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Archive for July, 2007

Admiral’s Update 2007

No 7Greetings Everyone,

The weather has been ATROCIOUS — 30 knot winds with bullets of up to 40 knots coming off the mountains, driving rain with the gusts and then constant drizzle.

Today we start the second Relationship Conference. Please pray for the people coming, some of them walking for two hours or more and some crossing the bay in canoes. This is a strong witchcraft area and there is a strong spirit of discouragement over the entire area. One of the pastors asked if we would still come to teach if the weather stayed so bad. I told him it wouldn’t stop us and he must tell his people not to be put off by it, also. Each time we go ashore we have a long row across exposed waters (we can’t take the inflatable due to the coral) and a very steep (almost vertical) climb up a muddy slope which turns into glass in the wet. Phil is convinced Rossel has the world’s slipperiest mud and wondered if in anyway it can become marketable!!

The last conference was tremendously successful, far beyond what we had expected. So much has surfaced especially during the afternoon discussion groups. Communications, or lack of, is a huge issue. So much of it is indirect — even courtships and proposals done through a third person and all talk between husband and wife only on a surface level. But many, especially the younger generation, want change and want to relate “heart to heart”.

Some really bad cultural things are being address also. In the discussions on disciplining children we heard some real horror stories such as one pastor telling us as a child he was hung upside down by the heels and would have been left for the day except a relative cut him down. Parents, traditionally punish naughty boys by holding them underwater and half drowning them. One man described an incident where a young boy threw a spear at a tree. Another boy stepped out from behind the tree and the spear went through his shoulder. The first boy’s father took the spear and pushed it through his son’s hand to punish him.

As I finished up the teaching in Damunu I prayed for about 30 young people to be able to “maintain purity” and keep themselves for their God-given partner and then for about the same number of married people to reach a deeper level with their families. They are telling me they have NEVER had teaching like this and it’s setting them free. I just keep thanking God for what I see Him doing.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Admiral’s Update 2007 No. 6

Greetings Everyone,

Phil and I are on a real high. I wish you were all here with us to see what is happening because I don’t know that I have the words to describe what God is doing. We have just finished the first day of a three day conference on relationships. It is a very foundational teaching — what does God see as the family unit? How did sin spoil family relationships and how can we learn to value our husbands/ wives and children and share at a heart-to-heart level.

Phil introduced the topic. I taught using diagrams and some dramas as well as black-board notes and the people really took it in. In the afternoon they came back and did discussion questions in groups with a leader. Then each leader shared the results. Things really started to happen. A lot of the leaders shared how the teaching had challenged their lives. One man said his wife was his best friend but he never shared his problems with her or anyone else. Now he wanted to try.

Another young single man shared how he had recently shared deeply with his mother, father, brothers and sisters for the first time and had to stop because they were all in tears. He thanked me, and later Phil as well, for preparing him for marriage (and I haven’t really started that topic yet!!). The Pastor’s wife shared how her family was a close group but sometimes she would draw close to her husband and it would mean ties with her children (all teen and early 20’s) went slack and sometimes she drew close to her children and the ties to her husband went slack and she shared how she and her husband prayed over the families in their church and cried together when people moved away from God or from their families.

One of our friends said to me, “In our group they were saying,’They have exposed us'”, meaning that we had looked into their culture and seen their needs.

After they shared, the meeting was dismissed with an invitation to stay back for prayer if desired. I watched an older man as people were shaking hands before they left. He gripped his wife’s hand and shook it and shook it and wouldn’t let it go. They came out together for prayer and you could see their hearts drawing together as we prayed. The pastor’s parents, an elderly couple, asked for prayer for their children and grandchildren and another young girl poured her heart out for her brothers and sisters to live godly lives and be close to each other.

Phil and I have known there was a need for this teaching. In their culture there is not normally a close relationship between husbands and wives and parents and children and people don’t share openly. But we have also seen a great desire and openness for this to happen. We are rejoicing in what God is doing already and look to consolidating this over the next two days. I am doing the majority of the teaching and have really felt the benefit of the prayer support I know many of you are giving is. It makes it easier for me to know what to say and what to leave out. Even the format for how we would run the teaching has unfolded as we proceeded and we see God’s hand at work.

After we finish here we have two more similar teaching sessions planned for Rossel, some teaching at the Bible College, a visit to the new church at Sudest and a four day teaching session at Misima. Keep praying, I wanted to share this with you as it is happening. And to God be the glory for the things He has done and is doing!!

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Admiral’s Update 2007 No 5

Greetings Everyone,

This has been a sad time for us. Phil’s Mum’s funeral was today and we were unable to be there as we were halfway to Rossel Island when we got the news and our passports were in Port Moresby in the process of getting our visas renewed. The night before we received Tim’s e-mail, I had a vivid dream which helped prepare us for the news and also assured us of God’s hand upon our family while we are away. We had a prayer time with some of the people here and committed all the proceedings to the Lord.

It has been a struggle coming to Rossel with adverse weather conditions. We waited for three days at Gigila and the team made good use of the time, leading three people to the Lord, counselling some others and encouraging a Christian couple to begin a house church there. We left the guitar Enzo’s family had given us there for them to begin the work.

We arrived at Rossel to find the folk here feeling discouraged. The head pastor and his wife were both recovering from severe attacks of malaria; there has been very strong opposition from the established church to the new outreaches they were supporting and everyone was mourning Luke’s death. They really appreciate our coming. You can feel the atmosphere lift as we bridge the distance in these isolated areas even before we do anything.

Phil has been doing some practical things. He installed a GPS in Pastor Sigi’s trading boat and enabled them to collect beche-de-mer from an island reef 100 miles from Rossel. Sigi has an export licence to sell it, eliminating the middle man and they sold it for 100,000 kina (which has to be divided between all the divers and the island people). If they have as good a catch next year they are planning to buy another boat to be used solely for evangelism. Phil also set up a lighting system in Sigi’s house using a solar panel, battery system and LED lights. He is trialing it here and if successful, hopes to install more of these in the future.

The new church at Sudest is going well but the four young men hoping to attend the Bible college on Rossel Island this year were unable to get transport. Mark spent two weeks living with them and doing on the spot training and says they are going strong.

Please pray for:- The leaders here and especially the training of new ones.

Our work on Rossel. They are meeting on Sunday to plan for our relationship conference.

Our freezer — it isn’t. (It needs more than prayer; a new compressor — Phil).

Our family at home as they mourn Phil’s Mum, especially his sister, Margaret.

Many thanks for your continued interest and prayers and for the e-mails we have received. They really encourage us.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Admirals Update 6/07/2006 1:02 PM

Greetings All,

Plans change here on a daily basis and flexibility is the order of the day. We are now at Rossel Island preparing to stay about six weeks and to undertake the trip to Woodlark later this year.

We had a memorable Sunday at Misima before we left. The main church there has a wonderful atmosphere of renewal and dedication. The worship was very moving and Lawrence, one of the men we sponsored through Bible College, gave a challenging message on not limiting God — we were struck by the ease in the pulpit and forcefulness of delivery of this shy young man. Having now heard both he and Kingsford preach we can assure those people who contributed to their fees that it has been an excellent investment.

After the service the ladies had a fervent prayer meeting lasting until 2pm and we were back by 5pm for tea with one of the pastors and his family. In the evening we showed the video “The Cross — Jesus in China” to about 80 people gathered around a TV set. We’ve captured on video their rapt attention and the intensity of their praying for China at the end of the film.

Monday saw us setting off for Rossel with a ministry team of four plus three ladies and a child needing transport to that island. We had been intending to make our way through the reef and island hop, taking 3 to 4 days but the winds veered south and enabled us to have a rough but fast passage outside the reef and straight down the lagoon to Rossel arriving at 4.30am the next day. We sailed the majority of the way but were kept on our toes changing sails and motoring on and off with fickle winds and currents. It was a pitch black night and the team were VERY impress when after 80 miles on the one course the vessel suddenly did a hard right hand turn to port to enter the narrow lagoon passage. Praise God for GPS, autopilots and waypoints we had used 12 times before and knew were good!!

Sigi, the head pastor here, was pleased to see us and has organized a full programme including training sessions for the three new outreaches; a five day mini-Sunday School conference similar to the one I did in Misima two years ago; the establishment of a new outreach on Sudest Island and what ever else comes to hand. Either Phil or I are preaching on Sunday — it’s still under discussion on board — so pray that one of us will deliver the goods!!

I had a long talk to Lawrence on the trip to Rossel. He was telling me of God’s call on his life to do missionary work but said he wondered why God had chosen him as he is a shy person. I told him that Moses and Gideon and many other great leaders felt inadequate and that they are the people God uses because then it is God’s strength and not man’s. He agreed and said that sometimes when he starts to speak something wells up inside him and he gets passionate for God. He is well equipped for ministry and is setting out today with another Bethel graduate for a three day training session in an adjoining area about a day’s walk away. It is wet and muddy and mountainous and won’t be a fun trip. I hope you can see, as we do, that your prayers and giving is bearing fruit in the lives of these people.

Please pray for wisdom for us and the ministry team in what teaching we present; for an openhearted response for the people who come and for fruit that lasts. Pray especially for the outreach to Sudest Island which is a stronghold of witchcraft and has very little Christian input at this stage.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Admiral’s Update 2007 N0. 4

Greetings Everyone,We have had some sad news since arriving in the Louisiades. Luke, a young man we were sponsoring through the Bethel Bible College thanks to Brian and Tracy Fisk, died from a severe dose of malaria last week. Four of the other candidates for Bible college have had to defer for various reasons until next year and only one, Jeremiah, is presently at Bethel. Please pray for him and the other students there. It is a tough course and requires many adjustments for those from isolated rural villages.

We will really miss Luke. We got to know him well the first year we came here at the small Bible College on Rossel Island where he was teaching. I always remember him politely but persistently requesting resources and teaching materials for the college. Phil and I decided to donate twenty book we had with us to the Bethel Bible College in his memory. I know he would have approved. Bethel lost almost all their library in a flood a few years back. We sent the books back with Pastor Pupaik who accompanied Luke’s body back to Misima. He is one of the lecturers at Bethel. We were very impressed with the calibre of this man and his concern for the students. He spoke to the youth here on Friday night and to the congregation on Sunday. We spent all day at the airport today farewelling him as the ten o’clock plane arrived at five PM.

Phil spoke at the gaol on Sunday morning before church. It is good to see the church maintaining the gaol ministry that started last year when one of our members was wrongfully accused and sent to gaol and saw it as God’s plan for him to start Bible studies in the goal. It is a very low security goal and the prisoners are young men and very responsive.

We were pleased to see the main church on Misima going well under Kingsford’s leadership and especially to see Lawrence doing an excellent job of heading up a youth group of about thirty. I have been sharing with him ideas I gleaned from Lincoln, the youth pastor at the church in Bundaberg. We arranged for both Kingsford and Lawrence attended Bethel Bible College some years ago and it so satisfying to see the fruitfulness of their ministry.

Our big news this week is that we are proud grandparents again (our sixth). Michelle had a baby boy, Marco. No details as yet but I’m sure he is beautiful.

Next week we are off to Rossel with a team. Keep praying — we feel the benefits.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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