many of them were not used to the stifling heat. They were a wonderful group of people and it was nice to get to know them.
The Doulos team in Biwat

Our “old” Doctor and his wife from Australia were also on the ship just for a short time (to do medical checks…) and we caught up with them. We had a wonderful time with them – we showed them Lae (at least some of it). They were interested in seeing what we did and where we worked, so we took them to our church building site in Kamkumung and also into the Biwat settlement, where the loving people there welcomed them and even gave them a number of gifts. It was so nice to share our work with some people from back "home". The doctor and his wife also showed us the Doulos – we got a personal tour and we even got to eat dinner with them on the ship two nights in a row. Wow, no cooking - I sure wasn’t complaining!

Then last Thursday a team of hard-working guys from the Doulos went to Tentsiti and worked on the church building there. They did a fantastic job! We have also enjoyed having the Doulos in town and have been there a few times to buy books! I actually have a whole new bunch of reading books!

Exploring the ship
Here’s a story for you from last Wednesday. Andrew and Ian (Wildeboer – the Wildeboers are our co-workers here!) went off at about 9am to a Pastors' conference… I was busy in the kitchen tidying the dishes and sweeping the floors when I noticed Benny ( a Tentsiti church goer) outside our window. I headed outside and immediately noticed that he looks a little bewildered and dishevelled. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he has the body of his friend ( a nephew of Martha, a Tent Siti church member, who actually lived with Martha rather than his parents in their village) wrapped up at the water's edge and could Pastor Andrew or Ian please come and help them transport the body to the morgue…
Andrew and Ian were called out of the conference and came home… as the morning goes on the “whole” story comes out. Apparently the boys (Benny and the other boy) were out working in their gardens the day before (Tuesday), when the other boy decided he wanted to cool off for a swim. The river nearby was the Busu river which has a very strong undercurrent and flow. Anyway, they decided to cool off and the boy got pulled away by the water and then disappeared. Benny searched frantically all that afternoon and began again at sunlight the next morning. He eventually found the body of his friend the next morning in the sea, where he pulled the body out , wrapped it and came to us for help.
And so, of course, Andrew and Ian transported the body to the morgue with a group of friends. What a stark reminder this was of how differently things are here from the west. With very little sympathy they were ordered to undress the body and the body was brought into a room (fridge) full of the stench of death, totally overwhelming and repulsive. Bodies piled on top of each other, many unclaimed, and left indefinitely. Truly a difficult experience…
But this is the reality of the life of the people here. Death is so stark and cold. But the grief of those losing loved ones is very real. Ian and Andrew spent the rest of the morning with the family in prayer, Bible reading and talking. Please pray for Martha, a faithful church member, the aunty of the dead boy. She cared for this boy under her roof and in this culture your nephew (or niece) is treated as one of your own. Pray for the boy’s parents who live in a village many hours away and would not have found out about the death till some time later. Apparently the boy came to our worship services the last number of Sundays and sat under the preaching of God’s Word for that time. We do not know how the Lord worked with this Word in his heart, but He is Almighty and His Will is always good, His timing is always perfect.

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