Archive for February, 2013

Please keep praying

28 February 2013

Please do continue in prayer for the situation in Kiari. It obviously is very much on our minds today. We praise the Lord so much for His protection. I have thought often over the past few days of the verse that says something to the effect of “even the wrath of men will praise Him; the remainder of wrath He will restrain.” He allowed only what was in His perfect plan; only what would bring Him praise. And He will continue to allow only that! Please pray particularly for the believers in Kiari. They are being told a lot of lies. Some I think probably believe them; at least one (the faithful church leader) says he doesn’t know who to believe. We don’t blame him; this man had us deceived too for the longest time. Please join us in praying that the Lord will grant all of the believers a growing uneasiness with the lies going around and a clear discernment of the truth. I am also praying that He will mercifully grant the offender real torment of mind and body, leading to his repentance and experience of the Lord’s wonderful forgiveness (Ps. 32).

The Lord has used the whole thing to really challenge me personally. The Psalms in particular have been a huge encouragement and comfort, but also a challenge. Psalm 27 speaks of a faith in the Lord so deep that the believer does not even fear/his heart is not afraid/he is CONFIDENT even in very fearsome circumstances. I can’t say any of those things were true of me when that man was beating on our door and trying to break it down. I am thankful for the Lord lovingly using the situation to bring this to my attention and urge me to pray and work towards growth in trusting Him. I guess praying when you’re afraid is one of the faintest marks of faith; doing right even though you’re afraid (i.e., courage) is a stronger one. but not even being afraid??? I want to have such an unshakable faith in my God that I am not even afraid!

Looking forward with you to what our wise, loving, powerful God will do through this,

Elizabeth Owens

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Safely in town

27 February 2013

Thanks for your prayers for us today, and for those who emailed letting us know you are praying and encouraging us from God’s Word. We slept well last night (7 whole hours!), finished up last packing and cleaning at home, and made it safely up to the airstrip and to Goroka this morning.

The people from our neighborhood-mostly unsaved-were so sweet to us as we were leaving. Several went up to the airstrip to help carry things and see us off, and many others met us along the road. In contrast, we saw almost none of the believers (other than the 3 from Kensa) and they were all rather cold. We heard that the man who caused trouble the other night met the two men on the road whom Jeff had asked to come so he could tell them what was going on, and from what the faithful church leader told our coworker Karen this morning, his story was very different from Jeff’s. Unfortunately it appears people are believing him or at least can’t decide what to think. Just pray that the Lord would give them discernment so that they will believe the truth and see through the lies.

We’d appreciate your prayers also for our team leader, Randy Smith, and his family. They are finishing up their last few days of furlough and are scheduled to arrive in Goroka next Thursday (we have tickets to leave the next day). Pray also for our coworker Karen Hall as she holds down the fort in Kiari.

Thanks so much! It is an encouragement that so many are praying-that means that when the Lord answers there will be many to praise Him for what He does!

Elizabeth Owens

Update

26 February 2013

Just wanted to thank you all for your prayers and let you know that nothing more (bad) has happened last night or today. The people in our neighborhood are upset that it all happened and have been very supportive. One of the Christian families is sleeping in our cookhouse tonight, and two of Jeff’s buddies asked if they could patrol our fence.

Please pray that the Lord would control the rest of our time here. Right now (9:30 pm) Jeff is explaining what happened to our faithful church leader and another brother, just so a couple more of the believers are aware of the situation, and it sounds like they’re just about done. We are hoping for a good night’s sleep and plan to leave our house at 7 am to walk up to the airstrip to leave for our furlough. Weather (and all the other PNG variables!) permitting, the chopper is scheduled to arrive around 9 am. We have heard that this man plans to be at the airstrip. Last night he apologized before leaving; we are praying that he meant it and won’t cause any more trouble.

Thank you all again for your prayers. Special thanks to those who replied and were such an encouragement.

Elizabeth Owens

Please pray

25 February 2013

Once again I have an urgent prayer request for you all. This afternoon the former church leader who has caused us so much trouble over the past year and a half came to talk to Jeff. He started making a lot of accusations and telling lies, but when Jeff went and got our voice recorder he got angry and refused to talk. They sat for a long time and finally when it was pretty much dark (around 6:30 or 7 pm) Jeff left him to go and see some people who had come to our gate. (On his way up he stuck his head in the house where I was and asked me to lock the door.) When he got back the man had come up onto the porch. Jeff asked him if he had anything to say, and he said he did but he wanted Jeff to turn off the voice recorder first. When Jeff wouldn’t he got mad and struck Jeff, trying to get the voice recorder out of his hand. He grabbed Jeff and hit him at least twice-Jeff had to wrestle out of his grip. Jeff told him he needed to leave and went and got our dog. The dog wiggled out of Jeff’s grip and chased the man a little, which made him really mad. He got a big stick and started threatening Jeff, saying he was going to kill the dog, break in the house, etc. He was beating on the door and everything. Jeff put the dog up so he wouldn’t hurt the man, but the man was furious and wouldn’t leave or let Jeff into the house. So Jeff called some men from the neighborhood. Of course when they got here the man was just as nice as could be, but still persisted in his accusations that Jeff had never paid him for the work he did helping to build our house. Meanwhile I had called our parents and pastor as well as some other missionaries in PNG, asking them to pray. One of those missionaries who knows this man actually called him as he was talking to Jeff and the other men and he immediately became all smiley, assuring the missionary that he hadn’t done anything and that he only had a little problem with Jeff. Jeff says that the other men cracked up when they heard him say that! (I’m glad they could see at least a little incongruity there!) Anyway, they all left but we really need you all to pray that this man will not come back or cause trouble otherwise, and that the Lord will give us wisdom as to what to do next. Pray also for our coworker’s safety-she lives alone close to this man, though thankfully right next door/ very close to our faithful church leader-but we have no way to let her know what’s going on because she doesn’t have cell signal and Jeff is afraid to leave me alone to make the 30-45 min. hike to go and tell her.

We are scheduled to leave Kiari the day after tomorrow, but need wisdom to know whether or not we should try to leave sooner, etc. And. please pray that we’ll somehow be able to calm down enough to eat our supper (it’s past 11 pm) and sleep tonight, trusting in the Lord to take care of us.

He’s home safe!

18 February 2013

Quick update to my earlier prayer request: Jeff made it safely across the graun bruk and got home a few minutes ago. Thanks to all who prayed for his safety. He said that one of the older men (a real woodsman type of guy) pointed out another crack to him. It looks like that whole corner of the mountain is likely to go down. Apparently a spring down below is already starting to crumble away. Praise the Lord for His goodness in taking my Jeff safely across and for the blessing of having the car and all the stuff, even the majority of our luggage for when we leave next week, all safely up to the mission station.

Jeff said that around 40 guys showed up to help clear away the graun bruk. This was a huge blessing-the last several times he’s had little or no help.

Thanks for your continued prayers as we wrap things up over the next few days!

Elizabeth Owens

Last days before furlough

18 February 2013

Dear praying friends,

I just wanted to write quickly with a special prayer request and also to ask your prayers for our last few days in Kiari before we leave for furlough and the birth of our baby. Lord willing we will be getting on the chopper in only 10 days-Wednesday, Feb. 27th. Much remains to be done-Jeff will be preaching 3 more times and I will be teaching Sunday School once more; Jeff has made grates that still need to be installed over our windows; we need to finish packing up our house and getting all of our belongings in order; and most time-consuming of all are the goodbyes-people constantly coming to our gate to give or sell us souveneirs and food but really most of all just to “story”. Please pray that the Lord will help us to maintain a balance and right priorities through these last days, and that He will help us to be looking for and take advantage of opportunities to share the gospel with our many unsaved friends here in Kensa.

The special prayer request is one you can pray for right this minute. We have saved up a large load of things to take up to the mission station at the last minute in order to impress on folks’ minds that there’s nothing left in our house to make it worth breaking in while we’re gone. J However, this past week there was a decent-sized “graun bruk” (landslide) that covered part of the road between here and the mission station. Clearing the graun bruk is a lot of work, but when he went to check it out Jeff also noticed that just beyond it there are large cracks along 20-25 feet of the road right up next to the mountain wall, a telltale sign that the whole road is about to go down in that spot. Yesterday our coworker Karen also told me that when she walked by that place in the rain, all the water was pouring down into a big hole and disappearing (evidently running under the road). Today Jeff has gone to hopefully clear the graun bruk and get the carload of stuff, plus our luggage, up to the station before the road goes down. Would you please join us in praying for wisdom for him, and even that if the road is already too weak to hold the car, the Lord will just have it go on down before Jeff tries to drive across, and preferably even before he and many other men go through all the work to clear the graun bruk? We would obviously like to get the car and its load up to the station; if the road went out first it would be a good bit of work to carry everything even just from that point, and then the car would have to be left for at least a couple of weeks in a rather insecure location; but I feel so strongly and think you would agree that Jeff’s life and health-any driver’s, for that matter-is infinitely more important and valuable than that car (especially if you know anything about the poor old car I’m talking about!) and any amount of extra work that might be involved.

As I lay awake last night worrying about the whole thing I had to counsel myself-“I believe that God is good. He is infinitely wise and powerful and loving. I believe that His plan for my life is the very best and most loving that could be. I believe that He hears my prayers and that He will providentially have people read the blog post I am going to send out-even on a Sunday night-and that He will prompt some to actually pray about this and will hear those prayers too. I believe that He will even sometimes change His mind about what will happen based on His children’s prayers, but regardless of His answer, I believe whatever happens will be His good and perfect will.” Then I had to ask myself, “Do I REALLY believe that?” My heart’s immediate response was a confident “Yes”, but remembering the Bible’s teaching on the deceitfulness of our hearts (even as believers) I had to change it to a more realistic, “I believe; help Thou mine unbelief” (because is not my worry the very surest sign of unbelief?). So. you can pray for me too, that I will trust the Lord as I work today and listen for the car coming back either to stay or to get the load of stuff!

And as I finished that paragraph, sure enough there came the car. Jeff had only been gone a couple of hours but said there was a whole army of guys digging and they would probably be done clearing the graun bruk by the time he got back with the stuff. So, he loaded everything up and is at this moment tying down the load and getting ready to go. So right now, please pray that he’ll make it safely across!!! I’ll hopefully let you know in a couple of hours that he did! But. whatever happens, remember (and remind me). God is good!

Elizabeth Owens