Mission Field Report
Papua New Guinea
In January it was our privilege to return to the Ese Bible Institute in Numba village. We always consider it a real honor to work with veteran Bible translator Jim Parlier. The lifetime that he and Jaki have devoted to the Managalas people is a true example of dedicated discipleship and service.
This year there was no graduation ceremony, as the next class of students is still working through their courses. Logan Carnell took the Institute course, which this year was Bible Doctrine Survey. This freed me up to teach the book of Romans to the previous graduates. Meanwhile, Nan was busy teaching children’s classes and working with the women.
The gardens have nearly recovered from the devastation of the landslides and floods of the previous year. However, the destruction of the Sago palms will continue to be a challenge, as this is the material they use for roofing. God has shown His faithfulness to the many villages across the plateau in a time of great testing. We have seen so much growth among the Bible institute students, and throughout the churches. After the storms last year, many believers were collecting food and clothing to give to villages which have rejected the gospel, even though those villages were not affected as severely as were the ones giving them aid. From these acts of kindness, we have heard reports of many coming to faith in Christ.
In addition to the courses in Numba we were able to reach out into some of the more remote areas. Logan trekked with some of the men to a village 8 to 10 hours away, and spent a weekend with the church there. Nan and I were able to spend six days on the trial with our former graduates, Thompson, Taylor and Lydia, trekking through the jungle, visiting several churches scattered through the jungle, and encouraging the believers in their faith. We saw some beautiful and scenic forests and streams, but nothing more beautiful than the smiling faces of believers who have waited years for us to visit.
During our travels we met some former graduates, some of you may remember Haggai, who spent years teaching from a tattered bible, missing many of the books. He and others have gone out to areas far away in the mountains near Lae, to people who killed the first missionary that arrived in their country. Now our students are more and more taking the word out further afield. Taylor, who I mentioned above, even travelled to Australia to join Jamie and Natasha Short in teaching at last years Aboriginal youth camp near Looma, Western Australia. We are sure that our labor, prayers, and investments in this field will continue to bring rich returns in redeemed souls and transformed lives. Please continue to pray for Pastor Michael and his wife Virginia, as they lead the Bible Institute. Also for his right hand man, Chiruru, who has suffered severe sickness lately.
After our ministry time in PNG we were blessed to be able to spend a week with some of our family who remain in Australia. Wil, Kris and little Arelina welcomed us to Sydney and we had a glorious week catching up with them and getting to know little "Ari"! Katie and Daniel flew over from the west coast of Australia to join us and it was a much needed reunion with those we love so much. Please keep both of these young couples in your prayers as they pursue God’s plan for their lives.
Bible Conferences, U.S.A.
I had no idea when we returned from Australia 3 years ago that the Bible conference ministry would take hold as it has. I find I am becoming a “circuit-rider” like my great-great grandfather. It is thrilling for us to see the continued hunger for the pure and simple word of God in America. As our nation continues to thrust Jesus Christ aside at every opportunity, there are still many of the remnant who love God’s word, live by His Spirit, and serve Him in the power of grace and truth. This is the only hope for our nation!
We were hosted again at the end of February by Steve and Marilyn Pomeroy and the Lighthouse Point, Fla. Team for a conference on the book of Daniel. This is a very relevant book for our times, both from the standpoint of learning to live in an increasingly hostile nation, and to know the blueprint for end-times prophecy as it relates to Church age believers. We thank the team in Florida for their wonderful hospitality and the many ministries they are involved in. Please remember them in your daily prayers.
End of March found us in the Washington, D.C/Virginia area with Ken and Sharon Curcio and their team. This conference was built around Second Peter, another timely study. I think it is fitting that we re-name this “The Conference of Northern Virginia”. One highlight was the opportunity to spend several hours with a number of midshipmen from the Naval Academy, with Bibles open, questions flying, and answers found. What a thrill! Pray for these fine young men and women as they step into ever greater theatres of service for their Lord and their country. The recent rescue of Captain Phillips by Navy Seals is a timely reminder of how much we need such dedicated young patriots in our Armed Forces. Never forget to pray, and give thanks, for our Service men and women!
Rocky Mountain High
The weekend following the Virginia conference we joined Ron and Gloria Basset, along with young Mathew and a fine gathering for our first annual “Rocky Mountain High” conference in Lakewood (Denver), Colorado. Amazingly, this conference drew folks from far and wide, including Alaska, Montana, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, etc. We had a great weekend in the study of First Peter, and the role of suffering in the Christian Life. The mountains were covered with fresh snow, and the fellowship was refreshing as well. I was able to meet for the first time some friends I have spoken to for years. Needless to say, we will be looking forward to being in Denver again next year!
We thank God for all who hosted these conferences and worked hard to make them so successful. My only hope is that I will be able to take more time next year to get ready for them, as I seem often to be preparing “on the run”. However, we trust that the Spirit of God is able to take little and make much out of it, for our Lord continues to “break and multiply the bread and fishes” of our small offerings for His service.
We thank all of you who faithfully pray for us, and the many who give, especially in these troubled economic times. Without so many loyal “team members” we could not continue to serve as we do. We often think and talk of how faithful our God is, and of the many unknown and unsung servants who stand with us. Often we are so quickly moving from one field to another, we don’t even have time to thank you, or inform you of where we are and what we are doing. We thank you for understanding, and being patient with our “scattered lives”. We know the time is short, and we greatly desire to “play our part” until we go, or He comes!
Please pray for us as we “part ways” to maximize our efforts. On April 22 we climb on separate planes, Nan will go with her team (Kim, Janet, Elizabeth and Jackie) to India for the annual Children’s Bible School programs, while Logan and I will go to central Asia. We will return on May 11. As always, we ask that you uphold us in prayer, for wisdom, guidance, and the Spirit’s power on our teaching and proclamation of the soul-saving gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every mission is different, each has its own tests, and we always rely heavily on the “team” at home for your valued and effective prayers. I am more convinced than ever that nothing is ever accomplished in God’s plan apart from the faithful prayers of God’s unseen troops, holding their ground against the powers of darkness. As you stand with us in our efforts, we will one day join together in celebrating the wondrous things our God has done in and through us. Thank you for standing firm!
Gene and Nancy Cunningham