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Dear Reader,

We hope you are doing well and are safe during this time.

Please note that some of these updates were written several weeks before they were posted. Ethnos360 missionaries around the world are following COVID-19 advisories and restrictions in their countries in order to stop the spread of the virus. More Details.

The Editor

Friday, Jan 22:
Siawi Culture

Linda Krieg is a retired Bible translator who ministered among the Siawi people of Papua New Guinea. “First you have to understand Siawi cultural reaction to death. Not only is there weeping and wailing; but food taboos, withdrawal from church and the public and fear of the now wandering destructive spirit quickly fall into place. Well, those would have been the ‘normal’ reaction, but Yakobu assured me that he and his brothers didn’t follow that norm. No, they were sure of how Yemoni’s spirit was behaving, and it wasn’t wandering around in the jungle nearby, just waiting to cause havoc with their hunting or accidents to happen to them. No, their mother is safe in her Lord’s presence, and while her sons are grieving, they are also rejoicing for her. Not only that, but Yakobu assured me that he had not stopped attending church or serving there. Nope, contrary to all expectations, instead of withdrawing from society with all the cultural norms in place, he was fully participating in church and village life. While that doesn’t sound that big of a thing to our western viewpoint, it is huge to the Siawi one. Praise God with me for the confidence and peace He has given us His children, whether we be in Siawi, the USA or wherever spread about on this globe.” Pray for the growth of the Siawi church.

Thursday, Jan 21:
Rapid Word Collection

Justin and Autumn Bartron minister among the Buket people of Asia-Pacific. “We had our first team project here in the village with the Buket. We held a five-day Rapid Word Collection event. This is where we gathered words in the language, using the momentum of many people gathered in little groups working at the same time, for the goal of having enough language data in order to analyze what sounds are phonemic in this language and to create an alphabet for the Buket. We gave the groups pages of topics and had a writer record all the Buket words people could come up with. In five days, we got almost 7,000 words! It was so amazing to see the great turn out we had of people wanting to help, excited about an alphabet in their language.” Watch the Rapid Word Collection project.

Wednesday, Jan 20:
What a Wonderful Change

Ed and Jeanne Casteel minister among the Wana people of Asia-Pacific. “Our Wana co-workers living in town were so looking forward to Christmas this year. They, along with most of the Wana school kids, left the capital city the second week in December to go back to their respective villages. They really enjoyed being together once again with their family and friends as they gave special remembrance to our Lord’s coming to earth. I can’t help but remember back to 1979 when they had a large gathering and feast to pay homage and appease the evil spirits. What a wonderful change the Lord has made in their lives as they have left that all behind to worship the Lord Jesus and to remember what He has done for them! This Christmas we were able to send in 100 of the micro-SD cards with the recorded Wana Scripture on them. With the new app that has been developed, they can put this SD card into their cell phones, and as they listen to the recorded Word of God, they can also follow along with the written words on their cell phone screens. It is exciting to us to have this new avenue with which to distribute God’s Word, and a side benefit is it also helps them with their reading skills.”

Tuesday, Jan 19:
The Time is Here!

Fifteen years ago, Logan and Kendra Teall started their journey to become missionaries to reach an unreached people group. They now report: “Our team will start teaching through Scripture to the Dem people [in early January]. We are asking you to … be praying for our team as well as for the Dem people. We will be teaching Monday through Friday [in the] morning for about five months! Please be praying for the men on our team as they will be doing the teaching and discussing the lessons with the people. Pray for the continued translation of Scripture. Several portions of Scripture are completed for the lessons, but Scripture translation will be a lifetime process. Pray for the unity of our team as we press on in this ministry. Pray that over these next few months they would hear and understand who the God of the Bible is and that He loves them, that he sent His one and only Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for their sins and ours.”

Monday, Jan 18:
Ayor Bibles to Paraguay

Tim and Betty Wyma serve as Portuguese Language Resource Consultants. They write: “Mission Impossible Has Become Mission Accomplished! We just received the long-awaited phone call that all 85 boxes of Ayoré Bibles are now safely in Paraguay. It was not without incident as one of the vehicles had a mechanical breakdown on the way to the Paraguay border, and the 25 boxes had to be loaded onto the other 3 vehicles, so even overloaded as they were, they arrived at the Paraguay border at 3 A.M. There was an emotional ceremony as the Ayoré Church leaders and missionaries from Paraguay and the Ayoré Church leaders and missionaries from Bolivia praised God together.”

Friday, Jan 15:
Answered Prayer for the Hunger in Their Hearts

Jim Tanner ministers as a church planting consultant in Papua New Guinea. “Meet the first missionary family sent out from a small church in Simbu Province, where we lived for 25 years. One big praise is that they were trained and mentored by others in their church totally apart from us. It gives us hope that the churches will continue to develop and train men and women for the future. This is the Thadias family who were sent to help a fledging church in another area of the province. The elder from that church couldn’t see very well and had the early stages of dementia, so the church wasn’t being strengthened and only a few were attending. Thadias said they started [teaching] from the beginning, and the church has been full again and hearing God’s Word regularly. He also teaches a Religious Instruction class in the elementary school. The kids told him that they loved hearing him teach the Word, so don’t let another teacher come. As word gets out that there is a new couple in the area ministering the Word, interest is growing. Two other denominations in the area have asked him to come and teach them too. What an encouragement for this young family and what answers to prayer for the hunger in the hearts of the local people!”

Thursday, Jan 14:
Amdu 2021

Benjamin and Missy Hatton minister among the Amdu people of Papua New Guinea. “In January we are going to begin a formal study of the book of Acts. We have been describing this to the believers here, telling them to get ready to see how the Holy Spirit works. We've been saying it like this: ‘We're going to see how the Holy Spirit worked and what changes came about when he was working in Jerusalem. Then we're going to see what came about as a result of the Holy Spirit's work in Judea and Samaria. Then we're going to study and see what the Holy Spirit did in other farther out places. This will help us to see what it is that the Holy Spirit wants to accomplish here in Amdu.’ After each meeting, we make time for anyone to share what they are happy about. Last week after we described what we were going to do with the book of Acts, one man said, ‘What I am happy about this morning is what you just told us about how we are going to be learning from the book of Acts next year. That right there is what is making me happy right now.’ We're so thankful to be working with hungry hearts.” Pray for the Amdu church in this new year.

Wednesday, Jan 13:
How Is It Going in Dinangat?

Ralf and Elli Schlegel minister among the Dinangat people of Papua New Guinea. “When Gary, our co-worker, met with the elders and Bible teachers to see how things are going in the church and what questions they might have, they discussed what to teach next in church. Gary asked them what they thought were the needs of the church at this time. Together, with that in mind, they looked at the themes of the books in the New Testament. They then all agreed that, because of their tendency to slip back into old thinking, it was time again to teach the letter of Paul to the Galatians. Please pray that the church would stand strong on the truth of God’s Word only. The Dinangat church is also presently praying about possibly appointing two men as leaders in the church of the neighboring village. So, Gary encouraged them to look closely at Timothy 3 and Titus 1 as they’re trying to find out if those two men qualify according to God’s Word. Please pray for them in that decision-making process.”

Tuesday, Jan 12:
Bible Studies

Anna Foster, a retired missionary to Bolivia, sent this for Emilio and Marlen, ministering among the Guarayos in Bolivia. “As we teach the Guarayos every Sunday in their own language, we continually pray that the Holy Spirit will open their understanding, that they will grow in their knowledge of and love for God and His Word and that they will be changed by it. We also pray that, as their friends and relatives see it changing their lives, they will also become interested. For the last two months, Marlen has been meeting with the older ladies on Friday afternoons for a time of Bible study and prayer. On Saturday afternoons, she teaches the Word to four ladies, two married and two singles. These women have been attending Sunday services for two months. On Wednesdays, Marlen visits María, an unbeliever, to share God’s Word with her. Pray for Emilio as he teaches the Guarayo men and as he disciples them to be future leaders in the work. It’s an enormous step for them to take, risking rejection by their family and other friends and many are scared or hesitant to make a decision for fear of repercussions.”

Monday, Jan 11:
An Explosion of Joy

Jim Tanner ministers as a church planting consultant in Papua New Guinea. “Just wanted to share some of the highlights of the ministry going on in our community. A couple of our Bible teachers were asked to teach a group of people from across the road, at a school named Mt Zion. Some of the people were well educated, but they wanted to hear the message that was changing lives in the community. As the teachers were nearing the end of the sixty-eight-lesson course on evangelism, the joy of salvation through faith in the work of Christ alone was starting to manifest itself. When they started on the second course which teaches our position in Christ, their joy burst out and they wanted to meet every day. The teachers couldn’t teach them every night, so they met on their own, composing and singing songs together and praising God for saving them. It was truly an explosion of joy.”

Friday, Jan 08:
Typhoon Help

Dwight and Diana Brown minister as Ethnos360 Aviation Director of Personnel and Administrative Assistant in the USA. They shared this information from Brian and Katherine Schaadt in the Philippines. “We flew multiple trips to where an entire village left their homes in order to camp at a place which is literally near the end of the mountain road. They were scared to stay in their homes any longer once the landslides from heavy rains threatened to wipe them out. The place they were gathered resembled a refugee camp. We were able to deliver over 3000 pounds of food in one day. It worked out to be a perfect scenario working alongside other believers in the area to help those … in need with the ability to follow up with God’s Word to fill the true need of each person in the world.”

Thursday, Jan 07:
9 out of 10

David and Shari Ogg minister among the Simbari people of Papua New Guinea. “Have you been wondering about the progress of the Simbari translation preparations for printing? David completed reading through the New Testament and has been reading over some Old Testament portions that will be included in the printing. Altogether we have completed the proofreading of 9,000 out of 10,000 verses. We are so thankful for the opportunity to make some small adjustments here and there before it is all printed. After David finishes the current proofreading, he will need some time to go over his notes on the phone with his translation helper in Papua New Guinea. After the proofreading and corrections are done, then David will be adding cross references to the Simbari Bible. Then it should be ready to send to the printers. Please keep praying for wisdom and for good health so we can get the draft sent off as soon as possible.” Read more.

Wednesday, Jan 06:
Testify: Amdu Update

: Keith and Jacqueline Stanton minister as representatives of Ethnos360, and they are sharing about Benjamin and Missy Hatton who minister among the Amdu people of Papua New Guinea. “We … want to share with you an encouraging short (5 min) testimony video that we received recently. Our friends Benjamin and Missy Hatton are working with the Amdu people in Papua New Guinea. Thankfully, they are so remote that they haven’t been impacted by the pandemic. After many years of hard work and sacrifice, they were finally able to share the gospel with the Amdu people a few months ago. So exciting. With so much crazy stuff going on in the world right now, this kind of news is so refreshing and encouraging.” Pray that the Amdu people will continue to grow mighty in God’s Spirit. Watch the video.

Tuesday, Jan 05:
Piapoco Church Sending Missionaries

Wayne and Patsy Gibson minister among the Piapoco people of South America. “José heads up another teaching trip upriver by Team One. Piapoco believers in a large village where we used to live have been eager to hear more teaching from God´s Word in their own language. Susana will also organize and teach the interested Piapoco ladies in a special Bible class just for them. Thank the Lord with us for another opportunity for José, Roberto and Susana to teach and encourage Piapoco Christians. Pray for safety as they travel by river with their families that include many little ones. We are thankful, too, to be able to send more Bible lesson materials and boxes of the Piapoco New Testaments. Pray that the Lord would use this trip to strengthen and edify His people.”

Monday, Jan 04:
The Teachers Are Gaining Confidence

Grant and Marianne Bayfield minister among the Manobo people of the Philippines. “We now have three literacy classes going each day, two ladies’ classes and one men’s class, with a total of nineteen students. And the seven teachers are graduates from the first literacy classes. Both teachers and students are learning a lot, and the teachers are gaining confidence. Some of the men have been being discipled by Grant to prepare for being Bible teachers, and Grant is hoping that a new evangelistic Bible study in the village can be kicked off soon so these teachers can start practicing. There are new people living in the village who have not yet listened to the foundational Bible teaching from Genesis through to the Cross. Pray for the new literacy students to learn well and push on when it gets hard. Since the first main use of their skills involves reading God’s Word for themselves in their own language, Satan constantly tries to discourage and distract them to hinder their progress.”

Friday, Jan 01:
Translation Progress

Penny Warner ministers among the J people of West Africa. “Thank you for your prayers for translation. The five weeks I was in the village this time went really well. We were able to go over the books I had drafted during the summer months. We were able to do some comprehension checking in both the Old and New Testaments, including a complete comprehension check of Hebrews. We were able to work some on Joshua 1-7 and do some preliminary work on Judges. Thank you for praying for Mammadu and Tuuta with the loss of their son November 19. … Folks from here in Dakar called Mammadu as well as three of the Bedik believers the next night. They spent time with [Mammadu and Tuuta] via phone. Mammadu said, ‘They taught us.’ Many of you wrote emails stating that you were praying. I told him of the emails via phone but am saving them to show him when I arrive back in the village also. Continue to pray for translation progress and for Tuuta’s salvation and for God’s timing in co-workers for the J ministry.”

Thursday, Dec 31:
Encouraged by the Progress

Jason and Shirley Birkin minister among the Tala-andig people of the Philippines. “The events of this past year have maybe temporarily changed our physical location, but the Lord’s work continues. We have been encouraged by the progress we have been able to make on the Old Testament translation work. We have now completed the first six books of the Old Testament. The people have the first four books in their hands. Deuteronomy and Joshua are ready for the checking process. We are now doing a review of the New Testament, making sure that the terminology throughout is consistent with the Old Testament. At the same time, we are working with a friend on organizing all our Scripture database so it can be used in a digital app and can be easily accessed for future printing. The believers are continuing to face many challenges in their location, and it is hard for us emotionally not to be there to help them; however, we know that the Lord is using this time to develop them further in their faith and that He doesn’t want us to get in the way. Please pray for the believers that they would remain firm in their faith allowing the Lord to accomplish His work in their lives and community.”

Wednesday, Dec 30:
This Strange Season

Brent and Jodi Ristau minister in the Yukon in Canada. “We continue to press into ministry in Whitehorse and pray for further opportunities that could lead us out into the communities. Brent started discipling another group through the Foundational Bible teaching this fall. It’s a smaller group in this strange season, but we pray for it to be mighty. Please join us in praying for their hearts to be saturated with God’s Truth and that they will be contagious… (not with COVID) … but with the desire to disciple others. Multiple students from last year are using variations of the Foundational Bible Teaching to teach others within their circles of influence. We are so excited about this multiplication effect, especially when they touch base with us to share stories and seek further input into their lives and ministries. Brent regularly meets with and disciples one particular student from last year who is helping with the new class and has a tremendous passion to be involved in missions. Will you pray for this young man that God will make his path straight as he seeks to follow Jesus in all of life? Pray also for the opportunity for us to participate in an Indigenous Language class. They were supposed to start months ago but keep getting postponed.”

Tuesday, Dec 29:
Maliyali Literacy

Nathan and Rachel Mueller minister among the Maliyali people of Papua New Guinea. “We are so excited to share this update with you all. [Over] these past few months, a huge focus for us here in Maliyali has been developing a literacy program for the people. It has been so much work for us, but it is worth it as we have recently begun our very first Maliyali literacy class. We built a literacy ‘teaching house’ with the people, got all of the books and materials printed and now are a few weeks into the class. We have 13 students who are engaged, committed, nervous and excited to be in the class. Some are struggling more than others, but in just a few short weeks, we are seeing them read short stories, and it is so exciting. We know that this is the first step in [their] being able to someday read God's Word, which thrills us more than we can say. We could never do this without all of you back home who are supporting us and praying for us, so we wanted to give you a chance to rejoice with us. We made a short video update so that you can see a glimpse of our Maliyali literacy.” Watch the video.

Monday, Dec 28:
2000 Copies

Tim and Robin Walker minister itinerantly, translating from a distance. “After a long period of silence, it was good to hear from G two days ago. He had just arrived back from the interior where he and M have been since March. They came out to gather in a community near cell service. They are exploring and teaching the recently translated Scriptures. It was a delight to hear him say how the people are loving the new translation as he reports that it communicates so vividly and precisely. We also received the good news that the 2000 copies of Hebrews/James/Jude have been completed and transported to the P world, so many can now obtain their own copy to read and study at home.” Pray for the Word to accomplish what God intends.