Monday, August 17, 2015

Sick in the Jungle

When you get sick in the jungle it is really…interesting. There are several things you know to look for and several things you know how to treat and when you do those things and it doesn't work you have to get some outside help. Your goal is to get outside help via email or the short wave radio. What you don't want is to have to leave the tribe to get outside help.

Yesterday, I wanted to talk to the doctor over the radio because our email was not working very well. However, the doctor's radio was broken, so I tried to call him on our satellite phone. The satellite phone wouldn't connect. Very frustrating. Email finally worked, and the doctor asked us some questions and suggested a few things, but nothing seemed to really point to a clear diagnosis, so after much frustration I decided that we should just go ahead and plan to fly out of the tribe for John Michael to see the doctor since email wasn't really helping either of us out.

So, my husband is not and was not ever dying. I wrote a few people just to tell them that John Michael was sick, and I have given all the medicine I know to give because I am not a doctor. I asked for prayer because I didn't want to spend the money and do the work it would take to leave the village. I meant we were out of options ***IN THE TRIBE*** not out of options for John Michael's life. And because it is hard to communicate clearly over email (see the paragraph above) it got really blown out of proportion and somehow people thought my husband was dying.

He was never close to dying. Ok, maybe once after the third night of him being up all night with fevers, moaning and groaning and waking me up to tell him how bad he felt, he came close to dying…if you know what I'm saying. Wives, if you've ever treated the "man flu" then you know what I'm saying…

Anyway, he's fine. We think he has something called Dengue Fever which is not fatal, but will have him feeling like he has the flu for a few weeks.

We're still going to leave the tribe tomorrow (we were supposed to leave today, but there were issues with the plane) because I packed up this whole house, and gave all my good food away- my white potatoes, my passionfruit- it's all in a Hewa person's belly now, so we're headed out.

I promise as soon as we get out to internet land tomorrow I will post a picture of my very much alive husband!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Quick Update

We learned yesterday that the police flew into the village where the two women were recently killed and arrested one person involved in the murder of Yamene and immediately flew back into town to imprison him. Most people here are saying that he is not the actual killer- that his brother pulled the trigger that put the bullet in her chest- but the brother ran into the jungle when he heard the plane flying in. The father of these two brothers is still in the village. Most are saying that he was not actually involved but went along to try to stop his sons. Again, there is not a great way to validate this, we just have to go with what the majority are saying.

We are still uncertain as to why Yamene was killed, but most of the Hewans here still believe it was a revenge killing for the death of Mifila. Because of this, there is a lot of anger and tension that nothing was done to bring justice to Mifila's killers. It is a big mess right now, so please pray for wisdom and calm hearts and heads for all of those who feel they were wronged.

Please also keep in mind that Mifila's killers came from a village that is at least a day's hike away with no airstrip or roads in. It will be very difficult to catch and prosecute them anytime soon, if ever.

Please continue to pray for justice, and for God's truth to shine brightly from this side of the jungle. Pray that their eyes will be opened to the truth and they will see, the same as others have seen, that even though they continually kill "witches" people continue to get sick and die. This is not solving the problem of sickness, pain, and death in the world. Pray that their ears will be opened to hear the truth that Jesus solved that problem for them- not by taking someone else's life, but by giving up His own.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Good News

After months of what seems like nothing but bad news, I'm thrilled to finally have some good news to share... 

John Michael recently had a language evaluation and even though the days before were filled with running around trying to handle every thing he could with the latest witch killing AND even though he had the beginnings of malaria at the time- his test went extremely well. 

The language rating system here goes up to 10 levels and the language consultants put him at around 9.5!! They plan on coming back in November and feel confident that he will be completely done with language study and will be able to assist our co-workers in Bible translation, lesson writing, and teaching. This is an incredible boost of encouragement for us in what has been a really chaotic return from furlough. 
(I still have a long way to go, for those of you who are wondering, but that is pretty normal for a mom who is just working on language part-time). 

 Now for the bad news…well, not actually bad news. I guess it is technically no news. We still don't have any solid info on the recent murder. Many people from our village left to various other villages around us to try to find some answers. As soon as we know something new, we will be sure to send out another update. 

Thank you…all of you…who continue to follow and pray for the Hewa work and ministry. Your prayers humble us, carry us, and connect us with the Father in a unique and precious way. They give us strength and hope to endure each day the Lord brings us. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Witch for a Witch

Still no "real" news about what really happened with Yamene's murder. Our people feel pretty confident, though, that because the murderer was related to Mifila (the woman who was killed in May) that this was a revenge killing. Yesterday as we talked individually with different villagers almost everyone said the same thing…

"Mifila's family asked for help from the police and told them they wouldn't kill in revenge. They would do what is right and wait for the police to come, but now they have waited for a long time and the police didn't come, so they killed Yamene in revenge."

Mifila, pictured here with two of her three children was brutally murdered on May 18th.

Revenge, vengeance, retaliation,  such an ugly words. The purpose simply to inflict the same pain on someone that they inflicted on you. Yet no one is helped or comforted. Another innocent person suffers.  

Revenge doesn't actually seek out the person who committed the crime in the first place. Revenge finds an easy target. Revenge is so easy. It is much easier to just slaughter a defenseless woman right next door than to hike around the jungle to find the actual killers who would probably harm you in the process. No, revenge is easier and safer. 

They were in need of justice. Justice brings resolution. Those who are actually responsible for the crime are held accountable. But justice is hard out here, and is in need of support. 

Of course, we know that the ultimate justice can only come from God. And only He can truly stop this madness. But it is hard to sit back and watch a people who have heard the truth and rejected it continue on in this self-destructive manner. And in all honesty, it would be hard to stay here without personally knowing and connecting with the Hewans here whose hearts have been changed by God and His Word. 

They are the little light. And this little light is slowly drawing people to its Source. People from surrounding villages slowly trickle in to see how and why these people live so differently. Their answer to that question is always, "Jisas". Jesus is why they live differently. Jesus is why they have laid down their axes, guns, bows and arrows when someone dies. Instead they pick up the sword of the spirit and read the truth about why sin and death have entered the world and what God has done to conquer them. 

Thanks to all of you who have emailed us with your kind words of encouragement during this time of frustration, chaos, and tragedy.  We draw our strength from the Lord and from the evidence of His work in this place through the Hewa believers, watching them live our their testimony of faith in this dark and difficult jungle. We hope and pray that they are an encouragement to you as well. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Another Murder

We just learned that there was another murder in our neighboring village of Fiyawena (the village where our co-workers started the Hewa work). A woman named Yamene was killed by a man and his two sons. Right now we have very little information on this and we know it will take several days for us to hear the whole story. 

But one thing we are certain of is this- we are desperate for help in this situation. The police still have not come even though we heard that they were granted the money to do so. The murderers are bolder than ever, feeling confident that they can satisfy their blood lust with zero consequences. 

We are asking you now to pray. Below is a list of the women who we know are marked as witches in that village. As you can see two names are already crossed out. In the last few months we have evacuated 3 families (around 25 people) and none of them are on this list. There are so many…TOO MANY…innocent women and children who are marked in villages all across Hewa territory to evacuate. If there is no intervention from the outside world this will only continue. 

And if anyone is able to find the articles that were posted online regarding these events, please keep sharing them. Please share them and inform people that this is STILL happening and there is STILL no help. Please share the articles again and again. Wear your "I Love Witches" shirts again and again. Be that annoying person who only posts "bad news" on social media. Because that "bad news" is actually a person. People. Many of them. Their names are written below. Help us not have to cross another name off of this list.