Matthew 14: 14 “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.”
Hidden But Held
The windy path seemed so dark, and the way was very unknown to my unsure feet. Tree roots seemed to arise out of the uneven ground, and the mud grabbed my heels with each step. As we made our way down the steep incline in the ungiving darkness, my heart rapidly pounded with each step taken. Yet, my hand was held strongly by someone that knew the path. To this Kamea national, this path to her bush hut was just the way home, a mountainous trail travelled many times by her steady feet. She had my hand and was guiding me down the path, a way uncertain to me but familiar to her. Even if I could not trust the path ahead in the darkness, I knew I could confidently trust her because she knew the way.
Sometimes life seems to have many hidden obstacles we stumble over, trying to maintain our footing in the darkness. Unexpected events arise that cloud our security and make us unsure of the path we are taking. In Kunai, the youth boys were having difficulty being faithful to John Allen’s Bible study he had every Friday afternoon. Some of the youth girls I had been doing discipleship with before I left Kunai were struggling spiritually and some had fallen into sin. Also, our radio tower sat desolate for many years. Church members at Kotidanga Baptist Church prayed every Wednesday night for the radio tower to be fixed. Someone from the states was going to come over to take a look at the tower and see what was needed but was unable to come to Kunai. Several months ago, Matt Allen and a few members of his church in Port Morseby came to Kotidanga and spend a few days diagnosing the problem and trying to fix the radio tower. Yet, the tower seemed irrepairable and to get it up and running would take a miracle.
• Following God’s guidance and direction throughout my furlough time
• Visa Approval
• Faithfulness of youth in Kotidanga Baptist Church
• Sarah Glover (literacy teacher), and John and Lena’s travels on furlough
• Grandfather Albert Erker’s salvation
• Home church finances (Windward Baptist Church)
• Matt Allen’s plane able to be fixed (he has been trying to diagnosis the problem)
• Youth conference in Kunai next week (also Matt’s plane is needed to bring counsellors and special speakers to the conference)
Culture and fear often are often obstacles keeping the light of salvation from our Kamea people. For many years we have been praying for Nancy Fonsi’s salvation. She comes to the clinic on multiple occasions for her illnesses and also her children’s health. Previously, her daughter Vilo had been on the brink of death after slashing her head open on a sharp rock, leaving her unconscious as we nurses took shifts watching her throughout the night. The Lord wondrously healed her and she had no lasting effects from her injury. Nancy has watched us pray for her child’s recovery and also for her salvation. Through the ministry of the clinic, the church, and Lena’s Bible studies with the ladies, Nancy has continuously heard the gospel. However, she hadn’t accepted Christ personally.
During the months of September and October, some days seemed to be an uncertain step into the unknown. After spending some time with my grandmother in Washington, I went to spend a couple weeks with my grandfather and my extended family in New York. My rental car was already booked for a month to start traveling around the east coast area to visit and present in churches after the two weeks with my family in New York. Then, what was certain became enveloped in a black haze of the unknown as my grandfather became very ill and had to be admitted into the hospital. He had double pneumonia, a virus, and an infection on his leg from an unknown source. As my family and I waited on his recovery, praying that he would be able to get out of the hospital soon, I felt the Lord leading me to stay with my family in New York and help them take care of my grandfather. The rental car was cancelled as my own plans for travel came to a sudden halt. I had no idea where to go or even what plans I needed to make.
• God’s ways are higher than mine and He directed me in His timing
• Was able to spend with my family in New York
• Nancy’s salvation
• Had unscheduled meeting in Maui, Hawaii in Grace Baptist Church when my mom had a conference
• Brother Nikolas Haggith got married in November
• Able to spend Thanksgiving with family after not being home for this special holiday for many years
• Several churches have taken me on for support
Yet in each hidden obstacle comes hidden opportunities revealed in the timing of our Father. The struggling youth of Kotidanga Baptist Church in Kunai provided the opportunity to hold a youth Bible study every other Friday night. The youth bring their guitars and lift their voices in worship to Jesus, and after a time of games, fellowship, and singing, a challenge is brought to the youth. Many youth from the church have been faithful in attending this gathering and it is exciting to see them use their talents for the Lord.
Again, the Lord’s provision exceeds our expectations and after 7 long years of obstacles to the gospel being spread through the radio tower, on November 12th, the impossible became possible. The redemptive power and love of our Savior Jesus Christ now resonates clearly throughout the Kamea region from our functioning Gutnuis (Goodnews) Radio. Not only has the gospel been proclaimed through the radio tower, the gospel now resides in the heart of Nancy Fonsi. All the obstacles the Devil used against Nancy to darken her steps on the path of truth were ripped away by the Father’s almighty hand. Sunday, November 26th, Nancy heard again how Jesus is the Light of the world and how His everlasting life can fill her life if she believes on His name. As she placed her faith in Christ’s sacrifice, His light flooded her darkened heart and He covered her with His brilliant robe of righteousness. Nancy is no longer a slave to sin, bound by the evil which enslaves individuals to a life without God…she is free. The hand of the Father is now enclosed around hers, and He can be her guiding Light. Praise the Lord that no obstacle can hinder the opportunity of the Savior’s grace.
The youth meetings that occur every other Friday night. There is singing and worshiping the Lord, prayer, games, and teaching from the Word of God.
Top: Some the men that worked hard on the radio tower and in November were able to get it working again. Now the Bible and preaching in Kamea can be heard over the radio throughout the Kamea region.
Bottom: Nancy, who in this picture is holding her daughter Vilo after her head trauma, recently accepted Christ as her Savior!
Everywhere on earth, God is making opportunities out of obstacles. My travel plans were halted, but God gave me unbelievable opportunities. I was able to spend much needed time with my unsaved grandfather in New York and was able to share the gospel because of my missionary work in Papua New Guinea. Then, the Lord filled almost all my Sundays and Wednesdays with opportunities to present the missionary work in Papua New Guinea. He gave me so many encouraging visits, and I had uplifting fellowship with great Christian friends whom I have not seen for several years. Friends in New York also helped arrange several unscheduled meetings for me. Every church and conference I went to, the Lord gave me the opportunity to play my ukulele and sing, a chance I had been praying about during my travels. I could see the obstacles God brought in my path had also protected me. God prevented my travels to Texas and Florida as the storms and floods devastated vast areas there. When I went to my scheduled meetings in Texas, I was able to help with food and supply distribution while developing lifetime friendships with incredible servants of Christ. My grandmother in Washington passed away during my trip to Texas, but even through this tragedy, I was able to assist with my grandmother’s funeral and unexpectedly present in Pastor Shaver’s church there in Bellingham. With every uncertain step taken, God firmly gripped my hand and guided me, filling my unknown with His known desire for me.
Top: Friends from New York that helped schedule some unexpected meetings with churches. The fellowship was sweet.
Top: Teaching the children at different churches was such a blessing. This group was the 1st grade spanish children from Lancaster Baptist Church. I had fun teaching them a PNG pigin song and playing my ukulele.
Bottom: Traveling allows me to meet and fellowship with faithful Christians. I was able to meet the Tomlinsons as he shared his ministry at New Heights Baptist Church in California.
Top: In Maryland, I met and spoke at Pastor Moorman’s church. I went to nursing school with his daughter who is now also in Papua New Guinea as a nurse working with Lena Allen.
Bottom: Friendships made in Texas will never be forgotten. I was able to help East River Baptist Church with food and supply distribution after the disasters during the few days I was there .
With every hidden obstacle or unknown opportunity encountered, we have an omniscient God orchestrating every moment of our lives. We do not have to live in crippling fear and stifling doubt that erupts our every insecurity. We are held by an all-knowing God Who made the path ahead for us. The seeming darkness around us is always brightly illuminated in His eyes. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Our obstacles can become His opportunities if our feeble hands remain enclosed in our Father’s loving hand. Psalm 139:3, 5-6 “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”
Kotidanga Baptist Church family at Kunai
I’ve been privileged to be with my home church, Windward Baptist Church, for some time and on Saturdays go out witnessing with them.