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Arrival

Despite some drama regarding Chris's visa while transiting through Australia and temporarily missing luggage, Chris, Brandon & Rebecca made it safely to Goroka late afternoon on May 31st.   That next morning they were joined by Joey Tartaglia and the foursome boarded for the last leg of the journey into Mibu. Due to helicopter unavailability they flew to a nearby airstrip where they met with Wycliffe Bible Translator's helicopter and from there were flown the short hop into Mibu.  Upon arrival, many had heard of the traveling difficulties experienced earlier and were expressing their joy that prayers had been answered with a safe arrival.  Over the last week some needed maintenance on the house was undertaken as we also made final preparations for the elder appointment ceremony on Sunday.


 

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Meeting Janisches in LA as we await our flight to Australia

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After finally arriving in Mibu, we were greeted by many very excited Mibus.  Chris "accidentally" mistakes Lucas for a piece of luggage and proceeds to carry him half-way to the house from the Helicopter.

Appointment Preparation

Throughout the week we spent time fasting, praying, meeting and discussing God's appointment of these three men.  Brandon & Rebecca spent the week working with a number of Mibus digging on the upper section of the airstrip.  Last Monday one of the four men withdrew from the appointment after issues in his life came to light.  Disappointments aside, after spending some time with him throughout the week everyone we has been so very thankful for his attitude throughout this withdrawal.   We have been expressing our thanks to God for being so very active in the process of selecting these men.   In the last several weeks Geoff has been leading  a group of over a dozen potential elders through a Bible study on cultivating unity among an elder team.   This was a resource that Chris was able to translate while on furlough so it was a joy to see how soberly and joyously the men were receiving and discussing this resource even if it's at the tail end of the Bible study.  On Wednesday the helicopter arrived again, this time bringing 3 more people to come and be a part of the appointment process.  Bill Michaud as NTM's church liaison came representing NTM PNG leadership's support, John Smith a videographer from New Zealand came with an array of gear to capture photos & video with the hope of making a documentary of the event available in the coming weeks or months, Lord willing.  Also, Joel Kemaya the lead pastor of Bena Bridge church in Goroka came to take part and spend time with the believers here and encourage them as they move forward into maturity as a church.   Then Saturday night just before the appointment services on Sunday churches from throughout the area met for an all-night celebration of singing & dancing that went from 11:25pm to dawn Sunday morning.

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Worship & Celebration - Mibu Style

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Mibu Elders Left to Right: Patrick, Moombi & Lucas


Appointment Ceremony

Church services started a little earlier than normal.  The elders to be appointed, the missionaries and the special guests were all seated in seats of honor while a large group dressed in traditional decorative clothing sang a worship song.  Then after prayer we were lead into the church with a drums, guitars & singing.  The new elders, missionaries and special guests were seated up front, then after them the other leaders.  The church was so full there wasn't enough room for everyone so others stood outside the church looking in.  Joey Tartaglia stood and gave a recounting of the history of how the missionary team was formed and how the Gospel was taught and received by the Mibus.  Geoff then gave a series of Biblical challenges, some directed to the church body and others directed to the new elders.   Major themes of unity, humility, tender care, respect and vigilance against error were stressed. Then Chris stood and gave a recounting of Biblical examples of laying on of hands as found in Acts, stressing that this event was not a passing of power from the missionaries to the new elders, but a identification with and recognition that the Holy Spirit has already shown Himself evident in their lives and ministries.  Also mentioning the principles of taking this event seriously through much fasting and prayer.  Afterwards  Bill Michaud speaking in Tok Pisin encouraged the congregation with Paul's prayer as found in Ephesians that the believers would come to know the breadth and depth of Christs's love.  Then he prayed as the missionaries, church leadership and congregation all laid hands on the elders.  Afterwards, Chris played and translated a video of support from the elders of Calvary Church of Wayland which was very enthusiastically received.   During the video at one point Jim Wobma (an elder of Calvary Church of Wayland) mentioned that it may be that while on earth they may never meet the Mibus, however all the elders at Calvary look forward to meeting them in heaven.. at this the entire church rang out in excited appreciation.  After this Joel Kemaya shared of Paul's last parting words to the Ephesian church at the closing of the book of Acts.  He encouraged the Mibu church stating that as the missionaries labor among them draws to a close, the torch is now being passed on to the Mibu church, and with God's help they will stand strong from generation to generation.   At this then the services were closed with some more songs and prayer.   What a momentous day, so very thankful that we have reached this major milestone in the maturity of the church and looking forward to this new phase of ministry ahead of us.

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Snapshot of the laying on of hands Sunday,

Update on Jael
We are pleased to announced that all the funds Jael & Rachael need for their trip to China this summer have been raised!  It is such a joy to see our children trust God to lead them independantly from us and to see Him working through so many that step into the gap and add support to His leading.  Thank you so much all of you for your prayers and support in this way!

As Unto Him,

The Walkers (Chris, Angie, Jael, Baruch & Titus)

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Chris Walker
Church Planting Among the Mibu People of North-Central Papua New Guinea
4715 18th Street
Byron Center Michigan 49315
Cell - 616-834-6816 (Chris)
Cell - 616-834-6820 (Angie)

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