SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST
MISSION OF MALAWI
PO BOX 60150 BT. 6 BLANTYRE MALAWI AFRICA
TEL. 265-9-741-007/ or 265-8-751140 (mobile)
Missionary / Evangelist: Peter A. Halliman
Date: 08/ Jan / 2010
SGBM Report continued…
Having arrived back at the Tanggi Mission Station, it was after dark and along the way we had been informed that some of these renegade preachers had organized thugs to attack us in order to deter our mission patrols to the churches. However, at different points we had special prayer along the way and God once again providently protected us. We made a quite entry into the Mission Station that night and thanked the LORD with special prayer that we had arrived safely. We seriously needed to wash clothes and clean our gear. There is one thing for certain in NG it takes time for things to dry out, if you wear your wet clothes like the Natives do as many of them only have what they are wearing, it will dry out almost as soon as the rains stop due to the heat and sun strength. However if you have things packed in a backpack it will have to wait till you stop for a couple days somewhere. With a few days at home, we got right into it the next morning early, clothes were washed, the packs were cleaned, and boots were scrubbed. We had rice and fried sweet potato chips for breakfast with green onions and hot coffee, no one complained, in fact everyone seemed to rather enjoy it. The fellowship was sweet and we could all rejoice that God had been merciful to us for another night.
All that next day we took care of domestic duties, and by the way…it was nice to sit and chat about Spiritual things without having any telephones ringing, no T.V., no email to answer, no radio’s bearing bad news, nothing of the outside world. Here we were the three of us “trapped in a time warp” as though it were, enjoying the time to share our thoughts and feelings, which we had experienced for the past days in the bush. Its always interesting to me to hear another “White person” express their feelings after spending a few days in the bush. I didn’t get to sleep in much as there were several people from various churches wanting to visit with me since I had been in the bush and others had not an opportunity to visit.
The day went by quickly and soon the darkness set in, as I have already stated God switches off the lights around eighteen hundred hours. We didn’t have any means of lighting other then our torches (flashlights) so we would try to do as much as possible by daylight hours and sit mostly in the dark with occasional torch light. The kitchen area was a good place to sit as we always had a fire going in the wood stove and there was enough light to see and fellowship.
For the next few days we spent around the mission station, I was invited to different churches located near the mission station within one to two hours walk. I conducted services with each church only to be asked when I could come again. It was a common plea by most people and churches, and no matter what day the service fell upon the people were thankful that God had given them a day to worship.
With the timetable that we had to sort out for Bob and Alex, it was not going to work out to make another trip into the bush before they had to start their long journey back to the US. Therefore we decided to spend that last week around the mission station and I would visit as many churches as I could within a few hours walk from the mission station. This was worked out and I would visit four churches that week. All went well and the first two I visited that week one of which Pastor Kendo who also pastors Tanggi Baptist Church located on the Mission Station. He would be in his early to mid eighties by now; he was young man when dad first went into that area. He has been faithful all these years and amazingly he preaches at these two churches twice EVERY WEEK, one of which is a two hour hike up a mountain, I know because I made the hike to that church. The day we were to go there, he (pastor Kendo) told me that he would start ahead as he was older and wouldn’t walk as fast. I waited about thirty minutes and started with several of the younger men, as we hiked up I never did meet up with Pastor Kendo and it was not until I arrived where the church is located that I found he had already arrived. I felt somewhat ashamed, as many times I would find it difficult to drive several hours in Malawi to go preach the Gospel, when here was a man almost twice my age, and faithfully hikes twice a week two hrs each way to preach to a group of God’s people who can only afford to pay him the equivalent to seven dollars a month for a salary. He has worn out knees from the hiking of thousands of miles for his LORD. What a testimony
On Saturday I was scheduled to preach at Aluwini Baptist Church where a man by the name of Bro. Iyane was pastor. I arrived early to discuss with the men some in part of the business, which they wanted to conduct. This situation was in part much like the story of James Kai and Nanabi Bap. Church. Meaning, Bro. Iyane had also been promised the sky if he would break off from our work, (fellowship) and join these three who were causing all the divisions. Bro. Iyane had publically told the church that he was ready to resign and would move on. As I counseled with the men of the church on how they should proceed with their business, is when things began to change for the worse. He (Bro. Iyane) came storming over in a rage, accusing me of bringing division and siding with those who were living in sin. (I am not sure where that all came from).
The best thing for me was to remain quite and try to keep the people calm. I advised the people to enter the church house and we would give the pastor time to calm down. As we congregated he seemed to grow obstinate and tenacious in view of surrendering the pastorate. I was able to calm him down and told him we (I) was not there to try and (de-throne) as though it were but simply had been summoned myself by the church to assist them in their business. I told him and the people that I had not come to cause division or to try and take away anyone’s position. If they as a church felt that I should leave, I would do so without any qualms and they could carry on without me.
The church asked me to stay and wanted me to assist them in their business, therefore I told the church it had to be by church vote, so they voted and motion was passed 100%. I preached on the subject of “church Authority” and at the end of the message the business was called into order. The pastor once again publicly stated that he was resigning and would no longer be a part of our work. Somewhere some false doctrine over the years has crept into our churches in PNG and the people have been led to believe that if a church removes the name, excludes, etc… a certain member then they are removed from heaven. This heresy comes from a lack of Biblical teaching and understanding of doctrinal “church truth”. Before preaching the message I took what time I needed to teach a lesson on “Eternal Security”, once saved always saved; since we are Baptist, or say we are, then we should believe what our Baptist forefathers were inspired to write. I have seen in my little lifetime as a minister of the Gospel, God’s people become so confused with twisted doctrine, especially simple Tribal people who don’t have the privilege in life to receive any sort of education. I don’t have a good answer for this other then Satan, who is God’s great enemy, the enemy of God’s people, and His Church. He (Satan) will do anything to hinder, stop or destroy the (Truth).
After sometime of explaining to this man that if he truly was one of God’s Elect, and if he had truly repented of his sons, and truly believed that Christ had died for him, then he would never be cast away, he would enter the Kingdom of God because of the (New Birth) not church affiliation. I however warned him of the dangers of removing himself from one of the LORD’S churches. I reminded him that Jesus said He would receive “Glory (in) the Church” – (Eph.3: 21); that the Church was the “Pillar and Ground of Truth”- (1Tim. 3: 15); that Christ thought it important enough to “die for His Church” –(Acts. 20: 28). Its not my duty to handcuff those who say they believe in Christ to one of His churches, We all shall give an account to God (yes us believers) there is an accounting of our lives whether good or evil.
Bro. Iyane seemed to settle down and wanted to stay for the service, which was good for all of us. I preached, and at the end of the service, the church called them into business where they “again” asked their pastor what his intentions were. I thought it was commendable for them to express their love and willingness to accept and keep him as pastor if he would only confess that he had no intention of departing. The sad end of this story is that he chose to depart knowing that the church would vote to remove his position, as well as his name as a member. I am always saddened to see one of God’s children go in a direction that will not be blessed by God.
Services were dismissed and after some time of re-discussing the issues I was able to encourage the church that God would provide another man, that God always honours that which is right and Biblical, God is always true to His Word, and it shall never return unto Him void, but shall accomplish whereunto he hath sent it. I advised them not to be in a hurry to find another pastor, they had some strong men and good men in the church that could fill the position to lead and teach.
Sunday I was scheduled to be with Pastor Kuni and the Muli Baptist Church in the morning hrs. This was about two hours hike back up the mountain in the same direction, which we had hiked the previous days to the Levini Valley. This time Alex went with me and we departed early in order to arrive at a good time for services. There were two services scheduled that day so we needed to follow a timetable seeing the only means of travel is by foot. We made the hike, arrived and were directed to the men’s house to tidy up for services. They had prepared a mumu (pig feast) to honour our coming, and this was being prepared. We congregated and services were started, after a wonderful service and being royally served at the (mumu), we started off for the next church. It was time to roll up the trouser legs as it was going to get muddy, for the next couple hrs we would wind through the bush up and down the terrain until we arrived. Once again we were greeted and there was another mumu (pig feast), which we were summoned to. It seems that the NG people never grow weary to honour you (whom ever you are) as a visitor especially if you have come from abroad to visit them. I often times feel ashamed that these people who have so little and give so much to the LORD’S work compared to I. We soon were ready to start services and the house was packed to its limit even by NG standards. There were folks sitting outside in order to hear the message. Once again we had a wonderful service and afterwards were again honoured at the mumu (pig feast). We said our good-byes and started off for home. Within an hour we arrived at the mission station, it had been a full and tiring day but fruitful and rewarding spiritually. We enjoyed an evening meal of pork, sweet potatoes and fern leaves.
Monday was preparation day for Bro. Bob Cowan and Alex Little to start their journey back to the US, and it would all start by a seven mile hike to the Methodist mission station just south of us where a small grass, gravel airstrip was kept up for small aircraft. Prior to our departure from Mt. Hagen coming to Tanggi mission station we had organized for a flight back to Mt. Hagen simply due to transport problems, the timetable, and besides it was almost the same cost. Considering it was only an hour flight compared to a nine-hour drive it wasn’t even an argument.
The morning hours were busy, washing, scrubbing, cleaning and sorting out the backpacks as well as what gear would be taken back, an what was to be left. Since I was only going with to take care of some business in Mt. Hagen and I would be returning to continue my work I only had a small pack that I prepared. As we spent the last day together, there at the Tanggi Mission Station we rehearsed our experiences that we had shared for the past days. I was thankful that God had allowed someone else to witness the work in PNG.
Tuesday morning we were up early, had some time for coffee and then with the organized porters we set off for the seven-mile hike. It slowly winds uphill so the hike seems longer then what it is, however bye and bye we arrived. We had our packs weighed on a bathroom scale, and then each one of us was weighed. The total weight factor was transmitted to the communications command centre and dispatched to the pilot who was in route. Soon he arrived and landed; the aircraft was a single engine Cessna, The pilot gave us a debriefing on the safety regulations, and soon we said our good byes to the lads and we started down the run way for take off. The flight and view that day was absolutely stunning, the mountain ranges rose as high as twelve thousand feet elevation, many of which were pure granite and sheer angles of almost one hundred degree angles. Only a journey such as this (in the air) could one began to grasp the ruggedness of this country and the challenge of transferring from point A to point B. God’s stunning and magnificent creation seemed to preach to us as the aircraft wove its way through the maize of mountains, which we could almost reach out, and touch.
After touching down in Mt. Hagen we met up with Bro. Ekere Ibago and as we waited for transport I met with a young man whom I had known years back, he was of the Duna tribe and a member of one of our churches, he now was a member of Parliament of the National Government, (a Senator) we spoke briefly when he offered to take us to the lodge where we would be staying. After we had a chance to check in one of the first tasks was to see who took the first shower. Electric and running water are two provisions, which make life so much easier, and shortens the timetable in life’s simple duties. That day we tried to take care of some business in town, the day passed by quickly and that evening we enjoyed a good meal of varied foods. That night was also a good evening since we didn’t have to sleep in a tent, on the ground. I think I enjoyed it most when I didn’t have to step out into the rain to go to the toilet in the night.
Wednesday, we had services scheduled with Bro. Ekere Ibago and the Kim Baptist Church, they asked me to preach and the house was packed. We were served a mumu afterwards and (this time was not pig but chicken). We called it a day and went back to the lodge. On Thursday the final arrangement were made for Bro. Bob and Alex to depart on Friday.
Friday came, I said my good byes to both of them and seen them off at the Mt. Hagen Int. Airport for Port Moresby. I would return back to the Southern Highlands and continue my mission work.
Until the next report;
May the LORD bless each of you and keep you in the center of His will.
In His Name,
Missionary Peter A. Halliman