Friday, August 1, 2014

Corruption and Persecution

Two of the Enga translators along with 300 other pastors were recently barred from their denomination’s annual convention because of the actions of a corrupt bishop clinging to his power.

While we were translating the Gospel of Matthew in June, two of our translators, Maniosa Yakasa and Frank Paiyak, excused themselves for a few days to attend their denomination’s annual convention. The term of the corrupt bishop had come to an end, and it was time to elect a new bishop. In the past, when this corrupt bishop’s term had expired, he barred all of the pastors who didn’t support him from attending the convention and brought people in from the streets to vote for him. This time, however, the rest of the church was determined not to sit idly by while he yet again cheated the system.

So Maniosa and Frank joined together with more than 300 pastors from all over Enga Province to demand entrance into the convention so that they could vote for a new bishop. They arrived early in the morning only to find that the bishop had locked them out and hired police from another town who brought machine guns and machetes to keep the pastors from attending their own convention. When a couple of the pastors broke through the fence, they were severely beaten and had to be rescued by the others who were still outside the fence. In the process thirty-nine men were injured and some had to go to the hospital. Frank suffered a minor wound on his leg when he was hit with a stone. Nevertheless, Godly men like Frank and Maniosa do not allow corruption and persecution in the church to affect their faith in God. Their persistence in the face of trials is an encouragement to us as we face our own trials. Please continue to pray that God will remove the corrupt bishop and install a leader who is committed to serving the Lord.

Translation Progress
Earlier this month we completed our first draft of the book of Matthew. We never expected that our translation work would be progressing so quickly. Last fall I (Adam) remembered hoping that we would be able to finish our first draft of the book of Mark by this time. I never thought that we would complete both Mark and Matthew (not to mention the Abraham story)! In August and September we will record Mark and the Abraham story and prepare them for distribution in print and audio format. Then we will launch the books in October.

Pray for Safety
During our last stay in Wabag we had two separate break-in attempts at our house in Ukarumpa. During the first attempt, a man tore off the screen on our front window that faces the main road. Fortunately, one of our neighbors was walking his dog and saw the man, so he called security and the man ran off. We were not as fortunate with the second attempt. Our bedroom glass window was smashed and somebody came into our house and rifled through our room. Fortunately, we keep our valuables locked in a safe when we are in Wabag and so not much of value was taken. Nevertheless we will be upgrading our alarm system and purchasing laminates for the windows that prevent them from being smashed. Please pray for our safety and security. These incidents take their toll on us emotionally and are very discouraging. After the second incident, I told the Enga translators what happened and shared John 16:33, “In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” I have a greater understanding now about the desire Engans have for revenge, but I am committed to releasing that desire into God’s hands and placing my trust in Him.

Pray for Transitions
Every June is a difficult time for missionaries in Papua New Guinea as many people leave on furlough. This year many of our close friends have left. It has been especially difficult for Jacob, as he has had to say goodbye to his best friend Nate. To make matters worse, when Nate’s family returns to Papua New Guinea, we ourselves will be going on furlough. Jacob has been bursting in tears at random times as he tries to deal with the pain of saying goodbye. Please pray for God to comfort and strengthen him.