Me and Matt and Paul accompanied Jimmy and Yulianus into the Mamberamo region to preach, pass out literature and explain some educational and translation programs for the future. Here is Matt's update:
Praise God that last week we preached/taught at 3 villages in the Mamberamo and 3 coastal locations to almost 1,000 people, passed out over 2,000 tracts/booklets/bibles (easily over 700 in outdoor evangelism and over 1300 inside the church to build up believers), preached or taught 8 times in 7 days for about 18 hours cumulative (mostly on distinguishing the new birth from a mere external religiosity) and yesterday I had visitors finding my house to come and tell me that they were greatly moved.
Today (Sunday [January 6th]) we worshiped at a church comprised mostly of people from the Fuau region (where we're flying to tomorrow). Most of them have come out of the interior jungle for educational purposes. Some are studying in a local Bible college, and others are pursuing various other occupations. Yulianus helps them in different ways, including providing scholarships for those who show the most potential. His desire, though, is for them to return to the interior in order to be a blessing to their own people. So he made them promise to return before ever giving any sort of scholarship. One of the men there today, also supported by Yuli, is Bastian Guani. I met him in Jakarta in 2010 when he was studying at Kartidaya (SIL's linguistic training). He and Yuli are in the process of translating 15 key Bible stories into the Fuau language, after which they will begin translating the New Testament. They didn't feel prepared enough to directly begin the NT, so they decided to start with the stories in order to at least get something in the hands of their people, along with getting some good practice/training for the bigger project. You can read more about the Bible story project here (their language is technically called "Abawiri"): www.theseedcompany.org/files/
I preached in the service in Bahasa Indonesia. I felt like the Lord helped and I'm beginning to feel much more comfortable preaching without any notes. Trevor also gave a couple different strong exhortations to the people. There's such a great need here for people who call themselves Christians to be born again. They live like the world, many coming to church on Sunday mornings and then getting drunk a few hours later. HIV and prostitution are also big social problems, indicative of the spiritual darkness of those who profess the name of Christ but deny Him with their lives. So, much of our teaching and exhortation centered around the new birth and what it means to be genuinely saved. After eating lunch, we then went to a local market in order to pass out Gospel tracts and share the good news with the people there. Together we were able to pass out perhaps 400-500 tracts, and I got the opportunity to share the gospel with dozens of Papuans, along with many __ others__...