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Summer Zimmer, Communications Manager
Papua New Guinea: October/November 2019
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Something that has started to stand out to me as I continue in this Bible Study through Acts, is the amount of time that passes.  In reading Acts before, I was under the impression that things happened one thing after the other in a matter of months.  But in reality, it took over 15 years before the Jewish Christians were willing to accept the Gentiles as their brothers and sisters in Christ and it took 13-14 years before Paul started his missionary journeys. 

Change takes time. Equipping takes time.  Maturity takes time. 

But as we go through the history of the early church you can see how God moved them step by step.  He gave them what they were ready for, gave them time and then moved them a little further.  I can certainly see how God moved me step by step in preparing me to come here.  Can you look back and see God’s faithfulness in your life to prepare you for the next step?
 
As I think of all the church planters I work with here, about 153 missionaries working in 44 different tribal locations throughout the country, I’m sure at some points they are discouraged at how long this process takes—for change in people’s worldviews and their hearts and lives.  But hopefully in reading Acts we can all be reassured that they are in good company.  The Church wasn’t ready and mature enough to reach out to those around them that were different until years later when they realized that you don’t have to be circumcised and become Jewish to follow Christ.  Christ is for everyone.
 
Here there are several mature churches in tribal groups that are now wanting to reach out to their neighbors with the good news of Jesus Christ— villages wanting to reach other villages within their own people group. Then there are tribes that want to reach out even beyond their borders. Mouk believers reaching out to the Anem people and the Lusi people.  The Inapang church wanting to minister to the Tangguat people and the Mengen wanting to reach the South Mengen.  Crossing these cultural boundaries and language barriers is not easy, but Christ has so changed their lives, they want those around them to have that hope as well. 
 
As I’ve been posting on the NTM PNG social media, I mainly just post prayer requests or about the needs there are, but this week I was reminded that it’s important to share the praises and victories as well.  There is so much that God has done here– tribal locations with mature churches that are able to take the torch and carry-on to reach other villages and other people groups.  In a country as diverse as PNG with over 800 languages, the task seems never-ending, but God is building His church in Papua New Guinea.  It just takes time and the obedience of His people to take the next step forward.  It’s a good thing our confidence is in Him and not our own strength to see this work through.  God’s plan is not flawed, and He is faithful to see His promises through in reconciling humanity to Himself through His Church.
Click on the photo to read more and see photos from Central Conference I was super blessed to have these ladies over-- 3 are from tribal locations and were only out a short time for Conference.  What a blessing to get to know my coworkers.  I'm grateful the Lord has given me such a love for them and a desire to see them supported well.
What's next?
I see my work here taking time to mature and evolve as well.  As I get to meet more people, even church planters out of the bush for a short while, it's much easier to make progress.  Being able to speak in front of a few groups, in person, instead of relying on email, really opened up doors to being able to meet with and help people one-on-one.  And I'm also growing in my understanding of what is needed.

For another 2 weeks I'll be teaching 1st-5th graders in the gym class here how to jump rope.  It's a fun way for me to get to know some of the kids here and to use some skills from a long time ago!

At the end of November several new church planting families will be here in Lapilo as part of their orientation.  I will have an opportunity to share about communication with them, and then I hope to be able to meet with each family one-on-one to help them set up good communication tools before they head out into the bush.

I'm trying to finish up several projects before I head home, and I also need to think about packing up and cleaning out the house I've lived in this year.

I'll see you in the Warsaw area, December 18-January 18!  I'll be sharing at the WCC Missions Night on January 9, hope to see you there.
I've been really excited to see several videos come together recently.  And we already have several videos in mind that I'll start on next year.
Another great point in our study this week was about how God gave the Church a period of peace and rest and a time to be strengthened.  God prepares us, empowers us and builds us up by His Holy Spirit and other believers before He sends us out.  He provides all we need to do the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do.  As I look back, my most meaningful growth or steps of faith have come from a time of rest.  A vacation or a spiritual retreat of some sort.  Time set apart to seek the Lord.  Aren’t you glad we have a God who is patient with us, who desires us to seek him, who empowers us, grows us, strengthens us and gives us one another to shepherd, pour into and encourage each other?
 
I’m grateful for all of you, who have reached out to encourage me through this year, first in the preparation stages and now as I serve here­— your texts, letters, emails, packages and calls.  Pray with me that all of our missionaries here in PNG, despite discouragement and disappointments, will be encouraged by their churches and supporters, in much the same way I have been by you, to continue on unto completion the task that they have been given.
Praises

I've been feeling super blessed lately by the relationships and activities I get to be a part of- check out my photo slide show about why.

I was able to finish the two videos I had hoped to last month, and I am enjoying putting videos together.  Please pray I can get better with the technical aspects of shooting them.
 
The two presentations I gave in October were such a good opportunity for me to set up one-on-one meetings with people to help them with communication tools.  Please pray for more opportunities like that where I can spend time equipping my teammates who already have plenty on their plate, to make reporting back all that God has done a bit easier.

Praise the Lord that I’ve not been too anxious about housing for next year.  Please pray that wherever it is, I would be able to feel comfortable there and make it a home where I can host dinners and Bible Studies.

Prayer Requests

As always, pray for my use of time.  It never feels as if there’s enough.  Pray I can finish well with work projects and also pack up and clean out my house well but balance that with still being present here for now.  I don’t want to wait too long to pack up, but I don’t want to be ready to go too early.  I’ve also got a couple of Christmas projects I’d like to complete before I go. 

I am currently teaching an elementary school jump rope class for two more weeks- six classes a week. Pray that I can connect well with the students and be an encouragement to them.  It’s a great way to get to know the kids here.  I’ve really enjoyed it over the past two weeks but it does add a hecticness to my schedule in needing to be there and have a plan ready.  And it might be wearing me out a little bit. 
 
Pray for an opportunity for me to go into a tribe.  I’ve found that as I’ve been making these videos,  I don’t have a lot of footage of missionaries themselves.  So, ideally, I need to go into a tribal location for a day or two to get some footage of missionaries in their daily ministry.  Finding flights just a few days apart, though, is a difficult task.  Pray that I would be able to do this sometime in mid- February and that it would be a place that having media would be a benefit to the missionaries as well.
 
More stories of what God is doing in Papua New Guinea can be found through social media:
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My mailing address is:
Summer Zimmer C/O New Tribes Mission
PO Box 1079 Goroka, EHP 441 Papua New Guinea

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