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Simbari trip is highlight

We recently returned from our side trip to a Simbari village. What a privilege to see God’s work among the tribal people!

The trip helped us piece together all that we’ve learned at Interface. We’ve studied language and culture, chronological Bible teaching, church planting, discipleship, finances, support ministries and much more. Now we have seen the result: an indigenous first-generation church among a people group that had never heard the Gospel in their own language.

Visiting the Simbaris was, without a doubt, the highlight of our time at Interface. God blessed us with perfect weather the day of our arrival and we were able to get four planes into the village with the team and all of our supplies.

Our tiny plane (one pilot, four passengers) landed on a grass airstrip and taxied up to the missionaries’ front gate. Barring several days of hiking over the mountains, the only way in or out of their location is by plane or helicopter.

Our missionary hosts have worked in the tribe almost 20 years. We spent four days learning about their ministry and seeing their love for the Simbari people. We were surprised, and pleased, to see that they have managed to "rig" many modern conveniences such as refrigeration, bathrooms and electricity through the use of solar panels and generators. These tools help them to focus on their work (currently discipleship and translation) without having to spend all of their time trying to survive in the bush.

The local Simbari church is only a few years old, but around 50 members strong. They welcomed us with open arms as their brothers and sisters in Christ. In spite of the language barrier, we had an instant connection with the believers. We could see the joy on their faces -- especially as they shared their testimonies about coming to know Jesus.

As we worshiped with them on Sunday, two things stood out to me: First, the capable and solid leadership of the Simbari teachers and song leaders. They were well spoken, enthusiastic and grounded in the truth. Though missionaries were needed to bring the Gospel and translate God’s Word, soon they will no longer be necessary for the church to continue.

Second, as I looked around at the many children sitting on the floor of the church, I was amazed to think that these children will know the truth of God’s Word at an early age. Unlike their parents, who grew up in darkness, these children will know about the Light of the world.

I was so thankful that the missionaries were willing to give their lives for the Gospel. Because of their willingness and the work of God through them, I will see the Simbari believers again one day.

We spent Sunday evening with the believers in a little hut, sitting around the campfire. They sang songs in their language and we sang songs in ours. Different cultures, the same great God. I almost hoped that the rain would prevent us from leaving, but when the sun came out the next morning we had to say good-bye.

As I write this update, we are preparing to leave Papua New Guinea in only two days. It is sad to leave Interface, but I am excited to head home and begin thinking and praying about how to use the knowledge we’ve been given. Please pray with us for clarity and discernment as we seek God’s leading.

POSTED ON Jan 28, 2010 by Emily Henard