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Friday, Mar 24:

Three Helicopters

Ron and Tami James minister as Ethnos360 Aviation director of safety and guest hostess here in the USA. “The second R66 is almost ready to be shipped over to Papua New Guinea (PNG). Our McNeal team here is working hard to get it to PNG as quickly as possible. Please join us in praying for a timely delivery of this useful machine overseas to service the church planting missionaries who depend on it for their ministries in so many practical ways.

“Here is what one church planting missionary in PNG had to say in their ‘PRAISE’ column of their recent update: ‘We're praising God for His provision for new helicopters for the flight program here in Papua New Guinea. We currently have one of the new helicopters here and running (almost non-stop!). The second one is being prepped to be sent to PNG soon and the third one has been ordered and will be made in the coming months. We're so thankful for God's provision!’ (The Swensons - February 2023).”

Thursday, Mar 23:

What Now?

Josiah and Rachel Van Der Decker minister among the Anem people of Papua New Guinea. “Translating God's Word into the Anem language is one of the main things we'll be focusing on for the next decade or two. The Anem have had no Scripture at all in their language. While there are a few dozen Anem believers who have heard the gospel taught in the trade language, they do not yet have God's Word in their own language to help them grow. So, we are beginning the long journey of translating God's Word into the Anem language so that those who haven't heard the gospel can hear it in their heart language and [that] those who have heard and have believed can feed on the riches of God's Word.

“In the next few weeks, we, along with our Mouk co-workers and some key Anem guys will be attending a Bible translation workshop to help us get started in Bible translation. The plan after that is for Josiah and me to be the primary ones focusing on Bible translation while several of our co-workers focus on developing Bible lessons in the Anem language. (They are teaching through the book of 1 Corinthians right now.)

“Pray for us as we begin learning to translate God's Word into the Anem language and for our co-workers as some finish up their study of the Anem culture and language and [as] some focus more on developing Bible lessons on 1 Corinthians for teaching the Anem church. Pray for the Anem believers to be rooted and grounded in God's love (Eph 3:17) and live out the truths they are hearing in 1 Corinthians. [We ask] for wisdom for us as a team with leading and discipling the Anem church and for us to continue to grow stronger together as team.”

Wednesday, Mar 22:

Checking Through

Paul and Bella Gervasi minister among the Sekadau people of Asia Pacific. “Bella had to check through around 700 verses with her language helpers. She checks through them three times with three different people. When she finishes, she goes through it all over again with all of them together. When she was finished, I had to translate them back to English so our translation checker, who is American, can see what is there. I finished that … and now I wait for the checker to go through them. He makes notes for me as well as questions as to why I chose to translate things the way I did. Mostly the notes and questions just catch spelling errors. Of the other notes he has for me, most of them seem to be things I left out. Often, I was careless making the back-to-English translation, and the Sekadau translation was okay. It is all very tedious, but also very necessary.

“Right now, Bella is reading through everything that has been translated in the Old Testament. Some of it was translated by our daughter, Cori, when she worked here. The longer we are here, the better we speak the language. So going back over the first things we did seems a wise thing to do. With all of that, we realize that there will be mistakes in the final translation. There will be spelling errors and other things that will make us cringe when we see them. Doing all the checking and re-checking, we hope to minimize those kinds of things.

“Pray for a good check. It will be for two weeks in early April. Pray that we will faithfully translate God’s Word and that it will sound like a native Sekadau speaker. Pray for us to be able to get the translation ready for printing and distribution before we leave early next year. Pray that the church will continue to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.”

Tuesday, Mar 21:

Iski Youth Group

Jason and Nisae Williamson minister among the Iski people of Papua New Guinea. “It’s amazing that in the church plant in [a nearby village] there are around 55-60 youth that attend regularly, many of whom our kids grew up with in the [other] village, and some of whom are actively helping lead in other areas of the church like Sunday school. Over the past few months, we have really been praying and asking the Lord how the Iski church can continue to further equip and train the next generation. While we have been encouraging families to be faithful to train their own kids, we have seen the need for the church to give some intentional focus on the youth. With this in mind, back in December we began helping the Iski church leaders to implement a monthly youth program. Since then, we have had three gatherings. This last week while we were visiting the church, the church organized another event. We had three-legged races, blindfolded races and a lesson from Hebrews 12 on running the race faithfully. Pray for the Iski youth to stand up strong in their faith.”

Monday, Mar 20:

The Work That God Does

Paul and Ellen Swenson minister among the Tanguat people of Papua New Guinea. “Life and ministry are continuing on as usual, … working on drafting Bible lessons, teaching and discipling, training teachers, and a new literacy class for children is kicking off. Those are all different things that are happening here, but the most important work (and most important work that needs to be ongoing) is the work that God is doing in our hearts as we minister here and the work that He is doing in the lives of the believers here. That’s the work that God does. Those other things are tools that He uses to bring about change in our hearts and minds. Praise God for His faithfulness and for the promise that He will complete the work that He began in our lives!

“Paul and Derek [co-worker] have created a ‘Theology 101’ class for our Thursday Bible study. And on Mondays we read through Acts and discuss it. Paul and the Bible teachers-in-training are teaching through Romans on Sundays.

“Pray for us and the believers here to allow God to continue to mold and shape us to be more like Christ as we continue to teach through Romans on Sundays. Pray that this will build a strong foundation for the faith of the believers here. Pray for Ellen and me for wisdom as we translate Luke. And pray specifically that it will communicate accurately and naturally in the Tanguat language.”

Friday, Mar 17:

That's A Wrap ...

Levi and Robyn Lenz minister among the North Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea. “You may recall that in September 2021, the North Wahgi New Testament had gone through its final consultant check, and we were approved to pursue getting it printed. Since then, during my visits to the village, I have been working with a team of guys from the church to proofread the entire New Testament, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes as well as anything else that may need to be tweaked before we send it off for formatting and, finally, for printing. This process has been spread over a long period of time, but I am very excited to be able to say that on my last visit to the village as we were able to complete the proofreading process!

“So, what's next? We have a few changes to make on the text and then it should be off to our mission home office in Sanford, Florida, for them to assist us through the process of formatting, typesetting, and finally getting it off to the printer for publication. We don't know yet how long to expect this process to take, but we are excited to have come this far! We are also working to find out what printing costs will be for the Wahgi New Testament. Please pray for the necessary funding to get God's Word printed and in the hands of the Wahgi church.”

Friday, Mar 10:

Possible Helicopter Landing Spot

Jonathan and Heidi Bamford minister among the Isnag people of the Philippines. “Last week I traveled overland with our two pilots to check out a possible helicopter landing spot behind a hospital in our province. Being able to send patients from the village directly to this hospital would be a big help to our Isnag friends, so we wanted to see if it was possible. The doctor in the picture is the main administrator of the hospital and is excited to help [indigenous] people. We measured the area, and it was more than big enough with a decent approach. The landing area came with kids, cows, chickens and even a water buffalo, so a few things will have to be arranged before it will a safe landing area. On the other hand, we could use it as a zoo and call it a done deal. We are hopeful that it will be usable as a helicopter landing in the future.”

Thursday, Mar 09:

Literacy Graduate Class

Lisa Kappeler ministers among the Uriay people of Papua New Guinea. She recently returned from her Home Assignment in the USA. “My reunion with the people has been very sweet. They were very glad to see me — with a few guys hugging me due to their excitement. … They seem to be very excited about the teaching that will start after my co-workers return from having baby #4. It’s so cool to have a date to look forward to after waiting for so long! Pray that the Lord will continue to build the excitement in all of their hearts and draw them to Himself.

“My main goal during this time is to get our post literacy program going. This is a class for those that graduated from our literacy class. They were reading when they finished literacy, but their reading speed was still rather slow. This is to help them practice and improve their reading speed and comprehension. They work at their own pace and each person will finish the seven levels at different times. They have been doing really well through the first three days! I was actually a bit surprised at how quickly they all finished the first level. I had one guy who was starting into level two already on the first day. We’ve focused on reading and not writing right now so he finished the first six tasks that are all reading-based, and he started into the first task of the next level on his first day. There are a few that are moving slowly, but they’re practicing and making progress! I’m very encouraged with their excitement and hard work. Pray that they continue to come faithfully and desire to see their reading skills improve.”

Wednesday, Mar 08:

"Impossible" Goal Reached

Phil Koop ministers as Executive Director for Ethnos360 Aviation. “How often have you set a goal that could only be accomplished if God intervened? Maybe you felt that way when Ethnos360 Aviation announced the idea in 2019 of providing three R66 helicopters for Papua New Guinea. How could it ever happen? But now, it’s time to feel relief and joy that He has done what seemed impossible! He has indeed provided for three R66 helicopters for Papua New Guinea! Your faith in His ability to accomplish this project—evidenced by your prayers and giving—was not in vain.

“As of mid-February 2023, the ‘Three Helicopters for PNG’ project is FULLY FUNDED. That means that in just over three years, God brought in a little more than four million dollars. Are you as astounded as we are? Not only has God supplied funds to fully pay for three helicopters, but He also provided the finances to build a new hangar in Papua New Guinea—a long-needed provision to take good care of the additional aircraft He has given. And if that’s not enough, He provided two pilots to fly the helicopters.

“Please keep praying as R66 #2 is soon to be shipped to PNG. And pray for R66 #3 as it is built at the Robinson factory, to be delivered to us in early 2024.

“Aircraft are only tools, though. We need people to fly and maintain them, and we need personnel to fill all the support roles to keep an aviation program running. Only God can move hearts to serve Him. Will you join us in fervent, vigilant prayer to the Lord of the Harvest to call forth laborers for this work?”

Tuesday, Mar 07:

In Addition to Translation…

Jonathan and Heidi Bamford minister among the Isnag people of the Philippines. “It has been great to get back to translation. Last week, I reviewed sections of Hebrews that had popped up during a comprehension check, and then I started drafting in Matthew. I finished chapter 11 and am halfway through chapter 12. [Praise Jesus that] I can devote time to translation again.

“In addition to translation, we have a few other things going on. Sunday, I was given the opportunity to speak at both services at a church here in town. Tomorrow, I’m headed out with our pilots by car to visit a proposed helicopter landing site. The hospital we are going to visit is one that has been a blessing to our Isnag friends, and we would like to be able to serve the Isnag better by delivering those needing medical attention to the medical facility they prefer.

“Praise [the Lord] that we can enjoy fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters here in town and encourage them. Pray that the proposed landing site will be confirmed to be a safe option for the helicopter.”

Monday, Mar 06:

Happy New Year (and Beyond!)

Brent and Jodi Ristau minister among the people of the Yukon with Ethnos Canada. “What a pleasure to welcome in the New Year knowing that Jesus Christ is our firm anchor upon whom we can truly set our hope! We recently learned the word for anchor, and it continues to be our prayer that these nations will call out to Jesus, the [only] One who can be their ultimate anchor of hope.

“We are so blessed by how well Establish [a foundational disciple-making series that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation] in Whitehorse is going! The class is excited and engaged, and some former students are attending the class for the second time, as well as helping to teach it. They are all doing such an amazing job and are flourishing in these roles. We are so encouraged by every bit of what’s happening there, and it’s allowed Brent to hand off the baton, as planned, and let them run with teaching Establish entirely. Brent is able to provide more focused discipling of the current disciple makers. Multiplication is one of the goals!

“We have finished teaching through the book of Romans at our church in Hope Community! What a fun ride that took 1.5 years! Now we have begun the exciting journey of teaching Establish 101 at Hope Community as well, which we are very much enjoying! We are eager to see this little body equipped, grounded and established in their knowledge of God and then to hopefully see the multiplication of teaching and discipling in Hope Community as well!

“Another highlight has been the opening up of more connection points in our community and the chance to learn some of the Tlingit language through some language classes. Additionally, we have been attending the local Game Night where we play a variety of games in [their language] including [a different form] of Bingo! It’s pretty fun, and the kids get in on it too. Through all these avenues, we are slowly building relationships which is our primary goal and a joy to do!” Pray for multiplication of the disciple makers in Whitehorse, for Hope Community to be equipped, grounded and established in their knowledge of God and for continued relationship building.

Friday, Mar 03:

Rapid Progress in the Culture and Language

David Burson ministers in the USA in software development. “Part of learning a new culture and language involves recording people talking and then transcribing that audio using the alphabet of that people group. Those texts can then be used for many learning tasks, ranging from vocabulary review to discourse analysis (for example, how to connect statements appropriately in conversation or other social contexts). I recently finished some improvements to the transcription process in our software to make it easier and more convenient.

“The team guiding our software development has made some more progress defining aspects of our Planner module, which will walk learners through monthly, weekly and daily planning so they know what to do every day to make rapid progress in the language and culture. We appreciate prayer for wisdom, rapid progress and protection from bugs as we implement these ideas in the software.”

Thursday, Mar 02:

Trying to Please God with Their Works

Ralf and Elli Schlegel minister among the Dinangat people of Papua New Guinea. “One of the language groups close by Dinangat sent a message at the end of last year saying that they would like to have missionaries who would teach them God’s Word. So, Jeremiah, Nathan (a new missionary) and I (Ralf) together with Lukas and Jaspa from Dinangat went to four villages belonging to this language group. Climbing mountains for hours, crossing rivers, wading through mud, walking over scary bridges and hard-to-walk-on paths, we went from one village to the next. In all villages the welcome was very friendly, and the people were eager to give us a place to rest and eat. We told them about the work we do, and they told us about their situation and needs. The sad thing was to see over and over again that the people are, in fact, gathering on Sundays to do some kind of church. They are trying to please God with their works and are living with this false hope that someday they will get to be with Him because of their lifestyle. But they do not know Jesus Christ and His Cross! It is so very sad! We are hoping to go back to those and some [other] villages of this language group to gather more information. Please pray with us for wisdom and clear direction concerning this group of people!

“Here on the [mission] center, we have a team consisting of three families who are ready to go to a place where God will lead them to do the work of cross-cultural church planting. Please pray with us that it will become clear when and where God would want them to go! For God, our Savior ‘wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Wednesday, Mar 01:

The Importance of Getting It Right

Bobby and Sandy Jank minister in South America. “When I think of the Yanomamö church, I feel this need for them to have help when it comes to digging deep into the message that God has given to mankind. Because of their isolation and the language barrier, it will be generations before the Yanomamö church is able to tap into any of the vast resources we all enjoy. They do have much of God’s Word in their language. The whole New Testament and much of the Old Testament have been translated and is in their hands. But this doesn’t automatically give good understanding. Even though the Yanomamö people still struggle with passing on literacy to the next generation, knowing how to read and write is at least something within their grasp if they really want it. But how to dig deep into God’s Word, how to study and teach systematically... there is no baseline for this, much less actual written helps.

“Our hope has always been that the Bible lessons will give the Yanomamö some level of help when it comes to digging into God’s Word, and the challenge is to come up with simple lesson outlines that not only tell the story but also bring to light the important themes that run throughout the Bible. I’ve found this to be a daunting task!

“During the time I’ve been involved with making these lessons, I’ve felt very inadequate. I still do in fact, maybe more than when I was starting. The importance of getting it right, while being less and less sure that I am getting it right has been hard to deal with. It’s felt like maybe spiritual warfare is a factor. I’d appreciate your prayer for me about all this. I’m so thankful to have Mateo helping me with the lessons. I’m able to put more and more of the burden on him as we go along, and he is eager to bear it. His excitement about the lessons has been contagious and encouraging! So, while you are praying for me, please thank God for Mateo and pray for him as well. Mateo is learning how to use and create Bible study lessons. He is very excited about what he is discovering.” Watch an interview of Mateo.

Tuesday, Feb 28:

Chimbu and Yagaria

Bill and Karen Michaud minister in Papua New Guinea. “Bill was able to speak at two more leader workshops this past month in Chimbu and Yagaria. The time in Chimbu was encouraging as they were able to spend time with a church in one of the larger cities and include them in the workshop for the first time. It was also encouraging to watch a former Bible teacher be reconciled with the group after some time of separation.

“The time in Yagaria was also profitable, and the time in the Word seemed to instruct, correct and also rebuke as there were some in attendance that needed to exam some things in their own lives.

“Please pray for the men that were in attendance to allow God’s Word to work in their lives.”

Monday, Feb 27:

The Work of the Cross

Matt and Karissa Long minister in member care among missionaries of Papua New Guinea. “I (Karissa) had the opportunity to meet with some PNG citizens who have recently gone through the chronological Bible teaching. Every week, some missionaries here at the supply center do this teaching in Tok Pisin for the PNG citizens who work here on campus. I got to sit with some of them and ask them questions about their understanding of the teaching. This quote is from one of the ladies that I talked to (translated). ‘I believe in Jesus, so God has called me already righteous. It's the work of the cross. It's not work that I make. Work I make is worthless work.’” Read more.