“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Joh 20:21
Ese Bible Institute
Nan and I had the privilege of serving once again to the students of Ese Bible Institute in the village of Numba, tucked under the peaks of the Owen Stanley Range, in Papua New Guinea. We joined Logan Carnell and Richard Smith, a friend of the Parliers, for our time of service together.
It is always very humbling to arrive back in Numba village after being away for a year or more. We fly from Port Moresby over the mountain range in a small missionary plane, circling around the village before landing on a grass airstrip. As we circle and prepare to land, we see so many of our beloved village brothers and sisters gathered around the airstrip to welcome us “back home.” We always think of all the fine meals, hot showers, comfort and pleasures we have enjoyed when we were away from them, while they have all continued to live a difficult and simple village life day after day.
When we arrived, there was a series of Bible class meetings in progress at the church under the leadership of Major Mark Neapale, director of PNG military chaplains, and his co-worker.
I was interested to hear their messages, and to find very accurate and challenging truth being presented. When I spoke to the Major, he gave credit to one of our former graduates, Taylor Tioja, who is now working with the chaplain corps. Taylor will be commissioned as a chaplain soon—as soon as he is given fitting rank within the military, and accommodation is arranged for him in the barracks. The Major told me that Taylor had been a great blessing to the work of the chaplains because of his education at the Ese Bible Institute, providing the chaplains with much clarification to Bible questions they had, and correcting some errors in their thinking.
Taylor also works as a translation consultant, and has been selected to attend a tour and training program in Israel in June. Pray for him as he is still raising support for this venture. I am convinced that he will continue to have great impact in his ministry, and ask that you pray and, if led, give toward this rare and wonderful opportunity for him.
The day after we arrived in the village was a great day of celebration as we joined the seventh batch of students in their Graduation Day ceremony. I was privileged to give the main address to the students, and it was precious to see the joy on their faces as they finished this worthy accomplishment.
While Logan taught the new intake of Ese Bible Institute students in Bible Study Methods and Interpretation, I was able to present a week of classes to former graduates from the book of Jonah, on principles of personal evangelism and ministry.
Meanwhile, Nan had daily children’s classes in the evenings. It is a blessing to see how the children’s ministry in Numba has grown and developed since we first started attending. God cares for His people!
As we do these missions, there are always so many amazing stories of God working in the souls of His children. It is impossible to communicate them all, but I will share one in particular.
During the teaching of Jonah, one of the graduate students stood up with something to say. He told the group that he had attended EBI only to get “free stuff”—that is a free Bible and the ten study books that are given for the classes. That was his only reason for attending. But he went on to say that in the middle of the course, he discovered the true “free gift”—and that is eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord. He is now involved in ministry and sharing the Good News of that free gift with others. Praise God!
One evening, we invited one of our favorite young men in the village and his wife and four children to come to the mission house and have dinner with us. We had a simple meal of white rice with tomatoes, green beans from the village and some sort of hot dog-like “mystery meat.” There wasn’t room for us all to sit at the table so we asked that they use the chairs and eat at the table together as a family. The wife was helping one of the young children get settled down to eat and whispered in the child’s ear, “This is what it will be like when we eat in Heaven!” Such precious souls!
Following the week of teaching in Numba Village, we loaded up our backpacks and hit the trail to minister in villages down the way and along the coast. We will include the report of that trip tomorrow so this report won’t be too lengthy.
God bless you all for your love and prayers,
Gene and Nan