“Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” –2 Thessalonians 3:1
While there are some Somau Garia who are open to the good news, many are resistant. Ask God to break barriers of resistance to the gospel. Ask God to break through spiritual, physical, and social boundaries that it might spread rapidly and be honored. Ask God to open the hearts of the sorcerers and shamans to the gospel, the hearts of clan leaders and those who fear loss of power if they submit to the King of Kings.
“Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, ‘The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.'” –Nehemiah 4:19
Spiritual warfare is intense. Part of our hiatus from PNG these seven years is partially because of that fact. The mission community is hard pressed. Our Somau Garia co-workers are hard pressed as they work on translation, care for their families, and are opposed by the enemy of our souls. Ask God to break through the barrier of spiritual opposition that constricts the life out of so many. Ask God to empower the saints through increased awareness of the spiritual landscape, through increased dependence upon the grace and power of the resurrected Lord. Ask God to carry us through the battle victoriously.
“You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, ‘Let us start rebuilding.’ So they began this good work.” –Nehemiah 2:17-18
There is a remnant of Somau Garia speakers drafting Luke and Acts awaiting our return so that we can work on checking and revising their work. Our house and office in Uria Village are in disrepair. Ask God to break through the barriers to restarting the translation program. The foundation is there—it just needs repair.
“The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.'” –Nehemiah 2:4-5
It has been seven years since my family and I left Papua New GUinea. The Holy Spirit has quickened our hearts to return and finish translation of the New Testament. We have prayed. We are now in the process of making our needs known to “the king”. Ask God to break through the barrier of resourcing the translation of the Somau Garia New Testament. Time is of the essence. Ask God to raise up ministry partners to resource this vital and generation changing work.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” –1 John 4:18
The long history of false gods and bodange to shamanic religion has created a fatalistic fear in Somau Garia (and many other Melanesian) culture. There is an ever-present fear of reprisal for breaking taboos. Examples of reprisal: being waylaid and consumed by demon monsters en route to the place of the dead, sudden death while sleeping, sickness, or ruined crops. Ask God to break through the barrier of fear to establish the reality of his love for the Somau Garia people.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions . . .” –Galatians 5:19-20
All mankind has at one time lived in the flesh. Where idolatry (e.g, bush god) worship is present, a priesthood of those gods’ devotees is also present. Among our closest neighbors lived five shamans (people who use ritual to manipulate the non-physical realm)–some claiming to do good, some evil. Ask God to break through the barrier of sorcery and the bondage it creates in peoples’ lives. Ask God to set the Somau Garia free of bondage, freeing them by the Truth of the Word.
“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God . . .” –1 Thessalonians 1:9
Somau Garia culture is populated by numerous “bush gods” who hold many devotees to this day. Fear reigns supreme in many peoples’ lives. Ask God to break through barriers of old bondanges and allegiances to false gods. Pray that through coming into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus, fear will flee and our friends will walk in freedom and joy.
“The word of God is living and active . . . discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”–Hebrews 4:12
The Gospel According to Mark (see above) has been available in the Somau Garia language since 2007. Ask God to break through the ignorance of his word, his character, his power, his salvation by means of this slender little book. Ask God to break through the barriers of illiteracy and inaccessibility to his word that these precious men, women, and children might know Him who died for them.
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” — Psalm 133:1
Somau Garia culture is a consensus-based culture. Decisions are not made in isolation–there is a much higher level of interdependence between people than we know in the West. One spiritual battle that must be waged–and has a much higher impact on relationships–is for the unity of believers. This is especially true for the believers who are devoted to translating the New Testament into the Somau Garia language. Ask God to break through the barrier of disunity among the Somau Garia co-workers–that His name might be honored and his body strong. Ask God to unite them solely on the basis of their task–but by His Spirit.
“He [Jesus] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” — Colossians 2:15
Somau Garia culture is what some call “shame-based”. Saving face is of high value in social status and function. A few years ago, a clan neighboring our house in Uria Village burglarized it. Most expressed profound shame when I visited last year–a level of shame that will likely require ritual to make right. Ask God to break through the pain and shame of wrongdoing, that Jesus’ grace and penetrate Somau Garia culture. Jesus shamed the spiritual powers that he defeated, not the people he came to save.