August 2016

Once again, the update idea index is empty …. But wait! I haven’t elaborated much about finance duties of late, have I? This month has had its moments. As you know from my frequent previous complaints laments, math is among my many weak areas. That makes it all the more obvious that if something gets done RIGHT it’s certainly all God’s doing! Evidence of that was too clear to miss one day this past month……

A BIG bill came in to be paid to a local businessman - Mr. S and his transport company who were hired to convey cargo (food, house repair materials, other supplies) to a team of our missionaries living along one of the many regional rivers. I scanned and e-mailed the invoice to the missionary for confirmation that the listed details were accurate. He immediately e-mailed back saying No, the invoice was wrong. They were charging for 3 drums of outboard motor fuel for hauling the load of cargo to their village, but in fact the boat crew had had only 2 drums on board. Would I please call Mr. S and have him rewrite the invoice.

Welcome to another of my weak areas – 2 in fact: hearing clearly and talking on the telephone (NOT my forte) and speaking in Melanesian Pidgin to a local business man. Mr. S was congenial and explained very patiently (about a zillion times) that the invoice as written was indeed accurate, 3 drums were taken along but the boat crew had “rausim wanpela drum long we.” Now in English that phrase could mean:

  • They offloaded a drum of fuel at a place called We
  • They offloaded a drum of fuel far from the village
  • They offloaded a drum of fuel somewhere along the way

I obviously was floundering.

  • Whose fuel? The company’s fuel? The missionary’s fuel?
  • Would they go back and get the fuel? If so, would they deliver it to the missionary?
  • Why didn’t they take the 3rd drum to the missionary’s village?

To all these questions Mr. S very patiently reiterated “Ol i rausim wanpela drum long we.” Every question I asked him had that same answer …… “Ol i rausim wanpela drum long we.”

Well, God was on in on the conversation too and ultimately brought the “duh” moment to my thinking. “O,” I blurted out to Mr. S, “Yu tok long HEVI bilong dispela drum, ah!” – “You’re talking about the weight of the drum (of fuel), ah!” Yep. The 3rd drum of fuel WAS indeed needed to complete the full round trip river run, but it was too heavy to take all the way to the missionary’s village. The boat crew had left the drum somewhere along the way and picked it up on their return journey so that they would have enough fuel to get all the way home. I’m not sure who was more relieved at my finally enlightened understanding – Mr. S or me!

After confirming the accuracy of the invoice with missionary came to the dreaded part of the deal – preparing the payment packet. Our petty cash box was healthy BUT a bill that size would pretty much deplete our large denomination bills – leaving just the little stuff for meeting the next day’s fortnight payroll. Since the missionary who normally does our bank runs was out of town, I was not overjoyed at giving up that much in large denomination notes, and the smaller denomination bills have been all too
hard (sometimes impossible) to come by of late. Finally though the painful part of the transaction was done, the payment ready, and all the info entered into the digital petty cash register. I could but sigh and feel only a bit less trepidation – oh, me of little faith.

Just then – literally - the exact moment I finished -- another missionary walked in the door accompanied by several national men. They had come to pay for an outboard motor they were buying from a missionary team and thus handed me a large bundle of cash – in fact! -- all in the right denomination bills! Wow! Talk about being convicted for doubting! God’s timing is always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS perfect!

After doing the paperwork to credit that payment to the correct account, I joyfully redid the packet for Mr. S, switching out the needed smaller notes for the bigger bills. With a few keystrokes the digital petty cash log was updated reclaiming the smaller ones!

This whole event caused me to stop and ponder God’s perfect timing and other past occasions when His intervention has been equally as obvious. He’s certainly provided enough lessons over the years that I should never ever succumb to turmoil and doubt. Another of my many weaknesses – I am a very slow learner. Please pray that I will
grow to trust God more and reflect confidence in Him instead of frustration in challenging situations!

Thanks to your prayers though most of the routine finance work has been going smoothly. There are still frequent challenges – I’ll spare you more details – but God always goes before to work out what to do when those pesky predicaments arise! Your continuing prayers will be MUCH appreciated! Only 8 months to go before Beth returns to
take over in the finance office again!

A few more matters for prayer besides wisdom and accuracy with finance duties:

  • Missionaries and their language helpers from several newer tribal works are in town for 2 weeks to participate in an “Introduction to Translation” workshop. Pray for Jason Stuart and Lisa Kappeler as they train the missionaries, and for Waxe tribal Christians Alex, Adrian and 2 other PNG Christian men from the Yagaria tribe as they present translation work to the tribal folks who will be assisting the missionaries.
  • Two Iteri men – Abau and Anton – are in town as Anton needs to be admitted to the local hospital for abdominal problems, possibly liver problems or an enlarged spleen. These 2 men are also believers heading up the local church in their language group. Pray as they rub shoulders with Alex, Adrian and the other mature national Christians that this will be an encouragement to all.

Again my thanks for your part in allowing me to still be in PNG and active in the work God has for us here. The first years were focused on one tribe. Now with your continuing care we are working together to see the Good News of Jesus reaching into many tribal areas. Your prayers and other evidences of support are greatly appreciated!

Co-laboring together 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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