It is sometimes hard to fit everything into one newsletter, so we decided to add more glimpses of our Kosarek visit last December, before we go back for more.
Several years ago we began a memory verse program in Kosarek. Every time Mike and his team got more books of the New Testament approved for publication, Amy would go through those books and pick out a list of memory verses. Over the years we have made three different small memory verse booklets, and have been selling them at a subsidized rate of about 10 to 15 cents. During times when we, or Adit and Putri were in the village, people would often line up to recite the verses they had memorized in exchange for prizes. They could say as many as 5 verses at a time to get up to 5 prizes; the most popular being packages of Ramen noodles, bars of soap, pens, writing paper, rubber bands, string to make traditional bags, and so many other fun things that are not readily available in Kosarek. As we decided to start phasing out this program, we thought it would be fun to end it with a "special gift." Through a kind donation we printed up t-shirts with a Kosarek prayer based on Psalm 119:11. Any person that was able to say 5 verses from the memory books on that final day received a new shirt proclaiming the words of the Kosarek prayer, "Father God, in order that I do not do evil things and grieve Your heart, I have hidden Your Word in my heart." It was fun to see all the people wearing their shirts out and about.
Another incredible gift that was provided for us was more solar power, given by generous supporters of Adit and Putri. The solar panel system was installed on our roof so that it could be properly maintained, yet it was primarily donated to supply power for the learning center. Even after providing power to our house and to the learning center we still had power to share. Deciding to try to be a blessing to those who have brought electronic devices from town, our Kosarek team installed a "charging station" outside of the learning center. The charging station was available during daylight hours, and quickly became the most popular hang out in Kosarek. The joy brought about by a small charging shelter was cause for singing and dancing for some!
A few years ago, Mike had attempted to begin distributing translated material in digital format by using a device called the BibleBox. Since there is no cell service in the Kosarek area, there were very few people with cell phones at that time. Yet over the past few years, more and more people have begun purchasing cell phones from town and bringing them to the village as music players, cameras, flashlights, etc. With so many people sitting outside the learning center waiting for their phones to charge, we put the BibleBox to good use, sharing the Kosarek translated materials via Android app, audio recordings, and videos, including the Jesus film in a familiar trade language called Papua Malay. Being able to watch Scripture videos in their own language, or a language they could understand, had people (almost literally) "climbing the rafters," as they waited for their devices to charge!!
We no longer have our kids to help with chores, but there are often children hanging around the house to help out when needed. These two boys came every Monday to chop the wood that Amy needs to cook on the wood stove for a week. Their reward was to pick out something from Amy's prize box, which could be clothes, cards, pads of paper, or chocolate! These two young ladies helped in the kitchen a time or two, after which we would have a cup of coffee and jam on a piece of bread - what they call "red man's sweet potato."(Does it sound like our Caucasian skin burns easily in this climate?) The porch on the back of the house was really beginning to sag, so we decided it is time to replace it. We only had time to take it down in December, but hopefully in February we will put in a new one. Here are Mike and Adit with the eager demolition crew. Their efforts cost us a large bowl of popcorn and a pitcher of sweet tea. Sharing food is an essential part of building relationships.It is good for us to share in one another's lives. So many wonderful things happened in our visit out to Kosarek land, and we trust the Lord to continue working through the visits as we fly back there for the month of February.
We're thankful that...
All the mandatory reviews to publish the Kosarek translation of Hebrews have been completed.
Putri is pregnant, so we will become "Tante" and "Om" ("Aunt and Uncle") this coming May.
Our partners at Resonate Global Mission provided us the opportunity to get away for a spiritual retreat, with meetings conducted via Zoom.
Pray with us for...
Health, stamina and clarity of thought for the team. There is still a lot of Scripture checking and training to complete this year.
Amy's visa. One of the foundational permission letters has been granted, but there are still a number of steps to complete the visa process.
Charis is overwhelmed with trying to decide the best path for her next year. Pray that she will hear the still, small voice leading and guiding her.