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April 2017

“I no yet.” “I no yet.” “I no yet.” (“Nothing’s happening yet”) was the continuous mantra from the hospital staff as several of us stood watch overnight (March 27th) waiting not so patiently for our dear friend Rosie to deliver her twins.

I’ll spare you most of the specifics of the prolonged unproductive labour and eventual grisly delivery other than to say if anything could go wrong, it did. The live birth of twin #1 was the decided bright spot of the ordeal and that was accomplished only by last ditch traumatic techniques by the hospital staff. After numerous further unsuccessful attempts to deliver twin #2, a C-section was the only viable option.

 

Much of Rosie’s ability to endure can be credited to another of our employees, Lisa. Rosie had already been in the delivery ward for about 12 hours before Lisa came. From the point of her arrival on, Lisa spent most of her time with Rosie, giving physical support as possible, but also emotional and spiritual encouragement, reminding her of promises from God’s Word and praying with and for her. All Rosie wanted to do was die – and with her haemoglobin at only 4, and unavailability of some reagent needed for typing and cross matching blood, death seemed all too likely. By the time the on-call operating room crew could be rounded up and Rosie was wheeled into the OR, few of us thought she could survive.

24 hours after her admission Rosie was finally brought from the OR to the ward, accompanied by a small bundle wrapped in green hospital sheets. A strip of white gauze bandaging draped across the packet indicated that twin 2 swaddled inside had not survived. Rosie was thankfully not conscious for that bit of drama. In fact, under strict orders from her family and the hospital staff, Rosie was blatantly lied to (by all but us) over the next days and told both babies were in the nursery.

But she’s the Mama. She “knew.”

One of the missionaries finally broke protocol and told Rosie the truth. Baby #1 was safe in the nursery, a very strong little fellow. Twin 2 was secure with Jesus – and possibly even being snuggled by our dear friend Toni who entered glory 2 years ago. That possibly fabricated tidbit brought comfort and smiles to Rosie’s face -- and a definite end to her agonized state of mind, wondering if she really was being told the truth.

From the time she had learned that she was having twins she has said, “If God gives me 2 babies, He’s good. If He gives me only one baby, He’s good. If He gives me no babies, He is still good.” Rosie had set her heart to accept whatever God had for her and she has stuck by that resolve. Her acceptance of her loss reflects that God is good. No matter what. Her life has certainly radiated that even thru her pain, suffering, grief and loss.

The fact that Rosie is alive today is a miracle and a decided blessing from God to all of us who know and love her. My sincere and grateful thanks to those of YOU who have prayed for her this past month. God has heard and answered.

Switching gears: Rosie was only 2 days into motherhood when I had to leave town for a literacy workshop. The total shift of gears was taxing. Even more so was the introduction to the new computer program that will facilitate creation of literacy materials! An awesome program! but for technologically challenged people like me – oh my. Here again is irrefutable proof, God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. When I am most weak, that is when His strength can best shine thru.

 

The program in a nutshell: once text data is entered, the new literacy program can do in mere seconds what we used to spend days laboriously doing by sight, meticulously reading thru text materials, counting occurrences of each letter, noting syllable patterns, recording findings with pen and paper, and arduously straining our brains to come up with words using only the limited letters that were introduced for the initial “stories.” Though challenging for old-timers like me to learn, it is ever so enticing to persevere and conquer! I cannot wait to understand enough that (in my “spare time”) I can enter May River Iwam text files into the program and run thru the process to see where our Primer lessons really stand in accuracy, adherence to the “rules,” what could be added to the stories, what should be deleted, etc. Not that I think our materials need revised! It will just help me tremendously to work at learning the program using a language I know before going to help new teams of missionaries create primers for their language groups!

We as consultants also talked about our Post Literacy programs, prefaced by the question, “How many books did YOU read before you read the Bible?” Missionaries can get so caught up in moving from their initial literacy classes into writing Bible lessons, teaching God’s Word and translating scripture that often creating transitional reading materials for our newly literate PNG friends can easily be overlooked. When students finish the 4-6 month literacy courses, they desperately need ongoing access to graded reading materials, moving them from simple stories into more complex resources. (Think about it. Could you have read and understood the Bible after only 4-6 months of school?) Such graded reading materials help to bring them from being merely literate to being really fluent readers, with the ability to read with appropriate speed and smoothness for their own and their audiences’ comprehension and enjoyment, with correct pronunciations, adding the proper inflections, etc.

We have been so blessed to have our International Literacy Consultants Jerry and Joyce McDaniels from our head NTM office in Sanford FL here with us to guide us thru learning this process. No matter how many times I got “lost” in the program, they were always there to patiently help get me back on track. Thank you, Joyce & Jerry!

Some related and “other” prayer needs:

  • Back to our dear Rosie: Rosie was released from the hospital right after my return from the Literacy workshop so I was not able to see her again until today – 9 days post-delivery. We visited mwith her at the settlement where she & Rex live with Rex’s family. Rosie still has double vision in her right eye (I have no idea why) though her left eye she says is getting better. She has trouble walking – partly from post-surgical pain but also from the vision problems. Please do be praying with us for her complete healing and that her vision will return to normal soon!
  • Shortly after our visit today an incident occurred – someone spit beetle nut on the settlement ground, angering a couple of youths from the community. They challenged the offender. A fight broke out with the youths cutting the offender, then fleeing for their lives. Consequently the settlement is under threat of being burned to the ground. Rosie, Rex and son are here at our mission centre for the time being waiting to see what will happen. Other family members have dispersed elsewhere. Threatening to burn down a whole neighbourhood over such a dispute is the traditional mode for handling such offenses, especially if death occurs. (It is not known how seriously the man was injured.) As stated – such threats are the norm – and sometimes are actually carried out. Your prayers will be greatly appreciated over the coming few days until this can somehow be resolved.
  • Lisa’s (pictured earlier) nephew and a local pastor, plus 2 other men are lost at sea. They were last heard from over a week ago. Searches have taken place but their fate is totally unknown. Please be in prayer for Lisa’s nephew Sailor, Pastor Graham and the other 2 men with them. Also please pray for their families as they wait without knowing how or when this might end.


Such is the “norm” for our PNG brothers and sisters in Christ. My thanks to you for the privilege of living and working among them, attempting to help them carry such burdens and trust God – no matter what. This is easy for me, with my simple life, to say. Local Christians like Rosie and Lisa far outshine me in their confidence in God through such tumultuous times. You will be blessed to get to meet them one day – when we all stand before God’s throne! Until then …..

Co-labouring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp


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Contact information:

Field Address: Hope Sharp, New Tribes Mission, P.O. Box 625, Wewak, ESP  531 PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Business address:  New Tribes Mission, 312 W 1st St., Sanford, FL 32771 USA. 

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