June 07, 2008

Update from Dinangat

Dear Friends,

I do apologize for the sudden drop off in regards to our updates! The week after we finished up the chronological teaching, our language consultant flew in and gave Jeremiah and I our fourth and, praise God, FINAL language evaluation! This is a HUGE praise! We have been checked out and cleared for take- off! We must confess that there were many, many, many days when we thought we’d never make it. But GOD. He alone is enabling us to do this task, faithfully fitting us and molding us for the work He has called us to. We thank Him for YOU also, who have stood with us over the years, praying and supporting in so many ways. We are privileged to be your hands and feet in this foreign land, and to be a part of your team.

A few days after our evaluation, we flew out to Madang, our missions’ regional base and our place of reprieve. We’ve been out of the tribe for two weeks. But this was not before our team held the first believers meeting here in Dinangat! The village leaders have all simultaneously agreed to have our meetings our Sundays. I cannot express the joy of gathering together, now as brothers and sisters in Christ, and the new freedom we are enjoying as we interact and share our faith! The Dinangat believers are eager to learn, eager to hear more and grow. But it’s a slow process. Our believers meetings right now look very different from what you might consider a “church” meeting. We do not open with prayer. There are no hymns. No offerings. That may sound just downright wrong to many of you, but consider where they are coming from. In times past, without any background or proper teaching, our friends were told that singing, giving and praying were part of what needed to be done to gain heaven. These were not acts of worship. They were done routinely and out of obligation as a way to become righteous. If we were to allow these institutions right away into the meetings, without further teaching, it is more than likely that the “heart” of worship will go right out the window and our friends would slip right back into the old way “performing” these acts. But the Scripture is chalk full of examples and instruction concerning these things, and so we intend to teach the Biblical basis first, and then with knowledge and truth, we can begin partaking of these beautiful institutes together!

While we were in Madang, our coworkers have been continuing on in here. Our believers’ meetings are primarily focusing on teaching eternal security by reinforcing the truths of Calvary and the many stories they have learned. Gary visited a few of the village leaders and came in the middle of a discussion they were having. Here’s what he said: “As soon as I sat down with the men they started telling me what they were talking about. Here is what they were saying, “Everything that we believed before was false. We went to church and tried to live a good life so that God would accept us. We trusted in our own efforts to get us to God. But now we understand clearly that all of that was false. Now we understand that it is only because of Jesus completely washing away our sins on the cross that we can go to God. It is about believing in Him not about our efforts. And you know what else, we understand now that the religious overseers of our area are believing the old lies. They know the stories of the bible, but they are trusting in their efforts to earn God’s acceptance. But we want to leave all that and come to God on the road He made and that road is believing in Jesus.”
This is only a synopsis of what these men were saying. They were like a pinball going back and forth praising God for what He has done for them. I’ve heard beautiful music from a fine tuned orchestra, but what I just witnessed far surpassed that.

In a culture where many people are ashamed to really explicate personal feelings, it is truly a wonderful thing to hear them giving testimony and praise to God for what He is doing in their lives! It is the proof of the Holy Spirit taking up residence, and we are rejoicing with each one who has been bold enough to proclaim their trust in the Savior! Please keep praying. There are some who have not given a clear testimony yet. We are praying that God continues to draw them to himself, and give them the strength to humble themselves before Him and acknowledge their need for a Savior. Also please pray for wisdom for our team, to know how to disciple these precious men and women who have placed their faith in Him! Please also be praying for Jeremiah as he enters this new role in the translation process. Pray for wisdom for him as well, and that the Spirit would lead him to the best way to translate and communicate Scripture in this language! Faithful is He who called us, who will also do it!

Rejoicing in Answered Prayer!
Jeremiah, April, Jordan, Judah and Alayna

PS- We have a new website! In time we will be getting rid of the old one as well as our blog. We wanted something that could contain as much information as possible, and one that we could update from the bush. Check us out at www.ntm.org/jeremiah_markley. Or you can do a search for our name on the New Tribes web site: www.ntm.org.

**Jeremiah and April have been my husband's and my friends for about 13 years.  They are working with NTM in the Dinangat tribe.  If the Lord prompts you to pray for this dear family, please do so!!  Thank you so much!  :)  **

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