Ephesians 6.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

This seemed more obvious than usual today. Some of our most exciting and excited new believers were down today.

Pictured above are Wati and Zabet. They almost skipped church this morning because they were in the middle of an argument and ashamed. They pulled it together and arrived late, but then the argument resumed later this afternoon. Wati was so angry that he set the thatch roof of their house on fire. Zabet put it out before much damage was done and sent their oldest daughter, Beti, to fetch me. I went to their house and, after tempers settled down, we talked for about an hour about marriage and God’s desire and plan for us. I talked about our roles as husband and wife as they listened attentively. In they end, they both admitted their wrongs and apologized.

At church this morning, Rita told Elizabeth that she didn’t want to come to church because she had gotten in a fight last week and was ashamed about that. She said that, despite her feelings, she thought the Holy Spirit was urging her to come and so she did. Elizabeth was able to talk with her and some other ladies about shame and grace. She explained that our church gathering is not for perfect people, but for sinners who need Jesus.

This afternoon Elizabeth and I had an hour-long conversation with Hoku and Gapi (at Gapi’s request.) Gapi is still worried about Hoku and what he is/isn’t believing. I told Hoku that he can’t keep riding the fence. If he’s not believing, we can accept that; if he is and wants to pursue God with us, we will be thrilled about that. But claiming to believe while continuing in habitual, willful sin, we cannot accept. He said he wants to believe and change his life. It’s tough to know, but we’ll see.

Keep praying for all of our new brothers and sisters. I’m afraid we may have crested the first hill of excitement and be headed for a valley. People are realizing that we have not yet arrived–we aren’t perfected and we aren’t in Heaven yet. Pray that we would all learn more about living in God’s grace.

  1. Nolan Gottlieb

    I’m regularly encouraged by yalls updates and will continue to pray for the work in PNG. Please let the folks there know that there’s someone in Athens, GA petitioning the Father on their behalf.

    • Joseph

      Thanks Nolan. When I took that picture of Wati and Zabet after our conversation, I told them I was going to send to my friends at home (with a story) so they would pray for us.

  2. I think Tonia and I had a similar fight last week. Never thought of setting the roof on fire…may have to use that one.
    It’s so interesting to me that our response to shame is the same…no matter where we’re from.

What do you think?