Here is a song that I wrote and recorded in Papua New Guinea about a year ago. The pictures with the song are from Papua New Guinea, though they don't do it justice. It's one of God's masterpieces.
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“For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NLT
Easter is a time for friends and family. It’s a time of pastel colored eggs, pretty dresses, and wonderful food (including, but not limited to, delicious candy). It’s a time of celebration to be sure. How often, though, does this celebration become ritual or habit? How often do we take for granted the significance of this holiday?
As a preacher’s kid, Easter was the same every year. Wake up before the sun to put on my frilly dress that I was too tired to fight against, sing hymns at the sunrise service, perform songs or skits for the other two or three services that morning, and follow it with a well-earned nap. No matter how well my parents explained what Easter was about, no matter how many of my dad’s Easter sermons I sat through, in my young mind Easter was something that was performed. It was not something that was necessarily celebrated or had any immediate application.
In actuality, Jesus’ death and resurrection was an incredible act of omnipotence, mercy, and love. Jesus’ death and resurrection is a gift that saves and justifies. Jesus’ death and resurrection is worth more than any praise we could offer up in celebration. It is worth immediate action and application.
“Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.” Romans 6:5-8 NLT
This year I had the privilege to witness one of my grade 5 students act on this perfect gift by becoming united with Christ through baptism on Easter day. As we celebrated Jesus’ death and resurrection on Earth, there was a celebration in heaven over the faithful response of this child. Easter is a time for celebration. Easter is a time for action.
Another New Testament has been completed! We are celebrating just as I'm sure heaven is celebrating. I pray this video will allow you to join in the celebration as well!
Check out this beautiful video of where I live and work in Papua New Guinea! God's creation is gorgeous isn't it?
Video credit to Skyborne Visions.
Praise the Lord! We've reached 100% of my monthly ministry budget! Thank you for your prayers and your partnership!
“To continually doubt is to accuse God of not being who he says he is and therefore to walk away from the source of true joy in your life.” – The God Girl Journey by Hayley DiMarco
Furlough (or home assignment) includes a variety of new “jobs.” Traveling, speaking, immunizations, packing, renewing paperwork, and collecting materials for my ministry. I already have enough Expo markers to fill a small backpack (which will thrill my students and fellow teachers, I’m sure!). Beyond just school supplies, I’m also reading through and gathering Bible study materials for my elementary kids and my high school Bible study girls. As I read through the variety of Bible studies, I’m often hit or convicted by the simple truths.
“Now, doubts are normal; we all have them. But the more you doubt, the less joy you have, because joy rests in the knowledge that God can be trusted, period, the end.” – Hayley DiMarco. My family has a little saying about me. My first name is Abigail which means “father’s joy,” and my middle name is Joy. My family likes to claim that I’m extra joyous for this reason. That’s cute in theory, but let’s face it, we all have doubts. Will I have a place to stay when I travel to this area? Will I reach 100% to be able to go back to Papua New Guinea? Will my family be ok while I’m gone? Just to name a few doubts that run through my mind on a consistent basis. Doubts are normal… but joylessness is the result.
I’ve been told many times that unlike happiness, joy doesn’t rely on circumstances. James 1:2 even states that we should consider trials an opportunity for joy! So why would these circumstances that cause doubt also cause joylessness? Simple answer: it isn’t the circumstance, it is what you think of God. When we allow our circumstances to cause us to doubt God’s faithfulness, power, and goodness, we lose the joy that only God can bring. Joy comes from the knowledge that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It comes from the knowledge that God is always with us and is always for us. It comes from the knowledge that we do not have to attempt life on our own.
Just as my God provides for the flowers and the birds, He will provide for me. He always does. Even when I doubt, and definitely not in ways I expect, he provides. Even when circumstances are difficult, I know my God is with me. Like Hayley DiMarco says, God can be trusted, period, the end. That stands true in my relationship with God and yours. Take heart today in God’s faithfulness and find joy in the big and small ways you see God in your life.
If you have a suggestion for a Bible study that would be great for high school girls, please comment below or email me! Also, I can’t return to Papua New Guinea until I reach 100% of the monthly ministry budget Wycliffe has prepared for me. Please pray for the right partners to color the rest of the books on the shelf so that I may return to Papua New Guinea. Only $335 more per month to go! Follow the link to see my ministry page - https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/armstrongpng.
It’s just another morning, sipping tea as I sit in another home that isn’t mine. This being my first furlough, I’ve been warned about many things by the veteran missionaries. They warned me about what gifts were best to bring back. They warned me about the stress of my first shopping trip in the States. They even warned me about how home would change, but it is different to experience it. It looks like home, smells like home, but it no longer completely feels like home. Home has taken on a new meaning.
I’m the atypical preacher’s kid who spent 15 years of her young life at the same church in the same town. When I left for college, I only moved a mere four hours away and came back to my parents’ house often on the weekends and on breaks. That town, that church, that house was always home. God moving me over 8,000 miles away changed everything.
In the process of learning the language, the culture, the people that I was going to be living and working with, I realized I was utterly inadequate. I realized on a daily basis just how much I didn’t know. It was challenging in a way I had never experienced before. In short, it was like I was completely torn down just to be reminded that it wasn’t about me. That God’s will is so much bigger than I am. That it is not me, but what he can do through me that is important. Only then, around this familiar and yet so profound a lesson, did I feel like I was being put back together again. Papua New Guinea started to feel like home.
Coming back to the States has been exciting. I love seeing my family and friends. I love seeing the children that I started ministering to over six years ago about to graduate high school. I love the conveniences of the first world. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my other home. I miss the slower pace of life. I miss my students. I miss the people that I live and work with. I love the ministry of Bible translation that I get to be a part of in Papua New Guinea. And while it’s challenging to have pieces of my heart on either side of the world, the experience ultimately reminds me that God is building another home for me. No matter the ache I feel for one place or another, my heart also aches for my heavenly home. “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” Philippians 3:20 (NLT)
I can’t return to Papua New Guinea until I reach 100% of the monthly ministry budget Wycliffe has prepared for me. Please pray for the right partners to color the rest of the books on the shelf so that I may return to Papua New Guinea. For more information, you can email me or click the following link to my Wycliffe ministry page- https://www.wycliffe.org/partner/armstrongpng
Why Bible translation? I think Billy Graham said it better than I ever could. The following video was made by Wycliffe Bible Translators to celebrate 75 years in Bible translation. Several of the clips in the video are from Papua New Guinea. Please share the video, its message, and the powerful call to action. "...it might be said that Jesus only had two verbs: come and go..." - Billy Graham
Supporting Bible translation through children's education in Papua New Guinea.