Asia-Pacific

Nagi people about to hear the Gospel

Last night we held a meeting with the village to let them know when we would be starting the teaching and what that would look like. We plan to start teaching on Monday, July 6th and go five days per week until we get done, probably sometime in October. It is exciting to finally have a date set and the villagers were expressing their commitment to come to the teaching. Do be praying that they will come faithfully. We were pleased with their excitement. unnamedAt the end of the meeting, a young man, who has helped me some with translation and was visiting from another village, encouraged the others by saying, "Don't leave off this talk they are going to tell you. 30 years ago [another group] started sending evangelists into the Nagi speaking language areas, and to this day there is not a single person who knows and understands this talk. Even now the priest in the village where I live is trying to get some of us to understand and be involved (in leading meetings), but still there is not one. But now these guys who have come are about to tell you that talk in Nagi, from the beginning, so you will understand it. And who knows, maybe then some of you can come down and tell us so we can know too. So don't leave off this talk!"

PREPARATIONS

unnamed-1The boys helping Porter prepare a visual aide for the lessons

Preparations for teaching are in high gear. Our goal before starting was to have at least 55 of the 70 phase 1 lessons ready. The total ready is currently at 44. All of the Scripture portions needed for phase 1 are drafted, and we are working through the checks needed to have them ready for teaching. There is a lot left to be done before we reach our goal, so please be praying for good health for our team, not just the adults, but our children as well. During the teaching we will continue to develop the rest of the phase 1 lessons as well as 10-15 additional lessons for 'extending the storyline', a brief synopsis of the church in Acts, persecution of the disciples, and the promised return of the King.

We have also recently printed the chronological pictures onto banner material, as well as a number of maps and charts. In addition to this we are asking the villagers to make up 60 strings of 100 beads (found locally) that we can use to represent a timeline of biblical history.

Monthly Gleanings from May 2015

Three highlights from missionary updates from Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Read the latest news from the front lines about Gospel outreaches, Bible translation, and the fruit God is producing

PRAYER REQUESTS FOR WEEK OF MAY 31

Monday: “We have been in the process of locating an airplane in Brazil for many years. [Then] last November one of our missionaries flew a [Cessna] 206 down to Brazil,” wrote missionaries Jeff and Jackie Schaa. Since then, paperwork issues have kept the plane grounded. But now the Schaas tell us that “the paperwork is there and we are praying for the importation to become a reality so this plane can begin to serve in Brazil.” Could you pray with them to that end? Read More ... Tuesday: “We are currently on loan to Moody Aviation [in Spokane, Washington],” wrote Dan and Laura Swanson. “We are passionate about training up a new generation of missionaries and seeing them thrive overseas. … As important as the flight and maintenance training is, there is also a huge need to help them grow in the ‘soft’ skills – their interpersonal relationships, relationships with the Lord, etc.” Pray for Dan and Laura as they interact with the students. Read More ...

Wednesday: The week spent in Lakeland, Florida, at the Sun N Fun airshow was busy, sweaty – but a great opportunity. Josh and Erin Verdonck, along with the rest of their NTM Aviation team, were able to show the benefits of the Kodiak aircraft. Pray as this Kodiak aircraft is headed to Papua New Guinea at the end of this summer. Read More ...

Thursday: “This week while Zach was doing a routine inspection on the helicopter, he found a ‘crack’ on the tip of the rotor where the blade is starting to ‘delaminate.’ This ½ inch crack might seem insignificant, but it is actually a very big deal and the helicopter is now grounded until the rotor blades are replaced,” reported the missionary pilot’s wife, Jane Keller. Until the blades are replaced, it means a long and difficult trip over land or sea for some missionaries. Pray that no emergencies would arise in the interim and for the replacement blades to arrive soon! Read More ...

Friday: Joel and Missy Davis, a missionary pilot family in the Philippines, understand what risk is and are willing to take risks for God. “Risk is only risk to us because we don’t really know the outcome,” Joel says. “We need people who are willing to live risky lives for the cause of Christ. Yes, there are risks, but the rewards are greater. … Will you join us?” Watch the video …

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Prayer Requests for Week of May 24

“It has not gone unnoticed by Judy and me that our post middle age bodies are beginning to show the wear and tear of life,” wrote Bible translator James Burdett on their blog. Likewise, their equipment on the field is wearing out as well. Some of their equipment is more than 20 years old and limping along, requiring time for maintenance that pulls them away from translating the Bible.

The Power of a Mother's Prayer

Not all missionaries start out wanting to be missionaries. Paul Fleming, the man who founded NTM in 1942, was no exception.

When Things Don't Go As Planned

Things don’t always go according to plan — and that’s usually viewed as a bad thing. So when I tell you that is what happened with the Manjui New Testament, you might be ready to despair.

Monthly Gleanings from April 2015

Highlights from missionary updates from Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Read the latest news from the front lines about Gospel outreaches, Bible translation, and the fruit God is producing.

What would you do in order to hear the gospel?

A Foreign Message

Imagine that you’re visiting another country. You hear the gospel message for the first time -- though in another language. You understand it. You believe it. And now you want your family to know the same redeeming truth. You want to take them there to sit under the same teaching -- but they aren’t bilingual like you are. What do you do?

Moving a Village

An Iski village.

Could you convince your family and friends to move there, learn another language, and listen to that same life-changing message?

That’s exactly what three men from the Iski people group did.

After listening to several months of foundational, chronological Bible teaching under NTM missionaries, these men went home to their village. “[They convinced] their immediate families to leave their homes, gardens and livelihoods, and relocate to a little hamlet two hours from the village doing the teaching,” wrote Seth and Rochelle Callahan.

“Their intent was to learn the other language, so that they could hear and understand ‘God’s talk.’ After relocating though, they came to realize that learning another language isn’t an easy thing. … They weren’t learning the neighbouring language well enough to benefit them.”

So what now?

The Hope to Come

The Callahan family.

They didn’t give up.

“They began sending delegations to the group’s main church, asking them if they could get missionaries of their own,” the Callahans wrote.

And their petitions were answered! The Iski village now have missionaries of their own. “The people … are hungry for the Word of God,” wrote Seth and Rochelle, evidenced by their willingness to help in whatever way to speed up the language-learning process. “Our hope is to be ready to present the story of redemption by the summer of 2016.”

Pray for the Williamson and Tousch families as they are already deep into learning language and culture. Pray for Seth and Rochelle as they are currently in the USA for the birth of their third child, with plans to be in the village by October. And pray for the Iski people as they wait to hear the gospel message.

[button link="http://blogs.ntm.org/seth-callahan/2015/02/16/future-home-of-the-callahans/" color="default" size="" type="" shape="" target="_self" title="" gradient_colors="|" gradient_hover_colors="|" accent_color="" accent_hover_color="" bevel_color="" border_width="1px" shadow="" icon="" icon_divider="yes" icon_position="left" modal="" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" class="" id=""]Read the Callahans' blog post ...[/button]

Leaving with a purpose

The Reason for Easter

Last weekend at Easter, as we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, we remembered that He died and rose again so you and I could have eternal life. He loves each of us so much that He would have done it if it was just you or just me. He loves each and every person -- even those living in darkness, isolated from His salvation -- with the same unfathomable, limitless, unconditional, abiding love.

He Left His Home

Payton and Grace Downing.

Kyle and Emily Kurth and their 16-month-old recently moved into a 300-square-foot RV so they have the freedom to move around as they develop the team of prayer and financial partners they need in order to serve God at the ends of the earth.

Shaune and Jenny Preston planned to create an urban microfarm before God directed them to NTM. So when they gave away their six pet chickens last week, they were taking a step in the transition from following their dreams to following God’s.

Also last week, Payton and Grace Downing loaded all their goods into five totes and took a 20-hour flight on their way to the Asia-Pacific region where they will serve God. Grace, by the way, is six months pregnant.

They’re all leaving home for a very important reason.

So All Can Have Eternal Life

A scene from Ullum's video.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Tim and Andrea Ullum presented a lesson on Christ’s resurrection in a remote village in the Asia-Pacific region. It was the final lesson in a foundational Bible teaching series that moves chronologically from Creation through Christ’s ascension. This was the first time these people had the opportunity to hear such a clear presentation of the gospel in their own language. Several people placed their faith in the completed work of Christ.

His work was completed on the cross. The work He gave His people -- the task before you and me and our brothers and sisters, to make disciples of all nations -- is not done yet. Please pray that the Kurths soon have a solid team behind them; that the Prestons successfully make the transition to serving God as missionaries; and for the Downings to settle into their new home. And praise God with the Ullums and their co-workers for these new believers.

[button link="http://blogs.ntm.org/tim-ullum/2015/03/27/outreach-snapshot/" color="default" size="" type="" shape="" target="_self" title="" gradient_colors="|" gradient_hover_colors="|" accent_color="" accent_hover_color="" bevel_color="" border_width="1px" shadow="" icon="" icon_divider="yes" icon_position="left" modal="" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" class="" id=""]Watch a video about Ullum's outreach[/button]

Monthly gleanings from March 2015

Highlights from missionary updates from Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. Read the latest news from the front lines about Gospel outreaches, Bible translation, and the fruit God is producing.

Overwhelmed

Sunlight gilded the waves over the depth and breadth of his vision when Nonoy emerged from his home the morning after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. On that November morning in 2013, each ripple echoed like a thousand tiny voices singing the power and beauty of God’s creation.

Then the surf thundered ashore, roiling the debris of hundreds of lives torn apart by the destructive power of the storm, and drawing Nonoy’s eyes to the damage onshore.

Docks were splintered. Boats driven ashore, their hulls torn or even twisted. Trees uprooted. Homes and livelihoods shattered.

Worst of all was the human toll. And that would increase if help did not arrive soon. Treatable injuries would become life-threatening. Then exposure, disease, hunger, and thirst would sweep through the islands like a scythe, taking down all those left standing.

The needs were clear to Nonoy.

You might ask, “What could one man do in the face of such need?” The better question is, “How could any believer do less than all he could do?”

He was equipped … but not for this

His name is Gualberto B. Ortiz Jr., but everyone knows him as Nonoy. At the time Typhoon Haiyan hit, Nonoy, a native of the Philippines, lived on a remote island chain where few had the opportunity to hear God’s Word and respond to Him.

He was equipped for that need. Trained by NTM Philippines in cross-cultural church planting, his 24-year ministry was ongoing. Some had responded. In other places, entire villages and islands had turned their backs on his work. However, Nonoy never gave up. He rolled up his spiritual sleeves and went to work where he was welcomed.

The needs facing him in the aftermath of the typhoon were no less an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to the people of these islands. He had no idea how all the needs would be met, but he knew where to start.

Doing all that he could do

Before the typhoon, friends had helped Nonoy move his boat deep into a mangrove swamp. It rode out the storm unscathed. Now he recovered it, and set off for a larger island.

There, he found relief supplies already trickling in. There wasn’t much available yet, but there was enough for his small boat. He took what he could fit in, and headed back. On the islands, he unloaded his meager cargo to thankful crowds.

Again and again he crossed the open water in his small boat. Again and again he delivered food and water, medical supplies and tarps. He wondered how long he could keep this up. He had little time to rest or eat, and no time to maintain his boat and its motor. On any trip, there or back again, he could become another statistic—another casualty of Typhoon Haiyan.

Worse, he knew the people of the islands needed so much more — more than he could bring across, and faster than his boat would allow.

The problem was not supplies. The church in the Philippines had responded generously from the minute the typhoon hit. As word of the enormity of the disaster spread, more aid poured in from the Philippines and around the world.

But Nonoy was only one man, stretched thin, with one small boat. He lifted his eyes to God — again — and asked for help. God already had the answer in hand.

A perfect fit for a specific need

In a different part of the Philippines, Brian Pruett and his co-workers with NTM Aviation were wrestling with the same problem on a different scale.

“I remember getting emails from other mission organizations and churches who had people they knew in the ground zero area,” Brian said. “They were begging us to fly in and get their friends and families. It was such a sick feeling at first to know there were so many needs and we couldn’t possibly meet all of them.”

A couple of missionaries who work in a different chain of islands from Nonoy brought the situation in their area to Brian’s attention. “There were tremendous needs … and there were no air agencies working in that area,” Brian said.

People who lived on fish and rice had no way to get either. Fishermen could not fish. “Their boats were all broken,” Brian said. “Literally, all of them were broken. Their inedible seaweed farms which they used to sell … to get money to buy rice had also been destroyed. Their homes were flattened, and for many, everything they owned had been swept out to sea.”

“We saw a need that we were uniquely qualified and equipped to meet. We just didn’t have enough equipment, people or finances to do it. … We felt it was the thing to do and we needed to trust that God would provide.”

A need that seemed too big

Even so, trying to meet these overwhelming needs with two tiny airplanes and one small helicopter brought to mind another crowd who needed feeding. A crowd that was fed — and even had leftovers — when a little boy gave Jesus his meager lunch of fish and bread.

“We decided to give everything we had to try and make a difference even though it seemed hopeless,” Brian said. “I remember someone told me that even though what we have might be small compared to the overwhelming disaster, it won’t be small for the people we help.”

They began flying “from sunup to sundown.”

And then it got harder. The area where Nonoy and others work came to their attention.

“We learned … that there were 14 islands where our [Filipino] missionaries were working that needed relief goods,” Brian said. “These islands were ones that NTM was hoping to pioneer church planting efforts on in the future and we saw this as an open door.

“The problem was that we didn’t have enough aircraft or people to handle it. Whatever we did we wanted to do it well and complete it, so it was hard to think of splitting our already small fleet to start another operation.”

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Nonoy explains how fishing nets will be distributed.

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God provided resources

Nonoy and Brian saw God at work – abundantly.

“Once we stepped out in faith, God supplied all we needed,” Brian said.

MAF sent a team experienced in disaster relief that provided vital logistical support. NTM Aviation could not have kept flying without their help obtaining fuel, providing a place for pilots and mechanics to sleep and food to eat, as well as arranging for the supplies themselves to be at the right places, helping with paperwork and more.

NTM Aviation brought NTM’s only Kodiak airplane from another country in the Asia-Pacific region. The plane had about four times the capacity of the Cessna 185s that NTM Aviation had in the Philippines. A helicopter owned by Helimission and operated by NTM Aviation was also flown in from the same country.

This provided the capacity to serve both areas.

Nonoy himself was an asset to the NTM Aviation team. He helped them identify areas of greatest need, and went along on flights to pave the way into isolated villages.

And NTM Canada’s team helped raise more than $73,500 dollars to help with relief efforts. They provided an online conduit for gifts, and kept stories flowing to illustrate the need and to show people how their gifts were helping. God’s people responded, trusting that whatever they gave, God would multiply to meet needs.

The results God provided were astounding.

“As the flying picked up, God provided mechanics, pilots, logisticians, pastors, contacts, government officials, and everything else we needed when we needed it,” Brian said. “We set out to help [one] island and the immediate surrounding islands, and we ended up taking care of all the needs in the Western path of the typhoon.”

Relief becomes rebuilding

As the need for relief supplies tapered off, rebuilding began.

NTM Aviation brought in seedlings to restore the seaweed farms that provided a cash crop. New Tribes Mission also helped with house rebuilding and boat repairs or replacement.

ANI, an international relief and development organization, got further involved. Jody Crain of ANI asked Nonoy to check with local leaders to find out what they needed. “Fishing nets,” was the answer. “We want to be able to provide for our families, and right now we are still dependent on food from the outside,” Jody was told.

“This was seven months afterwards,” Jody added. “There were islands where about 80 percent of the people on the islands were still dependent on outside food sources.”

Rebuilding has also been spiritual.

Doors opened because Nonoy, New Tribes Mission and ANI had what Jody called an “open hand,” sharing with any and all in need regardless of religious affiliation or interest.

After two or three months of aid and rebuilding, Nonoy began to hear a new message from village leaders who had previously told him he was unwelcome. “Well, next time you come, why don’t you plan to stay a little longer and let’s have Bible studies?” they said.

Today, three churches are well on the path toward being established, and Bible studies are taking place in two more villages.

Why? Because people were willing to step out in faith.

Will you step out in faith?

Our Western culture tells us to plan things out, and get all our ducks in a row before acting. Some believers take the parable of the tower (Luke 14:28-29) out of context and draw a similar conclusion.

Sometimes God does provide a way while you watch. That’s what He did for the Israelites at the Red Sea (Exodus 14). But when they came to the Jordan River, God expected them to act first (Joshua 3). The priests waded into the river, and then God parted the waters.

God has probably shown you the way forward time and again. He has likely opened doors for you more than once, providing the means to move ahead.

Maybe this is a time you need to wade in, trusting God to act. Maybe you ought to hand Jesus your lunch, even though you don’t seem to have enough to meet the need, and trust Him to multiply it.

He will act. He will meet needs when we act in faith.

What are you going to trust Him for today?

Monthly Gleanings from February 2015

Pray for Bible teaching efforts. Twelve new believers in Wano tribe. Pray for ongoing Bible translation. Please pray for the Mengen Church.