As we embark on 2016, it is with both excitement and a bit of apprehension. Sometimes we think how simple it would be if we could just see months or years down the road, but then are reminded how that thinking is faulty. How can we really trust God if we know all that is going to happen? How can we rely on Him to guide our steps and plans when we think we already have the plan? This year promises to be one in which we need to trust fully in the One who knows what tomorrow holds.
It is easy to prepare for the workshops already on the schedule. But, there is always the unexpected. Who knew how hard it would be to find consultants for the Lumi Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS) course that starts in under two weeks? After trying for many weeks to find the needed consultants, the third one was finally confirmed late last week. How will the weather be when it is time for the workshop to start? Will the airplane be able to get the participants or will the airstrips be too wet? So many things force us to depend on God. We are expecting nearly fifty participants, as well as twelve trainers and other staff. The logistics have potential for unexpected things to come up.
There will also be personnel changes in the new year. Gary and Denise Abbas will be going on home assignment for about six months to share about SPES with their partners and families. Rocky and Wendy Dede will be more based in Ukarumpa than Wewak this year. There is potential for others returning to Wewak, as well as possibly some new faces. As we deal with many transitions, pray for unity among the team and people to fill all the necessary roles.
Besides OBS, there are a number of other training opportunities that will occur this year. Some of those have been confirmed and others are still in the planning stages. We look forward to the opportunities we will have to share God’s truth with the people of Papua New Guinea and how that can have an impact on individuals and communities.
For the language communities that have already finished OBS, this year will be a time of dialogue to find out if and how these groups want to continue in some kind of translation work. This is probably the area where there are the most unknowns (partly because we are trying to have this phase be community driven), but we know God will direct each group to the plan that best fits their needs.
We also hope to begin engaging with language communities in a new part of the Sepik, so that they are poised for the next intake of OBS. This will involve a fair amount of research regarding different groups, as well as visits to each of the areas. There are still lots of groups that we haven’t worked with, but we want to be hearing where God wants us to go.
Are we ready for what 2016 will hold? We can say yes because we know that God will lead us each step of the way.