Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. (Eccl. 9:10)
This season of life finds Lena and me living and ministering in the capital of our large island nation. While the previous 11 years had us laboring in a remote place with no external infrastructure (roads, power, water, communication), now we are based just outside a city that has all the things we “lacked” before.
During those years in the village, life itself took time. You walked (or hiked) everywhere. Very few manufactured goods are available out there, so all your projects revolved around the bush flights to town 4-5 times a year. If something broke, you fixed it or patched it or did without. To minister at another church meant a 3-hour hike or more, one way. Getting rained on was normal, sandals were the footwear of choice, and you got used to the ever-present moldy smell because your clothes didn’t always dry in the solar dryer (aka clothesline). Crossing through creeks was often necessary—and to be honest, sometimes it was welcomed by your sore feet.
The trail always seemed to need maintenance to get the Kawasaki Mule to the airstrip located five miles away over the mountain, just to transport patients or bring back medicine and supplies. The Mule always seemed to need maintenance from the beating it took on the trail, even though you babied it. There always seemed to be a piece of a wooden step or a bridge or something that had rotted because of the weather, and it needed repairing or replacing.
Pastor Don Mangus used to tell us,
“God always works in the routines of life.”
Yet these were the routines around which ministry was framed. It was hiking single file down those trails where we did much of our discipling. It was in those more distant villages that the Gospel was preached, and the Word of God was taught. Those cold creeks cradled many believers as they followed the Lord publicly in baptism. The lack of the “necessary things” taught you a contentment that cannot be learned when everything is at your fingertips. The hiking helped keep your weight down and your heart strong. And it was in the quiet of the night in that remote place that great fellowship was had with co-workers and local friends.
There is still a team of wonderful missionaries and nationals serving at Kunai. We miss the place, but it is another season of life for us now.
Our last two months have been uniquely “city ministry”:
- For the last several weeks, Lena has been counseling and sharing the Gospel with young people from a nearby village who were injured in a tragic bus crash.
- Lena and I are currently holding a biblical marriage seminar for a large organization in the city.
- BBIPOM (our Bible college) just began a new semester, with one of the courses being, “The Home, Marriage, and Relationships.” Thanks to the promoting done by Pastor Tau Abary and Shalom Baptist Church for this particular course (and our mutual desire to use it to reach our communities with the Gospel), the first night we had over 80 in attendance for the course —22 of whom are our students.
We mentioned in our last update about Lena’s health issues associated with SLE (Lupus). She has continued having problems, and yesterday her doctor told her that she is in another Lupus flare. As you think of her, please pray for her strength and healing.
We are aware that your prayers and giving allow us to teach and train and translate and tell others about the Good News of the Lord Jesus. Thank you for your part in helping us stay at it here in PNG!
Because He Is,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1
Enjoy this month’s photos!
And here’s some family news–our oldest grandson, Ben, soloed this summer in a glider. He’s been working at this a long time due to Covid restrictions, but he finally made it!