Monday, July 2, 2012
A few more details
Well, we got the official word from our sending churches that they are on board with us joining the Hewa work, so I thought I would share a few more details about the Hewa people and how we got to this point.
We are actually leaving our team and joining one couple who are already in there (remember the house 3N1 helped move- it is those people). They are the Kopf family and they are awesome. This latest move was the 3rd time they have done so as missionaries to the Hewa people. The first was because of safety reasons, and the second was because the people were moving to a place where they could build an airstrip. The crazy thing about these moves, however, is that with each different place, the dialect of the Hewa language changes. This time it has changed so much that they are starting all over again to learn the language. And before we committed to join them, they were going to do it all by themselves. God not only gave us a burden for the Hewa people, but also for the Kopfs. They needed help, and we feel privileged to be the ones to help them. There might also be another family joining us as well, but they just got to PNG and have to finish their Pidgin study first. They are also amazing, and we would be totally blessed to serve alongside them. There are mostly believers in this particular village that we will help teach and disciple and will eventually go with them to reach other villages in the Hewa language group.
It was a tough decision to leave our previous team, but it actually came about by one of our team members asking us to pray about going to Hewa. The team was considering going to one of the other Hewa villages that have such a different dialect than the one where we will be that the people cannot even communicate with each other. As we began to pray, the Lord showed us that it would be totally unbalanced to put 7 or 8 missionaries in a new village while leaving the Kopf family to work all by themselves. At this point we are not sure they will even be going to that other Hewa village, but we know the Lord used that idea to get us to this point.
This area is not only new to us, but also new to the tribal people. They are clearing land for gardens and houses just like we will. This is where my house is going. :)
This is a baby cassowary bird it belongs to one of the Hewa families and lives in the village. If you google "cassowary" you will see how crazy it is to have one of these for a pet. Although, it is really being raised more as a food than a pet. Once it gets big enough to be dangerous it will become dinner.
And I could really tell you so much from this picture. Notice the backsides of all the guys. Yes that is a bunch of leaves. In PNG it is known as "as gras", and yes "as" means ass. Just throwing that out there. Anyway, so this is the style of the people in the Central Ranges. Don't feel bad about laughing. They think your skinny jeans look stupid and are laughing at you too, so you're even.
Also, in the above picture are many young ladies. Beautiful, precious girls who are very shy and very hard working. Some of them will be marked, hunted, and then killed as witches. You see the Hewa are animists who believe that spirits control everything around them. They also believe that some can control or manipulate those spirits, so when someone gets sick or has an accident there is always someone to blame. It is a sad, but true fact. The gospel is helping to slow this down, but there are many different Hewa villages that have yet to be reached.
So pray for us as we begin this work and for our new teammates and neighbors. If the above statement does not give you the sense of urgency of the task we have ahead, then I don't know what will. Your prayers will be essential to us! We know that the Lord has been preparing us for this very exciting, terrifying, difficult, and amazing journey ahead, and we are ready to dive in deep!