By God’s Grace

COUNTING THE BLESSINGS

Pastors’ School
Since our last newsletter, we held our semi-annual Pastors’ School. This time we opened it up to many in our local church who are growing in the Lord, and it was a huge success. Missionary Sam Snyder and his wife Mary Beth helped Lena and me with the teaching, and our people were blessed from the time in the Word.

Kamea New Testament
Ben, Yali, and I were pleasantly surprised when we totaled up the chapters completed thus far on the Kamea New Testament. We have finished a rough draft of one-third of the project! Then, just a few days ago, we finished the back translation of the book of Acts. There remains some checking to do on what we have done, but we rejoice that God has blessed this work in the way that He has. We have big plans for 2017, so pray with us for God’s wisdom, direction, and strength as we move forward in the months ahead.


Clinic Visitors

Kunai Health Centre was blessed by the recent visits of two medical professionals. Becky Pope, RN, works with Medical Missions Outreach, and she was an encouragement and blessing to our staff.

Dr. Beth Lewis and Lena enjoy a laugh as we transit through Aiyura airstrip

We also enjoyed a visit from Dr. Beth Lewis, a fellow missionary who works full-time at Kikori Hospital here in our own Gulf Province. Dr. Beth’s enthusiasm and experience in PNG medical issues taught our staff much about doing medical work out here in the bush. Thank the Lord for those gifted in medicine who give their lives to serve the Lord!

Late afternoon is quiet after Kunai Health Centre closes for the day.


Youth Saved

In our last letter we mentioned about our young people being blessed at a conference they visited in September. One of those same youth was saved here the last Sunday of 2016, and then another trusted Christ the first Sunday of 2017. God is still working in their hearts!
Speaking of youth camp, in December the Lord allowed Lena and me to fly out to Port Moresby to be with Matt, Becky and their girls during their first youth camp at Capital City Baptist Church. Our son Nate was the guest speaker, and we all had an awesome time! 16 youth were saved, and all of us were blessed by the sound biblical preaching and teaching.

Even the youngest boys at Kotidanga Baptist Church take part in Scripture memorization!

Thank You!

Your faithful prayers and support have enabled us to continue as your co-laborers here in PNG. Please accept our heartfelt “thank you” to those of you who stand with us!

Serving Him in the Field,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Photos from the month…

Some days you wonder if there is a more beautiful place here on earth!

Christmas dinner with the team! Lena, visitors Brent & Brian Doss, plus our own Sarah Glover, Erika Sharpeta, and Tiffany Hefner.

Brian & Brent Doss found out the bush missions means a lot of maintenance. Here they help our church crew (in the background) repair a landslide that bit out a large chunk of the “road” to the airstrip.

Ben built a new kitchen for his house. Here are the roofers tying on the bamboo leaf roof.

The next photo is not for the faint of heart

…..

…..

Dr. Beth was here for such a time as this! This young boy fell out of a tree and broke his arm in several places, plus dislocating his elbow.

After using the ultrasound to ascertain the break points, Dr. Beth worked with the nurses to reset the arm.

Amazingly they got it straightened out, casted him, and sent him on to the regional hospital in Kerema for follow-up.

Faithful Words from Our Faithful God

FAITHFUL GOD

How can we ever fully comprehend our awesome God? In trying to grasp Him for myself, and in order to communicate Him to our people, I find I delight most when HE reveals Himself through His work and His Word.

Ben is continuing his exposition of 1 John in the Kamea language, and our people enjoy the sweet sound of the Scriptures in their mother tongue. Imagine hearing about God’s love in your heart language for the first time!

Ben doing an exposition of 1 John in Kamea

Ben doing an exposition of 1 John in Kamea

We are also teaching a series on the church, with a goal to more firmly establish a mature church. Presently I am teaching on symbols in the church, including the cross, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, showing the meaning of each for us as believers.

Simultaneously, I get the privilege to lead us through Ephesians, and our focus for the last two months has been on the family.

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Would you pray with me as we move into Ephesians chapter 6 soon, and deal with the topic of spiritual warfare? Never in my life has this topic been so intensely real as it is here and now. Pray with us that God will do a work in saving sinners and nominal believers, and that He will reveal Himself as mighty over the works of the adversary and the forces of darkness. More than just hearing simple platitudes about having victory through Christ, we want the Word of God to fill their minds and to free them from the fear of evil spirits that they live with every single day!

Liven Yali patiently waiting for the boys' turn to say their memory verse

Liven Yali patiently waiting for the boys’ turn to say their memory verse

FAITHFUL MEN

Pastors attending the Pastors' Workshop at Calvary Baptist

Pastors attending the Pastors’ Workshop at Calvary Baptist

Ben traveled with us to Calvary Baptist Church in Lae City last month. Pastor Phillip Sorulen hosted a pastors’ workshop and missions conference, and we were blessed and encouraged by the teaching and preaching. Pastors attended from many places around PNG. I enjoyed my sessions with the pastors and people, and count it a privilege to be invited to take part.

Calvary Baptist Choir singing to a packed church house!

Calvary Baptist Choir singing to a packed church house!

FAITHFUL WORD

At present I have completed the front translation of Acts. Ben is well past the half-way point with the Kamea translation, and Yali is close behind doing the back translation for our review. Sarah Glover is continuing with Kamea literacy, and more and more of our people are beginning to read the Word in their own language.

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Pray for the ministry here,
that Christ would be magnified,
that the Holy Spirit would have liberty,
that the adversary would be defeated,
that the believers would be strengthened,
that souls would be saved, and above everything else,
that God would get all the glory!

Serving Him in the Field,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Ben and Nathaniel painting the trim on the Kotidanga Baptist Church building

Ben and Nathaniel painting the trim on the Kotidanga Baptist Church building

The PNG National Health Department surprised us with a plane load of medicine--flown up here at their expense!

The PNG National Health Department surprised us with a plane load of medicine–flown up here at their expense!

A God Worth Serving

Pastors' Conference speakers & attendees, May 2016

Pastors’ Conference speakers & attendees, May 2016

CONFERENCE TIME

We just completed our Pastors’ Conference a couple of days ago. We hosted several of our graduates and their wives for a time of teaching, of ministering to one another, and of refreshing.

Matt speaking to the preachers

Matt speaking to the preachers

Matt Allen and Jason Ottosen were able to share the teaching with me, along with my wife and Cherith Ottosen teaching the ladies’ sessions. Our prayer, as always, is that there will be lasting fruit from our time together. Everyone enjoyed being here!

Kotidanga Baptist Church hosts the ordination of Jack Naudi.

Kotidanga Baptist Church hosted the ordination of Jack Naudi

An added blessing was the ordination of Jack Naudi, 2007 graduate of our Bible school. He has been working with Jason Ottosen planting Komako Baptist Church. Our church here has supported Jack as the first missionary they sent out, and they were proud to host his ordination.

Matt, John, John Gray, & Jason Ottosen with Pastor Jack Naudi

Matt, John, John Gray, & Jason Ottosen with Pastor Jack Naudi

Matt flew John Gray up from Kerema to be the guest speaker for the meeting. He preached a great message for us all.

CHURCH GROWTH

We have seen some people saved in the last several weeks. Ben has been preaching from our newly translated book of 1 John, while Sarah Glover is teaching Kamea literacy to help our people learn to follow along in their printed copies of the book as Ben preaches.

Arriving for church, barefoot in the rain

Arriving for church, barefoot in the rain

Pray with us that our people will put the effort into learning to read Kamea so that they can read the Word for themselves.  Ben, Yali, and I are still working on the first draft of our translation of Acts. Continue to pray with us for the Gospel to go forward among the Kamea.


CLINIC BLESSINGS

Our clinic staff, both PNG nationals and US nurses, has been steadily busy. Even as I write this, two ladies have been at the clinic for over 12 hours to deliver their babies. Day in and day out, the nurses handle all sorts of cases, some quite serious.

Hannah & Renisa with a patient

Hannah & Renisa with a patient

Tiffany with another newborn

Tiffany with another newborn

One of these was a lady named Deni, who was very short of breath and unable to get to the clinic. In the dark, our nursing staff went downriver to see her and administer breathing treatments. For many years we had tried to reach Deni with the Gospel, but she had always been resistant. But just a couple of weeks ago, after she had recovered, she came to the clinic wanting to get saved. Ben’s wife Anjuta shared the Word with Deni, and she put her faith in Jesus. Amen!

Check out our blog post about the ultrasound we are using in our clinic for our unborn babies.


PERSONAL NEWS

Lena and I are enjoying good health at the present, and we count that possible because of your faithful prayers on our behalf. Please keep it up! We are also extremely thankful for your friendship and fellowship in the Gospel. Thank you for staying faithful there and enabling us to stay faithful here!

Serving Him in the Field,
John & Lena
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Mom, Dad, & Matt

Mom, Dad, & Matt

Thank the Lord for family!

Here's Pa & Grandma with Dave & Sarah, Nate & Amber, and our seven grandkids in the USA

Here’s Pa & Grandma with Dave & Sarah, Nate & Amber, and our seven grandkids in the USA

Dave is up for promotion to Lieutenant with Louisville Metro Police Department; Nate was ordained to the ministry in April. We love these guys and their families!

Matt & Becky and our two granddaughters in PNG

Matt & Becky and our two granddaughters in PNG

Matt and family are planting Capital City Baptist Church and South Pacific International Academy in Port Moresby, PNG.

By the Word of His Power

TRANSLATING THE WORD

The daily work of translating God’s words into Kamea is pressing forward, even when different kinds of delays pop up throughout the week:

There’s something broken that must be fixed.

IMG_9773                             There’s an emergency and a patient needs transport.

IMG_0267    There’s a flight coming with supplies and we have to go over the mountain to meet it.

IMG_0406                 Someone from the community has come and wants to share a story.

IMG_4114But it is all the sweeter when we can read something like this in Kamea:

Nai Ä’oi mtinga tawata upmäta nonqo ti,
ma pi’a’ma Ä’o qana nai mtinga tawata qanupmäta ti.

          We love him, because he first loved us.
                                                 (1 John 4:19)

We just completed our final check of 1 John and printed copies of it. This is our second New Testament book! Right now Ben, Yali, and I are in various stages of translating the book of Acts. Pray for this amazing work!

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John, Ben, and Yali

            

PREACHING THE WORD

Just this week someone came to Ben, asking him to explain the Gospel further. She said that she had heard Ben preach on Tuesdays at the clinic, and she is under such conviction that she can’t stop thinking about it. Pray that she will soon come to faith in Jesus Christ!

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SEEING THE WORD COME ALIVE

I have been preaching expositionally through Ephesians for many months now. At the same time, Ben has been expounding his way through Romans. By the time you read this, Ben will be teaching through 1 John, directly from our new Kamea translation. This will be another milestone for us!

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1 John in English, Pidgin, and Kamea

The affect of God’s Word on our people is visible. Change is slow but solid, and it is wonderful to watch the power of the Word as it does the work of God in hearts and lives!

Serving Him in the Field,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Click here for PDF version

Random Postscripts…

Ever wonder where we live?

View of Kanabea airstrip (4,100 feet elevation) that connects us with the outside world. We live "just" over the mountain from Kanabea.

View of Kanabea airstrip (4,100 feet elevation) that connects us with the outside world. We live “just” over the mountain from Kanabea.

Hopefully this part of the road is fixed well enough to last!

Hopefully this part of the road is fixed well enough to last a while!

Tiffany Heafner enjoys a laugh with her patient.

Tiffany Heafner enjoys a laugh with her patient.

Erin Canterbury works with a wee one.

Erin Canterbury works with a wee one.

Sarah Glover and Snowi go through a patient's symptoms.

Sarah Glover and Snowi go through a patient’s symptoms.

Hannah Bogard and Lena receive medical supplies from Michelle Hau'ofa from PNG Tribal Foundation.

Hannah Bogard and Lena receive medical supplies from Michelle Hau’ofa of the PNG Tribal Foundation.

Click to visit the PNG Tribal Foundation website.

The Kamea "Jesus" videos continue to receive lots of attention as they spread the Gospel in the Kamea language.

The Kamea “Jesus” videos continue to receive lots of attention as they spread the Gospel in the Kamea language.

January 2016

REBUILDING

The New Year’s arrival brought with it the reality that things on earth don’t last forever. Our national pastor’s house support posts had rotted prematurely, which made it necessary to dismantle the entire structure and rebuild it again with new posts.

IMG_4152The same thing happened with the bridge leading through Kotidanga village. The supports rotted out causing the bridge to be unable to bear the burden of our bush vehicle. It took many men and large, strong logs to replace this vital link.

IMG_4169How careful we need to be as we walk along in our Christian life, examining that upon which we stand—or think we stand. Christ alone must be our solid Rock and our only foundation. Men’s programs, policies, and plans may often be nothing more than shifting sand. Christian, check your posts!

RENEWING

We held our Pastors’ Leadership Conference in December. Missionary Jason Ottosen hiked 12 hours over the mountain to teach with me. IMG_4137Our men enjoyed the sessions and we all enjoyed the fellowship and news from the ministries across the Kamea region.

IMG_0198Our TTMK team was blessed to have Pastor Matt Anders and Monte and Angie Ashworth  (all from our home church) come to minister to us last week. We held our first-ever field conference in Port Moresby at Capital City Baptist Church, and the first time we’ve all been together in one place. Thank you to our wonderful home church, and to those who support the members of the TTMK team here in PNG.

REJOICING

Kunai Health Centre has been a catalyst for many visitors at Kotidanga Baptist Church recently. Some who have been resistant to the Gospel for years have had their hearts opened through the clinic ministry to receive the preached Word. IMG_0100

We held our annual Christmas preaching meeting, and we saw many decisions made, including entire families joining together in prayer to work to build stronger homes.

At the same time, more and more unsaved visitors have been coming to hear the preaching, and this resulted in a harvest of no less than 20 souls in the regular preaching services during the month of December! Also, in spite of public opposition to the market preaching, Ben has continued to preach, and the Lord has blessed that as well.
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We started the New Year with a baptismal service, where Ben conducted his first baptism—and baptized 32 people! Among them were his mother Mary and his daughter Nosa!

Thank you for enabling us to minister in PNG in your stead. We ask that you remember Lena’s health as you pray. May we all be found faithfully walking with the Lord this year!

Serving Him in the Field,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Click here for a PDF version of this newsletter

November 2015

Back in Kotidanga! We have been back in the village for several weeks now. It was a pleasant surprise to see the grounds of the church so beautiful and clean. Ben Samauyo, my national translation partner, did a great job of looking after things in our absence. The several-month long drought in our area ended the day we arrived 🙂  Since then we’ve had abundant rain.

Geti Augustine gave Lena and Sarah Glover a traditional welcome home. (Nov. 2015)

Geti Augustine gave Lena and Sarah Glover a traditional welcome home. (Nov. 2015)

Kotidanga Baptist Church has prospered under Ben’s leadership. The church leaders have handled difficulties scripturally, and the maturity in the body is measurable. Ben has a loving heart and burden for the lost. He and I are sharing the preaching duties to allow him more time for translation. Our weekly market preaching has also resumed. Pray with us for the salvation of our lost visitors. There are a number of unsaved who know they are not saved, who are now attending regularly.

 

Afternoon sun patterns in the jungle can produce striking effects. (Kotidanga Baptist Church, Nov. 2015)

Afternoon sun patterns in the jungle can produce striking effects. (Kotidanga Baptist Church, Nov. 2015)

 

Response during prayer time after a morning worship service at KBC. (Oct. 2015)

Response during prayer time after a morning worship service at KBC. (Oct. 2015)

 

The Kamea Bible Project is continuing. We’ve added a third member to our team, Yali Pita. Yali is our church songleader and a godly man. He will be doing our back-translation work. Ben has completed a first draft of 1 John, and we are checking it now. It has been a blessing to read the great truths found in that book with fresh eyes—and to hear them conveyed in the Kamea language! Our people are excited!

John, Ben, and Yali share some translation insights with Jack Naudi (2007 Kotidanga Baptist Bible School graduate), who works with missionary Jason Ottosen in Komako. (Nov. 2015)

John, Ben, and Yali share some translation insights with Jack Naudi (2007 Kotidanga Baptist Bible School graduate), who works with missionary Jason Ottosen in Komako. (Nov. 2015)

Kunai Health Centre is busy again.

In the last few days the nurses have been involved in their first two baby deliveries, an overnight emergency, and the usual busy-ness of a bush medical clinic. Lena is teaching, the new nurses are learning, and the Gospel is being shared with many patients daily. Praise the Lord!

Kunai Health Centre is back in full swing. (Oct. 2015)

Kunai Health Centre is back in full swing. (Oct. 2015)

Thank you for being a part of our lives. Many of you follow Lena’s Facebook posts and are able to see part of the daily blessings here at Kotidanga. Continue to pray for our health and strength. We count it a joy to represent you here among our dear Kamea people!

Serving Him in the Field,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Click here for a PDF version of the post.

 

Seeing Kotidanga with Fresh Eyes

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.

The beautiful vista of the Tauri River valley in Gulf Province, PNG (Nov. 2015)

The beautiful vista of the Tauri River valley in Gulf Province, PNG (Huyo village, Nov. 2015)

We live in a rainforest--with the emphasis on rain.

We live in a rainforest–with the emphasis on rain. (Kotidanga Baptist Mission, Nov. 2015)

Afternoon sun patterns in the jungle can produce striking effects. (Kotidanga Baptist Church, Nov. 2015)

Afternoon sun patterns in the jungle can produce striking effects. (Kotidanga Baptist Church, Nov. 2015)

Heavy rains regularly tear up our bush road, and we are the ones who get to fix it. (Mte village, Nov. 2015)

Heavy rains regularly tear up our bush road, and we are the ones who get to fix it. (Mte village, Nov. 2015)

And the road washes out again. And you fix it again. (Mte village, Nov. 2015)

And the road washes out again. And we get to fix it again. (Mte village, Nov. 2015)

Geti Augustine gave Lena and Sarah Glover a traditional welcome home. (Nov. 2015)

Geti Augustine gave Lena and Sarah Glover a traditional welcome home. (Nov. 2015)

Kunai Health Centre is back in full swing. (Oct. 2015)

Kunai Health Centre is back in full swing. (Kunai HC, Oct. 2015)

On the veranda of the clinic, Ben Samauyo preaches the Word to waiting patients. (Oct. 2015)

On the veranda of the clinic, Ben Samauyo preaches the Word to waiting patients. (Kunai HC, Oct. 2015)

Ben (with megaphone) preaching in the Kotidanga village market. (Nov. 2015)

Ben (with megaphone) preaching in the Kotidanga village market. (Nov. 2015)

A teen girl carries a week's worth of sweet potatoes (kaukau...in Kamea, "hope'a"). (Oct. 2015)

A teen girl carries a week’s worth of sweet potatoes (kaukau…in Kamea, “hope’a”). (Kunai village, Oct. 2015)

Betwel builds a new house under a quickly-clouding sky. (Nov. 2015)

Betwel builds a new house under a quickly-clouding sky. (Kunai village, Nov. 2015)

©

John, Ben, and Yali share some translation insights with Jack Naudi (2007 Kotidanga Baptist Bible School graduate), who works with missionary Jason Ottosen in Komako. (Nov. 2015)

John, Ben, and Yali share some translation insights with Jack Naudi (2007 Kotidanga Baptist Bible School graduate), who works with missionary Jason Ottosen in Komako. (Nov. 2015)

Daily study of the Word keeps us reminded of why we are here: The glory of God and the salvation of men. (Copyright, JMA, 2010)

Daily study of the Word keeps us reminded of why we are here: The glory of God and the salvation of men. (Copyright, JMA, 2010)

 

 

 

Back Home in PNG!

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!
Image-13120777And of course, being with our sons and their families was a blessing beyond words. Grandkids are great!

MENTORING TRANSLATORS
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!
IMG_3840We 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.

MEMORABLE OPPORTUNITY
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.
IMG_3586Tyler 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.
IMG_8821Pray for each of us as we resume work in translation, mentoring pastors, teaching, and the clinic.

Serving Him in the Field,
John & Lena Allen
Galatians 6:9

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 🙂