Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Sumer End

It has been a great summer, we spent it working and getting to know each other and settling in to marriage. Amy has been working at Parkland in the ER, and Ryan has been working for Cornerstone Baptist Church in South Dallas. It has been good getting settled in to life together and slowly making our way around to all of you.

We are still on track to head to PNG in the spring. We are just beginning to start raising support and such. Our hope is to begin scheduling small group speaking times ASAP. It is exciting to see how God has beginning to bring a great network of people around us to make all of this possible.

What does the future hold?

We are going to Michigan the 5th-16th of August to visit family and friends and to touch bases with some old family churches for possible support.

Ryan starts teaching Biology at Cornerstone Academy  in South Dallas mid August, and Amy will continue at Parkland through the end of the year.

We plan to start support raising support in September, and begin finalizing plans to leave.

We have training with NTM the beginning of November in Florida.

We will head to MI in Dec for Christmas and stay through the end of January.

We will share with a few churches, and finish support raising there.

We plan to head back to TX the beginning of February  to say our goodbyes and head to PNG mid February.

Now as a disclaimer this plan is dependent on support, visas, health etc. Basically we have prayed and believe this is the way to go, and are trusting God to work it all out.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Summer Hope

We just wanted to give you all a heads up for what our summer will look like. Ryan was approached by Pastor Chris Simmons to run a summer Business Entrepreneurship Program for high school students affiliated with Cornerstone Church. We have prayed about it and feel it would be a good direction for him to go. The salary for it is questionable right now so please pray the God would provide the funds to make it worth it. Our goal is to have Ryan's student loan payed off by the end of the year and we are putting his income towards that end. This could be a great opportunity for ministry and for us to continue to develop relationships with the people around us.

Thank you for your prayers , and support. We are excited to see God opening the doors ahead if us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Taste and See

Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

We just wanted to let you know, what all is going on. We have been living with Amy's parents  while settling in to life as a couple and getting used to being back here in the USA. Ir has been a good time, just getting settled in as a couple and learning what marriage looks like. It has a been a good time. We have been praying for a place to live and God has provided us with the chance to move to South Dallas close to Cornerstone Church. Pastor Chris has offered us one of the units in the old motel there by the church and we are happy to accept. This will allow us to live cross culturally to a point as well as to pour time into lives Ryan has already invested in for the past few years through C-kids etc.

Ryan has started a small construction business and has been doing remodeling and landscaping jobs and the work is coming in consistently. We are hopin to be able to pay off his student loan by the end of the year and are putting his income to that end. Please pray that jobs would come in consistently and allow us to do just that. Amy is still at Parkland  and will continue there until we are set to leave the country.

We have talked with our church leadership and they are excited to be sending us to PNG with NTM. They have asked that we wait until we have been married one year before we head overseas long term. That means the soonest we can go would be December of this year. We have talked with PNG as well and housing there isn't really available until January. The leadership there has asked us to go to the main center first so Amy can practice medicine for 8 weeks under the doctor there with NTM and get a feel for tropical wilderness medicine. There is a conference we would like to be there for in June, so our hope is to be there sometime mid February. This would allow us to get settled in and have Amy be able to do the 8 weeks under DR Bud before we head to our home in Hoskins.

So what is next? Our plan for the next few months is as follows. 

Continue in our jobs and pay of debt by the end of October.

Move to Cornerstone and get settled into life and the community there.

Lay low the next couple of months to get used to being married and settle into life here.

Finalize the applications process with NTM and apply for Visas

Begin to raise support for the tools and such we would like to be able to take to PNG

Begin to prepare to move to PNG and think through that process.

Start raising support in September.

Training in FL with NTM in November,

Christmas with family in Mi then support raise there until February.

Return to TX in February and say our good byes.

Head to PNG mid Fedruary.

This our hope and plan as God enables and allows. Please pray that we would be faithful to his call,  and grow as a couple to love him and each other as He would have us do. Please pray for continued divine appointments as we move forward and for God to provide the finances and support to make it all happen in His timing.

Thank you
Ryan and Amy

Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

We are back and thank you!

Dear Wonderful, Faithful, Prayerful, Encouraging, “We Love You” Supporters:

THANK YOU for all you did to help us get to Papua New Guinea and back earlier this year. THANK YOU for your prayers. We attribute our health, safety, lessons learned, vision gained, “coincidental meetings” and success in early marriage while there to many of your specific prayers for us. Our time there was fruitful and we would like to go back. But first, here’s a wrap up of what our 7 weeks looked like...

Amy began learning Melanesian pigin. Ryan refreshed and updated his pigin from the 80s. We dipped into the culture: ate food cooked in an underground mud/banana leaf oven; sat with the women making string bags; helped with their garden work; sat in their yards and homes and chatted some more...

We heard and saw what missionary life is like—the challenges & the Lord’s faithfulness in it all.

We worked in our future roles in medicine & construction/ maintenance. The nurses, doctors, builders, mechanics, pilots, teachers & more enable the missionaries to do their job better because services like heathcare, roads and schools are practically nonexistent in PNG. 

We met missionaries that we will be supporting. These missionaries move in to a tribe’s village and then spend years learning their unique language and culture. Then, they share the full gospel. As a body of believers is born, missionaries disciple them and teach them to read & write. The missionaries tediously translate the Scripture into their language. With God’s Word, the new believers can grow. The missionary’s goal is to leave behind an indigenous, self-sustaining church.

We saw that PNG is very “missionized”, however, very few know or have heard the TRUE gospel. Most churches preach a works-based salvation. Others still follow animistic beliefs and most everyone else follows a combination of the two.

We learned there are now 315 un-reached language groups in PNG. This number was recently reached from all major mission organ-izations in PNG.

We drank PNG coffee everyday!

We hiked through beautiful mountains & valleys and swam in the ocean.

We did NOT eat any bugs.

So, what’s NEXT??

Work, eat, sleep, play, reconnect with you in person, keep learning about what it is to be married folks that honor the Lord. And finally pay off remaining student loans.

We will be sent by The Village Church with New Tribes Mission to
return to PNG in early 2011. This means all of our financial support will go through NTM. We will contact you with more info on when and how to send support to NTM in the next few weeks. Thank you again for being a part, you are in our prayers.

Ryan and Amy

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An update from Amy

Now that the Interface program is over we are spending the next few weeks with missionaries doing the roles we hope to come here and fulfill. The hope is this will give us a good view of how ready we are to come here and serve. We wanted to see how we fit into the big picture here in New Guinea and get a feel for what life would be like.
 I've spent the last 10 days working in the clinic here at the NTM's main center in PNG. Their main job is to keep the missionaries well and healthy because getting treatment at the local hospital is rolling the dice on whether you'll get adequate care. Not to mention that you're taking your chances catching somebody else's germs....a reused needle, the TB patient in the same open ward as you, the dirty sheets, the community bathrooms. The medical system in this country has seen better days. The closest reliable medical system is Australia--that's where most of the missionaries goes to have their children or for big emergencies. The clinic also treats many people from other mission organizations, nationals that live nearby and a few random expats working in country.

The clinic does a little bit of everything--their own lab work, microbiology labs, xrays, ultrasounds, pharmacy. I was amazed. The 2 physician clinic supports all the missionaries, both in the bush and at center. They package up medications and get them on flights to families in the bush. They are always available by email for medical questions and in emergencies, by radio. They teach missionaries how to look in ears and listen to breath sounds. If the missionary can tell that their kid has an ear infection they can give them the antibiotic they've already got on hand and save themselves a plane flight out to the main clinic. Even though it only costs $10 to see the doctor (which covers the clinic's utility bills), trips can add up quickly when the only way out of your village is by plane or helicopter. And, it's that much more time and energy that the missionary can be working on what they are there to do!

I loved getting to jump in and get my feet wet at the clinic. My experience in the ER proved to be very useful because I had seen such a wide range of illnesses. And I had never dreamed of being an ER nurse. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of room for learning, but it was encouraging to see that I have a good foundation to build upon in that field.

I was amazed at the number of missionaries that live at the main center. It takes about 100 people to keep NTM running in that country! That includes pilots, mechanics, builders, teachers, dorm parents, accountants, tribal supply ordering people, doctors, nurses, people that run the guest house, government representatives, computer technicians, and probably a few more! It takes a large force of people to keep church planters and translators in the middle of nowhere healthy, fed, clothed, sheltered and able to communicate with the outside world! 

Ryan and I are looking forward to coming back and being a part of the work God is doing here. It has been so good to see it all happening first hand. Please pray God would give us clarity on timing and location to serve him as we continue with this trip. Next week we are going to Hoskins to see what life there would look like. That is where Ryan was headed before the cancer scare set Him back a bit. We are still thinking that is where we would like to be long term and are hoping that our time will confirm or eliminate that. Pray that we would see what we need to and that we would be an encouragement to the missionaries there. Thank you for praying with us so far. God has been good and this has been a very good and fruitful time.

Amy Carpenter

Friday, January 29, 2010

The thoughts God has provoked......

We just spent a week in a village called Simbari, visiting with the missionaries and believers there, and seeing what it means to give your life to reaching a people that are lost.  The testimonies and stories were powerful and stirred our hearts. God is moving everywhere and it is amazing to see.

Simbari...., to get there we boarded a small plane and we flew about an hour out of town through the mountains and then saw this little grass airstrip in the middle of the jungle. It seems like the middle of nowhere but I guess it's somewhere because there are people that live, work and play there. Some of them don't know anything different. There are even brothers and sisters in Christ there! Also, two missionary families have been there for 10+ years. They told us that Jesus is building His church among them as they watch it grow in number and in depth.

But wait...aren't the missionaries the ones sharing the gospel and doing the translation work? Sure, they're there. And, sure, they are working very hard. But, they would tell you over and over that it is despite them that the church was born and is growing. The Lord is using them as imperfect human beings to bring the good news to people who had never heard it before. They, as missionaries, just keep showing up and keep doing the work the Lord has put before them. This makes me ask, "where does the Lord want me, right now, to keep showing up, to persevere in life?"

Sitting through the Simbari church service was probably the highlight of the whole 7 week trip. Several men and women gave testimonies. One young man spoke from Mark 7:15, "Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean'". I've never heard these Scriptures referenced in a testimony before, but they spoke right to the heart of what he had wrestled with his whole life. You see, PNG is very "missionized". There are lots of "churches"; and I put that in quotation marks because these churches do not teach salvation by grace through faith. These churches claim to be Baptist, Bible, Missionary, Assembly of God, Four Square, Methodist, Jehovas Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, Lutheran, etc.

Some of these I expected to share salvation through works but not all. It was hard to see a "baptist" church preaching that God sent Christ to allow you to appease him and conform to his demands. Across the board, over and over we heard of "churches" that taught salvation by works. At one "church", it's "don't drink alcohol, don't smoke, don't chew buai, go to church on Saturday, don't drink Coca-cola (yes, this absurd!). At the one down the road it's "don't drink coffee, don't eat pig". So, this is the religious environment this young man giving his testimony grew up in. This Scripture was the road to freedom in Christ for this man. He heard the gospel because someone went to him. He had seen the stars and the mountains and knew that a mighty God existed. But, before someone spoke to him the words that Jesus has shared with us, he did not know eternal life in Christ.

I think what was so amazing was that some websites and organizations list PNG as 95% reached. When you get on the ground and start talking with the missionaries and believers there they just laugh at that. I think we've come to realize even more that just because there is a church in a place does not mean the gospel is being preached nor does it mean there are believers.

It is so much like home in the USA... knowing the name of God does not mean you are saved, doing things to appease him doesn't mean that either. You have to know you cannot appease God, and that the very best thing in you is wicked. Not even knowing Jesus' name and that He is God's Son means you are saved. You have to know Christ died for you because there is no way to God except through him.  Not only do you have to know God loves you, died for you and paid for the wickedness, but you have to accept it as well... You have to humble yourself before God, admit your status before Him as a sinner, and accept Christ's death on your behalf as a covering for your sin.

Please pray for the peoples of New Guinea, that they would understand that they cannot come to God with their own sacrifice like Cain did. They have to come to Him with His sacrifice. Christ. Pray that they would see through the false gospel being proclaimed and know the truth. Pray that God would give wisdom to those working there to share this truth, that they would know how to tell these peoples in their own language what God has done for them. That they would be able to do so in a way that is understood fully. None of this is possible without God making it so. He needs to open hearts and minds and enable those telling the story to do so well.

 More than anything pray for laborers for the fields are white and the laborers are few.

Luke 10:2-3 The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore to send out workers into his harvest field, go I am sending as Lambs among wolves.

Please pray for us we are ready and willing to go. Please pray for divine appointments over the next month as we visit other places and talk with missionaries. Ask that God would show us what we need to make wise decisions about the timing of returning and where we would serve.

Thank you,
Ryan and Amy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hello again! Live from PNG, update #2.

Hi all....or "apinun" as they say here in melanesian pigin,

We are still alive and sickness, no accidents, no more earthquakes (first day we were here, there was one that registered a 5.6). We did have a slight problem with a couple vehicles and the road that we have to travel to get to the highway. Can you say rainy season, dirt roads and ruts up to your thigh? You can read about it at The situation is now resolved after the Lord brought 2 days of uncommonly strong wind and sun.

From Amy: Language learning is going well. After several sessions with Lina and lots of afternoons sitting with ladies in the village I can mostly understand Ryan's random mutterings in pigin. We've finished our classes in phonetics and chronological Bible teaching. God is a big God who has been working to draw people to Himself and point people to Christ since Genesis, despite their consistent wandering from Him. I am thankful the Lord has shown Himself to me even when I think I've got it all figured out on my own.

We wrote a paper and had a class about the eternal destiny of the person that has not heard the good news of the gospel. AKA the people that live all over this country. They are heavily "missionized". There have been lots of denominations over the years that have set up churches here. However, the vast majority of them teach that you can earn an eternal life with God by doing the "right" things. They mix their tribal animistic beliefs with a list of do's and don'ts and call it salvation. They teach in Pigin or English. These are 2nd or even 3rd languages for people here.

Pigin only has 600 words with many of the words having 6 or more meanings. Even if these churches were teaching truth, these factors make it very difficult to communicate in a way that would lead to deep understanding. There are over 400 language groups in this country alone that have no access to the Truth. Yikes, there's some food for thought.

From Ryan: It has been so good to get to know some of the village guys here and to brush up on pigin. God has definitely been stirring my heart even more with the need here so many people with no chance of knowing our God and no chance of an eternity with Him. The fosters told us of a man that recently recieved Christ as His savior here, I got to meet him the next day. He was a pastor at the local baptist church for the past 15 years and he never understood the truth that you can't appease God by doing things. He thought that Christ died to allow us to make God happy with us. He showed us how to get rid of our bad blood (more on that later) and washed away his bad insides in the river by baptism.

So they believe it is by Christ dying on the cross showing us how to be saved, and us getting baptised that we get rid of the badness in us. We can then do a few other things and God is happy with us. So close to the truth but even farther than they were before because now they think they have the answer. God has been good for sure , please pray that he would soften hearts and prepare the way and for more laborers for the fields are white. These stories only press on me more the truth of Gods command to Go into all the world! His promise that He will build his church makes it worth all the sacrifice and effort on our part. He is faithful and keeps all of his promises.

Update on the Foster's, the missionaries in the local tribe the Bene Bena with 60k people in it and now there are around 35 believers!  They just finished the 6 month long "creation to Christ" teaching: 25 people showed up on the last day. Only about 10 had been coming consistently. There are now 9 new believers that we will get to worship with in Heaven!!! One of them is another one of our language helpers. She had been attending church at a local place that had services in pigin and taught salvation by works. Keep in mind these are a fairly stoic individuals...Her reaction to the completed teaching was, "it is just so clear now..."Praise the Lord for her.

So what's next? Tomorrow we climb into a 6-seater plane and will go further up into the highlands. We're going to stay with a tribe for the weekend. There is a newer church there and 2 missionary families that are currently working on translating the New Testament. Wahoo! We are looking forward to the testimonies of the believers there and to encouraging the missionaries as well. Please pray we would be a blessing to them over this next week.

Please pray for God to reveal himself this next week to us and for safety
Fell fee to forward this to anyone you think would want to read it too!

Much love. Thanks for writing us and praying for us.
Ryan and Amy Carpenter
Ephesians 3:14-21