Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pastor Ruth and her children...

A while back Kathy Radcliffe asked me if I would be willing to help her teach the Children's Church for Immanuel Church of the Nazarene (on station) with her once a month.  I agreed, mostly because I thought my kids would enjoy helping with me and it would force me to REALLY work on my Pidgin.

We were a bit surprised at our first lesson based on Acts 6:1-7 where the Apostles appoint 7 men to help distribute food to the widows.  This is not necessarily a lesson that I have ever taught to kids before, but it is what we were given so we jumped in with the songs, the story, special items (where my kids made me proud by standing up and sharing some of their memory verses!), a little skit, a memory verse, a game and a coloring page that went with the story.  It wasn't perfect, but we made it through and we were pleased with a good start.

A week later Kathy called me again and asked if I would consider going with them to a church near Minj (about 15-20 minutes away) and doing our children's church lesson for a church there that has quite a few aids orphans.  We don't often go out to bush churches because they can be quite a distance away over pretty horrible roads (we have discovered that 2 of our children are prone to car sickness in PNG) and the services can sometimes last hours.  Anyway, since this was a kids lesson and it was close by everyone in the family was agreeable to go.

Kathy making introductions to Pastor Ruth
I don't know if it was interest in this "orphan" church or the close proximity to station, but we ended up taking a group of about 18 missionaries & volunteers in 2 cars.  We had a bit of trouble finding the place, but when we arrived we were greeted by Pastor Ruth and Stephen Tikgne.  They led us down to where the congregation was meeting under a ripped blue tarp sitting on mats or logs laid out as benches.  Of course they had set up the nice benches on the sides for the honored missionary guests to sit on.  There were about 40 kids and 20 adults when we arrived and  the service started with some of the men leading us in song.  After this some of the local NYI (young people) sang a special song let by a blind young man playing the guitar.  Then they turned the service over to us.  We did greetings, Jim Radcliffe shared and played his trumpet, and then we started the "kid" part of the morning off with a little puppet show to some recorded kids music (iPod are a great evangelistic tool!)  From there we did the rest of our lesson and then added a presentation of how to tell the Good News using the PNG flag.  It was a great service.  
The NYI Special Song
The Goossens girls share some memory verses.
The Puppet Show was a big hit!
Learning how to use the PNG flag to tell others of the Good News!
Afterwards we were taken on a tour of the housing and cookhouse for the orphans, the HIV/AIDS training center and the new church building they are working on.  We also heard her story and about the work she is doing at this location near Minj.

Ruth runs a Care Center where people infected with HIV can come and learn about living with HIV, where to get medicines and how to take them. We met this young lady who is staying there right now after having just had her baby at Kudjip.  She was praising the Lord because her baby is not HIV+.
The HIV/AIDS Care Center Housing and a the new mama
They have also been caring for AIDS orphans in the area. Ruth says that she has cared for almost 150 orphans since she started this ministry. She has been able to get over 100 placed back in the community or with their lain (tribe) and currently has around 46 children that she and her volunteers care for.  She has over 40 volunteers who rotate through, with 6 needed at a time to meet the needs of the children.  The ministry is supported by the Minj Circuit Nazarene Churches, the salary from her husband Stephen's job as plumber & carpenter for the nearby government high school and food from their gardens. 
Emma and some new friends
The Headmaster of the nearby Minj Ti school is very supportive of Ruth and her ministry to the orphans, on the first day of school he came and escorted the 17 school children to their classes. 
The Headmaster, Ruth & Stephen
What an amazing ministry by two average people willing to let God use them to show love to others in an extraordinary way!  After hearing about their ministry, the lesson of appointing respectable men to help in feeding the widows (and I am guessing orphans too!) made a lot more sense.  Funny how God has a way of orchestrating these things!

"Yumi mas tingting long ol pikinini, papamama bilong ol i dai pinis, na yumi mas helpim ol long karim ol hevi bilong ol." Jems 1:27

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