The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

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New Normal

All of us continue to adapt to a world that has changed much from what it was even six months ago. I realize that many of you are still under restrictions, yet in PNG we have only had 11 confirmed cases to date, none of them serious (on a side note…everyone is sure that it is here, it’s just that testing is very limited…and any severe cases may have been missed due to the various other sicknesses and diseases that take the lives of our people). As a church, we are able to meet pretty much normally, respecting those who wish to keep a distance.

Members of Capital City Baptist meet outside after services to praise God for His goodness!

New Classes

After a month-long lockdown, we were able to resume classes at Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby. We completed our latest 8-week course last week and plan to return to classes (Lord willing!) the first week of August.

Students in class for the “Life of Christ” course at BBIPOM.

New Opportunities

Because of the religious liberty in PNG, doors open up in places you could only dream about in other countries. Among other things we’ve done lately, we were able to go with Pastor Tau and Shalom Baptist to distribute Bibles at the University of PNG Medical School and speak to future doctors, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists. This is something we’ve looked forward to for over a year.

Some of the students at UPNG Medical School who received Bibles and heard a challenge from God’s Word to know the Lord and to serve our people!

New Construction

Lord willing, we hope to begin refurbishing our new home on the campus of Capital City Baptist Church soon. Through a series of “God-moment” connections here in Port Moresby, the Lord provided a used modular house for us, including the excavation work to prepare the site—at no cost to us! It will take a lot of renovation, but we thank the Lord for it, and look forward to the opportunity to use it for His glory!

This is where our refurbished bunkhouse will be located.

Same Great Bible

We have recently finished our draft of John’s Gospel and are working our way through the Book of Revelation. Keep this project in prayer! We are past the half-way point now, and long to see it completed!

Same Glorious Gospel

With all the problems we all see around the world, we must keep in mind that there is only one long-term (might I say, eternal) solution: The saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. From the global pandemic to the gender-based- and sorcery-accusation-related-violence here in PNG to the unbelievable unrest in countries around the globe, the one and only steady hope we have is Jesus Christ.

Same Great Need

Laborers are needed!

1. Pray with us for borders to open so we can get our new nurses for Kunai Health Centre. They are willing and waiting!
2. Pray for our students at BBIPOM that God will raise up laborers among them for His harvest. He is able!

Because He Is,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Kunai Health Centre:    KunaiHealthCentre.com

Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby:  facebook.com/BBIPOM

Here are some more photos to enjoy. Some of these were taken by Pastor Tau Abary and the people of Shalom Baptist Church (used by permission).

First, some of our BBIPOM students!

It is a blessing to teach those who are hungry for the Word and eager to serve the Lord!
Missionary ladies are a special bunch! Lena, Rebecca Florence, Chelsea Moorman, Danya Counts, and Trina Muldoon. All happened to be in town at the same time!
After months in the remote mountains, the expression on Danya’s face as she looks at all that ice cream is priceless. Yes, we got her some ice cream 🙂
A recent sunrise at Kunai–few places are more beautiful than this! (PC: Sarah Glover)

Only God

April 2020

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ONLY GOD
When I wrote our last update in February, none of us had any idea what would soon transpire globally. Never have any of us been forced to say “if the Lord will” as much as we are saying it now, but regardless, our God is doing great things!

ANSWER TO PRAYER
We have two new nurses who are scheduled to come once the borders re-open here in PNG. We can still use more nurses, but we praise the Lord for these two ladies who stepped up to the challenge.

FAITHFUL IN THE FIELD
The team at Kunai are continuing the ministry there. As of this writing we have no active cases of the virus in PNG, but our staff are prepared as much as possible for what may come. There are no ventilators or machines available out there, and no way to fly out critical patients. Therefore, we ask that you pray for the team on the ground, not only for their protection but for their witness.

It may not look like much, but it brought lots of medical and school supplies!

CONTAINER ARRIVED
Our container—filled with supplies that many of you donated—has arrived and cleared customs. At present it is difficult to find flights to transport the materials to our team at Kunai. Pray we can get these medical supplies and school materials up there soon!

BBI POM 1st class

BAPTIST BIBLE INSTITUTE OF PORT MORESBY
We reported in our last letter that our first week of classes went very well. Praise the Lord, the rest of the six-week term went even better! We had 20 registered students and anywhere from 15-25 visitors in attendance for every class. We finished on schedule just before the mandatory shutdown. When we reopen, we have even more students who have registered, and we are looking forward to getting back to classes!

Start of BBI POM classes–with social distancing before it was cool!

Because we wanted to continue teaching our students, we have begun a video series on the BBI POM Facebook page called, “Daily Words.” It is a brief lesson about how to study the Bible for yourself, using the text of Scripture as a reference. It is designed with our students in mind, but since it is in English, we hope others around the world will join us. Lena has also posted videos of most of the live sessions from our first class at either our BBI POM Facebook page or on our BBI POM YouTube channel.

In the uncertainty of these days, may we examine our hearts to see what the Lord may be trying to say to us as a church? Daniel prayed during the Judean exile, repenting for his people’s sins against their holy God (Daniel 9). Have we done the same? The present pandemic, the Australian bush fires, the locust swarms in Africa, the devastating tornadoes in the US—all of these in the last several weeks—can we not at least seek God and ask for His forgiveness, His mercy, and His favor? We who long for the return of the Lord Jesus—can we not admit that these present distresses are at the very least pictures of the birth pangs of judgment to come? And in confessing these things, can we not beg God for an unprecedented outpouring of His Spirit in reaching the world for Jesus Christ?

Thank you all for your faithfulness—and at such a time as this. The resourcefulness of God’s people to BE the church when they cannot assemble as the church has been amazing. May the Lord open doors of witness for us all, and may He do things beyond what we can even ask or think. He is able!

Because He Is,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Visit our Kunai Health Centre website for information about the clinic at Kotidanga

Some recent photos:

Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby

The online services have allowed us to enjoy the preaching of men in Australia, PNG, and the US.

Thoughts from the Thruway

On the Road

It has been a whirlwind of activity the last few weeks since we arrived in the States. We have had some wonderful meetings with our supporting churches—some of whom we have not seen since we began this journey over 13 years ago! We have also reconnected with friends we haven’t seen in over 40 years (!), and those times have been precious as well.

We have met with many prospective missionaries, including preachers, nurses, educators, and those who have an interest in moving to the foreign fields for “secular” work in order to help churches to be planted. There are so many ways to be involved in reaching the world! Have you asked the Lord what He would have YOU to do?

Great News from Home

Sarah Glover, who has been at Kunai since 2010, is starting a Christian school for our village children in February 2020. This has been a prayer request of our believers at Kotidanga Baptist Church for the last several years, and in just the last few weeks that the Lord has made it possible. Praise the Lord for all the details He has worked it out!

Packing Up

Thank you so much for the incredible response we’ve received from those who have sent supplies and funds for the clinic, the Bible Institute, and for shipping! The Lord always blesses us beyond measure. When we finish up our meetings, we will return to Louisville to pack the container in time to ship it just after the New Year.

Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby

Soon we will be back in PNG, and preparations to receive our first intake of students for the new Bible school are already in full swing. We are excited to partner with the pastors of our fellow Baptist churches to train leaders for the future of our city and our nation!

Will you pray with us for the need we have for a venue for the school? At present, some of the city churches have graciously offered to host a block Bible school course at their facilities, but none of them are can serve as a permanent location. We are looking for a place that is easily accessible to students from around the city with a consistent backup power supply. Rent for such a venue in Port Moresby is astronomical and buying land (and putting up a building) is even more out of reach. We are confident that the Lord has the right place—pray with us as we seek to find a place and to raise sufficient funds to obtain it.

And while you are praying—pray with us regarding:

  • The need for nursing staff at Kunai Health Centre for 2020-2021
  • Our health and stamina in the work

Lord willing, the next time you hear from us we will be back in PNG. One of the biggest encouragements we’ve heard lately came from Rex Cobb, our missions’ mentor at BBTI. His words: “Thank you for going back! Many don’t.”

Monument to the Haystack Prayer Meeting

While in Massachusetts, we visited the “Haystack Monument,” which commemorates five Williams College students who began meeting in 1806 to dedicate their lives to the serve in foreign missions. Many believe the American foreign mission movement came from these humble beginnings.* Oh, that we had such a fervor to reach the world in our own day!

David Brainard’s grave in Northampton, Massachusetts. Brainard’s life, immortalized in Jonathan Edwards’ “The Life and Diary of David Brainerd,” [sic] has probably impacted more men and women to give their all to serve the Lord than any other English book.

Thank you all for your heart for the Lord and for us; you are the ones who make it possible for us to return. May God bless you and yours during this holiday season, and may we all have “2020 Vision” in the year to come!

Because He Is,

John & Lena Allen

2 Thessalonians 3:1

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Transitions

TRANSITIONS

Transitions are not always easy. They involve learning new people, new places, and new ways of doing things. There was a day when those things seemed romantic, but now—not so much.

On the other hand, in the last four months we’ve seen the Lord work as we’ve ministered in different places around PNG, India, and Australia. Believers have been helped, unbelievers have been challenged (and some saved!), and we’ve had specific answers to prayer. So all in all, we praise the Lord for His goodness!

…IN THE CLINIC

Since our last letter, we’ve had a lot of transition at Kunai Health Centre. Emma Stout and Marie Bell have returned home to the US after completing their time at Kunai. Chelsea Moorman, Danya Counts, and Kyle & Lauren Murphy have joined the team. We are grateful for each one of them, and only eternity will reveal the full impact they make in the lives of our Kamea people. Fully investing themselves in the medical ministry, they also are acutely involved in Kotidanga Baptist Church and with our people.

Ellie, Marie, Sarah, and Laura-Lee standing with Yaniamo and her family.

Reports from the team include the salvation of Yaniamo, a mom who was medevac’d by helicopter earlier this year. She returned to the village recently, and has since put her faith in Christ.

I never want to forget the great work our PNG national staff does at Kunai. We rarely mention the opposition any of us face on the field—but these faithful believers stand strong and are exemplary in their walk with the Lord, regardless of the troubles they face. Praise the Lord for them!

Using a borrowed big screen to transfer translated text into the Paratext program.

…IN BIBLE TRANSLATION

Checking on the revision of the book of Luke in Kamea resumed today. It was the first book we translated back in 2014, and having learned a lot since then, Pastor Ben and Bro. Yali wanted to work through it again. I’m grateful for Laura-Lee Alford being on the ground at Kunai to walk through the revision and back-translation with these men.

Last month I was able to begin our translation work on the Gospel of John. It is a wonderful book (aren’t they all!) and seeing its truths with fresh eyes is such a blessing!

…IN OUR LIVES

We are thankful for the gifts God gives to men, and even more for those who use their gifts faithfully. Dr. Mitch reviewed Lena’s MRIs and CT scan, and he says she does not need surgery for her neck pain. Dr. Nathan and Dr. Lewis were able to give her increased mobility and some relief from the pain with physical therapy and chiropractic care. We ask that you continue to pray with us for her healing from the constant pain.

In a couple of days we get to drive down the bouncy Highlands Highway to Lae and back for a supply run (3rd trip there in three months). The road is physically rough on Lena, but she needs to hold face-to-face meetings with medical officers there. When we return, amidst our other duties, we will pack up our boxes again as we prepare for our move to Port Moresby later in May. Sarah Glover is out of the village on a break, and we’re glad she’s here to help us.

Watching the Kamea language “Jesus Film” in the rain on the clinic porch.

It certainly isn’t the romantic part of missions, but it is needful nonetheless in order to transition to the ministry the Lord has for us. We are learning that the best way to lighten our own load is to help others carry theirs. God is always in total control, and when we cast our care upon Him, He gives us His yoke. And as we learn of Him, we find that His burden is easy, and His yoke is light.

All glory to Christ,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1

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Following are photos of happenings in the last couple of months. (Photo credit to Lena Allen, Marie Bell, Mary Beth Snyder, and historical photo archives)

New Things

NEW OPPORTUNITIES

MABT Students at WorldView India.
James & Toree Overton oversee these students in the Master of Arts in Bible Translation course at WorldView India.

Lena and I had a wonderful trip to minister again at WorldView India in January. James and Toree Overton do a wonderful job leading and teaching the Bible translation students at the college. It was a joy to share how to use Chronological Bible Storying as a tool in church planting simultaneously with translating the Scriptures. These students come from around India and Myanmar, and are a delight to work with. We praise the Lord for all the opportunities to speak in church, chapel, small groups, and one-to-one. Pray with us that the Lord will continue to raise up faithful ministers of the Gospel in this needy area of the world!

NEW NURSES

The clinic at Kunai Health Centre has been extremely busy the last several months. The nurses and our national staff are doing a great job ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of our Kamea people. Next week we will be in Lae city for our medicine and supply buy, and there we will be meeting two incoming nurses: Chelsea Moorman and Danya Counts. Chels was with us for 2017-2018, and this is Danya’s first time.

On cool mornings, patients prefer to sit out in the sun on the grass.

Pray for them and the team on the ground as they continue to treat patients, and as they labor in discipleship and evangelism.

NEW SCRIPTURE USES

Since we began translating the New Testament into Kamea almost five years ago, we have labored to find ways to make it accessible to our people. Pastor Ben has taught the church directly from the newly translated text, and Sarah and Laura-Lee have used it in literacy classes. We have produced videos of the Life of Christ using the Kamea New Testament, and these are shown daily at the clinic as well as distributed on mobile phones. Now the nurses have begun using the Kamea New Testament portions to do discipleship with the young ladies in the church. They said that the girls are really excited to hear and to read the Word in their own heart language!

NEW VISION

Lena and I believe our next step is to move to Port Moresby and to partner with our son Matt, his family, and the ministry of Capital City Baptist Church. We have always felt welcome there, and the Lord has given us sweet friendships among those believers. We can continue the Bible translation project and keep giving logistical support to Kunai Health Centre, as well as orienting new missionaries as they arrive, plus all of the many ministry opportunities in that growing city.

Capital City Baptist Church Campus, 9 February 2019

The move will involve building a place to live and obtaining a vehicle, and we are sure our great God will take care of those details in His way and in His time. As you remember us and these ministries (Kunai and Port Moresby) in prayer, could you also pray for Lena? It looks as though she may need surgery on her neck again, perhaps later this year.

How blessed we are to be such privileged children of the King! He lets us work for Him among His people in many places, He lets us see His power in transformed lives, and He blesses us with His presence, His Word, His grace, and His love. And then He gently reminds us, “Freely ye have received—freely give.” May we all be busy about giving that same good news of the Gospel that He so freely gave to us. The world, near and far, is waiting…


All glory to Christ,

John & Lena Allen

2 Thessalonians 3:1

Enjoy a few photos of our visit to India. The Gospel is being preached in that great land, but there is so much more to do!

Enjoying a visit with our good friends, Dr. Babu Varghese and his family.
Neena, Lena,and Jessie; we are blessed to know such faithful believers.
Several thousand attended the five-day preaching convention while we were there. Over 200 made professions of faith.
Feeding the multitude at convention is no easy task!