Leadership According to God's Timetable

Tugutil Elder

DISCIPLING TO LEADERSHIP

Discipleship and leadership development go hand in hand. Those who are discipled and begin to take on the role of leadership in a church then begin to disciple others. The discipled become the disciplers.

Walk back with me to the late 1990s to visit with Bob and Debbie Clark, living in a Tugutil village in the Asia-Pacific Region.

“Based on our interaction with the church, we selected five men and designated them as elder candidates,” said Bob. “We let them and the church know that we would be observing how they functioned and interacted with the wider church body over the next year. We asked them to take turns teaching for Sunday worship services and midweek Bible studies and work together to oversee the discipleship needs of the church. After a year our plan was to ordain those we felt were ready to take on the official role of leading the church as elders.”

Bob Clark with Tugutil men

A CHANGE IN THE PLANS

But then things changed. Drastically. And the missionaries needed to remain flexible, accepting the way God moved and changed their direction.

“Before that year was up,” Bob continued, “religious rioting in that part of the country forced the missionary team to be evacuated from the area. Not long after that, we no longer had a flight program in the region. … As a team we relocated to a safer area and brought out several Tugutil believers to that town to continue Bible translation. After a few years there, part of our team retired, and some of us took on additional ministries. We never lived full-time among the Tugutil again, only making 2 to 4 week-long visits a few times a year.”

Though it was still the desire of the team to see leaders functioning in the Tugutil church, these challenging turn of events meant it would take a lot longer than originally planned.

Tugutil church service

AT LAST

But at last God allowed the Tugutil Church to have ordained leaders. “It was a long time (more than 10 years!) before our first elders (two of the five original candidates) were ordained, even though as far as we knew some of them were functioning well as leaders for several years,” concluded Bob.

Now there is a thriving church among the Tugutil people. The elders have discipled others who in turn have begun outreaches to other communities. Regardless of “bumps in the road,” God has moved the Tugutil Church to maturity.

Going With a Purpose

Chris and Sandy Romero along with their three kids, Joshua (6) Jeremy (4) and Moriah (1) are no strangers to moving. Within the past year and a half they have made two big moves and are preparing now for their third. The Romero family has been undertaking these relocations with one purpose in mind: preparing themselves to “become equipped for His service with that ultimate goal of seeing the expansion of His kingdom amongst unreached people groups.” - Chris & Sandy.

The first transition for Chris and Sandy was moving their family of four from their hometown of Invercargill to Hastings. This was in order for Chris and Sandy to attend a year at Shepherd’s Bible College.

In January 2016 the Romero family left Invercargill with just themselves and what they could fit in their truck. They stepped out in faith, trusting that God would provide a house and furnishings.

After arriving in Hastings, it looked like it would be a difficult process to find and rent a house. However, within one day a local church community was able to find them a home to rent. Not long after that, the furnishings began to be dropped off at their new house. They were blessed and encouraged by how God worked through the local believers in an area unfamiliar to them.

While there, the Romero family also transitioned from a family of four to five, with the arrival of their daughter Moriah.

During this time they were also blessed with God’s provision of friends and time spent immersed in the word of God. July 2016 July 2016

Through the Bible College they were also able to find various ministries to assist with; from youth programs, to leading Bible studies to mention just a few.

Throughout their time of study, God continued to provide for Chris and Sandy to complete their studies. The couple found out towards the end of 2016 that Shepherd’s Bible College would be closing their doors at the end of the year. Although this could have interrupted Sandy’s plan to complete her studies, she was able to fulfill the courses online and worked diligently to finish.

Upon completion of their studies, the Romero family, once again, found themselves ready to take the next step of their journey. In January of this year Chris and Sandy and the children began the long trek back to Invercargill. With a trip north to Auckland first, visiting friends and family along the way they traveled around 2400 kilometers before reaching home.

While back in Invercargill Chris and Sandy aimed to re-solidify relationships and begin their visa applications. Earlier in 2016, as a result of many hours dedicated to paperwork and their studies, the Romero’s application to the ETHNOS Canada Missionary Training Centre, in Durham, was accepted.

The next seven or so months for the Romero family saw them attaining their much needed student visas to travel to Canada, and also the Lord’s provision and protection. There was a bit of a shock as their youngest, Moriah, had a small cold that quickly developed into pneumonia. Although her recovery was slow, she is now very close to normal health. Provision for work was also a blessing as Chris, a qualified builder, was able to work on the construction of a house in the months before the move to Canada.

Now, Chris, Sandy, Joshua, Jeremy and Moriah are in the midst of a bittersweet third transition to the other side of the world. As they say goodbye to beloved family and friends, they look forward to all that God will be accomplishing throughout their sixteen months in Canada. The Romero family are willing to go where God is leading them and are open to His plans for their ministry.

Please pray for this amazing family as they step out in faith once again. They will be departing New Zealand on the 20th of August and their official course dates begin August 28th.

 

See the Mwinika Bible Translation Through to Completion

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BEYOND THANKFUL

Sherife was more than just a Mwinika man to Bible translator Phil Henderson. He was a fellow believer, one of the first Mwinika Bible teachers, and a Bible translation helper. He was also a friend. And now Phil sat by Sherife as he lay on his deathbed.

TEARS OF JOY AND SORROW

Phil remembered another time when Sherife lay critically ill in bed. Before he was saved. Before teaching even began in the Mwinika village.

But this time it was different. Sherife was a believer. Still, it was hard to watch as tears filled Sherife’s eyes, spilling down his cheeks.

“Let me translate my tears,” Sherife said to Phil. “I am crying because of my unsaved family members. … I know where I am going, but I am worried about them. … I didn’t know God until you came and told me about Him. Now I know Him. Now I am going to be with Him. Thank you for coming. Thank you beyond thanking. Thank you.”

About a week later, Sherife was ushered into the presence of his Saviour.

A PASSION FOR GOD AND HIS WORD

Of greater importance to Sherife than “translating his tears” was translating God’s Word into the Mwinika language. He was one of several Bible translation helpers that worked tirelessly alongside Phil to see this translation come to fruition.

But as of his death, the project was not yet done. Please pray for Phil Henderson and the other Mwinika men as they continue translating, looking to the day when the Mwinika Bible translation is complete. Would you also pray for the funds needed to make the translation a reality? Your prayers can have an impact!

God Does The Connecting

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Trevor and Judy Clarke, NZ ETHNOS representatives, first met Stephanie during a class where they shared about the work of ETHNOS at Shepherds Bible College.  She had taken the whole of the 2015 year off from school teaching so that she could do a full year at Bible College, with every intention of resuming teaching in 2016.  The Lord had other plans for her though.

A few months later, we were there for the Impact conference, with more than 1000 people in attendance, and I (Judy) was with Stephanie at the breakfast table one morning and just happened to say to her that we have a huge need for teachers in many locations, actually 87 teachers needed at that time.  A week after the conference Trev and I were on our way to PNG to help out in the Interface program.

Almost immediately after arriving there, we were presented with an enormous load of needs of personnel, especially for our Wewak Center.  Families there were struggling with not enough workers on the base to fulfill the needs of the whole Sepik Region and added to this, were the demands of schooling their kids.  There were even considerations that the Center of Operations may have to close, and the straw that was breaking-the-camels-back, was lack of a teacher.  This weighed pretty heavily on Trev and my hearts, so we sent an email off to Stephanie, thinking that she could just be the one!

Yes, Stephanie prayed about it, asked a lot of good questions and saw that this was exactly what God had for her.  It coincided with some previous thoughts that she would like to teach somewhere where teachers didn’t normally go (or possibly not want to go).

All the pieces began slotting together, right down to how she couldn’t go to PNG before finishing her Bible college year which would mean she wouldn’t arrive in PNG till early/mid-January.  Little did she know that was no problem because all the necessary paper work, visas, work and entry permits would take up that time anyway!

This is a HUGE relief and a massive encouragement to the families working on the Wewak Center.  It is huge for Stephanie, and just one of those privileges that keeps Trev and I excited about our job.  We just have to keep going places sharing about Missions and God nudges His people to GO.


Ever wonder how God 'Calls' someone into Missions?  Does He use others to 'help' in the process?  Is it obvious that He's the 'One' behind it all?  Read on and find out...

God Does The Connecting

Trevor and Judy Clarke, NZ New Tribes Mission representatives, first met Stephanie during a class where they shared about the work of NTM at Shepherds Bible College.  She had taken the whole of the 2015 year off from school teaching so that she could do a full year at Bible College, with every intention of resuming teaching in 2016.  The Lord had other plans for her though. A few months later, we were there for the Impact conference, with more than 1000 people in attendance, and I (Judy) was with Stephanie at the breakfast table one morning and just happened to say to her that we have a huge need for teachers in many locations, actually 87 teachers needed at that time.  A week after the conference Trev and I were on our way to PNG to help out in the Interface program.

Almost immediately after arriving there, we were presented with an enormous load of needs of personnel, especially for our Wewak Center.  Families there were struggling with not enough workers on the base to fulfill the needs of the whole Sepik Region and added to this, were the demands of schooling their kids.  There were even considerations that the Center of Operations may have to close, and the straw that was breaking-the-camels-back, was lack of a teacher.  This weighed pretty heavily on Trev and my hearts, so we sent an email off to Stephanie, thinking that she could just be the one!

Yes, Stephanie prayed about it, asked a lot of good questions and saw that this was exactly what God had for her.  It coincided with some previous thoughts that she would like to teach somewhere where teachers didn’t normally go (or possibly not want to go).

All the pieces began slotting together, right down to how she couldn’t go to PNG before finishing her Bible college year which would mean she wouldn’t arrive in PNG till early/mid-January.  Little did she know that was no problem because all the necessary paper work, visas, work and entry permits would take up that time anyway!

This is a HUGE relief and a massive encouragement to the families working on the Wewak Center.  It is huge for Stephanie, and just one of those privileges that keeps Trev and I excited about our job.  We just have to keep going places sharing about Missions and God nudges His people to GO.

See the Mwinika Bible Translation Through to Completion

Beyond Thankful

Sherife was more than just a Mwinika man to Bible translator Phil Henderson. He was a fellow believer, one of the first Mwinika Bible teachers, and a Bible translation helper. He was also a friend. And now Phil sat by Sherife as he lay on his deathbed.

Tears of Joy and Sorrow

Phil remembered another time when Sherife lay critically ill in bed. Before he was saved. Before teaching even began in the Mwinika village.

"I AM CRYING BECAUSE OF MY UNSAVED FAMILY MEMBERS. … I KNOW WHERE I AM GOING, BUT I AM WORRIED ABOUT THEM. … I DIDN’T KNOW GOD UNTIL YOU CAME AND TOLD ME ABOUT HIM. NOW I KNOW HIM. NOW I AM GOING TO BE WITH HIM. THANK YOU FOR COMING. THANK YOU BEYOND THANKING. THANK YOU."

But this time it was different. Sherife was a believer. Still, it was hard to watch as tears filled Sherife’s eyes, spilling down his cheeks.

“Let me translate my tears,” Sherife said to Phil. “I am crying because of my unsaved family members. … I know where I am going, but I am worried about them. … I didn’t know God until you came and told me about Him. Now I know Him. Now I am going to be with Him. Thank you for coming. Thank you beyond thanking. Thank you.”

About a week later, Sherife was ushered into the presence of his Saviour.

A Passion for God and His Word

Of greater importance to Sherife than “translating his tears” was translating God’s Word into the Mwinika language. He was one of several Bible translation helpers that worked tirelessly alongside Phil to see this translation come to fruition.

But as of his death, the project was not yet done. Please pray for Phil Henderson and the other Mwinika men as they continue translating, looking to the day when the Mwinika Bible translation is complete. Would you also pray for the funds needed to make the translation a reality? Your prayers can have an impact!

Prevent Hewa Women from Being Murdered

An Outbreak of Measles

After an outbreak of measles in Papua New Guinea brought death to the Hewa village, a witch hunt began. Blame had to be assigned. Someone had to be held responsible. And in Hewa culture that someone would be a woman or child accused of being possessed by evil spirits.

Accusations

Accusations were brought against four woman, along with 13 of their family members. These accusations didn’t need to be substantiated. Their innocence didn’t matter. They stood accused of witchcraft and that meant a death sentence.

The police came in and gave warnings. But ultimately, fear of the spirits would overrule fear of the authorities.

“Four months from when the police, missionaries and government officials went into our neighbouring village to warn people that witch killing was illegal and would carry severe consequences — four months to the day — a woman named Mifila [who was accused of witchcraft] was brutally murdered,” wrote missionaries John and Jessi George. “Her brother claimed that he could and would protect her if anyone tried to kill her. But when a large group of armed men come in with guns … so they can chop your sister with axes and machetes there really is nothing you or anybody else can do about it.”

A Mass Exodus

And the danger has not passed. There are others in the village marked as witches. And if nothing is done, they too will meet the same fate as Mifila.

“A mass exodus [is] planned for many women and children who are currently marked as witches,” the Georges’ wrote. “Plenty of times before … they have come to us asking about leaving, then decide the threats against them are not real… Now, Mifila’s death has them all scared, so many who were not ready before to take the giant step of leaving their homes, families, gardens and even language to go somewhere new where they will be safe are now begging to go.”

But this “exodus” is being threatened. Some are saying to “hurry up and kill them before they can escape,” Jessi recently wrote. Your prayers can make a difference. Pray for a protective hedge around these falsely accused women and children as they await flights. Pray for their transition to a new village with a new language and a new culture. And do not forget to pray for God’s truths to reach into the hearts and minds of those making the accusations and carrying out the brutal attacks. Only then will lasting change come.