…IN MERCY: We’ve all had a phone call…you know, the one that sets your heart pounding, mind racing, and hopefully, prayers flying. We got one of those calls in January. Pastor Ben’s wife, Anjuda, had delivered her baby early in a remote area and was in bad shape. Thankfully, she was near the highway from Kerema to Port Moresby, having come down from their village in the mountains. Our son Matt took one of our Bible school students, Braxstone, and Pastor Ben’s oldest daughter Selestine, and they sped off on an overnight trip to find Anjuda and the baby, and to bring them back to Port Moresby. Almost 14 hours after they left, after bouncing on the potholed road, avoiding a couple of attempted road blocks/car jackings, and having the truck stoned, they returned to meet us at the hospital. Anjuda took two units of blood; and by God’s grace, she recovered! The little baby boy also recovered quickly as well. Praise the Lord for His care of Matt, Braxstone, and Sele as they made the trip to literally save Anjuda’s life. And better yet—after recovering with us here at our home for several more days, Pastor Ben’s family was able to head back to their village.
Not everything here is that dramatic, praise the Lord. The day-in, day-out routines of life are where we all live. For us it is two evenings of Bible college, one evening of translation checking, Wednesday evening Bible study in Boroko, plus daytime work on the translation projects, weekly preparation for preaching and teaching, and discipleship.
…IN OUTREACH: Some of our Bible college students spent December and January in outreach ministries at a distance from here. One went with another preacher to Southern Highlands Province, filling in at churches without pastors. Another went to the island of Bougainville, where he began three separate ministries in a few weeks. The door is open in so many places here, and we are working to get more laborers trained as we help them catch the vision! It is good to see the growth in spiritual maturity among our students, as well as seeing some begin to get a good grasp on handling the Word of God well in their study and in preaching and teaching!
…IN TRAINING: Recently I was privileged to hold a Biblical Preaching Workshop for pastors on the other side of the island in Lae, hosted by Pastor Michael Saka. Most of these laborers preach and teach in Tok Pisin, so we adapted the materials for them. They are really hungry to learn and preach the Word!
Then we had a Workers’ Training Seminar for Pastor Tau Abary here in the city. It was packed with experienced and prospective workers for their classes and ministries. Thank the Lord for those who desire to serve and dedicate themselves to it!
Last week we were in Mt. Hagen with Pastor Camillus Kumbi and Missionary Kenny Seremak for the kick-off of their new Bible institute. It was encouraging to be with their prospective students and supporting pastors. We had great responses in each of the meetings. I look forward to hearing good things from this new partnership of churches in the Highlands.
…IN BLESSING: One last thing—can I brag on my wife? While walking through life as a grandmother to 10, and living with an oftentimes frustrating and painful disease, she manages to be a huge blessing. She’s my assistant in our Bible college classes, she balances her food budget to feed the whole crew of our weekly translation checks, and then washes dishes so we can go directly into the Word. I don’t know how it goes at your place, but at ours, an RN with a PhD fixes dinner, waits on guests, and washes dishes.
We have an even busier schedule in the weeks to come. Pray we can do it all, and do it well, for the glory of God!
Pressing on by His Grace & Goodness, John & Lena Allen Philippians 1:27
Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby: bbipom.com
These have been a busy few weeks, including a fast trip to the US and back (more about that later). But before I touch on our own matters, please indulge an older brother in the Lord for a moment. I don’t usually write long letters, so I’d appreciate it if you would take time to read this when you can.
I speak as a fool in saying this, but with over four decades of ministry behind me, I have some thoughts from my perspective regarding the state of the Lord’s church today. If working through them helps me, maybe it will help you too.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
As a whole, I don’t think we take seriously the spiritual warfare we are engaged in. The Scripture states clearly that the four categories of spiritual enemies are very real and very present. (This does not even include our daily battle with our own hearts’ desires for wrong things, nor our daily battle with a world that is not merely anti-Christian—it is increasingly “anti-Christ.”) In the spiritual world around us forces are at work that are utterly evil, relentlessly pursuing the silencing and destruction of the Word and works of God. The demon gods of the Old and New Testament are not false gods nor made-up idols; these demonic principalities and powers and rulers of spiritual wickedness in high places are still at work (John 14:30; 16:11; Eph. 2:2; Dan. 10:12-13; etc.) defiling the opinions of this world and forging a vile worldview against God. These fallen sons of God and their blasphemous breed have distracted, discouraged, and destroyed God’s people from Eden on, and they have not stayed nor slackened their venomous and sadistic attempts to annihilate the Word, the work, and the people of the Lamb even to this present hour. And this we must keep in mind daily.
Our beloved nation of PNG is held in the grip of Satanic opposition. God’s works are in constant conflict from forces without and within. The spiritual worldview of many here causes them to fear the spirits; and what you fear, you work to appease. Entire people groups still remain in the grip of demon oppression and control. Multitudes are taken captive in the snare of the devil at his will—so we must comprehend our enemy, and “in meekness [instruct] those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to theacknowledging of the truth.” (2 Tim. 2:25)
This is not only true where we live; it is true where you live, whether you sense it or not. Grasp that. We all are in a great spiritual warfare. We all must put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:11,13). We all must stand and fight.
I offer here some simple, biblical suggestions to fight this good fight, but they are by no means comprehensive.
PRAYER Prayingalways with all prayer and supplicationin the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplicationfor all saints; (Ephesians 6:18)
Pray for the Lord’s churches,His people, andHis servants. First, pray earnestly for your pastor and ministry leaders.
Then, read your missionaries’ prayer letters—and pray for them. [I always enjoy hearing from those who read our letters, though I fear there are many who don’t read them. I’d appreciate your input as to what we can do better. Email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
If you don’t read a specific prayer request in a letter, remember there is always a battle going on for the souls of the missionaries themselves and for the people to whom God has called them—so pray!
Perhaps if Christians spent less time being distracted by Netflix, the news media, and social media, they could engage in this real spiritual warfare as soldiers, not as spectators.
PERSONAL CHURCH ATTENDANCE And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)
Get back in church, in person. Ten years ago God’s people would have disdained the idea of staying out of church to watch the service online week after week. Now we have droves who stay home in their PJs on the couch. They have no fear of catching an illness; they simply have lost the godly habit of fellowship with the saints. And dare I say that most are not really paying attention to the online sermons they are hearing? Hear me, brethren—the Lord’s army doesn’t wear PJs under the armor of God. O Church, arise!
PROPHETIC VOICE And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31)
Preach with biblical authority. There is a lot of good, biblical preaching in the church today. A lot of it. But what seems to be lacking in much of it is a “prophetic voice.” Not the fake prophets who claim visions and words from God—we have God’s Word already, and His Word is inspired, complete, preserved, profitable, and sufficient for us today.
What we need is the voice of a prophet; the preaching that not only says, “thus saith the Lord,” but actually looks at the hearers and reminds them, “you need to obey this Word from the Lord.” Not a preacher’s thoughts, mind you, but God’s words. At times we are afraid to say, “you,” so we say, “we”; as in “we need to do this,” and “we need to obey the Lord.” We include the speaker, so as not to offend the hearers. But the prophets and apostles of old did not fear to say, “you”! Preacher, do not fear being labeled legalistic if what you are preaching is biblical truth. There is a prophetic aspect to preaching—the “forth-telling,” that authoritative word which is based on the words of the living God, not the preacher—and I believe many times that voice is lacking. Let us humble ourselves before our God and our people, and then let us preach the Word with boldness!
Wedding & Family
Lena and I were able to travel back to the US for the wedding of our oldest granddaughter, Ariel, to Luke Lunsford. It was beautiful! And best of all, we were able to be together with all the kids and grandkids in one place for the first time since 2011. (Would you pray for Luke’s family? A couple weeks after the wedding, his father passed away suddenly. Thank you.)
We were also able to be in a few churches, and how rich the fellowship! Preaching, teaching, singing, glorifying the Lord, —and how edifying it was to see old friends and to make new ones!
Back in Class at BBIPOM
We have started our new term at Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby. A good number of our students are in their third and final year, plus we’ve picked up 10 new first-year students. Praise the Lord! Pray for them and for me as I teach and mentor these servants of God.
Beginning the Front Translation of 2 Corinthians
The Kamea Bible Project continues to progress. I’ve begun working on 2 Corinthians. Pray for me to have minimal distractions from the project, maximum clarity in translating, and the power of the Spirit as I have the privilege of doing this holy work. Remember Pastor Ben Samauyo in the same way as he labors to translate the Word directly into his heart language.
Thank you for your continued prayers for the Lord’s ministry here and for Lena’s health, and thank you for helping us be your representatives here on the field in Port Moresby, PNG!
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
We wrapped up another term of our Bible college here in the city this week. Our final exam last night was over Church History, where we covered 1,800 years in 18 weeks. Our other classes this term included the doctrines of the Holy Spirit, Satan, and Man, plus studying through the Pastoral Epistles and the Old Testament books from the era of the Decline and Fall of Israel and Judah. All 20 students did well in their course work, and I love seeing the Lord work in their hearts to stir them to ministry. Our students include two pastors, two deacons, several preachers-in-training, and several men and ladies already in some sort of teaching ministry. Among them are several husbands with their wives, which blesses me to no end!
We recently had one of our dear PNG pastor friends go home to his eternal reward. Pastor Philip was a champion and a close friend. His passing, plus thinking about my own students, has served to remind me of my own spiritual mentors. I’m sure if I tried to make a comprehensive list, I’d leave someone out…but those who poured the most into me in my early years were my pastor, the late Dr. Don Mangus; my main Bible college teacher and friend, Pastor Dennis Hardin; and my missionary friend, Dr. James Griggers. These men invested time and teaching into my life with grace, patience, and a kick in the pants as needed! I doubt any of us thought this lanky soldier boy would ever be doing what I get to do today—but by the power of God’s Holy Spirit and through the influence of these men (and many more!), Lena and I get to serve Him here. I can say that I have a “goodly heritage”!
PERSEVERING SERVANTS Nurse Stacie McCary finished up her time with us recently and has arrived safely back home. Thank the Lord for Hannah-Rose and the rest of the team who hold the fort at Kunai Health Centre. Please pray that the Lord will continue to use them to meet the physical and spiritual needs that they see daily.
PASSOVER IN PNG A highlight of the past couple of months was a three-day Passover Conference at Shalom Baptist Church where I was privileged to speak. It was a packed house as we taught (and preached!) through the connections between the Passover and the Lord’s Supper.
The second night we did a Passover Seder, showing the types of Christ throughout the meal and how much of the meal itself is displayed in the Gospel recollections of the Last Supper. There were many public responses to the Word and at least one precious soul trusted Christ.
PERSONAL NEWS Some of you know that Lena has health issues associated with SLE (Lupus). She has had a serious flare of the disease for the last three months, and is on IV antibiotics for a related infection even as I write this. On top of it all, she got Dengue fever, but that seems to be about over. She is not a quitter, that’s for sure! As you think of her, please pray for her strength and healing.
Because of your grace, prayers, and giving, we are able 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 to keep at it in PNG!
Because He Is, John & Lena Allen 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Kunai Health Centre: KunaiHealthCentre.com Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby: bbipom.com
Our 40 ft container of clinic, school, Bible college, and construction materials was shipped from the US and received here, and God provided for the clinic and school supplies to be forwarded on to Kunai.
We completed our draft of John in the Kamea language and began the draft of Revelation in Kamea.
God provided new nursing staff for Kunai Health Centre as other nurses rotated back to the US. Thank you to Kyle, Lauren, Chelsea, and Danya for serving! Thank you to Stacie and Becca for coming when it didn’t look possible, and for Mary Beth being there through it all!
We began renovation of our new home & office space in August and moved into the house in November (with just a few things left to be finished out).
Dear brethren in Australia provided school materials for the new Christian school at Kunai begun by Sarah Glover this year.
We’ve been thinking much about our ministry options for the present. Churches here have been able to continue their services and outreaches, with the only real limitation of not being able to hold conferences. Relatively few people in PNG have access to hear or watch a conference online, especially those pastors and churches located in more remote areas. Our national pastors around the nation need the fellowship. The Lord has provided us with much material for pastors and teachers, and we want to get those into their hands as well as have gifted, godly speakers teaching the sessions. Pray with us about the door opening back up for us (and other good churches) to resume hosting conferences.
These are the things we have mapped out, Lord willing, for 2021:
We have applied for a visa for a new nurse coming from Australia— Pray the Lord will make a way for her.
We plan to begin our new term for BBIPOM (2nd year) on 25 January— Pray the Lord keeps the doors open, and pray for our returning students plus new students who plan to join us.
We want to continue our New Testament translation in the Kamea language, doing checks and reviews along the way— Pray the Lord provides for our village translation team to be able to fly out here to town and to return in a timely manner.
We desire to do more outreach and work with our believers— Pray the Lord helps us to see and to seize the opportunities.
Most of our 1st Year Students at BBIPOM
All in all, we want to “follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3a), and to make Him known among the nations!
None of us knew what 2020 would bring, so when it comes to 2021—or even tomorrow—we say with the Apostle James, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:15b)
Thank you for your prayers for us, for our people, and for the Lord’s work, and thank you for making it possible that we can do it. Thank you again for allowing us to represent you. Please take time to look through this blog to see photos from this year and enjoy what God has done through you as you have stood with us!
Because He Is, John & Lena Allen 2 Thessalonians 3:1
A special thank you to Pastor Tau Abary and Mary Beth Snyder for taking some of these photos!
A gift from our students as they finished their first year at BBIPOM.
Students listening attentively during chapel.
Missionary John Gray came to challenge our student body.
It was a privilege to have my son Matt come teach a class on sermon preparation for our Exegesis & Exposition course.
My son Matt Allen with Pastor Tau Abary of Shalom Baptist Church
It was our privilege to join several local pastors for the graduation and awards ceremonies at Shalom Baptist Christian Academy. Here, Mrs. Suzanne Abary, wife of Pastor Tau and headmistress of the school, is being honored for 10 years of service at the school.
Thankful for our friends laboring out at Kunai: Becca Wyatt, Sarah Glover, and Stacie McCary. (PC: Mary Beth Snyder)
Below are some photos of the set-up and conversion of our new house and offices. Special thank you to Curtain Brothers Construction for donating, delivering, and setting up the “donga” (formerly a bunkhouse at the Exxon plant near here). Thanks also to the staff men at Capital City Baptist Church and South Pacific International Academy for their tireless work on the project. Thanks to the contractors, Altra Builders and MZ Electrical for their expertise and long hours.
Here’s a sunrise view from our front veranda.
Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby Mission Statement