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

Email: phalliman@africa-online.net

 

Date: 15/ 01/ 2010

 

S.G.B.M. Report continued on Papua New Guinea mission trip.

 

Bro.  Bob Cowan, and Alex Little were home by now, the Conference was behind us, and now I had a new schedule to visit some other churches and places that I had not time to do so before the Conference.

 

I took a couple days to get things packed and ready and organized several young men to go along, it was not that I had that much to carry, as I pack light when its myself.  My tent, sleeping bag, two changes of clothes, Bible, medicine, rain jacket, two pair of boots and a torch.  I don’t worry about trying to pack food as I eat what the Natives eat.  I spent the second day studying, as I knew I would find very little time to do so when on the patrol.

 

I was scheduled to hike back to the Levini Valley to assist the Nanabi Baptist Church in their business, as Bro.  James Kai did not attend the Conference as mandated by the Church, which was a way to solidify his fellowship with us, and not those who had broken off.  I departed early that morning with the patrol and since I did not have any visitors with me, the Natives felt that I was one of them and so the pace picked up.  Five hours later we were in the Levini valley at Bro.  Harry’s place.  We settled in for the day, since we arrived around lunchtime there was a meal prepared and then we had services that afternoon.  In the evening there were several men who had come over from Nanabi Baptist Church to visit and talk about tomorrows service. 

 

Tomorrow came, and after preparations we made our way to Nanabi Baptist Church.  There was a gathering of people somewhere around eight hundred to a thousand, for various reasons and interests.  One, James Kai is a son to a late Tribal Chief who was esteemed highly in that part of the land.  There was his elder brother, though he has never confessed Christ, he has been loyal to the mission work and will defend the borders against all enemies both foreign and domestic, he was present as he stated, “if my brother does not want to stay with our mission work and keep peace in the church then he himself would chase him out”!  There is more to those words then just language.  There were tribal leaders, other pastors attended, and many members of the three churches located in that valley.  The building was too small to accommodate the people, thus we had open-air services.  Bro.  James Kai wanted to have the business meeting before the preaching, I disagreed and so we asked the people for a vote.  Unanimously the people answered, preach the Word.

I have always taught, still do, and would follow this policy if I were a pastor of a church, and that is, nothing should take the place of the preaching of the Word, nothing should get in the way, and NO ONE should want any kind of business, including “church business” to cloud the minds of His people in order to receive the Word.  This should be heard with a clear and open mind.

Nonetheless, we had services and I preached that day to a crowd of people who were hungry for God’s Word. 

 

After services the Nanabi Baptist Church was assembled into the building and conducted their business.  I was given (by vote) the floor to act as moderator for the church.  To cut a long story short, after much discussion and a long series of questions from the church to Pastor James, wanting to know his intentions, commitment, and answer to where he was going to stand.  In the end he confessed that he was with our mission work and would support it.  The church mandated that he break all fellowship with these other preachers who had publicly confessed that they were no longer in fellowship with us.  He confessed, the church then voted to reinstate him as their pastor.  This is church authority in action and a good example of how democracy works in a N.T. Baptist church.  Though some wanted him out, they agreed to work together for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.

 

Afterwards there was an “official mumu” (pig feast) where the consummation of fellowship was demonstrated.  One by one we made our way back to our homes, and or where we were staying.  That night, there were more talks with the men until late.  I had to call it a night as we had a long day ahead of us.  The rains came hard that night, and morning hours came early, we were packing by daybreak, and after a breakfast of sweet potato and pig meat we checked the packs, the carriers and then set off.  The next point where we were going was not a new place to me; however the route we were taking was new, as I had not hiked this route before.  The guide we had, explained that due to the distance it would be necessary to run where the terrain allowed, meaning mostly in the valley.  There were not a lot of choices as to where we needed to go and or hike, much of the valley was no more then a swamp that was camouflaged with tall grass.  Foot placement became the number one priority to stay vertical.  After three hours of running we reached the opposite end of the valley floor where the mountains towered above us.  We took thirty min to eat some sweet potato, drink water and rest. 

 

The hike up the first mountain would soon separate the men from the boys as though it were.  After four hours of near vertical climb we arrived at the top, near twelve thousand feet.  Again we took a short break, by this time my leg muscles were cramping so I needed to eat some salt and walk it out.  We departed again, bye and bye we came to the second mountain, which was not as high as the first but then again we were seven hours in the way.  The third and final mountain (we don’t count the small ones) was before us and as we started up somewhere the trail was unreadable (not many people, even the N.G. Natives) travel this route, (I can understand why).  It was made known that the guide was confused to the route.  We split up in pairs of three and each group spread out trying to find the route.  The group I was with, we ended up hiking down the side of the mountain for about two hours until we came to a ravine where we needed to cross to start back up the other side of the mountain.  We began to hear one of the Natives call out, and another one relayed that messaged until it reached us, saying they had found the route.  As we began to cut and hack our way through the jungle it took another hour and half to reach the others who had assembled.  We took some time to rest again, I had prayer thanking the LORD that he had kept us safe and brought us out from where we were (LOST).  What a message God preaches to us with His natural creation.  As the Psalmist says, “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.”

 

We proceeded on, and with the sun going down I knew that it would be difficult to carry on in this jungle without a torch (flashlight) and even with one it would be very difficult and slow going.  All the talking had but stopped, the joking and laughing had also stopped, we all concreted on simply finishing the journey.  As we descended the last mountain for some time we finally came to where two rivers joined.  We took fifteen and refreshed ourselves, then carried on for the last hour till we finally arrived at the pastor’s house thirteen hours later.  I had an attack of malaria, and being so exhausted I didn’t even bath that night.  I took my medication and zipped up into the sleeping bag.  Most of the night I sweated out the fever and by morning hours I felt some better.  Took a hot bath, and had some rice for breakfast.

That day, services were scheduled; the LORD gave me strength to preach to a group of people that are literally isolated from all peoples.  There are mountains rising from six to twelve thousand feet all around them, this small cavity within the tropical rainforest is home to no more then a hundred people.  The pastor is Bro.Tangere and is pastor of Pupa Baptist Church.  It would be hard to believe, but some years ago in the mid eighties I conducted a Bible Conference here and pastors from all around hiked different routes to attend.  They had lost some members and gained some, like most churches I know but there was a crowd of about twenty members.  Was it worth it or profitable to sacrifice myself to hike to this place, to visit this small church of Baptist people, whom the world knows, nor cares anything about, it was to them; and it was to me.  God cares, and they are just as much as a church as our church there in Roseville, California USA.  Because they don’t speak English, drive vehicles, or wear western clothing does not make null and void them being a true N.T. Baptist Church.  They were so excited to see us and have an opportunity to worship that they asked me if they could have two services that day.  I told them as long as the LORD gave me the energy I would preach, HE did, and I did.

The next day we stayed as well and had two more services with the people, that evening we visited around the fires and praised the LORD for allowing us to visit and preach to yet another of His churches. 

The following morning we set off for a place called Nogoli, this place also holds a special place in me life.  When I was working in PNG during the eighties to nineteen ninety I was living in this area called Nogoli, in fact my house was still there, or at least a Skelton of my house.  This hike is not an easy hike as most of the way (five hours) is on top of logs that have been cut by the Natives over the years as one long continuous bridge or platform.  The difficulty lies in the fact that most of the time these logs are single and placed end to end, they are muddy and there are no (hand rails).  This may sound simply but if you fall off the log there is knee-deep mud, most of the way is home to the tropical leaches, which get not only a free meal, but also a free ride.  In time we arrived at a river, washed, checked for leaches which all of us had our share.  We refreshed ourselves and carried on, soon we were out of the bush and on a public gravel road that BP’s (oil company) had put in some years back, simply because they had drilled for oil, struck gas and tapped into it, piped it down the mountain and set up four very large generators, powered by the gas, in order to provide electric to a gold mine some fifteen minutes by helicopter flight.   After seven hours we had arrived at Nogoli, we had been caught in a rainstorm and were soaked; we proceeded to my old house.  The house was built upon ten-foot posts and sits upon a two-acre plot, it has been cleaned out over the years and is nothing more then a shelter at this point but it is still my house.  We got setup and straight away we got a fire going to dry out things.  Before long we had some rice cooking along with the staple diet, sweet potato.

 

That afternoon we had services and then discussed for the following morning.  We would hike to another place some three hours down the road to another place called Angwale.  We were up early, within this valley; it gets quite hot, as it is much lower in elevation.  The temp can rise to a hundred in the shade, with the strength of the sun it doesn’t take long to get burned.  We made the hike, met with the church, had services and afterward we hiked back to Nogoli.  That afternoon we had a service with the Nogoli Baptist church and then we would spend the rest of the evening discussing the mission work.  The next day being Sunday, we had a service and a Baptism in a near by river.  There is nothing wrong with a fabricated tank for baptism, however the beauty is just not there compared to a river.  They are not any more or less baptized in either way; I am simply stating the beauty of God’s natural creation. 

 

That afternoon we took some time to rest and enjoy God’s wonderful creation.  In the evening we made preparations to depart the next morning by public transport to Tari (a government station) and then from there we would take transport to Koroba on hike the twelve miles home.  In the morning we were up before daybreak, and boarded a lorry, we said our good-byes to Pastor Andi Tyia and the church at Nogoli.  There is a special place in my life for Bro. Andi, he was with my father when he first went to this valley and he assisted dad with domestic duties.  He then stayed with me and helped me with household chores in those early years of my ministry, he was or became the “Friday” in my life as a missionary.  He has grown older, like us all and not able to get around much as he suffered from polio when he was a child.  Still he is faithful to the Truth and feeds a small flock of sheep.

 

A rugged ride to Tari, we were there for sometime until we found a vehicle going to Koroba.  We boarded, and off we went, by lunch time we were in Koroba and started the long hike home.  Two miles out of Koroba there is another church Tola Baptist Church where Bro. Alaybe is pastor,  we met up with him and due to most of the members being away in their gardens we organized for another day to come back for services.  Then at a stiff pace we hiked for three hours when we finally arrived at the Tanggi mission station.  It had been eight days since we had set off, several miles were behind us, the churches we had visited were encouraged and God had kept us safe.  The next few days would be spent around the Tanggi mission station to clean, wash clothes etc… and to rest.

 

I will continue the final leg of this mission trip in the next report.

Until then may our LORD keep each of you in the center of His will and bless the work of your hands.

 

A fellow servant saved by His Grace,

 

 

 

Missionary Peter A. Halliman

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