As the SPES team looks back on 2014 and before, our hearts are overflowing with thanksgiving.
SPES became a reality in 2010 after missionaries felt an increasing burden for reaching the last one hundred languages with no scripture in the Sepik region and dared to dream a dream. We are grateful for those who dreamed that dream and for the opportunity to be part of seeing those last hundred languages hear some of God’s talk.
The size of the team has changed several times since 2010, but we are thankful that God can use us, no matter how many or how few, no matter our abilities, to get His Word to others. We are also blessed to have a new couple joining our team in the next couple months. We look forward to seeing how their gifts and abilities can be used to help further kingdom work.
As we have begun to engage with new language groups, we give thanks for good health and safety. We don’t take that for granted. There has been a considerable amount of hiking the jungles and trekking the rivers by canoe as the team seeks to engage with more language groups. After these trips, muscles are tired, bodies are weary, and minds need a little time to recover, but the resolve is there to go back out and do it again.
A first step to engaging with new groups is teaching Oral Bible Storytelling. We are thankful for the Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) trainers who completed their training in September 2013. This was a first as the SPES team began using Papua New Guineans to take on most of the training aspects of the OBS workshops. They have exceeded our expectations and are truly part of our team. Without them, OBS would not be a reality. The trainers from that first cluster have been hard at work in 2014 teaching and mentoring a total of eleven language groups in OBS. One group has completed their first three workshops and the other has finished two workshops.
It has been a blessing to work with the two clusters that are currently doing OBS. In spite of the fact that storytelling is an innate part of their culture, telling Bible stories in this manner is all new. It is often a struggle when they begin to learn the process, but it has been exciting to see participants grow as storytellers, as well as in their walks with the Lord. We never tire of seeing God’s Word change someone’s life.
Hearts are filled with gratitude for those who pray for the SPES team and the language groups of the Sepik and support it in other ways as well. Prayer covering is vital to the work moving ahead. Because of the much wider team, nearly a dozen language groups in the Sepik will hear the Christmas story in a language they understand well for the first time this year. Rejoice with us!