If you follow Asia Pacific news or this website you may remember a prayer request and story from a tribal fight in our area in September. Other than caring for the wounded, people may not think much about the ministry behind such an event…. but this is a Nazarene Hospital. The motto of the church is to “make Christ-like disciples” and we are a part of that. This was not just any fight where our main role is to care for patients. This happened right here in our own community… so we wanted to update you on how God is turning tragedy into hope on both sides.
Recently we have had a chance to come along side a local Nazarene Church, Cornerstone. This was a house church started by our own NHM staff just a few years ago (our Health Secretary, Baru Dirye and his wife Christina- a nursing supervisor). It is now a large growing church. Their area had over 120 homes burned. Their church has been reaching out to families in the area who have lost everything – house, goods, pigs, gardens,… The area closest to them is an area of a defunct plantation. Generations ago people came from other parts of PNG to work the plantation. The plantation closed but the people stayed and made a new life for themselves and their kids have grown up there. About 30 families in that area lost everything.
Cornerstone has reached out to this area with gifts from NHM, the National Women’s Convention, and their own church. On Dec. 13th a group of Nazarene missionaries joined Cornerstone to go encourage and pray for the people there. Many families shared the temporary house that they had erected. One of the leaders said this was the only church that has come to help and has continued to follow up. He said that his own family had not even come to help and yet this church has shown great concern for them. Another young man said he had grown up there but there had never been a church in that area. Now the community has invited the Nazarene Church to start a preaching point there.
Chaplain Moses also led an NHM team to minister at the prison where nearly 50 of our local men are in jail still awaiting trial over this fight. Several NHM staff and missionaries have been to prison to visit over the last few months and we were invited to come and hold a service for the entire prison. The men and women in uniforms are the long term prisoners and the men behind the fence were those waiting for trial.
Dr. Scott preached a sermon about how we have all been imprisoned by sin, but that we can know the God who calls us what we are not and has the power to change who we are and set us free. One of our community leaders who is in jail shared that he knew God was using this to challenge and change their lives. He said they were holding Bible Study twice per day and really wanted to see how God could change them.
Please pray for both sides affected in this fight. For those who have come to know the Lord through the kindness of the church in tragedy, for those waiting for a loved one in jail, and for those who face the judgement of man but for whom our prayer is that through it they would find eternal life. May all come to know the Prince of Peace and only hope for our world.