PNG Mission Report (part No.21)
Date: 30th January 2012
Dear Pastor, Church & all Supporters;
(Jas 2:18) “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
08th September 2011 (Thursday)
The night went well for us, and with a crisp morning at 0600 hrs it was time to start the days activities. As Bro Hepe had been doing for several mornings now, he would also rise early and assist in the morning activities with me, and so coffee was brewed at an early hour to be ready when I would rise. I will insert something here; at one time whilst in the USA at a Bible Conference I had been asked to preach, did so, and in my message I mentioned about “rising early”, afterward someone said to me…“Bro. Halliman not everyone feels early is at sun rise…” I replied, “yes, you are right, but then again most of you living in a developed society depend on [automatic’s, timers, machinery, computers, electrical devices, and robots) why should you rise at ‘sun rise’!
Folks, those in Biblical days lived without these things, and for the most part of my life I have laboured with folks who mirror that type of life. God only gives us twenty-four hours in a day, we can wisely use it, or waste it, but we don’t get it back.
We started the packing for another short hike that morning to another church, which Bro. Kuni is also pastor. After our morning coffee and sweet potatoes we were packed up and gear assigned to the men. We had our prayer and set off for the hike to Mugwa Bap church. The route wound in and around gardens, which are fenced in due the Native pigs, which roam randomly. The Huli people have a custom whereby the dig deep trenches around their gardens, some as deep as ten feet; these serve as both fencing for the gardens and also for a blind, during warfare. The going was slow due to the heavy rains in the night, trying to negotiate where to place your foot becomes a challenge in order not to slip, or fall. When hiking here, it is not often that one takes their eyes off the path due to falling.
The hike did not take that long, only an hour and half and we were arrived at the meeting place. Like all other places, we were being welcomed with the traditional Mumu. At times I will only make my observation, whilst at other times I will be asked to participate. Allow me to explain something, a real [visitor] would NEVER be asked to participate in with the men during this ritual of cutting up the meat of the hogs for the Mumu. If one is asked to participate with these men, it is because they have not only accepted you, but they have included you as one of their leaders. This to them is an honour, though it may not be presumed such by an outsider.
Our cargo was secured in a bush house, and whilst the food was put into its earthen oven we cleaned up and prepared for church service. There were quite a number of folks present as most of the members from both of these churches assembled for these services.
The building was a bit smaller then the last, but somehow they seated around one hundred people inside, about that many were outside.
I preached that day on “Why am I a Baptist” and God’s H.S. gave me great liberty to preach this message. Following the message, there were several who publicly confessed Christ as Saviour, the pastor asked if we could return tomorrow for another service and Baptism, I concurred and the program was scheduled for such.
Afterwards, we were summoned to the Mumu site where the food was being taken out and following procedure those at the feast were seated according to position, rank, and number. I have observed this many times over and I always get a picture, and somewhere in the middle of it all, the LORD preaches to me again. I am reminded of that ‘Great Day’ of our LORD’S return, when HE shall come for HIS people. Howe they too will be summoned to a ‘Great Wedding’, and it will be there also, that our LORD will [differentiate] between who will make up HIS BRIDE, and who will sit as guests. I personally believe it will be a [Landmark Bap Bride], and even among them I believe that Christ will choose from those whom have been ‘faithful’ and endured to the end.
The meal was served, the honours had been bestowed, and our visit had been rewarded with the ‘fatted calf’ as though it were. One thing God has put within the hearts of the PNG people and that is to make a ‘free will, offering unto Jehovah.
Being late in the day and not that far from the Tanggi Mission Station, we decided to hike down to the house where we could take our baths in our own home, and sleep in a real bed.
We started off for the Tanggi Mission Station and though it was muddy and slippery, it was down hill. It’s not as tough hiking, but it sometimes is harder to stay upright so care must still be exercised. After two hours of hiking we arrived at the main dirt road (which vehicles travel on) and here it was we ran into rain. For the next forty-five min we hiked in the rain till we arrived at the Mission Station.
Bags were unpacked, bath was put on to heat and dinner was started, it sure was good to be home! There is no place like home, no matter how simple or small home is, but home is home. We had our baths, and dinner, where we actually were able to sit on chairs, and eat off a real table. Amazing how the simple things of life just take on a great significant meaning isn’t it? We felt like we had just checked into a five star hotel as though it were, the food was cooked on a wood stove, the bath water was in a bucket (heated) and we had the additional value of lighted candles. The rains were steadily coming down and soon we called it a day, rolled out our sleeping bags on the wooden framed bed, and thanked the LORD for the opportunity to enjoy this gift of being home. We blew out the candles, and soon the pounding of the rain upon the corrugated roofing wooed me into a deep sleep.
09th September 2011 (Friday)
0600 hrs I started the day, feeling refreshed after a wonderful nights sleep – only the LORD can give sleep to HIS children. We had the day’s schedule already planned so we knew what we had to do and the timetable before us. We would not tarry at the house, as we had a two and half hour hike back up the mountain, besides a church service and baptism. We departed the house by 0730 hrs and began our hike; the morning air was crisp and fresh after the nights rain. The hike was muddy (what day isn’t) so its not like you are going to church all clean and tidy. We dress for the occasion and know what to do when we arrive.
We arrived at Mugwa Bap Church again and the folks had already assembled waiting for us, therefore we did not delay. I preached on “Who may be baptized”, the service went through its normal cycle and afterwards those who had made a profession yesterday and the day before were examined. Based upon their testimony of Salvation in Christ, the two churches each voted for those who would unite with them in baptism. They also desired that I do the honours of baptizing for them, so this too was set in order by the two churches present that morning.
We prepared for the baptism, and due to the fact that my wife had become ill I sent her back to the mission station with Bro. Hepe and some of the other men to assist. I carried on to the Baptismal waters, this time a natural body of water, where twelve candidates were baptized, and received with the right hand of fellowship.
I had one more service to conduct before I would end my day so we did not delay, some of the men who were still at my side we simply carried on to Aluwini Bap church. This was about a forty minute hike with just the men and I. We arrived and the folks had already gathered waiting for us, therefore I simply took a few minutes to refresh myself, change my wet clothes from the baptism, and eat some sugar cane to renew my strength.
We started the services, and there is a special note I would like to draw attention to here, this church is one of the charter churches that was organized by my father some forty years ago. They have stood firm in the face of much opposition as they are positioned right on the border of the Methodist and us Baptist. It is a small church in number, but big on faithfulness, you don’t find these folks making excuses to attend because they are now old, and the hike from their houses is too far, or too rugged or too tough. They each manage in their own way, and God gives them the strength, energy, and endurance to complete this act of worship to Jehovah. It is my persuasion that when folks want to miss church, Satan will provide you with multiple choice (pick one).
I preached that day with great liberty on “The Troubled Water”, when we preachers often prepare for a sermon and prepare to preach, we have no idea how God is going to use that message or NOT, and with what liberty or NOT, we shall preach it. We often times think that we [know] the people or crowd, but it is only GOD and HIS H.S. who knows the hearts and minds of the people. It seemed that even though no one professed to know Christ that day, many were challenged by the message and inspired. I must say that GOD’S Word will go forth and accomplish that which HE has sent it to do.
Following the services they had a small Mumu which, in some ways seemed for these folks a far greater sacrifice then for those churches whom had many members. I made my observation how some of those older men who had been young men when dad first arrived so long ago and how many hogs had they sacrificed, and butchered, how many mouths had they fed, and how many guests had they entertained through the years. We often wonder when we see these primitive people making great sacrifices and offerings for the LORD’S work, how do they do it… Where your heart is, that also is where your treasure is.
I so often am reminded how that LORD gave it all, so that we could have HIS Righteousness and eternal life. What have we given for HIM?
The service complete, and the offerings sacrificed we all felt blessed for being there that day. Only the LORD knows when we would meet again, many of them older (in their 80’s) and according to the law of average I would not meet them again this side of heaven if some years passed between our meeting again.
We prepared for our hike back to the Mission Station and as we did so the rains fell, so for the next forty-five minutes we walked in the rain mostly in silence. I felt the LORD’S hand pouring out showers of blessings upon us for our labour to HIM.
We arrived home, my wife was resting and doing better, I took some time to take my bath and then we had dinner early. That evening we sat around with some of the men and discussed the last few days and the LORD’S work. Everyone seemed to be encouraged, strengthened and willing to press on.
Tomorrow being Saturday we would dwell around the Mission Station.
09th September 2011
The day started a bit later then normal, being a Saturday and clean day for us. 0600 hrs I had my coffee and by 0700 hrs we had our breakfast which, consisted of sweet potatoes (hash-browns) with green onions and fresh garlic, some pumpkin and stout coffee. There are days when folks have an off day or rest day but they don’t enjoy it; well when you work all day hard, every day for several days and then you are granted a day of rest, it just feels [good], today felt like that.
My wife was feeling better and therefore her and Hepe with some of the other men joined in to help wash clothes, the backpacks, and camping equipment. In PNG, situated in the Highlands, where the rain fall is what it is, there is a short window of opportunity to get clothes washed and hung out before the afternoon rains come. I spent the day studying and preparing some more material for the days ahead. The day truly was a restful day and wonderful to behold…
to be continued.
Missionary Peter A. Halliman