I just received word that a bunch of friends that I met in Papua New Guinea have become believers! That is so exciting. Rich and Dawn Foster are missionaries to the Bena Bena Tribe right outside of Goroka. The tribe surrounds a fenced off ‘campus,’ of sorts, dedicated to mobilizing missionaries (basically a tool for recruitment). I wrote about it earlier in my blog, but I just want to reiterate how life changing this program was for me. Completely altered my course of direction and COMPLETELY transformed my worldview. In case you’re wondering, that’s why I’m almost anti-social justice, and pro-gospel preaching, Christ-transforming social justice. Each is called to what the Lord has for his or her life.
But ANYWAYS, please check out this video (watch with HQ) and this website if you’d like more information about this awesome, 5 week, college-level, hands-on, missions course in the heart of a tribe.
Anyways, here’s the letter I recieved via email from the Fosters. Kokore and I are pictured below.
Dear Praying Friends and Family,
Once again, much time has passed since we last wrote. Thankfully, however, this time we do not have any tribal fighting to report. The children are currently enjoying their “summer” break and the count-down has begun — yesterday Hannah counted 50 more days until school resumes. She was sad to think of all the time left before she begins 7th grade, but when Jordan heard that 50 days were left, he broke into a huge grin and was very excited for the many days left of summer break. We are looking forward to some good learning and growing times together this summer with garden work, house work, daily chores, time in the Word, and lots of fun times together. Hannah, as I said before, will be moving into 7th grade, Hadassah into 6th grade, Jordan into 4th grade, and Havannah into 2nd grade. Where has the time gone?
This past week, Rich and a couple of national believers were involved in checking chapters 12-28 of Acts with a translation consultant. The check went very well, and this week, they will be checking Romans 1. Rich was wanting to have chapters 1-2 of Romans ready to check, but things have not progressed as he hoped. There is the possibility of someone being available to do some more translation checking in the Fall of this year, so hopefully more of Romans can be ready for checking then.
We are nearing the end of Acts in our teaching to the Bena believers and they continue to grow in their understanding of who God is and in their daily walks with Him. Each of them face many temptations — especially during the coffee picking/selling season (which we are in the middle of), and we are looking forward to moving into Romans with the teaching to get them further grounded in the doctrines of their new faith.
We are excited to think of our first baptism coming up in another couple of weeks. Heti, Kokore, Efeke, and Buka have all expressed interest in being baptized and there may be more… including some of our children. We have purposefully gone slow in having a baptism because of all the misunderstandings and wrong teachings regarding baptism that permeate our area. Many people believe that baptism = salvation; even more believe that baptism places you into church membership; almost everyone believes that you have to live a clean life before being baptized. It is with a whole new understanding that the Bena believers realize that baptism is a picture of our new life in Christ and is a testimony to those around us that we now have life in Him and that the only stipulation for baptism is belief in the finished work of Christ.
Heti and Janet continue to faithfully attend the teaching and Heti is also one of Rich’s main and most faithful translation helper. Several times over the past months Heti will break down in tears over something that God is teaching him or over a fresh realization of what God has done for him. It is amazing to see his heart become so soft as he was a very hardened man before salvation. Janet has nearly completed the literacy course and is excited to be able to read God’s Word on her own. We just had some books of the Bible in Bena (Genesis, Exodus, Jonah, Mark) printed in nice, spiral bound books, and Janet wants to purchase them all with her next paycheck. I asked her which one she was going to buy, and she looked at me surprised and said, “I’m going to buy them all — they each have a different talk in them!” Please continue to pray for growth in their husband/wife relationship. Although their relationship is slowly improving, there is still much room for growth.
Efeke has also nearly completed the literacy course and is thrilled with her ability to read. She has had some hard times over the past months with her husband, Fred, not wanting her to have anything to do with our teaching. She went through a period of not coming because he was upset with her, but she has recently returned to hear the teaching over the past month or so. If you remember, Fred was one who attended most of the teaching from Creation to Christ the second time we taught in our village and seemed to understand what was taught. When asked recently what his thoughts were on the teaching, his response was that he has not chosen to believe. Please continue to pray for Fred’s salvation.
Morobe is also a believer, however, he has attended none of the teaching for the past couple of months. Please pray that he will see his need to hear God’s Word.
Buka and Anita as we mentioned in our last letter had chosen to go back to attending the local “church” that is located next door to their home. Since that time, Buka has expressed a need to return and also a desire to be a part of the outreach coming up sometime this year. He has been coming to the teaching and was a part of the translation check this past week. Anita, however, continues to remain aloof and disinterested in the teaching. Please pray that God will show her the fallacy of what she is being taught and give her a hunger to hear the truth. Pray also that she will not be afraid to stand up to opposition.
Kokore and Mena continue to come to the teaching on a fairly regular basis. Mena has also nearly completed the literacy course and is excited with her ability to read. Kokore, though a very quiet man, has a good understanding of spiritual things and also has a desire for his family to understand the truth. We are unsure of where Mena is in her understanding of baptism, so we would appreciate prayer for discerning her thoughts in this area.
This letter has become quite long, so I will close for now. We would appreciate your continued prayers for knowing where to head for an outreach later this year.
In His Love and Care,
Dawn for the Fosters