Friday, February 6, 2009

good bye joel and gami and vanessa and robert (plus some other bits and pieces)

On Thursday we had to farewell a wonderful family, members of our church here in Lae. They are off to Port Moresby where Joel (and in some ways Gami) hopes to study at the Reformed Bible College there. We, and many others, will sorely miss them. God used them in many ways over the past year and they gave their heart and soul to serving the church here. However, we know that for the future of the churches here in PNG it is so important that local, indegenous men be trained as pastors, so it is with joy in our hearts that we farewell them too. Our children will also miss them - the girls were good friends with their daughter Vanessa, and Ashlyn loved Robert. So that we as a family could farewell them personally, they came over for a meal on Wednesday night. Here's a couple of photos:

Gami, Robert, Joel and Vanessa

playing together for the last time for a while

The girls have settled back into school well. We attended their assembly today and Kirilee had to introduce the item that her class was presenting:

...and another thing. We recently found out that while we were in Australia the gang leader of the criminals that broke into the Kamkumung property some months back now, was killed when he was run over trying to hold up a local bus. The fact that he was the mastermind behind the terrorising break-in into the church manse only came out after his death. He died because of his criminal activities. His family hid him all that time, not giving him up to police, even though they knew he was constantly involved in criminal activity. That kind of "stick up for your family no matter what" runs deep through the culture here. The sad thing is that if they had handed him over the the police, he would probably still be alive today. Very, very sad.

Apparently two other young men involved in the Kamkumung church hold-up have also since been killed due to some family arguments and violent retaliations. The story is just too common around here. We pray that the gospel will reach many more young men such as these, so that they may turn from their way of life which only leads to physical and spiritual destruction and death!


Elissa W said...

Hi A, N & girls!
I just love catching up on your blog, so good to hear that you are back in Lae and that (although dusty!) things are good in your home. We are thankful to hear that Joel, Gami and family are headed to Port Moresby, we pray that they will learn much and be blessed there. We also know how much you will miss them...
Thinking of you often,
Tim, Elissa & boys

Anonymous said...

Hallo all,

We ARE still here,(even if we're quiet) and send you our dearest love.

P & C

Anonymous said...

Hi VanderHeides,

Thanks for sharing the pictures of Joel and Gammi and children. We also miss them dearly and pray that the Lord will bless their time in POM. Sad to hear that the ring-leader died a criminal's death. He forfeited his salvation for that life. At the same time, we hope and pray it brings some measure of peace to our Kamkumung block and to that stretch of road in front of the church. Thanks for blogging.
Ian and Nadia, Jonathan and Karlyn