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: 17 / 01 / 2010
S.G.B.M. Report continued…
I started preparing for the last leg of patrolling in the bush as my time was quickly running out. After having spent two days around the mission station I was able to get my gear cleaned and repacked, then the night before we were to depart I sat with the men and discussed our plan of action. All things settled we called it a night and tried to get some sleep. I have found that even when needing rest, many times it does not come, therefore it leaves one thing to bear in mind, that is, and only the LORD can give sleep to His people.
The morning hours came quickly and having rained all night it was quite wet outside, but then again this is nothing new to PNG where we get three hundred inches of rain a year. We checked our gear once more, had prayer, and set off. This time we would be going into the heart of the Duna people, there are three mountain ridges to cross to reach where we are going. In the early days of the PNG work, I can remember going to some of these places with dad as a young lad. I have patrolled in these areas many times both by foot as well as driving as far as the vehicle would reach.
The hours passed, and miles increased, bye and bye we made it to our destination eight hours later. We came to our first place Tabiya Baptist Church where Bro. Ayane is Pastor; he is an elder man and was a young lad when dad first came into this area. He was saved under my dad’s ministry and has been faithful to the work, and Truth all these years. He happily smiled, and being toothless his smile seemed even bigger. We took some time to sit and rest a bit, and then we set up camp. That evening we would not have services as word needed to be spread around that we had arrived. There was a young man by the name of Yalu, who was a member of the church and they had sent him to go to Bible School for four years in order to be of assistance to the pastor. He was more or less the assistant pastor; therefore we needed to also include him in our discussions. It was told that he (Bro. Yalu) was swaying between decisions, kind of like Bro. James Kai.
These three preachers have caused havoc in the work, promising a pot of gold to each preacher who will break off and join them. Their aim is to get enough preachers to break off and then they want to form their own association and invite a (missionary) from abroad – usually America to come work with them. I have no qualms with other missionaries going to a field to assist in the labour that always seems to be too much for one man. However I do have a problem with another missionary, preacher, or man coming to a mission field that they know nothing about and then causing further division. I also have a problem with someone who says they are going to help (in the mission work) and instead of working together with the missionary that is there, they turn to build their own kingdom.
The next day we scheduled services, again the house was filled beyond capacity and folks were sitting on the outside. Within this area that we were in there are three other churches that we would be visiting. We sat with the men after the services and made a plan as to what days we would be where. It was agreed upon that we would hike to another church some eight miles from where we were, overnight, and have services there Saturday, and Sunday. We packed up, made the hike, and arrived at a place called Eganda Baptist Church. This church has an interesting background, for many years there have only been women as members of the church. Many of them their husbands have died, some not saved, others went off to the coast to find work etc… however through the years they have had three different pastors of which the last was a young man who also has been persuaded to “sell out” for a bowl of porridge.
This church having only women as members, yet they are faithful and hard working. They wanted a service as soon as we could get set up so I wasted no time and we held a service that afternoon. Then I discussed the business of Sunday and they requested for me to assist them in their business of having a Baptismal service. As we visited with different ones through out the evening we finally called it a night and prepared for tomorrow. Sunday morning we held services and organized for the baptism afterwards, which was a young man. There is a man whom they have called as pastor but they were not sure where he stood with all the confusion and division. I talked with this man (Bro. John) at length and he confirmed to me that he was there for the LORD’S work and not to follow some fairy-tale as though it were. I also encouraged him that it would no doubt get tough with the work, that his job was to feed the sheep where God had placed him.
The baptism was held, and then we took a small break that afternoon for another service. As we ended the day the women wanted us to stick around in the morning instead of departing early as they wanted to prepare us a (mumu). This is something that is not known in PNG where the women do the cooking. In fact the custom is so strong that Huli and Duna men who are not Christians will not eat or receive from the hand of a woman that which was prepared in the mumu. Call it what you may, but customs are customs.
Monday morning came we had a morning service whilst the food was in the ground cooking. Afterwards we were served honourably. We said our good-byes and packed up going back to Tabiya. As we arrived there around midday we sent word that we would have services with the people. We did so that afternoon and having had a full day we settled in for the evening.
Tomorrow we would depart early for a place on top of one of the mountains which was about three hours hike from where we were. As we set off we had another party of women who volunteered to follow us and help carry some of the cargo. As we climbed the mountain the sun started to show its strength, and even though we were in the jungle canopy I was sweating profusely, this is the time to keep hydrated and put back the sodium that one loses in perspiration. About every thirty minutes I have found that a small drink of water with salt will take care of the health side.
By late morning we had arrived at a place called Pee Kaluwa, one of our churches has been organized there for some years now, the membership is mostly women (just about anywhere now, that is the norm); We met with several of the members (women) and talked for some time, they said their pastor was not willing to unlock the doors for services with us and that we were to move on. As I further investigated I found out that we had a similar case here as what happened with the Nanabi Baptist Church, meaning, the pastor now assumed a position as some kind of (church chief) dictator. This is completely foreign to N.T. teachings on the local church, however it is a constant issue with Tribal people and from time to time must be corrected.
Most of the members wanted us to have a service but I chose to move on…reason being, This church was mostly women and without some strong men to lead in a business meeting, it would revert right back to where it was after I was out of the picture. I did however, advise those women, that if they had it within themselves to attend the church where we had come from then I would suggest doing so. A long way to walk and be fed the Truth, is better then a short walk and hear heresy, at least the way that I see it.
We carried on into a new area, as one of the women (Duna) asked me to visit where she came from, as there were people there that had not heard the Gospel. We carried on that day, crossing another mountain and descended to a valley some five thousand feet. It was quit hot here due to the elevation but a lovely view of the mountains and valley laid before us. We set up camp and were not long until we started preparations for a mumu of sweet potato and greens. In the afternoon hrs I was summoned with a few of the men to assist the woman from this area in transporting a hog from where it was housed to where we were camped.
In the late afternoon we butchered the hog, and hung up the pieces to bleed out over night. At about twelve feet above ground there usually is a breeze in most conditions and at that level the fly problem is no longer a problem.
Twenty feet was a better mark for me due to wild animals at nights etc…
The next morning early about four am we were up and getting things ready for the mumu. I had informed the men that we would need to start this early as it takes about one and half hours to cook, plus the time to heat up the stones, arrange the food etc… and cover it. We would have a service with the people and then afterwards we would uncover the food, eat, and start our long journey back to the Tanggi Mission Station.
By eight am we were assembled with the people, there was a large crowd around thirty people who assembled for worship. I had great liberty, and the LORD gave us a good time of worship and fellowship. They did want me to depart until I promised them that another day I would return and spend some days there preaching to them.
As the food was taken out of the mumu and divided among those that had been invited we ate and fellowshipped as what most Baptist do. It didn’t take long to pack up and soon we were looking almost straight up as we ascended the mountain. By mid morning we had reached the canopy and the top of the mountain. For some time we carried on, when we came to a place where some of the women who had come with us branched off to go back to their homes, some were still with us as we continued. On our way down the mountain about half way, there were some logs which we had to negotiate over, I was following a certain man (Tale) whom I had known for many years, and as I had crossed the last log, somehow my right foot slipped off the log, I fell landing on my right hand (wrist) which snapped and broke both bones in the arm. I called for my medic pack, had one of the men cut two splinters and we put one on the top, the other on the bottom and then I wrapped it with medical tape. We were a long way from any kind of hospital and I knew it would take some time to get out from where we were.
There was a lot of talk and confusion but I told the people not to worry that God was still in control and we would somehow manage. Its hard enough to hike in these jungles with two good hands / arms; let alone one hand broken.
However there is not much one can do except suck it in and man up, which is just what I had to do. The minutes seemed to drag out into hours with the pain but we carried on until we came to a certain place. We rested and then moved on, it was late afternoon by the time we came to Tabiya Baptist Church where we had departed three days ago. We stopped there and discussed what our option were and which route we would follow. After much discussion we decided that four men would go with me to walk along a road, which was traveled by vehicles though it was quite beat up. The rest of the party would hike to the Tanggi mission station and some of the men would meet up with me there at Tari where they had a hospital that was capable of treating broken bones etc… as we split up the group and carried on it was late afternoon when we came to Eganda Baptist Church where I had performed the baptism. We stopped there for resting and the people said that sometime during the evening a vehicle would come by. As the hours passed into the night, I could neither sleep, nor sit comfortably as the pain was more then what medicine I had to deter it. Finally around ten pm there was a vehicle that came, we were given a chance to get a lift but had to pay about forty dollars (US) as we traveled through the late night, I realized the driver had not driven before and besides he was drunk. I kept a constant line of communications open to the LORD to keep us safe. We finally reached the main dirt/gravel road when we debarked from the vehicle and hiked half an hour to a bush house where Bro. John (the pastor of Eganda Baptist Church) his family was there and they gave us a place to sit, wait for the morning hours when we could find transport to Tari.
To be continued…
In His Name, Missionary Peter A. Halliman