Martin Dec 2020 - Papua
We left Kosarek last March after hosting the high school OE. Our intent was to return in April to continue partnering with Adit and Putri, as well as do further work on the New Testament translation. However, it took us nine months to get back to Kosarek, finally arriving in November. For Adit and Putri who remained in Kosarek for over 10 months straight, it was a long stay in the village. They were more than ready for some teammates by the time we arrived. We spent time together in prayer and worship. We shared laughter and tears. We talked of how to be a blessing to the Kosarek people without experiencing extreme burn-out.
It often feels so hard to "love your neighbor as yourself" when there are hundreds and thousands of impoverished "neighbors" from a vastly different culture looking to the four of us as the missionaries representing Christ's love!
We spent a lot of time just listening, as well as some time sharing what we've learned from our 17 years of living and working with the Kosarek people. The burden is so much lighter when there are four pairs of shoulders to carry the weight. As we brought the burdens to the Lord together as a team, we could feel strength returning. We need the Lord's strength to keep serving joyfully, and to allow His love to keep flowing through us. The phrase that keeps going through my mind is, "Just because it is hard, it doesn't mean that it isn't good." Good and hard mingle together, along with joy and sorrow.
Click the picture above for the video performance.One demonstration of our positive teamwork was seen in a performance by the kids from Adit and Putri's learning center. Putri wrote the script to illustrate the pre-Christian days of tribal fighting, contrasted with the changes brought by the arrival of the first missionaries who brought the Gospel of Peace. Mike translated three songs into the Kosarek language between days of checking Scripture. Adit tirelessly rehearsed and worked with the kids who enthusiastically practiced the music for long hours to get on the same beat! Amy worked with the kids on their drama skills so that they could speak loud enough and face the audience while performing - something we were not sure would be accomplished by the performance date. Yet on December 4, representatives from approximately 20 congregations met in Kosarek - literally in our front yard - to celebrate the 48th anniversary of the Kosarek church. Those in attendance witnessed the kids put together an AMAZING performance!
Christmas was celebrated in a BIG way this year. The 15 Kosarek congregations hosted a celebration for the entire region, including representatives from the language area responsible for bringing the Gospel to Kosarek in 1972. The large celebration gave us a glimpse into what the New Testament dedication might look like in 2022. It will also be the 50th anniversary of the coming of the missionaries who brought the good news and planted the church among this remote group of people tucked away in the mountains of Papua, Indonesia.
While the Kosarek celebrations were loud and festive this year, for the rest of the world the Christmas celebrations may seem smaller and less festive than normal. Hopefully the change will allow all of us to truly remember Christ's coming to the earth to bring eternal life to the "fighting tribes" in our lands, and to bring about a holy change. We long for this Christ-centered eternal change. To God be the Glory!
We're thankful that...
Hebrews and 1st Corinthians were able to be checked in the village, even amongst all the Christmas activities!
Mike had several opportunities to share Gospel messages in front of groups of people while in the village.
Lots of "hard but good" things happened in the village.
Creston accomplished his goal of being selected as a Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) in the US Air Force.
Pray with us for...
Our first Christmas away from all three kids. The original "plan" was for them to come to Papua for Christmas. Instead the kids will be together in Michigan, while Mike and Amy will be in Papua. We're looking for "the good" in the middle of this hard thing!
Amy's visitor's visa, which has about 45 days remaining. Pray that a one-year resident visa will be granted soon.
Lots of scripture checking planned for January, February and March.
Family members suffering with COVID.