Within the next 3 months I am trying to arrange funding to install electricity into the Samuel dorm so the kids can study at night. You can see them trying to study by flashlight, but that is not so great (and gnats gather around your face with the headlamps).
—60-plus students in Fuau who would not otherwise be educated, plus teachers Andika, Nia, Albertina.
—Scholarships/school fees for 15 students.
–Medic Maikel servicing dozens up north.
–About one medivac/hospitalization every month. We’ve helped out 3 in the past 6 weeks.
Plus other efforts.
Meiron’s wife survived!
And she is now recovering and Meiron is ready to return to Papua to open a school among the Fayu.
We supported Meiron through school. He married and his wife stayed put on their island after marriage because he could not pay the bride-price. She was expecting and grew critical during her pregnancy (probably eclampsia) and the docs said she was going to die.
We evacuated Meiron from a remote jungle survey he was on three weeks ago and flew him out of Papua to be with her before she died.
We expected the worst.
The docs delivered the baby by c-section and she survived. She began to improve as soon as the baby was delivered.
He was able to see his healthy baby the next day.
She is now recovering and he is ready to return to Papua to open a school at his post among the remote Fayu tribe in the western Mamberamo River region.
Below is a pic of a typical house and the broken-down church building and the children of Foida where he desires to open a school.
His education and transport has all been paid by your generous donations. He needs tickets back to Papua and perhaps a little money for the wife and new child.
Of the two other evangelists first trained by us, Harun died last month and Rudy almost died before we evacuated him to a hospital in town.
The passing of a giant:
Pastor Yohanes Erelak passed away this week.
He was about 74 and spent his life opening up difficult areas in some of the most remote corners of Papua. After almost dying from an illness in middle age, he recommitted himself to opening the Northern Korowai area and lived for long periods of time in a treehouse (months) with inadequate food and without radio communication.
He helped open Danowage village in 2005 and then he and the Korowai landowners invited me in to live there with them in 2007.
We now have baptized believers, a church, a school, a clinic, a dorm, a runway, and young local men heading to higher education.
His life was threatened many times and he’s suffered much hardship to open this northern region.
And he did this all in his 60s! After opening a similar area to the south in his younger days.
I remember sitting for long hours with him in a canoe, my own back and legs being so sore at age 35 or so. And hiking hours with him through swamp. And climbing up into treehouses with him, he slowly ascending the treacherous ladder. He’d be so tired he’d fall asleep mid-sentence when sitting to rest, and yet he’d keep hiking and visiting new treehouses the next day.
He did things such as take chickens and tree saplings and fruit seeds to all the different villages and gave me the idea to do the same to help aid the villages. He sought transformation of the region, and this transformation is now happening.
He has lived in my home. We’ve hiked and camped together. He is a pioneer and a spiritual father to both me and the Northern Korowai.
May his name be remembered fondly forever.
It is a great privilege to have known this man and to have worked with him.
“…they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
UPDATE WHILE WRITING THIS PRAYER LETTER:
Pastor Yohanes Erelak, pioneer father to the Northern Korowai, was buried today in Merauke. My co-worker Ribka Arung Langi put in a call expressing our condolences to the widow and we are trying to help arrange transport and funds so that the Korowai landowners can go grieve at his grave in Merauke and we will give a love-gift to the widow. Acting pastor of Danowage, Jimmy Weyato, who was recruited by Pastor Erelak, will lead this group to go grieve.
A new project:
I have been given land to build a dorm in town, too:
Last year we built the dorm interior. This helps the younger Korowai kids. This year we need another in town to help the older kids.
Strange as it sounds, children who grew up wearing leaves in the jungle when we entered are now entering high school and college and bible school and updating me via Facebook.
These Korowai young men were mentored by Pastor Nahum and his wife. They are Esau, Musa and Manu. They work In different areas now, evangelist, mechanic, teacher. This year Me and Pastor Nahum and his wife Magdalena will build a house that can be used by 20-plus Korowai and other kids from interior Papua who want to take college and high school in town but who are homeless.
Pastor Nahum is donating the land and a place for the bathroom and garden. I will build the building.
They will be educated with godly character by Magdalena and Pastor Nahum who is a long-time friend who used to chase lizards with me and Noah and who often advise the evangelists Jimmy and Perin. They’ve been long-time friends and supporters of the Northern Korowai efforts.
On the right, Manu is now an evangelist and passed bible school and Musa was baptized by me, but is unfit for ministry but remains useful with his hands and Esau is also very smart.
Please help me gather funds to build this housing unit.
“Dan dahulu hanya 20% anak saja yang bisa membaca, sekarang hanya 20% saja anak yang tidak bisa membaca.”
At first, only 20% of children could read, now only 20% of children cannot read.
—-Teacher Andika (above) reflecting on his 2 years among the Fuau tribe.
I retired from the Army in 1994 and lost my way in the world. I ended up in prison and it was truly the best thing that could have happened. There Christ rescued me from my depravity (John 3:19) and made me whole again. Since my release in 2006 I have worked in some form of ministry, either prison or construction/disaster relief and sometimes both.
My lovely wife Naida and I serve as Missionaries from Pioneer Valley Baptist Church, Chicopee, MA. We are currently headquartered in Jackson, MS. We were sent to the mission field in 2012 to help Rebuild Lakeshore, a ministry of Lakeshore Baptist Church in Lakeshore, MS complete its post Katrina building projects. We had been serving there part time for many years before being called into full time service. While there my wife worked the Mercy House distribution center and I worked as project manager/volunteer coordinator also serving as Sr. Volunteer Chaplain at the local Hancock county jail.
Since completing that project in late 2015 we relocated to Jackson MS to assist a church there that had come to help in Lakeshore many times. But due to many circumstances the focus for the ministry has changed some and expanded over the past 24 months. We still help churches in their building projects and do a lot of disaster relief work. For a full list of what we offer please see the SERVICES OFFERED page on our Faith Builders site.
Back in 2006 I started Faithful Steward Ministries and FSM Women’s Outreach a Christian outreach ministry; to those with addictions, incarcerated and our veterans we continue to write and mentor these folks. Additionally I am a Chaplain for Mission M25 Network on Run For the Wall and for two military organizations.
Between us my wife and I have two beautiful daughters 3 sons and 11 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.
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