At church today I saw Janet. She was sitting on the back pew with her little man, paying close attention to the message. Janet and most of her family are believers. She is from a village called “Las Ples” because it is the “last place” where our Kamea people had moved to the south. Since the name was given, though, the Kamea have moved even farther south…but the name stuck anyway.
Janet needed counseling, so I spoke with her after church. Then I offered to get the little man more baby milk. “How many cans do you need?” “None,” she said with a smile. “He is already a big boy, he eats a lot of food.” He is probably close to a year old, but there was no whining, no tears, nothing. And then I remembered, he IS her umpteenth child. When I asked how many children she has, she used all her fingers and toes and then said there are more, but they are grown.
Then Janet pointed to another lady with a baby who had come to church with her. I had never seen this lady before. “This lady needs milk for her baby.” Sure enough, the baby was frail and tiny. They think she was born 3 months ago, but since there is no way to count days, the date is only a guess. The baby weiged less than six pounds. The mom told us that the baby is healthy, but she just does not have enough milk to feed her.
That was when she showed me the terrible scars that she has from mastitis (breast infections). I had noticed her nursing during and after church. “Poor child, poor mom,” I thought as she explained that she nurses the baby all the time, but just cannot get enough milk to feed her.
So, the three of us (along with their babies) sat on the floor of the clinic as I explained how to boil the water, mix the formula, clean the bottles, and not to save any of the mix for the next feeding time. I taught her to feed the baby from the breast first, and then to supplement with the formula. She followed through, and then did it all herself. Tomorrow she will return and we will teach it all again, plus Margaret (our clinic worker) will do it in her tribal tongue. Mom will surely have questions, and Margaret will be better able to answer them in Kamea.
The best part of this story is that Janet and her family know the Savior. I do not know about this new family; but since they are ALL staying with one of our Bible school families, they will hear the Gospel in Kamea from them. And tomorrow at clinic, they will hear it again in Kamea, from Margaret.
Just as this baby needs milk to grow, believers need the milk of the word to grow and the Holy Spirit to teach us. Without it, we’re like this new milk baby: weak, frail, and tiny.
Janet from Las Ples has the word of God on a solar-powered audio Bible we distributed last year. For now, she can hear the New Testament in the PNG trade language; but how much better when she will be able to hear it in her own “heart” language of Kamea?
Nothing, Better and Best…having no milk, no access to God’s Word; something better is having God’s Word in a language you partly understand; but the best, the absolute best, is having it in your own language. We English-speakers are so blessed to have it in our own language.
Would you please pray for us?
- Pray as John works on learning the tribal language of Kamea.
- Pray that our people would realize a hunger for the word of God as he and our teammates work with our men to translate it.
- Pray as we put out the word of God, in print and in audio form; that as God promises, His word will not return void.
- And pray for our medical ministry, that by our hands and His love, more Kamea people will see His hands (that created the world and that bled for them) and will love Him with all their hearts.
This is from my heart–Lena Allen
What a great way of putting it so we can understand the difference, and the need. I still think about you guys. You made and are making an impact on me. I hope to share this post in our missionary circle tomorrow. And I am praying!!