PAPARA: TAHITI –
|Dear Praying Friends,|
|After 8 months in the field, on April 20th we arrived back in the states. How different and even disorienting to go from a generally poor island that is 20 miles across to the wide open spaces of the western United States. Someone asked us what we noticed first and it was easy to reply: prosperity. Rene’ remarked that a mere truck stop along the highway would match many of the larger buildings in Tahiti, while I often reflect that our island is not even as big as the Denver metro area. Yes, there was initial culture shock. But then, blessing after blessing as we visited churches, friends, and family. Just a few highlights of a great many: |
1. The genuine joy of sharing with several churches what the Lord is doing in French Polynesia: Sugar Land Bible Church, West Houston Bible Church, Austin Bible Church, and Fellowship Bible Church in Denver, our home church. We also enjoyed a Whataburger lunch with Pastor Steve Spurlin, his wife Cheryl, and daughter Camryn. Steve pastors Cornerstone Bible Church in Lubbock.
2. Reconnecting with dear old friends and making many new friends. Your love for us and sincere interest in our work was incredibly refreshing. We are still smiling at the memories.
3. Spending time with family, including Rene’s parents and sister, as well as our children Turner and Alex. The surprise visit of Nicole for Mother’s Day and Turner’s graduation was priceless.
4. Turner’s graduation from Talbot School of Theology. He became a Master of Classical Theology 37 years after I graduated from Talbot Seminary with my MDiv. I spent the whole day and evening choking back tears of gratefulness to our gracious God.
5. Meeting Alex’s boyfriend Evan. It was a brief but really wonderful evening of getting to know this excellent young man.
6. Mexican food.
Rene’ and I give joyous thanks to God for so many generous people in our lives. You all met our needs with kindness, love, and grace. How amazing it is to know such people.
We have returned rejuvenated and with renewed resolution to continue God’s work here. See below for more!
|When we returned we began a series of communications with our Tahitian friends and ministry partners. We left with a few endeavors in waiting. Some ministries remain on hold, while others are going forward full speed. A Saturday evening small group has begun with great promise and zeal. Rene’ jumped right in this week by helping with a children’s Bible camp in Papeete for three days. The camp was the final get together for a group who successfully finished the Operation Christmas Child’s Greatest Journey lessons. I went up with her on day three to watch the presentation of Bibles and certificates, and the special delight for me was seeing Rene’ hanging out with the older girls as they chatted and laughed together. Love and laughter is the best way to bridge the language gap.|
Aside from the small group, I have some pending ministries here in Papara and also over on Moorea. With a little spare time on my hands this week I began to organize our tiny collection of printed materials and prioritize the purchase of theological books in French. We will be an extension of the Agathon Research Library, which will soon find its home at the new Vyrsity worldwide headquarters in Ft. Dodge, Iowa. The web address is: Agathon Research Library | Agathon Research Library (agathonlibrary.com)
|Please pray for:|
1. Our developing ministries, especially for our Tahitian partners. Much like Americans, they seem to be under constant Satanic assault. Please pray for their protection and resolve in the face of many challenges.
2. For new connections. It often occurs that we meet folks out of the blue who might have interest in what we are doing. We especially long for Tahitians who have a real hunger to know God’s Word, and who are willing to study with us.
3. For development and strengthening of our connections with the University of French Polynesia. The Lord seems to be connecting us with a handful of strategic people there, but we need to follow through.
4. For the development and expansion of Operation Christmas Child in the country. They have had a solid beginning but they need to grow their leadership team to expand operations in Tahiti and beyond.
5. For the continued development of our Bible translation team and the refinement of our work. It is definitely a challenge to do this work across four languages. Also, for a fruitful time during the coming winter holidays.
We remain ever grateful,
Mark and Rene’