Posts Tagged With: God’s provision

your prayers kicked in

The wall of humidity hit us as we stepped off the plane in the capital of Papua New Guinea. We made our way down long corridors and a few ramps to be funneled into the lines for immigration. Getting a visa for my sister Diana took place without a hitch, and our multi-year visas were still good, so we sailed through that part of entering PNG pretty quickly.

It took quite a while for our suitcases to come through on the conveyor belt, since all the luggage from all the international flights were coming to one small carousel. Our bags retrieved, we waited in line for customs. “This is the part where they decide whether or not to let your stuff into the country,” I explained to my sister. Her customs form showed that she had nothing to declare, so she got waved on through while we were pulled aside to have our bags checked.

“Your form says you have items to declare that are new and exceed 1,000 Kina in total value,” the customs official stated. “What are those new items?” We started to list off the things we’d purchased in the US to bring back to PNG. “It’s things for our house, not for resale,” we assured her. When we got to the part of the list that mentioned the laptops we’d picked up to replace our dead and dying computers, her eyes lit up.

“What kind of laptops? Are they Apple?”

“One is made by Dell, the other one is Apple.” We showed them to her, explaining that we use the computers for learning the language of the tribal people we work with.

“How much did you pay for the Apple computer?” She called a fellow customs official over and they began mentally calculating how much to charge us for the laptop we were bringing into the country. Any new items brought into PNG are susceptible to a tax of 10% of the item’s value. While that tax was designed primarily for businesses importing goods, it affects incoming travelers with new items, too. Whether you were charged or not depended on the customs official and their assessment of your situation.

“When did you buy it?” she asked.

“As soon as we went to America. That was four months ago.” I braced myself for hearing the total they’d settled on.

Then, I saw it. And I felt it. Your prayers kicked in. “Just leave it, let them through,” the official she’d called over said. “Yeah, it’s alright. You can just go on through,” our customs lady said.

Stunned, but not wanting to give her a chance to change her mind, we grabbed our suitcases and headed for the door. We swerved to avoid colliding with suitcases that skidded across the floor as they came off the x-ray machine. Then we were around the corner and out in the airport lobby where Diana waited for us.

“Someone was definitely praying for us,” I said to Josiah. “That almost ended totally differently. We almost had to pay.” Thank you, God.

I don’t know who of you to thank for praying at midnight (CDT) on Sunday night, but whoever you are, thank you. Thank you for responding to God’s prompting to pray for us. Thank you for walking with us on this journey, for standing in the gap on our behalf. Ever wonder if your part matters? We don’t. We can feel it when your prayers kick in.

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

the house – from all four sides

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shop ’til you drop

We’ve finished drawing the house plans and calculating most of the supplies we’ll need. We’ve counted and calculated and crunched numbers ’til our brains hurt. Now, the really fun part begins…shopping!! We get to go around town, from store to store, trying to find the supplies we’ll need. There is no “Home Depot” or “Lowe’s” here, just a few hardware stores that sometimes have things in stock…and sometimes not. 🙂 We have figured out how much we need of different materials, so now we just find things, figure out the best deals, and start buying supplies.

Buying roofing iron

Buying roofing iron

We’ve ordered some of the “big” things, like corrugated roofing iron, wood (for part of the house; the Mouk are cutting the wood for the house frame), and a generator. The rest of the materials — like fly wire (for screens), 220v wiring, nails, cement, polyurethane, toilet, sinks, etc. — we’ll find, buy, load into a van or truck, and bring back here to Hoskins. I (Rachel) am not usually a fan of shopping, but buying supplies for housebuilding is actually pretty exciting, and I enjoy keeping track of all the lists, price quotes, receipts, etc as we shop. Josiah is great at finding good deals, or knowing the best place to look for those hard-to-find items.

After we bring home the supplies we’ve bought, we get to pack the supplies into boxes, totes, or storage drums. Then we weigh them and label them (with their weight, our name, and the location they’re going to) so that they can be transported into Mouk, either by single-engine plane or truck/boat/dump truck.

Learn more about housebuilding costs and how you can be a part

See our first post about housebuilding

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the battle

On Saturday morning at 2:15am we received a reminder of the battle we’re in. We had stayed up til midnight talking with my brother and his wife, then went downstairs to stuff some last minute things in our bags, get some packages ready to mail, and then climbed in bed around 2am. We were talking about the next morning, what time to get up, what we still needed to do, and then – *beep, beep, beep, beep…*

Our car alarm was going off. Josiah jumped up, grabbed his flashlight and car keys, and sprinted outside, trying to shut the alarm off before we woke up the whole neighborhood. He got to the car, turned the alarm off, and then it hit him — he was looking at broken glass. The whole bottom section of our driver’s window was smashed. Startled, he looked around to see who could have done it. There was no one in sight. No one running up the street. Nothing.

He came and got me, we looked around with flashlights, couldn’t see anyone or anything that looked out of place. We called the police, and a few minutes later, an officer came, took pictures, looked at everything, asked us a bunch of questions, checked for fingerprints, and then saw something on the other side of the yard.

"Do you know anything about this?" he asked. It was a trolley — like a cart for hauling lots of boxes at once. It was lying about 20 feet away from our car in the side lawn of my brother’s house. We hadn’t seen it there before when we had loaded our totes into the car about 2 hours earlier. We found out later that it had been stolen from a neighbor’s shed. From the looks of the car window, the cart had been used to smash the bottom section of our window. The one print the officer found on our car looked like whoever had done it had worn a glove.

From all appearances, this had been planned. Someone had stolen the trolley, worn gloves, smashed the bottom portion of our driver’s window, and — had God not stopped him at this point — appeared to have been planning to use the cart to haul off the totes and guitar we had just put in the car that night.

Despite the fact that it was now 3 in the morning, we were both wide awake. After the officer left, we carefully unloaded the car, pulled the rest of the smashed glass out of the window and car, wrapped the door in a tarp, and locked the car back up. All the while, the two main thoughts going through both our heads were "thank you, God, for protecting us" and "this is a spiritual war."

Not for a minute did we think this somehow meant God didn’t want us to go to Papua New Guinea. Instead, this incident only confirmed in our minds and hearts that God indeed wants us to go PNG now. But the enemy of our souls also knows we’re going to Papua New Guinea, and he is fighting tooth and nail to keep us from going, or at least trying to discourage us. We realized once again that we are in a battle, not against flesh and blood, but against powers and authorities, rulers, and principalities, against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12) And the struggle isn’t going to get any easier the closer we get to stepping onto PNG soil. The enemy has held many of the people groups in PNG in spiritual darkness and bondage for centuries, and he is not about to give up without a fight.

So, brothers and sisters, fellow soldiers in this struggle, please pray for us. Pray for us to put on the whole armor of God. Pray for us to stand firm in the midst of struggles, opposition, and discouragements. We can’t be here without you. I can’t say enough how vital your prayers are in helping us get to PNG and stay there. Please, please, please pray for us. Pray that no matter how hard things get, no matter what the obstacles, that we would be able to stand strong in this battle and that God would get the glory.

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

11 days

"We want to be a part of what God is doing through you guys"

"We want to join your support team"

"Hey, how do we support you guys?"

We’ve heard these phrases a number of times recently. Honestly, the last month and a half have been a blur. It seems like just yesterday it was the middle of May and we were at 39%, and now I turn around and it’s the end of June and we’re at 65% of our monthly support. To say God has blown us away with His provision would be an extreme understatement.

When we officially started our support raising journey in October 2014, we knew we were embarking on an adventure unlike anything we had experienced before. Even though we’re both missionary kids, and we’ve seen God provide for our parents countless times, it was exciting to launch out into our own journey of trusting God and watching Him show His faithfulness in our own lives.

The last 8 months have been like a roller coaster ride of emotions as we’ve had good days, bad days, and everything in between. Sometimes are stomachs are in knots, other times we’re just hanging on for dear life.

Besides feeling like a roller coaster, our journey of watching God raise up our support team has felt an awful lot like working out or training for a marathon. God is using this pre-field time right now to prepare us for what He has for us down the road. He keeps stretching our faith, bringing us to the limit of our strength and our ability to endure. As we’ve watched our support level climb slowly, it has strengthened our faith muscles. As we’ve gone through long stretches without seeing any tangible results, that also strengthens our faith muscles.

We’re now 11 days from leaving for Papua New Guinea, and God is still stretching our faith muscles. Sometimes it seems impossible in our tiny human minds to comprehend how in the world God will provide the 10% support we need in time for us to be able to buy our tickets and leave at the end of next week. But we have seen the track record that God has all throughout history — from Abraham, to Nehemiah, to Paul, to now. Over and over, He has provided for His work and His people in His own way and time.

God recently encouraged me through Romans 4, where Paul describes how Abraham trusted God to do what He said He would do. Abraham hoped "against all hope". He "did not weaken in faith" when he considered the impossibility of the situation. He "did not waver through unbelief" but "was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God" because he was "fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He promised." Sounds like God was stretching Abraham’s faith, too!

Seeing God’s faithfulness through time, and over the last 8 months of our lives helps strengthen our faith that God will provide for us. He will get us to Papua New Guinea this July. These next 11 days don’t need to be days of worry, anxiety, or stress. Yes, God is still stretching our faith right now. But now is not the time to weaken in faith or falter in running the race. God is on the move, He is working, and we (along with everyone else) get to watch God display His faithfulness in our lives yet again. And our journey of trusting God is just beginning.

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

paperwork

“I’m sorry, but according to our records, you still haven’t received approval for your visas,” the lady from the Papua New Guinea embassy explained. This was the third time I’d called to check on the status of our visas. The New Tribes missionaries in Papua New Guinea who were helping us with our paperwork had applied for approval for our visas in mid-March, and we’d applied for our visas through the PNG embassy in Washington, D.C. at the end of April. “Usually,” we were told, “the process only takes 15 business days”. It had been two months. What was the hold up? We kept waiting, kept praying. Our faithful prayer warriors were on their knees for us, asking God to grant us our visas soon. And then we checked the mail. We were looking for some packages that had items we needed to pack for Papua New Guinea. When we picked up our stack of packages, however, there was a white priority mail envelope in the stack. We opened it, peeked inside, and there they were. Our passports, with the visas stamped inside them! We had been so busy packing and getting ready to leave for Papua New Guinea. And then out of the blue, God provided our visas when we were least expecting it! Praise Him! Now that we have both our Papua New Guinea work permits, and our PNG visas, we are essentially done with our paperwork!

Josiah & Rachel with PNG Visas blurred

We have our visas!

So what’s left to do?

  • we need to set up our retirement and get some stuff ready to ship to PNG
  • we need to clean our email list (fix email addresses that have bounced, etc)
  • we need 19% more monthly support ($1,172)
  • then we can buy our plane tickets
  • then there’s some paperwork to fill out for New Tribes Mission
  • we have some last minute details to work out (canceling phone plan and car insurance)
  • pack our carry-ons
  • say goodbye and board the plane!

Thank you so much for praying for us over these past several months. Please keep praying for us in these last 4 weeks in the United States!

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

never late

Over the past few weeks, one of the most common questions we get from people is, “do you think you’ll make it by July? Do you think you’ll have enough support to go?” I’m not entirely sure what people are trying to communicate by this question. Are they asking how big our faith is? Or if we have doubts as to whether or not we’ll have sufficient support? Or are they asking whether or not we think we can conjure up enough financial support to make it to the field in July? The answer to the first question is – it’s not how big our faith is, but how big our God is. Do we have doubts? Yes, we do. There are days that I (Rachel) am convinced that we’ll never have enough support to go to Papua New Guinea. But honestly, the closer July gets, the fewer doubts I’ve had.

As to whether or not we’ll be able to raise enough support by July, that’s the wrong question. We’re not raising support. God is. There isn’t a thing we can do about our support level. It’s not like if we have just the right amount of meetings with the right churches, and we speak eloquently and passionately, then the support will start flooding in. It’s not like we can say the right things, answer all the questions, and build relationships with people in such a way that we convince everyone to support us. It’s not us. It’s God. We travel and travel and travel, we speak in churches, Josiah preaches, we share about our ministry with anyone and everyone, we answer dozens of questions, we meet hundreds of people. But when it comes down to it, we are not the ones raising up a team of people to send us over to Papua New Guinea. Our job is to be faithful in planting seeds, watering, and exposing people to the huge need for missionaries to go to the unreached. God is the One who will work in hearts to challenge them to be a part of what He’s doing around the world.

So do we think we’ll make it in July? Yes. For the last two years, it seems that God has been directing us to leave for Papua New Guinea in July 2015, so who are we to doubt Him now? We’ve been praying for several weeks that God would bring in our financial support in such a way that only HE gets the glory. We don’t want people to be able to think or say, “oh, Josiah and Rachel were the ones who raised enough support, so now they can go.” No, the only way we can make it to Papua New Guinea in July is if God shows up and provides for us. We want people to be blown away by how God provides for us. We want HIM to get the glory for getting us to Papua New Guinea. And whatever His timing is for providing that support is totally fine with us. As someone recently encouraged us: “God is always on the move. He is seldom early, but never late.”

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Missionary Myth #2: Missionaries are always begging for money

This is probably one of the most common myths we encounter while traveling around and speaking in churches. Another way to put this myth would be the belief that when missionaries are raising support (a.k.a. “on deputation”), they are just going around to friends and churches asking people to give them money. We really started encountering this belief once we transitioned from being missionary candidates in training to being missionaries headed to the mission field. Once we officially entered the phase known as “deputation”, or “ministry partnership development” or whatever you want to call it, some people began to avoid us like the plague, as if the fact that we were getting ready to go to the field meant that we were going to be begging every person we knew to sign on the dotted line and commit to giving us half their income each month.

To be honest with you, we don’t go around begging people for money. In fact, most of the time, we don’t even mention that we need financial support in order to live on the mission field. If people ask “do you need support?” we answer them, but we’re not going around shoving offering plates in people’s faces or trying to manipulate people into giving money to us. For us, it’s often hard to talk about even needing support because we’ve encountered people who believe that missionaries on deputation are just begging people for money, and that’s not at all how we want to come across. I don’t deny that there may be missionaries out there who beg people for money, but the vast majority of missionaries that I know don’t.

However, one thing God has been challenging Josiah and me with recently is that we shouldn’t be afraid of letting people know that we do need financial support. If this whole venture (being missionaries in Papua New Guinea) were about us, then it would be selfish to ask people to partner with us financially. But going to PNG as missionaries isn’t about us, it’s about God and about spreading His glory among the unreached. Reaching the unreached is on God’s heart, and He’s just given us the privilege of being a part of what He’s doing. Beyond that, He gives churches and believers here in the U.S. (and elsewhere) the privilege of being involved in what He’s doing in Papua New Guinea. God funds His work through His people giving generously and sacrificially. Believers here in the U.S. have the privilege and opportunity to be a part of what God is doing through giving, praying, encouraging, being our friends, etc. This is not about us needing money, it’s about God bringing the unreached to Himself. We get to be a part of what God is doing through being ones who are going, and you get to be a part through sending (and going). And God is the One who gets all the glory.  1 Corinthians 3:7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”  So, “Go, Send, or Disobey” – John Piper

Read our previous Missionary Myths

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

roller coasters and rain

If you’ve seen me the last couple of weeks, you may or may have not have been able to tell that I’ve been pretty discouraged. Not just discouraged, but doubting. A couple of our meetings fell through, a church that I felt like we had bent over backwards for seemed to lost interest in having us come, even some of our housing arrangements were up in the air. And I got discouraged. I doubted. I doubted that our monthly support level would ever get to 75%. I doubted we’d ever reach our goal of 500+ people praying for us weekly. “At this rate,” I despaired, “we’ll never make it Papua New Guinea.”

Then a few people started supporting us on a monthly basis. God started providing money for our plane tickets. We got our housing arrangements figured out. And I was encouraged. Then I started thinking about how fast July is coming, and how much we have to do before we leave for PNG, and how slow our work permit and visa process is going, and I got discouraged again. As I was talking to God about my discouragement, it hit me: I was allowing circumstances to determine whether I was encouraged or discouraged. And that meant my focus was in the wrong place. Circumstances are always going to change. Finances will come and go, churches will get excited and then lose interest, people who care about us may forget about us, but these things shouldn’t define my emotional or spiritual well-being. As long as I look to the things going on around me, I’ll be riding a roller coaster – encouraged one minute, and discouraged the next. But if my focus is on God, who He is, and who I am in Him, it doesn’t matter what happens, I can find peace and joy in Him.

So not only do I not have to be discouraged right now, I also don’t have to doubt. “What would it look like,” I asked Josiah, “if I actually did believe God could get us to Papua New Guinea in July?” “Well,” he said, “you could prepare for rain. If you really are trusting God to provide the support we need and the paperwork to get into Papua New Guinea, then we’d better start getting ready to go!” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m believing that God wants us in Papua New Guinea this July (that is how He’s led us so far), so I’m getting ready to go. I’m writing our packing lists, getting our finances all in order, and looking into plane tickets. Like the story of the two farmers, I’m not just going to pray for God to send rain, I’m going to get out there and prepare my fields, ready and waiting for God to open the heavens and start pouring.

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

what do you do all day?

We’ve started getting this question more now that we’ve finished all of our training. Now that we’re no longer in classes or down in Oklahoma studying Cherokee, what are we doing with our time? Here’s what a “typical” week looks like: (though no two weeks have been the same)

Sunday: Get up, drive to a church, set up the display table, share in a Sunday School class, share in the morning service, talk to people at the display table after the service, pack up the display table, eat lunch with someone from the church. Go back to where we’re staying, try to rest or prepare for that night, drive to another church, share in the evening service, talk with people afterwards, eat supper with someone from church, go back to where we’re staying and crash.

Monday: We usually try to take Monday “off” (or Tuesday if that fits our schedule better), since neither Saturday nor Sunday are a chance to take a break. Usually on our day off we try to spend time together as a couple, talk, read books, maybe go visit a park or go out to eat. Since we are both introverts, having this time on our day off helps us to unwind and de-stress from a week spent with people (which we love!), and to recharge for the next week. 🙂

Josiah sharing at a Christian School

Josiah sharing at a Christian School

Tuesday — Friday: Throughout the week, we often share in Bible studies, schools, homeschool groups, or small groups. Between those appointments, we try to find somewhere quiet and relatively distraction-free to squeeze in our office work. New Tribes Mission does not tell us which churches to visit, and from now until July 2015 we are basically living on the road, so we get to be our own “tour managers”, so to speak. This means our “office work” includes planning out which state to go to next, what churches to share in over the next few months, contacting friends, pastors, and missions committees, figuring out our lodging and meals for the next “leg” of the trip, as well as other details related to planning our travels. We also work on writing newsletters, blog posts, fixing issues in our PowerPoint presentations, working on paperwork for moving to Papua New Guinea, etc. Oftentimes, in between our office work we’ll also get to meet up with someone for lunch and/or supper to share about our ministry.

Rachel trying to map out our travel plans

Rachel trying to map out our travel plans

Saturday: Sometimes we travel to our next destination, or we spend time with whomever we’re staying with, or we keep working on our “office” work.

Though this season of our ministry can be exhausting, we are so grateful for the privilege we have of traveling all over the United States and sharing with YOU our heart and passion God has given us for taking His Word to an unreached tribe in Papua New Guinea. It’s been so cool to watch God be faithful to guide and provide for us, and to use this time to stretch us and mature us in our walk with Him. It’s also encouraging to see how He uses us nobodies to challenge people to consider their part in spreading God’s glory around the world.

Interested in being a part of getting us to Papua New Guinea and equipping us to stay there? Join our Team!

Categories: ministry | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.