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Here are some of the blessings that happened around Christmas here in the village:
Benjamin Luke got his iPad repaired and more Christian movies installed. He is our “hut-bound” evangelist in Mewari village, gladly sharing the Kamea “Jesus Film” with those who visit him. Special thanks to a special friend in the USA who provided this blessing for Ben!
God spared Patricia’s life after giving birth to a new baby girl. A retained placenta and post-partum bleeding nearly took her from us and her dear family. She is the wife of our church’s song leader (and one of my translation helpers), Yali Peter.
In January 2016, That They May Know held its first-ever field conference at Capital City Baptist Church in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
There was special music by the TTMK team and by the missionary ladies during the Sunday morning service at Capital City Baptist Church. CCBC’s new building is still under construction, but what a blessing to see what the Lord is doing there, too!
When you are away from home, it is a blessing when you can return with “fresh eyes.” You see things you don’t usually notice, you gain new perspective on old sights, and you enjoy a fresh view of the familiar.
MENDED IN HEALTH
Lena has recovered well from her surgery. We are so grateful for her surgeon, Dr. Mitch Campbell, who is a great friend as well as a great surgeon. Thanks also go to Dr. Kathie White, whom God has used many times over the years with regard to Lena’s health.
Lena is feeling rested and ready to return to the ministry. Me too! We are so grateful for the ministry of our home church during our stay. Their love and ministering to us has truly refreshed our souls!
And of course, being with our sons and their families was a blessing beyond words. Grandkids are great!
I was privileged to spend four weeks working with students from India and Myanmar, teaching them how to evangelize using the Chronological Bible Storying method. It was exciting to see their enthusiasm!
We also were able to produce a brief video on one of the stories from the Life of Christ. The students did the recording and the production. Pray for this needy area of the world and for the national laborers God is calling to reach their own people.
It was my privilege to be a part of Tyler Nikkel’s ordination service before he and his family left for their new ministry in PNG.
Tyler will be our new pilot and beginning a ministry of church planting. We thank the Lord for the Nikkel family and look forward to serving with them on the field.
MAKING OUR WAY HOME
When you get this, we will almost be home. We plan to spend a week with our son Matt and his wife Becky (and our granddaughters!) in Port Moresby. Their new ministries, Capital City Baptist Church and South Pacific International Academy, are extremely busy for the Lord. We will reconnect with Sarah Glover and her visiting helper, Mary Ann Mast, and meet up with our new nurses, Hannah Bogard and Tiffany Heafner. After buying supplies, picking up medicines, and packing it all up, we will head back to the village.
Pray for each of us as we resume work in translation, mentoring pastors, teaching, and the clinic.
Serving Him in the Field,
John & Lena Allen
Being as dependent as we are on aircraft to get us in and out of the tribe, a sight like this (where we fly at Kanabea airstrip) is our equivalent of Atlanta, Chicago, or LAX. They don’t usually lose our luggage–maybe that’s because we’re the ones who load it 🙂
Jungle. Rain. Mud. Hunger.
Smoky huts. Leaky roofs. Tattered clothes. Bark blankets.
Multitudes of mosquitos. Malarial fevers. Ravaging typhoid. TB encephalitis.
And seizures. Every day.
Many of these things make up the daily lives of the Kamea people. True, there are happy things as well; but for most of our people living in the remote mountains of Gulf Province, these difficulties are a fact of everyday life.
Except for the seizures. That was something Noel alone had to live with all of his life.
Noel’s World Began to Change
When the missionaries moved into Kunai village in 2004, Noel’s grandfather Isaac was one of the landowners. It wasn’t long before Noel, who was hindered by microcephaly (which causes an under-sized cranial cavity), became acquainted with these strangers who now lived among his extended family. Over the years he never grew up much, mentally or physically; but that never stopped him from touching the lives of everyone who ever visited Kotidanga Baptist Mission.
And it wasn’t long before smiling Noel became a fixture at the mission. Once the Kunai clinic opened, almost daily he could be found hanging around with the missionaries, especially the nurses. They loved him unconditionally. They hugged him, and he was always glad to reciprocate. They walked with him to the village market. Many times he accompanied them in the Kawasaki Mule on short trips—and if Noel had his way, he would have gone every time.
In his younger days he earned the moniker, “Naked Noel.” Like many Kamea children, he would scamper about without a stitch of clothes, in complete innocence. When Sister Becky told him he should wear clothes to church, he would bring his trousers and put them on once he got into the building—and when service was finished, he would take them off and scamper out the door.
He loved anything with an engine, anything with a sound he could imitate. Every construction project where we used a generator, Noel would be there, desiring to be the one to turn it off when given the signal. (He would have started it, but his crippled arm couldn’t pull the starter rope.) When the project leader would stand aside, arms folded, pondering the next move, there too would be Noel—standing beside him, arms folded in the same manner, looking as important as he could. Except that he would have a grin. A huge grin.
Noel enjoyed worshipping with the believers at Kotidanga Baptist Church. At times, he would make a grand, slow entrance, just as the songs were being sung. He would look from side to side, as if to make certain everyone saw him, smiling from ear to ear. Some would motion him to sit down and not to disturb, but he often ignored them and made his way to the front where the pastor was sitting. Noel would then sit down on the floor beside the pastor (most people normally sit on the floor anyway), and then put his hand on the pastor while doing his best to sing. Many times before the service was over, he would make his way back to sit with one of the missionaries, usually one of the nurses.
Noel’s Passions in Life
Everyone who knew Noel knew that he had one favorite thing: Helicopters. Because we have a large open area at the mission, and because the missionary helicopter pilots know us, sometimes they will come land at our place to refuel—which puts them not only in our front yard, but in Noel’s front yard. Keeping a safe distance from the twirling blades, Noel would serve as security, keeping the younger children away too.
Once the chopper (or as Noel called them, “sopa”) was shut down, Noel would get as close as he could and look wonderingly at the beautiful, magical aircraft. The pilots all know him, and one day, one of them actually took him for a brief, hovering flight. Ah, Noel! As he would say excitedly, “Sopa! Sopa!”
Would it be too presumptuous to say that he had a favorite nurse? That would be his beloved Setina (Lena). He hung out with her so frequently, both at the clinic and at her home, that most of the nationals called her his “mama.”
How those two loved each other! Many days in the clinic, Lena would give Noel a pen and paper to keep him busy, and he would sit and draw myraids of tiny circles all over the paper—which he would proudly show everyone. Of course, he could never resist being Lena’s assistant as she treated patients, following her from patient to patient. It was there that his inimitable heart of compassion showed through.
Whenever someone was suffering, or if they had a visible, ugly wound, or if a baby was crying, Noel would go and pat them gently, saying, “Äwa, Äwa” (I’m sorry, I’m sorry). How many times we missionaries would be injured, and Noel would rush to us saying, “Äwa, Äwa” until we gave the proper response, “Awa ti, tenkyu Noel” (It’s OK, thank you Noel)—which would usually be followed by a big hug from Noel.
If someone was hitting or fighting with someone else, regardless of the situation, Noel would bravely run into the conflict and try to defend the weaker party. He had a keen sense of justice and mercy.
It was clear to see that Noel’s own suffering informed him of what it felt like to suffer. His own experience of being bullied by other children because of his being different made him especially sensitive to others who were on the receiving end of injustice.
Noel’s Best Day Ever
Noel was plagued with seizures. Lena put him on anti-seizure medication, which helped a lot. But sometimes the medicine wasn’t given properly by his family, and in the last few years his seizures intensified in frequency. Often he would fall into the cooking fire or into the river when having a seizure.
It happened for the last time on Monday morning, May 4, 2015. Noel went to wash at the creek near his home, and it seems he had a seizure. One of our men found his lifeless body in the water a short while later.
Imagine Noel’s surprise when he awoke in a new home, in the presence of the God Who loved him with a perfect love. In a place with no more suffering. In a body without limitations of thought or action. In an environment without mud or smoky huts or hunger or malaria. In the midst of joy and love and peace that exceeds that of his friends at Kunai or helicopters or even his beloved Setina.
Imagine his being able to speak clearly. Imagine his hearing the songs of Zion in perfect harmony. Imagine his looking on the face of Jesus!
Imagine if his first day went like this:
He meets his grandfather, Bubu Isaac, one of the first Kamea believers. “Bubu, you are strong again! You look so healthy!”
He meets a former playmate, Allen, who died in an accident a couple of years ago. “Allen, you are well again! You can talk and play and run and live!”
He meets another young man, whom he only had known by his picture in the clinic. “You must be Ben. I saw your picture in the Kunai clinic every day. Our Mama Setina really misses you.”
He meets other Kamea believers who have gone before. He joins them in perfect harmony, perfect love, perfect joy, singing praise in their own heart language to the God Who created and loves all nations and tongues:
“Nkot’o awamanga ti! Nkot’o qe’atamanga ti! Nainga Na’a’oi’ya taka apa’ma nuwäno!”
“God is good! God is great, wonderful! Let us go worship the name of the Lord!”
And then, Noel meets Jesus.
It was Noel’s best day ever.
Out in the mountainous jungles of Papua New Guinea, people live and die, often without Christ and without medical care. Kunai Health Centre is a living demonstration of Jesus’ ministry, following His example of preaching, teaching, and healing. We have a daily clinic; we do pre- and postnatal care; we deliver babies; we give childhood immunizations. We are a TB center, a vision clinic, a dental clinic, and a place for medical education.
If you are a trained, degreed medical professional, consider joining us to reach beyond your world with the Gospel. A limited number of one-year post-graduate medical internships are available for qualified candidates at Kunai Health Centre.
- Do you demonstrate a love for Christ and for others?
- Do you have a burden for souls?
- Are you a detail-oriented self-starter?
- Are you a team player with a humble respect for authority?
- Do you have the health and stamina to serve for long days, long nights, and irregular schedules?
- Do you have a consistent walk with the Lord?
It is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. It will test your faith, your strength, and your calling. But if this is what God wants you to do, nothing will compare with it.
Read through our blog. Browse Lena’s page on Facebook to learn more about the clinic ministry from the last several years, and see what the Lord does in your heart.
Then contact us to begin the medical missionary journey of a lifetime.
When You Become the Patient
Lena and I have returned to the US for a medical furlough and rest. Lena is meeting with a spine surgeon friend of ours this week to determine if she will be getting a long-delayed operation on a bad disc in her neck.
We are thankful for God’s provision of a place to stay and a good surgeon with whom to consult. Our pastor and family urged us to come home, and also recommended us staying off the road for a while; I am glad to comply. We will update you all as soon as we know more.
This is not our regular furlough, and we have every intention of returning to the work as soon as possible. My national translation partner Ben is looking after the ministry and the mission in our absence. Lena’s clinic, however, had to be closed as she was the only nurse we have at present.
We covet your prayers that God will do for us what needs to be done, and for our friends and co-workers in the work back in PNG. Thank you for remembering us and the ministry in prayer.
Blessings in Christ,
John & Lena Allen
I rarely ask for help. Call it pride or stubbornness or the way I was raised, but I’m not prone to ask for a hand.
It’s even harder as a missionary, because I live on the gifts of God’s people. Without their heart of generosity, I couldn’t do the ministry things I do.
This is one of those “ministry things.”
We have a young father who is crippled from the waist down who has the ear of his people. Benjamin Luke is an amazing evangelist. Unable to leave his hut on the side of a mountain in remote Papua New Guinea, he shares the Gospel with dozens of people who come by his home. His venue: A mobile phone with the “Jesus Film” in his tribal language.
Imagine 15 people in a dark, smoky hut, crowding in to watch the “Jesus Film” in Kamea. The sound of the video echoes out across the mountainside, drawing more people to come and see. Videos are still an extremely rare treat for our people. Videos in their tribal language are even more rare–since we produced the only videos in the language, all 26 are Gospel videos.
Here’s my request, which is actually a request from our friend Benjamin: Does anyone have an old iPad 2 or 3 that they would be willing to donate? We have already set Ben up with a solar charging system at his thatched-roof hut, so he can charge the iPad like he charges his video phone (an Alcatel Pixie that someone bought for him–and by the way, there’s no phone service in our valley, so all he does is watch the videos and play the music we recorded). The iPad, with its larger screen, would be visible to more people. Ben’s plea: “I have many people who come to see the videos. We would like it if someone could help us to get a larger video screen.”
We would like to get:
- iPad 2 or 3
- a 12 volt car charger
- a case to protect it
Ben has taken good care of his phone, and I know he will do the same with this iPad. We’ll load the Kamea videos on it, plus as many other Christian videos that we can find and legally copy. And this will be the tool in the hand of an evangelist who can’t move more than a few feet–but who reaches more people in a day than many of us.
If you feel like you can help with this evangelistic outreach, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In January 2014 we began translating the New Testament into the Kamea language. Utilizing a program from JAARS called the “Bible Script Video Template,” we have completed the entire Life of Christ from the Gospel of Luke, using the actual Bible verses instead of the written script from the film.
We have converted the videos to a format that inexpensive mobile phones can use via SD cards and Bluetooth.
Kamea Jesus videos recorded to SD cards for phones
Here are links to samples of the 25 videos recorded in the Kamea language of the “Life of Christ” series. Ben Samauyo is the translator and narrator on the videos; John Allen is the translation consultant and editor.