The reality of Ministry
I (Brian) have been thinking about how much stuff is covered under the blanket of "Ministry". It is really hard to comprehend if you have not experienced it first hand. In my mind it is a bit like running in a marathon or a big sports event. Generally people only get to see the end result. They don't get to see the training that takes place everyday, the sacrifices that are given up in order to accomplish the goal. I am not a runner....unless someone is chasing me of course, but I can only imagine the hundreds of miles someone puts on in their preparation for a marathon. I am sure there are days they don't want to get out of bed to run or have aches and pains, but they press forward because they keep the focus in mind...the end result.
When people think of missionaries is generally about preaching, winning souls for Christ, starting churches, and so on...however those are all end result things and we seldom think about all the "training" that is done before those things happen. Like the runner struggling to get up each day to run.....I have had plenty of those struggles since we have been in PNG. I can be very results driven.....and tangible results are not always what we get to see in the here and now. I like to build, create, make things....tangible progress. However I have found myself being able to do very little "work" myself, but lots of managing and administration of work instead. I have been restructuring the students work program and how work is being done at Goroka Baptist Bible College. Every student is required to work, singles for 8 hours per week and married couples 12 hours each week. This is to maintain the campus and work on gardens that help give them garden food two times a week. If work is available....there is no shortage...they can work more hours to earn money towards their tuition. If you are interested in helping the student work scholarship programs you can give here... Well there has been lots of hours put into changing this system, however the goal is to make things run much smoother, more efficient and give the students leadership opportunities, and skills that can aide them in the ministry God has called them too. We have also continued to study language a few days a week as well as I buy supplies almost daily for either us or the school....lots of driving on not so fun roads. One thing we continue to see here though is God is at work. He is in these things, but He is also working in other ways. He is changing lives and uses us as He sees fit.
Today (Sunday) we were able to join a small fellowship...we have been asked to help because their fellowship has been meeting for many years and there are only a few consistent attenders. We decided to try it this week and we could see God's hand at work. We met with the pastor and the 3 regular attenders and we were just looking around the area. There is no structure or chairs or bathrooms.....just an open piece of ground. Well we are white...as I get reminded everyday as I hear "hey white man"...anyway we stand out and white kids draw even more attention. So it was not long before we had 30+ kids around us and Phyllis was able to start an impromptu Sunday school. We had several other youth and adults come as well. We then gathered everyone on the flattest piece of dirt and started church. The Pastor clearly articulated The Gospel and to God be the glory one of the boys accepted Christ at the end of the service! We would ask for your prayers on our behalf if we are to join this work. It is in a very 'religious' area that very much does not want this church to start. So we are asking that God would give us peace and clear direction moving forward.
This is only a small window view of what "Ministry" has looked like for us recently. You might be asking what is the end result of all of this? Our end goal is very simple, yet extremely difficult as we desire to.....Seek to Honor God by developing fully devoted followers of Jesus who love, live and share Him!
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