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Archive for November, 2008

Trip to Papua New Guinea

I had wanted to go to PNG a couple of years ago when my church went on a mission trip there, but the Lord didn’t allow me.  I thought I would not have an opportunity again, but the Lord so graciously opened up that door this month with Bibles International.  I left on Nov. 11 and returned on the 25th.  The main purpose of the trip was to determine the need for a conservative translation in Pidgin English.  The United Bible Societies did one a number of years ago, and another group has translated the KJV NT into Pidgin (and are working on the OT), but some of the pastors felt there was a need for a third.  We wanted to determine the exact nature of the need.  The BI coordinator of that region, Eric Elmer, went, and so did our director, Hantz Bernard.  I came along to learn about this type of trip and so that the pastors would see that we are serious about this possibility.  Our missionary translator in PNG, Craig Throop, also joined us.  So did the founder of Campus Bible Fellowship (BMM), Hal Miller. 

I had the privilege of traveling to three different locations in PNG–Port Moresby, the capital city and on the southern coast; Lae, the second largest city and on the northern coast; and Goroka, in the eastern highlands.  Thankfully, we were in the latter for most of the trip, since its climate is much milder than the coastal cities.  The temperatures in Goroka were in the 70s and 80s, and it rained a couple of times, only once really hard and prolonged. 

I was able to minister in all three of these cities.  I gave a lecture on martyrs and Bible translation in Lae.  I was asked to give this lecture only hours before it was time to present it.  The problem for me was that I had no notes in this topic and I had no access to the internet or a library.  Thankfully, however, the Lord helped me to find a good resource on my computer–Foxes’ Book of Martyrs.  Because of that, preparation went very well and so did the presentation.

We were in Goroka from Saturday to Friday, primarily for the independent, fundamental Baptist pastors conference, held at Goroka Baptist Bible College.  The national pastors put it together, and they wanted us to attend.  Our desire was to present who we are and to let them decide whether or not they want us to return to do the Pidgin English translation.  It seems that the responses were very positive, but we’ll have to see how things develop in the coming months. 

I was able to preach once and then conduct workshops in the afternoons on interpretation problems.  I thought they also wanted help on how to translate difficult passages (which is something that I am not very comfortable with yet since I am inexperienced), but it turns out that they wanted me to talk about only interpretation (which I am more comfortable with).  I presented a general lecture on interp problems on Tues, then gave a lecture on Heb. 6:4-6 on Wed, and one on speaking in tongues on Thurs.  The Lord blessed each session, especially the last.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to use an interpreter for these sessions.  That gave me more time to present the material, though it kept some away from the sessions.  Hopefully those who were present (which numbered around 100) were able to understand my English.  I tried to speak slowly, simply, and clearly.  I received very positive comments afterwards, so I must have connected with at least some of them.  The other four men in my group were able to speak at least once. 

I was also able to teach a combined adult SS at Grace Baptist Church in Port Moresby.  The people were very responsive and receptive.  Hantz preached for the AM service and Hal spoke in the afternoon service.  There was also a pidgin SS session before mine.  So the day started at 8:30am for the people and didn’t end until around 2pm with only short breaks in between.  And there was no lunch break.  I told some of the people that American Christians couldn’t handle such a long period of time at church, especially considering the heat and humidity (no A/C, only fans). 

We had a total of 3.5 days at the end in Port Moresby.  I was looking forward to doing some touring, but I ended up being stuck in the hotel, since I came down with a stomach sickness.  I’m thankful that I had an air conditioned room where I could relax and sleep and that I didn’t have to travel back to America with that sickness.  I figured I spent almost 29 hours in flight and 61 hours total in travel on my way over, so I definitely didn’t need it to seem longer because of a sickness.  The Lord healed me enough to be able to minister on Sunday and to travel back on Monday.  Praise the Lord! 

So, I didn’t get to do much touring while I was in PNG.  I had to start working almost the moment I arrived, and we were quite busy all day and night at the conference.  Then with the sickness, I had almost no free time to tour.  Another complication that kept me from getting around was the danger of the area.  It’s not safe to just walk around downtown in the PNG cities.  In fact, the hotel in Port Moresby only allows two taxi companies to enter its premises.  One of the reasons is that the other taxi drivers might take you to their friends to be beaten and robbed.  Not a situation I wanted to get into!  I praise the Lord for keeping us away from any ‘rascal’ activity throughout the trip.  

So, though I didn’t get to tour, I’m glad I was able to be very productive.  In fact, that was one of my main desires.  It’s very expensive to travel to PNG, and when BI has to pay for 3 men to go, that really adds up.  I wanted to make sure that those expenses produced good results.  And for what we wanted to accomplish, I think we were successful.  We were well-received at every place where we presented ourselves, and we sensed a desire for a new pidgin translation.  Now, we need to wait and see over the coming months if the pastors organize themselves and get serious about this translation.  It may be a couple of years before everything falls into place. 

Thanks so much for praying for a successful trip!  God really blessed.  I’m glad I’m back in America now and can enjoy family and friends for Thanksgiving.  I’m in SC until mid January.

See pics of my PNG trip at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=64197&id=613716245.

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PA Days Coming to a Close

I’m thankful for the time I’ve spent here in PA.  The Lord has provided for all of my needs, kept me safe over many miles of traveling, given me good meetings, and helped me to make good contacts.  I will be leaving PA on Monday, but I need to bring you up-to-date on what’s happened these past few weeks. 

First, I’m thankful that Lowman Baptist Church in Pine Grove, WV, has taken me on for support.  This brings me up to 39%!  Praise the Lord.  I look forward to fellowshipping more with Wayne Cooper and his people. 

The last time I made a post was when I was in Pittsburgh.  Well, I’ve driven across the state three times since then.  I came back to the east for a meeting at Hope B/C in Hanover.  I enjoyed seeing Josh Franklin, a former advisee of mine.  I also enjoyed the fellowship with his father-in-law, their families, and the church.  I visited three pastors on the way up to Lancaster, PA, the next day.  I met a few more the next day as I headed to Mechanicsburgh for a hayride with the singles of Emmanuel B/C, where I will be attending a missions conference in Nov 09. 

I had a good meeting at Maranatha B/C in Reading on Oct. 26.  Dr. Merritt Hole has such a big heart, and he never has a hard time keeping a conversation going.  I enjoyed preaching in the AM and presenting my ministry in the PM.  The people had a real heart for my ministry and were very friendly.  The following Monday I visited the Ephrata Cloister in Ephrata.  It appears to me that this cloister was the location of an 18th-century cult.  After the walking tour, I was able to share with the docent about the free grace of Christ that delivers us from bondage that these cult followers were under.  She wasn’t too concerned that she was not born again and probably on her way to hell, but she listened to my witness and took a track.  Pray that she would get concerned about her eternal state before it’s eternally took late.  She said she has a friend or relative who is also very concerned about her and witnessing to her. 

I met up with a few more pastors that week.  Then I headed to Parsippany B/C in Parsippany, NJ.  The people were very friendly toward me there too.  I was especially impressed by the interest of the teens.  They listened very carefully and even responded when I asked questions.  I met a few more pastors later that week, including some men at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminar.  I also had a great time staying at the home of my former basketball (high school) coach and administrator–Randy Thaxton. 

I went back to the Harrisburg area on Saturday to prepare for my meeting at Mtn View Bible Church in Hummelstown.  Dr. Norman Marks has been very gracious to me, including providing an apartment where I can prepare for my PNG trip.  Of course, I spent Mon driving across the state for a pastors’ meeting and then back across the state on Tues.  I was able to make some good contacts, and even schedule a missions conferernce in Duncansville in Nov. 09.  I appreciated the ministry of Dr. Ralph Colas at the pastors’ meeting.  He’s the director of the ACCC. 

There’s two days left to do more preparing for PNG so I better get to it !  Please pray for wisdom as I prepare.  Please also pray for safety, both physically and spiritually.  Flying 23 hours in a plane with wicked movies all around me is a very difficult environment.  Please pray for Spirit enabling to do right!

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