Prayer Requests and Letters

June 1, 2016

Would you do us a favor?

Could you pray for our daughter Naomi and her husband Ben today?  Today, June 1st was the due date for their son Hosea who was born prematurely and died at the end of January.  My eyes are wet thinking about it and we know it will be an emotional day for them.  Thank You SO MUCH!  Pray they may "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ..." (Eph 3:18)  This love surrounds the believer in every circumstance, of joy and sorrow, pray they are comforted and have peace today.

Please pray for our PNG friends, Rosemary and her husband Ikson, whose mother passed away this week.  Rosemary is one of the leading women in our church, and assists us greatly in cooking for large groups (300+) during college graduation and conferences.  She is a dear friend.  Her mother was the adoptive mother (It's a PNG thing) of our PNG pastor Virex, please pray for him as well, and our church which even now is in the haus krai (house of mourning).  

Pray also for Nickson Waichael, whose wife Las died recently.  Nickson and Las served faithfully in a local church in the Goroka area. They are both 2007 GBBC graduates, and each took multiple classes from Kellis and I.  A great couple, and Las had such a sweet spirit.  I saw Nickson in October 2014, after their house had burned down and I was able to replace his Bible Study books with books donated (see picture) for our students and pastors.

Pray for our PNG Team.  Our team leader, Bill (and Lori) Smith is traveling today to the states for a brief furlough.  Pray for their safety and ease of traveling, but also pray for our team in their absence.  It is always hard to be down in numbers, and our good friends are such an invaluable part of the ministries there!  We would love to be there to help, even just to fill in for a while as we have done the last few years.  Pray for more laborers!

Serving Together with Thankfulness,
Pat and Kellis Melson
Nickson Nov2014

 

 

May 2016

Dear Friends and Partners with us in Papua New Guinea,

Thank You for praying for Naomi and Ben after their newborn son Hosea died (Jan 27th), and please continue praying.  We praise God Kellis could go back to help for 6 weeks!  Naomi is still healing physically, and they still grieve through the emotions of Mother’s day, placing the headstone on Hosea’s grave and other reminders of their loss.  Their son Daniel is almost 16 months now, and keeps them busy with play, running, saying new words, and fun things like opening the bathroom door.

Please pray for our family.  As you know we moved to Yuma, AZ, to be near Kellis’s parents.  She is their only child.  Because of some of their ongoing needs, and some residual effects of family medical needs, we are on a Leave of Absence (LOA) with ABWE.  We have been serving our PNG team while stateside, and made regular trips to PNG, but a LOA is normal when a full-time overseas return is delayed.  With no mission salary, we ask prayer for a ministry or other suitable employment, maybe something that will enable us to engage with the ministries in PNG that have been a part of our lives for over 20 years!  If you have questions about the LOA, I could send a brief info page upon request, or you can contact us at the address below.  We will stay in contact and continue sharing the needs in PNG, like the following…

On May 6, one of our first year student wives, Lao Mareko, died from complications of pneumonia. Please pray for her husband Martin and children, for their family, and for the students and staff of Goroka Baptist Bible College (GBBC).  This is a difficult situation, and the Bible College is helping with funeral and other expenses.  Term 2 has started, so pray for students and teachers, and for the 5 couples (Paul and Evelyn, Robert and Julie, Samuel and Helen, Sebby and Wandaku, Wilfred and Neri) and four singles (Joseph, Joshua, Kua, Raynald) during their 12 week ministry internships.  Pray for their safety, and growth in faith, confidence, and ministry skills; pray for people to come to Christ through their ministries!  They are out in 4 different provinces, serving with 8 different pastors, all of them GBBC graduates, faithfully serving Christ through your support and prayers. 

We praise God GBBC has become incorporated!  It has been a long-term goal in our plans to nationalize various ministries.  This year we ALSO started a small Christian school for student and staff children on campus.  It provides an in-house classroom for training the GBBC students in our Teacher Training Program started in 2014.  God has ALSO blessed our GBBC Coffee Gardens!   http://www.coffee4png.com/ You can support GBBC by purchasing a packet of ground coffee or beans for $15 delivered U.S. (or $12 each for 5+ packets).

UPDATE on new missionaries!  All delayed travel visas are in process or in hand, and Phil and Jan Smith JUST ARRIVED in Goroka!  Praise God!  They will be living in our old house at the Bible College.  Joshua and Jodie Greve are coming short-term to teach at the Bible College, and will likely arrive in a month.  Brian and Phyllis Hovey (about 60% supported) are coming for short-term maintenance work.  Pray for these families, their walk with God, and for their busy schedules.  Pray for more laborers!  (Matthew 9:37-38.)

Besides praying, if you want to contribute to the GBBC expansion (account #774413), or GBBC scholarship account (#774403-003), or help with Martin’s funeral expenses (#774403-001), you can give designated gifts online  http://www.abwe.org/give/ways_to_give/online.asp or send to the ABWE address below.  We Thank God and you for your part in the gospel ministry in Papua New Guinea!

Serving Together, Pat, Kellis, Lydia, and Abi Melson                  ABWE, Inc.  PO Box 8585,  Harrisburg, PA  17105

 

 

February 2016

Dear Friends and Co-laborers with us in Papua New Guinea,                                   

We are so thankful for your prayers and notes to our family during the loss of our grandson Hosea James due to pregnancy complications.  Every note and email reply was passed on to Ben and Naomi and they also express their thanks to you.  Though 22 week Hosea only survived a brief time after birth, we are thankful for the time we had, and that Naomi could hold him a bit before he died.  Continue praying for Naomi, she had preeclampsia pretty bad, and her blood pressure spiked so high she was in danger of having a stroke.  She lost a lot of weight during the pregnancy.  She is weak and her blood counts are still low.  Kellis flew back immediately, and will be there for a few more weeks as Naomi is still not supposed to do any lifting for 6 weeks, including her 25 pound 1 year old son Daniel.  So bubu mama (grandma) Kellis will be taking care of Naomi and the grandson!  We thank God our daughter Rachel had just moved back to Louisville in January and could help Ben and Naomi watch Daniel during this time.  I (Pat) flew back for a week for the funeral and graveside service.

Naomi and Ben’s good friend and pastor Aubrey, who married them in January 2014, offered comfort from Revelation chapter 5. The passage opens with weeping, leads to victory, and then to worship.  He asked “Where do we find hope in this world?”   We find 3 truths that give us hope:   1.  We find comfort in the Christ the sovereign LORD of creation, who can open the scroll of mankind’s destiny and answer our weeping.  2.  We can stay confident in the Christ who has accomplished our salvation, as both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb who was slain.  3.  We have certainty that our suffering has an ultimate purpose, one which will lead us to worship Jesus who is worthy of our adoration.  Many friends from Immanuel Baptist blessed them with meals, visits, Scripture, and notes, sharing our burdens, for which we give thanks.

On the PNG side of things, we are thankful for a full GBBC campus of 68 students from 15 of the 22 provinces as we started a new school year at the end of January!   We have 41 studying in one of the Bible Programs in either English or Pidgin, and 27 English students in the Christian Primary Education Program.  With more students we are expecting about $4,000 needed this term for our scholarship programs (merit, need, and work based), can you help with some or all of this need?  Besides taking 4-6 classes, each student will attend 4 weekly chapels, and be involved in the ministry of a local church.  In the discipleship classes they will learn about discipleship, but each student will also disciple another believer!  The potential for changing PNG with the gospel through their lives is immense!  Pray for them, the dozen teachers and staff, and for the ministry of GBBC.  Pray especially for Bill Smith, our team leader who is leading the Bible College in our absence, along with Michael Kewi, our national administrator (deputy headmaster).  Pray also for new missionaries soon to arrive, Phil and Jan Smith, and Joshua and Jodie Greve, after a month’s delay in their travel visas.

Serving Together, Pat, Kellis, Lydia, and Abi Melson
13477 E. 51st Pl. ,  Yuma, AZ  85367                                                 
ABWE, Inc.     PO Box 8585,  Harrisburg, PA  17105

 

 

January 2016

Melson Family urgent prayer need

Dear friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ,

It is with heavy hearts we bring some news regarding our daughter Naomi and her husband Ben.  We started an update 2 weeks ago, but did not send it because we were awaiting answers which seemed we could include any time, but then their situation took a rapid turn and stuff started happening and... 

2 weeks ago Naomi went in for her 20 week check up.  They found some abnormalities with the pregnancy and scheduled further testing on the 27th while waiting for lab results.  Monday evening the 25th Ben and Naomi went to the emergency with complications, and Kellis rushed to Louisville, KY, to be with them.  Around 11:00 am Wednesday morning (27th), their son Hosea James was born.  He spent some precious minutes with mommy and daddy, before leaving for an eternity in heaven. 

Though our family is hurting, we are so grateful for the prayers of God's people and the love demonstrated.   We desire prayers even more as Naomi and Ben bear this burden.  Their son Daniel’s first birthday is the 31st, and they were planning a combined party and gender reveal for the new baby!  Naomi will likely be in the hospital for another 24 hours as they are still working to bring her blood pressure down.

God has blessed us and sustained us in our tears, and I pray He meets your pressing needs, He who is good and calls us to come boldly to his throne to find grace and mercy in our time of need. 

Serving Together,

Pat and Kellis Melson

 

November   2015

I waited for pigs to cross the road before turning into Hosana’s driveway.  Waving children lined the fence, most smiling and laughing, a few distracted by others I couldn’t see.  Hosana Baptist Church is nestled along a ridge in the Asaro valley, about fifty minutes from the Bible College, if it wasn’t raining.  The last 10-15 minutes snake and climb over dirt and clay, with two creeks and wooden bridges.  It was dry so I did not have to use 4-wheel drive.   

DSC01901-crop Abol and Sera

I could see Pastor Abol standing and talking with a group of people in the distance.  He and his his wife Sera were sent by Hosana to Goroka Baptist Bible College (GBBC), and after graduating in 2007, they returned to their home church.  Sera learned to read and write at GBBC, and is now a respected teacher, faithful alongside her husband.  Both of them have quick and broad smiles, and Abol, for a short guy, can speak and sing louder than most.  He continues growing beyond his elementary school and Bible College education and is a leader of men.  It was last week he saw me, and asked if I could come and speak this Sunday.  Sometimes this request may be just the day before!

God had directed my preparations to the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10, Mathew 19, and Luke 18.  He was probably a leader in the local synagogue.  The disciples were confused that one so blessed would have difficulty entering heaven, but Jesus said it is impossible for man but not for God.  In usual fashion the disciples gloss over the critical point: God must work in a person’s life to rescue them.  He must step in because even the best of us are incapable of coming to God unless God is working in their lives.  Jesus loved (Mk 10:21) this man who turned away from him, this man who is hell-bound apart from a miracle of God.  It should cause the disciples to pause, to maybe pursue this man and persuade him to turn around, but instead they selfishly say “Lo, we have left everything and followed you, what then shall we have?”   We are not like the rich man who just turned his back on you, what will you do for us?  It is a fair question, What will be the reward of those who follow Christ?  And Jesus answers and removes all uncertainty, for those who follow Jesus will be blessed exceedingly above what they gave up, blessings a hundred-fold though with persecutions, and eternal life in a time when earth’s false standards of “first” and “last” will be exchanged for the true standards of heaven.  This is great stuff, worthy of every Christian’s contemplation, but what of this man who walked away?  What was going on with him?  What barriers stood between him and Christ?

Barrier of Position
”A certain ruler asked him…”
This man was a ruler, a leader, of his people.  As a young man (Matt 19:20, 22) he is to be congratulated for achieving a position of leadership.  Such a position is not easily reached, and would carry with it the respect and acknowledgement of the community.  Perhaps a bit of pride crept in, Look at me and what I have achieved, especially in one who is young and ahead of his normal station in life.  And he was rich, undoubtedly this was a part of his public persona, a status not to be given up lightly.  But would he be willing to give it up if a good teacher, Jesus himself, instructs him to do so?  When Jesus told him to sell his possessions, then “come follow me,” he was asking this rich young ruler to leave all this behind, for the better position of being a “Christ-follower.”  Don’t you see that following Christ, even with persecutions, is better than the prestige the world offers?  He chose the respect of men over Christ, as many do. 

Barrier of Goodness
“Good Teacher” …  “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”
When this man called Jesus “Good teacher” Jesus immediately challenged his idea of “goodness.”  Only God is “good,” Jesus said.  All self-defined lists of goodness fall short, ultimately they are lacking some goodness, and therefore are not entirely “good.”  Creating a list of goodness, and measuring oneself and others by that list, does not make one “good.”   Goodness is defined by the only One who is good, and that is God.

While Jesus recognized the relative “goodness” of this man’s following of the law, He still pointed out to him there is more goodness he could pursue. On a human level, he could sell his possessions and give to the poor.  On a spiritual and personal level, he could have great gain by following Jesus completely.  But the man’s goodness had a self-defined limit.  He turned away from Christ rather than change.  

Barrier of Works and Self-righteousness
“What must I DO to inherit eternal life? … What do I still lack?
If Jesus answered as other teachers in his day, the ruler would expect something like “Keep the commandments,” and the man was prepared to answer (and did answer) “All these I have observed from my youth.”  Then he could say “See, I am doing all the teacher says I am supposed to!”  He even asked what else he could do, “What do I lack?”  In Pidgin it is “Mi sot yet?” How am I still short?  How do I not measure up?  As a leader with a known testimony, many probably thought This guy is the best man I know, surely he will get into heaven.  This explains the surprise of the disciples when Jesus said about him “With man this is impossible.”  For Jesus saw what others did not see, here was a person who trusted his good works, but was selfish, for there was a limit to what he would do.  And that is the point Jesus touched…Will you be “perfect” (Matt 19:21) in your works?   Then sell what you have to meet the needs of the poor.  No, no he would not.  So how do his works measure up, when he knows he can do more but refuses to do so?

Barrier of Possessions
“Go…sell whatever you have and give to the poor…and follow Me.”  But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions… “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”
Much of this story focuses on money, since it is a central part of the young ruler’s life.  Jesus tested his heart on two points, would he give his wealth to help others in need, and would he turn his back on his possessions to follow Christ?   His wealth was not wrong, the disciples and others correctly understood that it can indicate the blessing of God.  But his wealth and its pleasures had become an idol, and had become more important than following Christ.  His life was full of these things, and they took the place of the time, affections, and room that should have been for Christ.  Christ taught emphatically, but it fell on unwilling ears, and the disciples seemed slow to grasp the lesson:  The entrance to the kingdom is blocked by piles of possessions that are loved more than Christ.  The way is blocked, impossible for man, IMPOSSIBLE!  But not for God, not with God.

So what would become of this man who turned away from Christ?  I do not know, we are left to wonder, but I would hope he came to his senses, yet it remains uncertain.  But for you and I the choice is before us, this very day, What are you still lacking?  Are the barriers of position, works, self-defined lists of goodness, perhaps the pursuit of things, keeping you from fully coming to Christ?

I prayed and sat down in the front.  Pastor Abol summarized, and passionately called for change, “Don’t turn your back on Jesus like this man did, but COME to him, He is calling for you.”  He pleaded for a few minutes and then prayed.  “Are any of you lacking?  Is there one who needs to come to Christ today?   If so, raise your hand!  I see that hand, brother, there in the back,” and whispering he nodded to me, “Brata Pat, yu go” and he sent me outside with a lean man with deep-set eyes, and a strong handshake.  He seemed to be in his early forties.

Enok bench Counseling bench overlook of Asaro valley

We went to the side of the church, where the bank fell away to the wide Asaro valley, and Enok and I sat on a low, leaning bench.  “Why did you raise your hand?” I asked.  I could tell by his sinewy arms he worked hard, but did he understand the gospel?  Who Christ was?  Was he unclear about anything, did he have questions?

“I am just like that man” he said.
“What do you mean?”
“Mi sot yet…”   
Enok explained how he was a man of position and authority.  In Pidgin he said “Mi gat namba,” I have “number,” as in I am counted among the leaders. “Though I have position and planti kago (cargo, possessions),” he said, “I still lacked, so I went to church and tried to live a good life.”  He used the phrase “pasin lotu,” literally, a “fashion of worship,” religious practices.  Pasin lotu describes habitual church attendance without change and growth, those who put on a veneer of good works for God and people to see.  Such people are active in the church, know the songs, even rise to leadership, but it’s a facade, just religious habits.  They defend and fight over religious practices but speak little of Christ, because they do not have much, if any, of a relationship with him.  They evaluate themselves and others by the list of good works they have created and then pat themselves on the back because they have done enough.  And yet they know, like Enok, they are “sot yet” (still short of something).  That is why Enok raised his hand.  Religion does not bring rest, good works cannot fill an empty soul.

Only Jesus can.  That is what Enok was lacking.  He was lacking Jesus, just like the rich young ruler who Christ challenged to get rid of all the hindrances, “THEN, come follow ME.”  The hindrances of works and their supporting beliefs must be replaced by actually following Christ, just him.  After years of spiritual emptiness, Enok came to the end of himself to find that is where the limitless grace of God begins.  As we talked he understood much.  He knew there was only one true and holy God, the Creator of the universe and of man.  Man’s sin results in spiritual emptiness and death, and apart from God stepping in, man’s spiritual condition cannot change.  That is why God sent Jesus his Son, both God and man, to be a mediator between God and man.  By dying on the cross as payment for man’s sin, his holy life and loving sacrifice of himself opened the way for sinners.  Enok knew and believed these things, what he lacked was faith in Christ alone.  He had been trying to live a life of good works plus Christ, which is like standing with one leg in and one leg out of an elevator, it does not work.  Christ is not half the answer, or a part of the answer, He is THE answer.  I turned in my Bible to John 14:6 and asked Enok to read it, that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life,” and like the rich young ruler Enok was wrestling with the choice to completely follow Christ, or to walk away.  Enok paused, his brow furrowed, before whispering, “I believe in Christ.” And he prayed, asking forgiveness for his sins, asking God to save him because his works could not, and he thanked Jesus for dying for him.

I had tears in my eyes as Enok prayed, and I prayed for him as well, Enok, my brother!  I told him Pastor Abol would love to meet with him and help him grow in Christ, and he said he knew Abol and would like to do that.  “How many children do you have?” I asked him?  His head dropped a bit, and there was an awkward silence for about thirty seconds. The kind of silence where you start to hear the conversations in the background, the wind, your own heartbeat, as I looked at the ground I saw an insect and I think I could hear it crawling.  Enok was still silent, lost in thought, and I feared I had touched a sore spot. 

“Eleven,” he said, “I have eleven children.”  He wasn’t upset, he was counting! 
“Eleven?” I asked, and he nodded, “That’s a big family!”
“Yes,” he said, “I have been married four times, so I had to count my wives and the children from each of them.”  I listened as he described his marriages and children.  It not unusual for one who is a “bikman” (big man, a leader) to be a polygamist.  But he told me he was no longer married to all of them, he had sent three of them away, though he still supports them and his children.  He said “It is difficult to provide for so many so I work hard in my plantation and gardens.”  As we spoke of what it means to be a Christian husband and father, Pastor Abol came and joined us in the warm sun.  Enok told him he had become a Christian, in Pidgin the normal phrase is “tanim bel,” to change one’s heart and thinking.  And Enok my brother had done that, he had come to Christ and was a new man, you could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice.  We were all smiling.

Would you take a few minutes to pray for Enok right now?  Pray for his growth and faithfulness (1 Pet 2:2-3), pray the wicked one does not try to snatch this seed that was sown (Matt 13:19), and pray for Pastor Abol as he disciples Enok.  Abol told me Enok is well-known, and there is great potential to share the gospel with a lot more people.  Pray for the ministries of Pastor Abol and his wife Sera.  They are the fruit of your mission outreach, the support and prayers for our ministry.  Pray also for Pastor’s Conference this week with GBBC graduation on November 24th.  I just returned from helping to prepare for these meetings.   These 7 are graduating after 4 years of studies: Alfred and Agnes Tamule from the Hela Province; Joshua and Jennifer Gis from the Simbai, Madang Province; Jim Hane from the Eastern Highlands Province; Nicky Bafe, Eastern Highlands; Mapex Hongei, Hela Province. Most are returning to their home areas, pray for their future ministries and for their transition as they move.  

Sagifa-corrected Sagifa village outreach

Would you pray for the severe drought in Papua New Guinea that shortened this year’s Pastor’s Conference?  Though the rains have mostly returned, many are struggling, without food, which takes 60-90 days to return to normal after the rains resume.  People are suffering, there is much sickness, loss of weight, and some have died.  We have been a part of drought relief by partnering with local churches and our Bible College students to do community outreach and rice distribution.  If you would like to contribute, you could send funds to our ABWE account 110273 for “drought relief.”  Checks payable to ”ABWE” can be mailed to ABWE, PO Box 8585, Harrisburg, PA 17105, or giving can be done online: http://www.abwe.org/give/ways_to_give/online.asp

We have more to share regarding Pat’s recent trip, there are many needs, especially for more laborers, including GBBC teachers, financial administrator, church-planters, builders.  Will you pray with us for more workers?  Though we are working with a great team of missionaries and nationals there is room for more!  Pray for wisdom for our family as we work through some of the health needs that have prohibited us from returning full-time to PNG, including our recent move to Yuma to be near Kellis’ parents to assist and assess their needs.  We pray, during this season of thanksgiving, with gratitude for your partnership in ministry, and pray God will bless you and your family, and the family of Enok our brother.

Serving together,  Pat, Kellis, Lydia and Abi Melson   (253)  441-9252      113477 E. 51st Place, Yuma, AZ  85367

 

 

SEPTEMBER  2015

“You moved to Yuma in the SUMMER?” was the punchline we often heard after moving from Steilacoom, WA.  The summer days range from a cool 90 degrees at night to 110 or more during the day. Despite some palm trees, there is little green, most grass is replaced by crushed stone or even whole yards of Mexican paving bricks. Or cactus, sometimes lots of cactus.  Our shower water comes out warm or hot.  You start your car to run the air conditioner for a few minutes before going anywhere, or returning.  Some businesses have misters spraying water around their entrances to welcome visitors.  

DSCN9354

The dominate color is gray, gray sandy ground and the low gray hills and dunes, which give way to a ring of gray mountains that turn purple and pink with the sunset, before turning gray again.  It has its beauty and God made it.  He has blessed us with a nice place near Kellis’ parents, and though we are looking for a few things, we are mostly settled. Thanks for your prayers for the move.  Our new mailing address:  13477 E. 51st Place,  Yuma, AZ  85367

As I watched a desert monsoon rainstorm, I was “giddy” Kellis said, I couldn’t help think of Papua New Guinea and the El Nino drought they are facing, and how I’d like to send some of this water over there. 

drought relief kids

Many people grow their own food, and when water is short, like now with little rainfall since May, crops don’t grow, food prices soar, water sources dry up or become contaminated, sickness increases, and people die, especially babies and the elderly.  They are saying this is the worst drought in 20 years, and we lived through that one, with severe rationing of water.  Some of our Goroka Baptist Bible College students lost family members back in the village.  PLEASE pray, for God to send rain, for the health of our students, staff, and pastors, for needed medicine and food.  If you would like to read more visit the following link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-19/frost-drought-wipes-out-subsistence-crops-in-png-solomon-islands/6707964

If you would like to help with drought relief besides praying, you could give through ABWE, and mark it “acct. 110273, drought relief.”  Checks payable to ”ABWE” can be mailed to ABWE, PO Box 8585, Harrisburg, PA 17105, or giving can be done online: http://www.abwe.org/give/ways_to_give/online.asp

September 16 is PNG’s 40th anniversary as a nation!  Pray for Pat who will be in Papua New Guinea for 6 weeks until November 1st.  Pray for Kellis, Lydia, and Abi in Yuma, and Rachel in Tacoma, WA.  Pat will be helping at the Bible College which is 3 weeks into Term 3, with graduation in November.  Pray for our GBBC team, and planning meetings Sept 28-Oct 2nd, for plans for GBBC Expansion, building plans, helping with the bookstore and “Pastors Toolbox,” and GBBC programs.  Pray for health and strength for Pat’s trip, that he can encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Pray God may be glorified and that we bear much fruit as Christ’s disciples (John 15:8).

Serving Together to reach the lost of PNG,
Pat, Kellis, Rachel, Lydia, Abi 

 

Wilford Pongo 2015 practical Sagifa mob clinic

JULY  2015

Term 2 is soon finishing at Goroka Baptist Bible College, teachers are busy with last classes and grading, while students will soon enjoy the short break between terms.   Pray for the students, teachers, for growth in their relationship with Christ and ministries, and preparations for Term 3.

Please continue praying for the 16 students finishing their 12 week ministry internships (May 12- July 31).  There are 6 single men and 5 couples serving and being trained in practical ministry skills by pastors.  We praise God when students step out in faith and serve, for God often does great things when his children are faithful to serve him and witness to the lost.  Besides regular church ministries at Betsaida Baptist Church, Wilford (in picture) and his wife Nerri were able to be a part of a mobile clinic outreach led by our coworkers Bill and Lori Smith. The mobile clinic takes compassionate medical care to remote areas, and shared the gospel with all 150 patients they were able to see.  We praise God 21 people accepted Christ as their Savior!  

Goroka Baptist Bible College is helping to expand the church in PNG.  I have been working on promotional materials, corresponding with donors, revising staff contracts and handbooks, reviewing building plans, working on GBBC academic programs, and sending Bible study books to PNG.  Pray for needed staff, especially a Business Manager for the college and our team.  It is encouraging our growth requires someone with greater accounting skills, do you know someone who can do this?  We also need people with contracting skills to oversee the building projects, Bible and Education teachers, and maintenance and mechanics for the Bible College.  Pray for Pat’s upcoming six week PNG trip in September to help our team.  We need your prayers and help to train more! To give online:  http://www.abwe.org/give/online/name/GBBC%20Expansion%20Project%20-%200774413

We have GBBC Coffee grown on our campus by students!  Giving a donation (suggested $25) to the college is a great way to support our students and get a bag of coffee for yourself, your church’s fellowship time, or as a gift for friends.  Giving by check: Write check to “ABWE,” note it is for “774403 GBBC Coffee”, and mail to ABWE, PO Box 8585, Harrisburg, PA 17105. You can give online: http://www.abwe.org/give/online/name/GBBC-0774403-001 Make sure you add a note in the comments that it is for “GBBC Coffee”  If you donate, contact me (pmelson@abwe.cc) with your mailing details, preference for beans or ground, and I’ll send some coffee!

Continue praying for our co-workers Bill and Debbie Tobias whose daughter Maurissa and grandson drowned in a frozen pond in March.  Pray for sisters Mandy and Jenny, and their husbands as they also continue to grieve and adjust to this unexpected loss.  Debbie recently had knee replacement surgery, is gaining strength, and Bill recently spoke at his brother Dave’s funeral service.  Our friends are going through a lot. 

Family 7-4-15-labels copy

We praise God our family could be together for the July 4th weekend!  Ben and Naomi brought Daniel (5 months) from Louisville, it was the first time the rest of the family besides Kellis got to meet him! What fun it was! We praise God for some new financial support, and ask you to pray for $700 needed in monthly support.  Pray for wisdom regarding a move at the end of July, from Steilacoom, WA to Yuma, AZ, to be near Kellis’ parents.  We will need a 10’ enclosed trailer, and a place to live.

THANK YOU for partnering with us for the lost in PNG!
Pat, Kellis, Rachel, Lydia, Abi  

Kua preaching DSCN4057 Kua Koima preaching

MAY 2015

Term 2 is about to start (May 12th) at Goroka Baptist Bible College, teachers are busy preparing, while students enjoy the short break between terms.   Pray for the students, teachers, for growth in their relationship with Christ, growth in knowledge, and ministry skills.  There will be 13 different classes taught!

Please pray for the following 16 students who will be ministering during their 12 week practical internships (May 12- July 31).  It is an exciting time when Term 2 comes around, for all our 3rd and 4th year students are assigned internships to work closely with and be trained by established pastors.  These are growing times, with difficulties and blessings, the Lord uses our students and often burdens them for a part of the country they know little about.  Sometimes a church calls these men to return as their pastor.  Pray for their godliness, protection, and growth in ministry skills as they minister in 5 different provinces.  The 6 single men: Jim Hane, Kua Koima (see picture), Mapex Hongei, Nickey Bafe, Joseph Maima, Raynold Dama.  The 5 couples:  Josua and Jennifer Gis, Alfred and Agnes Tanule, Paul and Evelyn Kas, Wilfred and Nerri Pongo, and Sebby and Wanduku Buago.

Continue praying for our co-workers Bill and Debbie Tobias whose daughter Maurissa and grandson died March 12 in a frozen pond.  Maurissa would have been 40 in April.  They have been able to be with their other 2 daughters and family recently, and this has helped.  Our team feels their loss and absence greatly.

We praise God for new missionaries on our field!  Zeke and Meagan Magill arrived in January, and Tim and Leandra Hawes arrived April 21stPlease pray for these young families and their spiritual, cultural and health adjustments to living in Papua New Guinea.  Please pray for another couple, Phil and Jan Smith, who have raised over 70% of their needed funds to come. These couples are great additions to our team!

Pray for the Goroka Baptist Bible College Expansion Program, we are raising funds of $280,000 to expand programs, personnel and facilities.  I have been working on promotional materials, and sifted through dozens of emails with building plans, along with the rest of our team.  I am working on our academic programs, including a college catalog, needed for promotional purposes and for meeting government regulations.  Pray for needed staff, Business Manager, Bible and Education Program teachers, and for maintenance staff and mechanics at the Bible College.  We need help to extend the gospel’s reach in PNG.  For more information you can visit our website or you can watch a video at http://www.abwe.org/give/projects/goroka-baptist-bible-college/E14EM2P#.VUqYNPlVikp
If you desire to give online:  http://www.abwe.org/give/online/name/GBBC%20Expansion%20Project%20-%200774413

We just received more GBBC Coffee!  This high-quality Arabica coffee is grown on the canopy-shaded campus of the Bible College by our students.  Giving a donation to the college is a great way to support our students and to get yourself a bag of coffee for yourself, your church’s fellowship time, or as a gift.  Contact me for more info or visit our website:   http://melson.msites.com/coffee-from-papua-new-guinea

Ben Naomi Daniel

We praise God for our grandson Daniel, born to Ben and Naomi at the end of January!  Kellis was able to go back and help, and things are going well for them.  We praise God for some new financial supporters, and ask you to pray for $700 needed in monthly support.  Pray for wisdom regarding our return date as we help Lydia and Abi with adjusting to life in America, Abi is still finishing highschool.  Pray for an upcoming move as we need to move out of our current place in August.  We continue to serve with our team in PNG on your behalf, for the sake of Christ, to reach the lost.  How can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?  (Rom 10:14-15)

 THANK YOU for praying with us!              Pat, Kellis, Rachel, Lydia, and Abi Melson

March 2015

Will you pray for our good friends and coworkers Bill and Debbie Tobias?  Yesterday, March 17, they buried their 39 year old daughter Maurissa and their 3 1/2 year old grandson Noah.  Maurissa died last Thursday while trying to save Noah who had broken through the surface of a frozen pond in Sidney, Ohio.  These next few days will be hard, now that the funeral is over and most friends and visitors have returned home.  Pray for Maurissa’s husband Tom and daughter Kiki, for sisters Jenny and Mandy, for other family and friends.

God opened doors for Bill and Debbie to purchase tickets and fly home fairly quickly from overseas, to be with family.  These guys are choice servants of God, who befriended us when we arrived in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1995, and we have become closer over the years.  Their three daughters grew up in PNG and graduated from the same school our girls did.  We grieve with them as our whole team does, and so I thank you for joining us in praying for them. They trust the Lord, despite great sorrow.  Bill wrote in a brief email to our PNG team “We take comfort in knowing that God is in control; and that Maurissa and Noah are both with the Lord in heaven.” 

Death bitterly reminds us we live in a broken world, but we are not without hope, and we do not sorrow as the world does, having no hope.  For that reason we carry the gospel to the nations, for the good news of Jesus Christ is too good to keep to ourselves!  We HAVE a present and eternal hope, even though walking through the dark valley of the shadow of death.  He calls us to come and receive grace and mercy to help in our time of need.

We are working on a more personal update, but this is the burden we ask you to carry with us and our PNG team for now.

Serving Together,

Pat and Kellis, Rachel, Lydia and Abi Melson

December 2014

Joy to the World!

Joy, sorrow, longing, gratefulness, hope, chaos, exhaustion… Likely all present that first Christmas when Christ was born.  Can you imagine?  Mary’s joy at being a mother and knowing this child would bring joy to the world, yet the sorrow knowing many misjudged them, the exhaustion and chaos of traveling and being apart from family?  The longing for a place to rest, the gratefulness of finally reaching Bethlehem, the physical and emotional exhaustion of giving birth in a strange place?  The hope of things to come! 

Some of those emotions were ours during our six week trip to PNG (Nov 4- Dec 17th).  Joy at Pastors’ Conference and Graduation, thanks for praying!  There were 30 graduates on Thanksgiving day, our second largest graduation ever.  Six men were from our 4 year pastoral programs, five women were in our 2 year or wives 4 year programs, and 19 were in our Advanced Bachelors Program.  We are filled with hope at what God will do through these graduates!  Why shouldn’t we be?  As these students graduated, we honored 10 more alumni with 20 year service awards, that’s a legacy of over 200 years of ministry!  Praise God!  It is proof that the Bible College ministry is an effective part of church-planting strategy, and these faithful pastors and their wives are great examples to us and our new graduates.

WHAT a great and busy time it was, exhausting at times, with preparations, morning and evening sessions, fellowship with alumni, and great food including a 3 pig mumu (pit barbecue) for Wednesday night. We celebrated 40 years of Goroka Baptist Bible College’s ministry and our 400th graduate!  It was joyous, yet sorrowful, saying “goodbyes” to our friends and fellow-laborers.

We prepared 11 boxes of Bible Study books for our regular graduates, a regular part of our “Pastors Toolbox” gift (joy!) to those who have finished their studies.  It involved moving and sorting several hundred boxes of books (exhaustion), but it is worth it to see their faces when they open their boxes knowing they will have Bible study books.  Later I prepared an additional 2 boxes for alumni whose houses had burned down.  One of those couples (Tom and Evelyn) came only requesting to have new diplomas made, which were lost in the fire.  “Didn’t you lose your clothes and books as well?” I asked.  “Well, yes,” he replied, and I had the blessing of giving a new study library to Tom.  Hopeful for a new start, grateful God knows all our needs and enabled us to help.

Exhaustion followed us, as we packed some of our house and my office, as I taught a 2 week class, visited churches, met with students, it was sometimes a bit chaotic.  Yet we filled the time with even more, longing for just another few hours to spend with our brothers and sisters, so many needs and not enough workers!  We are grateful God gave our family good health, and grateful for our missionary and national co-workers.  We visited Pastor Dets, a recent graduate who is pastoring Lifeway Baptist Church. We had to drive across a river to get to the church.  We’re thankful for our friends at Kisim Bek (Salvation) Baptist Church, for Pastor Virex, hopeful he can finish his house soon as the rainy season has started. Pray for this family need of Pastor Virex, Dalcy, and their two children Adia and Michael.  As we think of the faithfulness of such men, we are hopeful for the people of Papua New Guinea, people are hearing about the Savior, lives are being changed.  

And the Bible College Expansion is moving forward, we are so hopeful God will open doors to increase our programs, personnel, improve and add to our facilities, so even more people can hear the good news that a Savior has come!  Will you pray for these needs?  We are working through the logisitics of site and building plans, electrical, water, and sewage upgrades, curriculum additions and improvements, staff and student recruiting, it is all stuff we have been working towards for years, and it has great potential for reaching even more lost people!  Growth is a blessing from God!  It is so exciting I can’t understand why more people aren’t involved!  Would you pray for this, for more laborers?  Consider giving, or coming to help? Please check it out or give us a call!
http://www.abwe.org/give/projects/goroka-baptist-bible-college/E14EM2P#.VJsMvF4AG9

Though we just left, we long to be back, we know of the need for more laborers.  And so we ask you to pray for us, for our support needs, so we can return and share the gospel of Christ, for a Savior is born!  Joy to the world!

Pat, Kellis, Lydia and Abi Melson

 

Philip and Janet Pastor Philip and Janet

Melson Messenger  October 2014


Praise God for the ministry of Goroka Baptist Bible College!

This year marks our 40th year of ministry, and this November we’ll reach our 400th graduate!  These faithful alumni serve as pastors and leaders in over 100 churches.  Like 2003 graduates Philip and Janet Shubbyhafo.  Philip pastors Gohisipa Baptist Church.  Despite few resources and threats from tribal war, he is part of a fellowship of pastors strategically reaching the Bena district. They are making a difference for Christ and you are a part of their ministry!

Melsons Thank-you 2014 small

We want to give a big “THANKS!” for your faithful partnership!  Through our unexpected medical furlough we have been encouraged by many of you, in prayers, notes, and finances.  Pat’s trip to the Philippines to help teach the 50-lesson OT “Roots of Faith” to over 100 pastors and educators went well.  It was great to share our burdens for reaching Asia, and exciting to see how this Bible teaching program could help both the Philippines and PNG!  There has been encouraging news as well with baby Levi, a 1 pound, 3 month-premature baby born to our co-worker’s daughter Becky (and John).  It was difficult, over 100 days in the hospital, but now Levi is almost 14 pounds and 7 ½ months old!  God answered your prayers!  Keep praying for Levi’s eyes and kidneys, which are doing well but still being monitored.  Speaking of monitoring, our daughter Naomi (and Ben) are expecting a baby boy at the end of January.  Woo hoo!

Becky and Levi

We have been helping our team in various ways, recruiting, and now, we are excited to be returning to PNG for a ministry trip (Nov 4-Dec 17).   Please pray for us. We will help with GBBC Graduation and Pastors Conference (Nov 24-27), prepare gift boxes of Bible study books for our graduates, work on the academic programs including our teaching files, and teach a 2-week modular class in our Bachelors Program.  Busy times but we are so looking forward to helping our team and seeing our PNG brothers and sisters!

One of the most exciting parts of the trip will be the PNG kick-off for the GBBC Expansion Program.  We have been working to increase the impact of the gospel in PNG, and training ministry partners has multiplied our efforts.  The last class Pat taught in the Bachelor’s program in 2013 had 22 pastors, with an average of 6 years of ministry experience.  Do the math.  6 years x 22 pastors = 132 years of ministry in PNG. Add 2014 in, and the amount of ministry years reaches 154!  We have been humbled by their faithfulness, and they are the fruit of your labors.    We will have meetings to discuss and plan how we can improve the programs, staffing, capacity and infrastructure of the school, laying a foundation for many years of growth.

Pastors Class Group small 2013 Pastors' Class

Would you please consider making a special gift to this effort? You can give online at www.abwe.org/gbbc or you can send a check made out to ABWE Foundation with the purpose as Goroka Baptist Bible College (E14TK01) and mail it to ABWE, P.O. Box 8585 Harrisburg, PA, 17105.

We are truly blessed to have you as members of our team. Thank you so much for your faithful support!

Patrick, Kellis, Lydia, Abi, and Rachel Melson                     pmelson@abwe.cc                       http://melson.msites.com/

June 2014

Dear Praying Friends,

Thanks for your faithfulness in prayers and finances for the ministry in PNG!  We have been blessed by your partnership and encouragement!  We desire your prayers for the following needs:

PRAY for the 3rd and 4th year pastoral ministries students and their wives who are serving 12-week internships in local churches under the supervision of national pastors in various parts of the country.  Pray for their protection, successful discipleship ministries, and their vision for reaching the lost.

PRAY, for we are in the middle of Term 2 at Goroka Baptist Bible College (GBBC).  Pray for spiritual growth in the students and overworked staff, including nationals Jeff, Richard, Onili, Mama Keiri, Michael and Angelah, Luha, Steve, Mrs. Yogio, John, Elizabeth, Lydia, and Apollonia.  The missionaries on campus are Steve and Gretchen Root, and Rich and Marcia Ernst.

PRAY for donations to come in for our GBBC COFFEE.  This is a unique opportunity to support GBBC students and educational programs.  Coffee grown on our campus by our students learning coffee husbandry skills is now available for a $25 (or more) donation (GBBC account 0774403-001).  This is a way to get the word out about the great work God is doing at the Bible College!  Hurry, our supplies are limited.  Visit our website for more information:  http://melson.msites.com/gbbc-coffee-project

PRAY for needed missionaries, church-planters, but also teachers for the Bible College.  We especially need teachers with Education degrees, those who can come long-term or even short-term for about 3 weeks.  Do you know anybody who has these abilities, who lives by faith, and has a desire to serve God?  Send me their name!  Could you meet these needs?

PRAY for an upcoming August trip to the Philippines Pat is taking to teach pastors and educators with Good Soil Discipleship materials.  This trip will also provide opportunity to share the needs of PNG with the possibility of recruiting future missionaries (note request above).  Pray for $2,000 needed to help pay for this ministry.

PRAY for rain.  The GBBC campus collects rain in water tanks for the students and staff, and during the dry season we are often in need.  We have just installed 5 new water tanks, and more are needed, but we need rain to fill these tanks.

PRAISE/PRAY for our missionary co-workers! Steve and Gretchen Root have been back for 2 months, fulfilling some maintenance, financial oversight, and church-planting roles.  Pray for them as they are finishing their language studies. 

PRAISE/PRAY for Rich and Marcia Ernst, back from retirement to teach at the Bible College, help in leadership, as language advisors, to provide library oversight, and other ministries.  PRAISE/PRAY for Steve and Sandy Aholt who returned from successful medical treatments in Cairns and are active in church-planting, discipleship, and Religious Instruction classes.  PRAISE/PRAY for Bill and Debbie Tobias, faithful church-planters in the remote Simbai Station.  We need more missionaries there, we have two empty houses!  Two empty!  Pray someone says “Here am I, send me.”

PRAY for the Magills, Phil Smiths, and Hawes families as they continue raising support and preparing to come and minister in PNG, to join our team.  We look forward to their arrival!

PRAY for the GBBC Book Project (account# 110273-020).  We need $2000 to send Bible study books to PNG for pastors and students.  We are looking to purchase some Bibles and other needed books.  Can you help send a Bible, or a case of Bibles?

PRAY for Baby Levi, who is recovering from double hernia repair surgery June 4th.  His mom Becky (husband John) is daughter of our friends and co-workers, Bill and Lori Smith.  Levi was born 3 months premature 13 weeks ago.  He started at just over 1 pound, and now is just over 4 pounds.  He continues to improve in general but his under-developed gut and hernia has limited his food intake.  He is doing well post-surgery, there seems to be less air in his body, and his breathing has improved.  PRAISE GOD!  PRAY he tolerates his feeding, continue to pray for improved eye, heart, brain, and intestinal health. 

We PRAISE God for providing a great place for our family to move to as our current housing was scheduled for another missionary family.  We are packing and moving now, being a little weary, with our medical furlough being particularly busy right now.  We all have had medical appointments this week and next, and the good news with Abi is it seems she is near the end of her treatments stemming from her 2008 bout with Necrotizing Fasciitis.  PRAY for her final orthodontic work, it has given her many sores with her limited mouth size and scar tissue.  We are working to return to Papua New Guinea, raising support, and continuing to work on the GBBC Expansion Plan with its program, personnel, and facility improvements.  We want to get back and minister side by side with people like Nicodemus and Jumda, who we ask you to PRAY for now at the close of our letter. They are the fruit of your partnership with us in PNG.

Nicodemus and Jumda were shy and uncertain when they first came to GBBC in 2010.  The highland Goroka was so different from their place near coastal Daru in the Western Province.  Nicodemus came to talk, sometimes with Jumda, about the difficulties they were having, and lack of school fees.  They wanted to return home, maybe to come back later, but I encouraged them to stay, as did others.  It was not easy.  Both did well in their classes, and grew in their leadership and confidence in ministry.  By their fourth and final year, Nicodemus was an elected student officer.  But their son Pata had been feeling bad for some time, fatigued, and they eventually discovered he had cancer.  You must understand, cancer treatment is limited in PNG, and more so for children.  And any hospital stay requires an attendant to stay with the patient to care for their food and bodily needs. The hospitals are usually crowded, with 50 or (way) more people in the open wards. A room with 6 beds could have 25 people in it during the day.  Due to Nicodemus’ testimony, he became “Preacher Nicodemus,” counseling and preaching daily to the patients, their attendants and the staff.  People became Christians, and many were encouraged even as Pata withered away from his treatments. Pata’s testimony was known as well, he was ready to die and was at peace.  His parents were able to take him back to their village a couple of months ago, since the doctors could do no more to help.  Pata passed away at the end of May.  Pray for Nicodemus and Jumda, for comfort in their loss and for spiritual fruit as they deal with the loss of their son, and as they continue to glorify God with their lives.  We thank God for their faithfulness!

Serving Together,
Pat and Kellis, Rachel, Lydia, and Abi
http://melson.msites.com/
(253) 441-9252

 

March 2014

It was almost 3 weeks ago we received news that Ben and Naomi were having a baby, their first, and our first.  A grandchild!  The wondrous ultrasound picture from their first appointment on March 11th became the background picture on Kellis’ computer.  Everything is awesome!  Kellis was giddy talking to Naomi on the phone.  This is so cool.  Naomi and Ben were giddy too.

But then a few days later there were warning signs, and a doctor’s visit on the 17th confirmed they had a miscarriage, at about 9 weeks.  The giddiness was gone.  They had just shared the news with family, and with friends at church one Sunday, and would now face the next Sunday with brokenness.

We ask you to pray for Naomi and Ben, they have never been this way before. Those who know Naomi would know how she has desired to be a wife and mother, and has kept herself and prepared for this day.  She and Ben are working through this and have a good God and church to help, but there is still pain and tears and longing.  For Ben too.  I am so thankful for my children, each one unique and wonderful, they are my happy thoughts, and I have great joy to see how God has made and worked in them!  The first time I heard the song “Shout to the Lord” there was this line “I sing for joy at the work of your hands,” and I thought of my children, what a great work of God’s hands they are!  That line comes from Psalm 92:4, a Psalm that ends with the promise and hope of blessing:

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

This is a good prayer to pray for your children and mine, and we thank you for your prayers.  We wanted to share this need sooner, but it was still so new and Naomi and Ben were still calling their friends… AND we were trying to figure if there was a way for Kellis to fly to Louisville and be with Naomi and Ben.  Those mission frequent flyer miles came through and covered all but ten dollars, so we only had to pay for a rental car!  Naomi did not know her Mom was coming, it was a great surprise Tuesday night when she arrived!  We praise God for the opportunity for this week of visiting Naomi and Ben!

You do know, don’t you, what a burden shared is?  A burden shared is “half” a burden.  And so we fulfill with you the command to bear each other’s burdens.

Serving Together,
Pat and Kellis Melson
Papua New Guinea

 

 

February 2014

Bachelor Students Oct 2013

Dear Friends and Fellow Laborers, a lot has been going on with our family and ministry!

We praise God for Naomi and Ben’s wedding on January 4th in Louisville, Kentucky.  Seven of us (including Kellis’ parents) left Christmas day for the 2 week trip.  It was a good trip and we thank God for His working in Ben and Naomi’s lives.  We also had a good late Christmas visit with Beka and Adam, and look forward to seeing them again soon.  Abi has ongoing orthodontic treatments and often gets canker sores because of her scar tissue and smaller mouth.  We just found out her treatments will need to continue into June.  Pray for her continued healing and for her homeschooling, which Kellis is overseeing.  Pray for Lydia’s future plans as she withdrew from College.  When you have lived overseas it can take time to adjust to life in America.  Rachel has ongoing check-ups following her unexpected December 2012 surgery for a large tumor.  We praise God for good results so far through 3 extensive exams!  The latest was Jan 17th, a full day of appointments at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.  It has been a burden since Rachel does not have medical insurance.  Please continue praying for a full-time job for Rachel and a place to live in the Tacoma area.

We praise God for Pat’s 7 week trip to PNG!  He taught a 2 week class to 22 pastors, and worked extensively on the Goroka Baptist Bible College expansion program.  Look for more stories later.

Pray for the GBBC expansion.  We are adding a new Teacher-Training program this year, classes started at the end of January.  The new major includes partnering with national teachers, but we also need American teachers with education degrees to come teach short-term or longer.  Do you have an education degree, or know someone who does that could invest their gifts in this ministry?  The program is designed to produce biblically-grounded teachers for primary (grade 1-8) public and Christian schools.  Besides plans for improving the programs and personnel, we have made significant improvements in our physical plant, including a professionally produced site plan, improving infrastructure with water drainage (improved ditches, culverts) and supply (a well is in process), removing old buildings to prepare for new, construction of a large in-ground septic system for the women’s dorm… We praise God for short-termers with building expertise who have helped but we need more, please pray.  Do you know someone with building skills and expertise?  Besides helping with projects, our nationals have long asked for classes in basic carpentry and construction to be offered at the Bible College, but they need a teacher. 

Along with this we praise God for increasing national support for GBBC.  Regional informational meetings are being held in several key cities.  Pat was a part of the first meeting with 66 nationals in Goroka before he left, with church leaders, business professionals, representing several provinces and mission groups.  Many men and women gave encouraging testimonies, claiming GBBC as their school, testimonies glorifying God because of the ministry of our graduates.  At my table, the man next to me stood and said “My wife and I talked about it and we will buy a new cement mixer…” What? Did I hear that right?  They just pledged about $11,000 to buy a commercial mixer. Praise God!  I found myself smiling, looking up at him, for our 20 year old mixer is not repairable, we had to borrow one to finish a recent job.  I was grinning!   He said, looking around the room and then turning to me, “We’ll do our part…you do yours.”  I asked him what “our” part was, and he said “more missionaries, teachers, builders, administrators, more help.”  They are asking God to send more missionaries, as Christ encouraged his disciples to urgently pray for laborers for the harvest in Matthew 9:38.  Are they asking God to send you?   Pray with us for new missionaries and for the other regional meetings being held!  The excitement is building as we continue to help the church train new workers!

We praise God for some recent gifts that helped pay needed medical and ministry needs.  We are thankful as well for some increases in financial support!  Pray with us as $900 is needed in monthly support to get financial clearance to return to PNG.  Pray for one-time gifts and regular support which could meet this need.  Please pray with us for a new place to move to in April, as our current place is needed for another missionary family in May.  Do you know of a place?

As we close we ask for prayer for our colleagues. In PNG, Bill and Lori Smith, Steve and Sandy Aholt, Bill and Debbie Tobias, along with our national staff at the Bible College: Jeff Yaupa, Richard Khenna, Onili Wayaki, Mama Keiri, and teachers Michael and Angelah Kewi, Luha Safatigi, Steve Otio, Mrs. Yogio, John and Elizabeth Joseph and their staff teachers.  11 Classes are under way during Term 1 which will end in April.   Also, we ask prayer for our colleagues in the USA preparing to serve in PNG:  Steve and Gretchen Root are returning to PNG NEXT month!  Rich and Marcia Ernst, having retired from PNG, are returning again (!) in a couple of months to teach short-term at the Bible College.  And we have several raising support who could arrive in 2014 or 2015: Zeke and Megan Magill, Phil and Jan Smith, and Tim Hawes.  We have such a good team, won’t you join us?  By coming?  Helping?  Praying?

Serving Together,
Pat and Kellis, Rachel, Lydia, and Abi
http://melson.msites.com/
(253) 441-9252

October 16, 2013

David Tila is dead.  Michael told me, Michael, the Deputy Headmaster, Michael who helped recruit David for the Bible College, Michael who is from the same place as David, Michael who is like a father to David.  There were tears in his eyes, as we hugged silently.  “Had he been sick?” I asked, “No,” Michael said, “he had a heart problem…he had been to Port Moresby (the capital) to see a specialist, and they gave him some medicine and sent him home, but that was a while back.  He was taken to the Tari Hospital (capital city of the Hela Province) but died the same day.”  Michael of course would be going to the funeral, over the partially paved 2 lane “Highlands Highway” that winds through some of the most mountainous parts of the Highlands. 

WHO is David you ask?  Let me refresh your memory, with this excerpt from our August 2005 prayer letter:

            I was surprised to see David.  He pastors in a remote area 3 provinces away, a miserable 2 day trip at best yet here he was sitting in the back of church on a Wednesday night.  He smiled, nodded, that we would pray together.  Later he dug in his bag to find his pictures.  “These are the 22 we just baptized, here’s some individual pictures, this is the church-” “David, slow down!” I said, and he laughed and handed me the pictures, explaining each in turn.  “Yes, 22 baptized, mostly men, and two other pastors came to help.  The water was very cold, mountain water, so we took turns...”  The 22 were posed like a victorious sports team, smiling, their eyes filled with hope, the company of the redeemed, my brothers and sisters. “It was a very big meeting,” he said, pointing to another picture with an unfinished structure filled with people.  It seemed about 70 feet long, no walls, rough posts and framing which supported a roof of blue tarps.  I guessed 150 people, but that was low.  “Nice benches!” I said, and David laughed.  They were sitting on rough milled planks laying on the dirt.  Another picture showed one of the visiting pastors preaching (in Pidgin), with David nearby to translate into the tribal language.  As we talked my heart was being tugged more and more for David’s people, for the 86,000 people of the Tari district.  I asked him to speak in chapel to our students, and he nodded.

            David describes himself as a “bush manki,” we would say a country boy, one whom the learned people of the towns look down upon.  But they don’t know him.  He came to the Bible College the same year we came to Papua New Guinea (1995), and I taught him during his last 3 years until he graduated in 1998.  When he preached and taught as a student, it often brought laughs from some of the more educated.  But they could see David’s passion, they were quickened by the blaze in his eyes and challenged by his words.  Already he had touched their lives, so their laughs were not hurtful, but sort of a playful bantering, something David enjoyed even, and David too would laugh.  They respected him, for his fiery belief that God had called him to preach, and he was confident in who God made him to be.  While talking once about his namesake, a “man after God’s own heart,” he humbly admitted he was still trying to be like David, and that he had a long way to go.  I told him about David Livingstone, the great missionary to Africa who was driven to carry the gospel into the deepest and darkest parts of Africa, and that I felt he was much like this visionary servant of Christ.  Over time, the name “Livingstone” became his as well, a reminder of the regions beyond where Christ is not known.

            Since his graduation in 1998 he has written or sent word to the Goroka Baptist Bible College (GBBC) every year asking for prayer, asking us to send students to help, or some missionaries.  He has also sent out two families to GBBC, Wilson and Julien Timba and their 4 boys, and Timson and Nokome Timbalu and their six children.  So the ministry cycle continues, training faithful men who in turn can teach others (2 Tim 2:2)!  (Both of these families have serious needs for financial assistance, or they may have to quit school.)  David has married and he and Neki have a beautiful 18 month-old son named Joshua.  Neki was shy and pleasant, and Joshua sported a stylish haircut, cut close and high but leaving the top untouched, “Some Mendi police who are friends cut his hair like theirs.”  When he spoke in chapel he said he paid “no bride-price” for her, which is quite miraculous, since these compulsory bride payments can be as much as 5 years of salary.  “No bride price,” he said, “No!  Believe God, and He can do this!”  He preached from Joshua chapter 1, that “God will be with you, His power will take care of you, and you must be strong.  You must believe this!”  It was encouraging.

            After chapel I took David to my office to see what book I could give as a “thank you” for speaking. “Some of the books the school gave, have been stolen, but I still use the others,” he said.  “But the Bible Concordance, I don’t have one.”  The Concordance is a large blue book with a complete verse listing of topics and each Pidgin word in the Bible, it is the first

David Livingstone Tila 2005 David Livingstone Tila 2005

book after the Bible our students and pastors should own.  But it is costly, 50 dollars a book, more than some pastors make in a month or two.  We raised funds for these books, helping American churches and Christians to partner with these pastors, and over 110 have been distributed.  “The Concordance,” he said, “is what I really need.”  I gave him the last one, and in response he later gave this letter, which he said I could use:

David L. Tila,   Bible Baptist Fellowship
Kaukoma, Koropu District (near Tari)
Southern Highlands Province (now Hela Province), Papua New Guinea

Good day to you in the name of Jesus Christ!  I am happy and thankful to God that he has moved you to buy a concordance for studying.  This is a big need for me to advance God’s work in the area of my studies.  “Thank-you True” for the help!

I ask most importantly that you pray for us (in these areas):

1.         We need Teacher’s books for Sunday School.

2.         We need help in building a new church, roofing, nails, etc.

3.         There is a need for missionaries to come work in our place.

Plenty people die, they haven’t heard God’s word yet, sorry, sorry true!  The local churches of PNG are only just existing!  No missionary works have been started.  Please!  Send missionaries to come and preach in the remote areas (“big bush”) and mountains.

4.         Support (financial)

            That’s all.          Rom 10:14-16 
   
 (end of David’s letter, and end of the part of our 2005 letter about David)
           

(2013) That’s who Pastor David is, and I’m thinking of him as I’m finishing up a 7 week trip to the Bible College, and I ask you to pray for his family, his wife Neki, his three children Joshua (mentioned above now 8), Caleb, and Rebekah.  Pray for David’s church in Tari, the Kewi family, and others who we’ve heard will travel there.  Philip (LK) Peragoie, a 2010 GBBC graduate, is from David’s church, was discipled by David, sent to the Bible College, and he is traveling back, despite tribal fighting in the area which includes his brother as a leader.  It is risky for Philip, pray for their safety, pray for Philip as he has to evaluate whether it is safe for his wife and new baby girl to return.  What a testimony David had!  But better I would say, “He pointed many to Christ.”

I’ve  been working on: 1) Meetings with our team (missionaries and nationals) focused on the Bible College’s ministry and expansion; 2) Teaching a 2 week class in our advanced Bachelors program to 22 pastors, most graduates of our 4 year program; 3) Sorting and preparing books given to graduating students (November) as part of a “Pastor’s Toolbox;”4) Helping prepare for a College promotional luncheon with about a 100 key national leaders, the meeting is tomorrow; and 5) Preaching in several church and chapel sessions.  Pray for safety as I travel back home Oct 21-23rd.  I am looking forward to seeing my family!  (Family update will be later.)

Your prayers and financial support for us have made you a partner with us in David’s ministry, and together we work with David and other choice leaders to build the church in PNG. You are making a difference for eternity!  Like David, who was persecuted when he started a church in his area after graduating in 1998, his life threatened, but he persevered.  His Christian character, his care for orphans, his faithful ministry with the Word and people earned him a place and exalted the name of Christ.  There are seven, SEVEN current students at GBBC, training for ministry who were either discipled or sent by David, so they could join him in ministry.  What a legacy, for a man from the “sticks” in his late 30’s, with only an elementary school education.  I dare you to do better.

May God bless you as we labor together in PNG!

Pat, Kellis, Rachel, Naomi, Lydia, Abi Melson

 

September 7, 2013

Outside our window, on the corner, there is a new house going up.  The old house, empty for years, a quirky house with odd corners and joints, was poorly pieced together.  We came home after a mission trip and the old was gone, along with its dandelions.  Over the months we witnessed excavation, stakes and measuring, the pouring of cement footers, minor plumbing, cement block foundation, floor joists followed by a floor, walls, and today, a crane is setting roof trusses in place in the rain.  It is quite the process, and reminds me of the work God does in our lives, it takes time, but built on the foundation of Christ Himself, such a life is a house built on the rock, secure from the storms and winds of life.

We need your prayers, things have been a bit hectic.  In a few hours I leave for Papua New Guinea, for seven weeks to teach a class in our Bachelors Program and to help our team of missionaries and the Goroka Baptist Bible College make plans for the next year.  Pray  I will be an encouragement to our team and that God will use this time for His purposes.  My family stays behind, scattered right now, Lydia is at Cornerstone University in Michigan beginning her first year.  Pray for her and her adjustments, I left her 2 days ago, and Kellis and Abi are there for a bit longer to help her if needed.  Abi continues to heal and we praise God a regular orthodontist stepped forward to offer his services for free!  We couldn’t believe it and had to ask him to clarify, and knowing our story and being a good guy, he just wanted to do that for us.  The necessary treatments should take about 9 months, shorter than expected, and we are planning to visit some churches and return to PNG around May 2014.   Pray for Rachel in Washington still looking for work, an eventual place to live, and her ongoing medical needs and bills.  And we praise God our daughter Naomi (in Kentucky) and Ben just got engaged, so we have a wedding to plan for in January!  We were just able to spend a few days with them and with some co-workers from PNG, the Root family who are raising support to go back to PNG.  Our daughter Beka (and Adam, in Salem, OR) has had some dental needs, please pray for them as they consider their options.  Pray for Kellis whose emotions are being stretched, but she is stronger than she thinks and has been a great example of faith to all of us. 

Specifically, we ask your prayers for our support level, we are about $1,000 a month under supported and our accounts could use $4800 to get us back to even.  We have had a couple recent gifts to help with medical needs, but still have about $2400 outstanding, not including Rachel’s needs.  If 10 churches or people gave $100 per month, our needs could be met. 

Pray for missionaries raising support to go to PNG:  Zeke and Megan Magill, Steve and Gretchen Root,  Phil and Jan Smith, Tim Hawes, and short-termers Steve and Terri Conover who will come work in PNG later this month.  I am about to head out the door, and my heart is torn for the needs of my family and my extended family in Sacramento.   I am uncertain of what adventures await, but this I know, Christ said He will build His church in the process, and we are going, we must be a part of it.  Will you join us?

Serving Together,
Patrick and Kellis Melson

 

Nickson Nov2014 Pastor Nickson 2014