June 09, 2006

A day of sorrow in Rivo

This is Papa Lawrence...he wanted a special picture taken of himself in his good clothes. He was a sweet man, he sat and talked with us for hours telling us stories about his childhood and life. Everyone in the family looked up to him and loved him dearly. Below is an email I wrote a few days after Papa died.
It is with much sadness that we write this email to you today. The father of our good friend, Lawrence, died Sunday night. We receive the news Monday morning and went straight over to their village, Rivo, to be there with our friends. We truly don’t have the words to describe the agony it was to see our friends in such pain and mourning. The hopelessness of their hearts was unbearable for us to watch. The wailing, crying and screaming ripped through our hearts as we sat amongst them. Just knowing that we HAVE the hope in Jesus and that our friends are wandering around in the darkness, held in bondage by fear and sin is a burden that we cannot bear. We need to give this burden to our loving and all knowing Father because His shoulders are the only ones who are able! We were with them all day…drove them to the market to get food for the family members, helped them prepare some of the food and attended the Catholic funeral service. It was one of the longest and emotionally draining days we have had here in PNG. “Papa Lawrence” was a good man, he lived a long and full life. He was a kind and loving man and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. But what pains us the most is that he did not know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has stepped from one life to the other and it happened so fast…from this life to eternity in the blink of an eye. This experience has heightened our sense of urgency to press on and learn the Pidgin language well and the culture well to aid us in our learning the Tok Ples language of the people group God leads us to serve. This experience will be multiplied many many times as we watch the tribal people in our future work die while we are learning their language. However, we are resting in God’s sovereignty and goodness during this time and in the future. He loves these people more than we do and how His heart must ache for those who have not acknowledged Him and their Lord and Savior. God’s timing is always perfect and His arms are always open wide to anyone who will come to Him. We are on the front lines of a fierce battle…Please pray for us that our eyes would be fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Pray that we will continue on in God’s grace and strength. Pray that the Lord would guide us to the tribal location that He would have us serve. Pray that He will continue to provide the finances that we need to do surveys and house building. Pray that we will not loose our sense of urgency. Pray for good working relationships with all the missionaries around us. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! It means more than you realize for us to know that you all are behind us!! Thank you so much, we love you all!

In Christ,
Who we are privileged to know, love and serve…
Our very LIFE,
Joel and Kari

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies and tricks of the devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”
Eph 6:11-12

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won your fight with these false prophets, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” I John 4:4

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise to return, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. And remember, the Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved.” 2 Pet 3:9-10, 15

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