Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nakui Church Report

This is the Greenlaws most recent newsletter out of Nakui. Despite the cultural roadblocks, it's encouraging to see lives being transformed by the Gospel ...

Last month we wrote about our plans to review the evangelistic Bible lessons with several villagers in Nakui who have been sitting on the fringes but are now interested in being baptized. We were very impressed with the consistency, great questions, and, believe it or not, enthusiasm that they showed through the 14 lessons. There were 10 men and women that participated faithfully, ranging in age from 13 to early 40s. 8 of them demonstrate a clear understanding of the gospel's message. Praise God for this encouraging development. It's a mystery to me why their interest is surfacing now and not 8 years ago, but that's not for us to control. I'm just happy. Here are a some of their responses:

Imo: 20 yr old newly married -
I have one heart about Jesus. It’s good for me to be stuck to him. We know that on the forked tree his blood was shed. Okay, since with one heart I believe about him that he came to the ground and died for us, therefore then with Jesus I am now stuck together. The two of us are now together. The reason is that Jesus wants to hold me as his worker so he joins us together. God decided, ”He will be my child. When he dies I will go and get him”. That makes me very happy. He’ll take me to Heaven. I don’t want to be destroyed along with this ground. I want my spirit to go sit on a throne in Heaven. Jesus’ blood has washed me clean. His blood that shed is powerful. God had only one child but he didn’t think, “Forget it, my child can’t go and die on the ground”. Nope, we are the work of his own hand and so his only son he sent to help us. He said, “Alright, I’ll help the ground people”. He helped us and therefore he is our good Father who sits up high in heaven. Oh, he is our true Father. Satan is not our father, God is. He helped us with his son. We are now ‘alive’ people. Not ‘death’ people, ‘alive’ people because of his shed blood. Before we were ‘death’ people who died all the time, terrible. Even the actions we did with our hands, Satan controlled them. We lived like that as did our ancestors, but God sent his son to shed his blood and now we are ‘alive’ people. Since we are ‘alive’ people, it is to heaven we will go, as God’s children.

Auwolami: 35 yr old mother of 6. Her husband was also in the class -
Jesus is our trail, our good road. He cut a trail from heaven to here. He is the one who saves us. He saved all us ground people. God wanted to remove our sins, “Why ever did Adam and Eve do it? I will now throw away their sin. My only son I will send to them”. He is our good road, Jesus. If you believe in him alone, you will go to heaven. If you don’t believe in him, you just go to the fire place. It’s like he stands on the road and asks, “Where are you going? If you don’t believe in me, then you must go that way, the road to fire ground. If you have believed about me, then you can come with me. Without faith, no.” Jesus alone is our road. His own blood paid for all of us ground people. He was given huge pain. He died and the sky went dark. He helped us ground people so much. Now all of us women and men should believe in him.

Taukiya: 17 yr old single. He stutters and repeats himself a lot so his words are heavily edited -
God’s help is big, not little. The spirits of this world can’t help us, God alone is powerful. I have many, many sins, from the time I was young. I have sinned and sinned but Jesus has helped me. His help is so good. I have decided (about) that with one heart, only his road is the road of help (salvation). I now know I’m going to heaven because Jesus has helped us. He was not an ordinary man, not a sinner, he was God’s true son. God sent him to us ground people. They nailed him, oh, his blood.....oh. They took him into the cave. Then he arose and went back to his Father.

Imo is the only one of this group of 8 that reads. Several are interested in learning so pray with us that our church will rise to meet that need.

Another happy side note is that Suse did a great job of heading up the class. I think his enthusiasm for the work has something to do with the class' attitude.

One more perk, Sobai taught 3 of the lessons and with each one improved in his delivery. He’s gaining confidence (hopefully the right kind) which is very good.

Our next project – Nakui’s first marriage seminar. Well, a couples only evening Bible Study to discuss what the Bible says about their ridiculously dysfunctional marriages.

Whooping cough is going through the village and nearly every Nakui family has a small child suffering from it. A baby in Yabu died from it a few weeks ago and we nearly lost one last week. Please pray for the Lord’s protection for these little ones.

Thanks for the part you play in this ministry and in our lives.

– Greg, for the family

Friday, August 28, 2009

In Wewak, PNG

Greetings! It's been a while since we last posted a blog, and a lot has changed. We have now been in Wewak, PNG for about a month and are getting ourselves settled in. Bekah and Bri are off at boarding school, which by far has been the biggest hurdle for us to get over. It's every bit as hard as we thought it would be, yet we're convinced this is where they belong for now. One of our first purchases were three cell phones (yes, hard to believe!), which has turned out to be about our most reliable way to keep up with the girls. Home school is up and rolling for TJ, who has his very own home school room in the back of our house. It's even air conditioned, so there's no exuses for not wanting to get all his work done!

I (Tim) soon will be taking on most of the administrative tasks of the region: paying bills, handling regional email, overseeing the finances, overseeing the center maintenance workers, and of course, putting out whatever fires happen to come up. On Sept 15, we make the first of our scheduled itinerant trips into Nakui. During that time we will be visited by two church planting consultants and will spend a number of days discussing strategy and future of the work. We also hope to check some translation during that time.

In short, that's what is up with the Askews. If you want to see some pictures such as our house and the beautiful view I have from my office window, take a look at the photo album and slideshow.