Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Thankful for the Potholes

If there is one thing that missions work in Papua New Guinea gives you, it is the opportunity to complain. I wish that I could say that I have not fallen prey to that temptation, but I have, and often.

Complaining is a disease. It is like a viral plague that is quickly transmitted from one person to the next. Before you know it, everybody is infected.

In the book of Numbers, we read about how the Israelites complained incessantly to Moses, accusing him of bringing them out into the wilderness to die, while longing to go back to the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic that they ate in Egypt. It seems that they forgot the whips of their slave masters and the ruthless efforts to kill all of their newborn sons.

I recently heard a poem about thankfulness that caused me to give serious reconsideration to the things I am so apt to complain about in my life. I decided to write my own poem about thankfulness as it applies to life here in Papua New Guinea:

I am thankful for the rain, because it means that my water tank will not soon be empty.

I am thankful for the cold, because it means that the threat of malaria is far reduced.

I am thankful for the potholes, because it means that I have a car to drive.

I am thankful when the store is out of meat, because it means that I can afford such a luxury.

I am thankful for the bee hive in my wall, because it means that I have a home.

I am thankful for the ants’ nest in the power outlet, because it means that I have electricity.

I am thankful when I have to hang up the laundry on the line outside, because it means that I have clothes to wear.

I am thankful when the Internet is slow, because it means that I have near instant communication with the world around me.

I am thankful when I must walk on slippery paths and steep hills, because it means that I am healthy enough to do so. 

I am thankful for the potholes, because it means that I have a car to drive
Translation Progress
The translation team continues to make progress in drafting the New Testament. Over the past two months, the team has drafted 2 Timothy, Philemon, Colossians, and is currently working on the last chapter of 1 John. In June, Martin Harty, one of the Enga Bible Translation team members, came to Ukarumpa and recorded the book of Luke. Because Martin is such a skilled reader, we were able to complete the recording in just five and a half days. We now have three gospels recorded in the Enga language. Although we will be distributing Luke on a limited basis in the months to come, we are looking forward to the arrival of two teams from Newbreak Church to officially launch the book of Luke to the larger community in Enga in September and November. Please pray for the book to be well received. 

Martin Harty recording the book of Luke
An Unexpected Opportunity
During our most recent stay in Enga, we had the opportunity to explore the area surrounding our home in Immi village. One day we crossed the long, suspension bridge over the Lai River and headed along a path up the mountain. It was a beautiful walk and it was not too long before we could look back and see our house on the other side of the river. Just as we were about to turn around and go home, we came upon a small market area. Jacob, our oldest, was walking ahead, and as soon as the children saw him coming, they erupted in a frenzy of excitement. As the rest of us arrived, I (Adam) was quickly ushered into the center of the market area and told that I needed to speak to the people. Extemporaneous speaking in Enga is not my strength. Fortunately, however, I was able to recall some of the things I had said in the sermon I had recently delivered in the Enga language, and I did my best to share about the Kingdom of God with the people at the market, playing for them a small sample from the Gospel of Matthew on my phone. That unexpected occurrence made me realize that God has given me a tremendous opportunity. Because people are so excited to hear a foreigner speak Enga, I have the possibility of going almost anywhere in the province and drawing a crowd just by speaking. Please pray that God will give me the wisdom and ability to make use of this special opportunity to share the good news of the Kingdom in public places. Please pray as well that He will give me increased fluency in the Enga language.