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Graduate Updates

Update on a Graduate

Chris and Bonnie Matthews

As a boy, Chris rode church buses to various Protestant and Baptist churches. When he was in his early teens, his family joined a church which taught baptismal regeneration. They baptized him based on an earlier profession of faith, but he had no assurance of salvation. In 1993, at the age of fifteen, he attended a church camp and fell under deep conviction. He pleaded with the counselors for guidance, but they assured him he was okay. That evening, a speaker recited the sinner’s prayer which reminded Chris of the true Gospel he had learned previously. He asked Christ to be his Saviour. Later, he was scripturally baptized and called to preach at Ray Avenue Baptist Church in Salina, Kansas. He attended Bible college for one year and was trained for six years by Dr. Plato Shepherd at Smoky Valley Baptist Church in Lindsborg, Kansas. Chris served as an associate pastor for three years, and in 2005, he became the pastor, serving until 2018. He also became a firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician. He taught both EMS and CPR.

Bonnie was raised in the home of a godly pastor. She made a profession of faith at age four, but like many children, she later had doubts. It was not until she was a pastor’s wife that she received full assurance of her salvation. She graduated from Calvary University in Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She was a pastor’s wife for fifteen years. She has taught music, written and led ladies’ Bible studies, led youth ensembles, spoken at ladies’ conferences, written historical novels, and taught piano. Bonnie has training and field experience in Teaching English as a Second Language.

The Matthewses could have easily continued serving the Lord in Kansas, but God began to burden their hearts for a very restricted country in Southeast Asia. Upon hearing this, people began telling them that they needed to attend BBTI. Shortly after arriving in 2019, they fell in love with our school and could see how it would benefit them on the mission field. Even while they were students, Chris envisioned returning to BBTI one day to help train missionaries.

In less than a year after graduation, the Matthews family arrived on their field. God gave them a very fruitful ministry in evangelism and leadership training. They were having the time of their lives! They loved the place and especially the people, and the people loved them. They often saw God protect them and provide miraculously. One such time was during the strict COVID lockdown when they needed to return to the US for the impending death of Bonnie’s dad. They were not allowed to leave their neighborhood, but they had to obtain their passports from another part of the large city. Couriers could not get through the military/police checkpoints, but Chris rode his motor scooter unhindered through every checkpoint without even being stopped!

Chris and Bonnie were not looking for an easier place of service or greener pastures, but God was impressing their hearts that they needed to labor at BBTI. Rex Cobb had previously told Chris that BBTI would soon need a younger director. After much fasting, praying, and seeking counsel, they contacted Brother Cobb, other staff members, and our sponsoring pastor, Steve Summers. No snap decision was made, but all involved, including the school trustees, believed that Chris was right for the job. He will officially become the director at graduation on May 18th. He plans to make trips back to his field to train church leaders and help oversee a Bible translation project. Chris’ leadership experience and Bonnie’s many skills will help move this ministry forward in the days to come.

Spring 2024

Part of the application process for enrollment in our Advanced Missionary Training program is a recommendation from the pastor of the applicant. Doug and Lisa Nispel applied for enrollment at BBTI in 2014. One question we ask the pastor is, “What is the applicant’s greatest strength?” For Doug, he answered “faithful” and for Lisa “compassionate.” We found the pastor’s description of them fully accurate. As students, they were a constant joy to us, along with their two daughters, Abigail and Elizabeth. They worked diligently both in the classroom and during our afternoon Work Detail.


Doug was a bus kid. His parents sent him to Red Lion Bible Church and his grandmother paid for him to attend the Christian school until the sixth grade. He heard the Gospel many times and was saved at the age of eleven. Doug lived for God for a time but became tired of feeling like an oddball and not having any friends. He decided to go his own way. As is always the case, this led to some poor choices. Even as a preteen, he began using the marijuana and alcohol that he had access to at home. However, God did not give up on Doug. When he was nearing the age of twenty, his father was gloriously saved. The booze and drugs left the home, and his father began serving the Lord. (Today he has a truck stop ministry). This had a convicting influence on Doug, and at the age of twenty-one, he surrendered every area of his life to God.


Lisa was raised by good, religious parents in a Methodist church. Then came the day when the pastor distributed to all a copy of the Good News for Modern Man and announced that it would replace their Bible. Her father had enough discernment to leave the church, and the family began attending Red Lion Bible Church. Lisa was led to Christ by a faithful Sunday School teacher who used the Wordless Book to teach the Gospel. Lisa’s father and mother began a bus route. Together, they serve faithfully in that ministry until this day.


The Nispel family arrived at BBTI in 2015 with the desire to serve the Lord in Romania. They continued raising support as students and graduated in 2016. In March 2017, less than a year after graduation, they arrived in Timisoara, Romania, and began learning the new language and culture.


A big part of the Nispel’s ministry is training believers in evangelism. They serve primarily in five or six Baptist churches, helping with outreaches and training the believers to use different methods of evangelism and tract distribution in outdoor and public settings. People are receptive and willing to listen but slow to trust Christ. Doug and Lisa look for outreach opportunities such as carnivals or festivals. They incorporate the use of Christian films in their open-air meetings. In the summer, they assist several different Baptist churches in vacation Bible school outreaches in places where there are thus far no churches.

When the Iron Curtain was torn down in the early 90s, Gospel seeds were sown in Romania and other Eastern European countries. It produced a great harvest for people who were hungry for prosperity and freedom. Thank God, that many missionaries went. Sadly, many stayed only a short time. There is, no doubt, a great need for new, church-planting missionaries in Europe, but there is also a great need for missionaries such as the Nispels who will take up the unfinished task of training believers to reach others.


Compassion took the Nispels to Romania, and faithfulness keeps them there!

Winter 2023-24

Marco Paulichen Family
Missionaries to Uruguay

Marco Paulichen was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1978, and his wife Patricia was born in Ontario a few months earlier. But two could not have come from more distinct backgrounds.

Marco’s mother was from Argentina, and his father was from Uruguay. Marco’s first language was Spanish. His parents were devout Christians and raised Marco in church where he heard the Gospel often. At age five, his Sunday school teacher led him to Christ.

Patricia’s mother was an unsaved, single mother who left Patricia soon after her birth. Though she eventually returned, Patricia grew up in broken homes feeling unwanted and unloved. By age twenty, she was using drugs daily and attending drinking parties each weekend. By the grace of God, Patricia was given a gospel tract by a street preacher. It showed her that she was lost and on the way to hell, but she did not know how to respond. She asked her friends about the way of salvation, but none of them could help her. She tried self-reformation, attempting to please God. This only led to deep depression and thoughts of suicide.

Patricia was in an office building for a job interview when she literally bumped into the young electrician working there. She gladly accepted his invitation to attend his church: later he led her to Christ on their first date. Her life changed drastically; she was a new person. Eleven months later, she married that young man! They have been serving the Lord together for twenty-four years.

Marco and Patricia felt led of God to go take the Gospel to Uruguay. Along with their teenage children Josh and Josephine, they attended BBTI from August 2017 until May 2018. Josh and Josephine studied BBTI classes in the morning and worked on their homeschool assignments in the afternoon. They all excelled. Marco, a master electrician, made many needed electrical improvements at BBTI.

In October 2018, the family arrived on the field prepared to learn the language and culture of Uruguay. Because of Marco’s paternal roots in the country, he and his children are allowed dual citizenship of both Canada and Uruguay. Patricia has been granted residency. They do not struggle to obtain visas like many other missionaries; they are allowed to travel in other countries of South America without restrictions. The children are also entitled to educational benefits. While in Canada, Josh and Josephine studied music at the Royal Conservatory, and in Uruguay they were admitted into a classical music conservatory. This has resulted in many good contacts for the family’s church planting ministry in the interior city of Salto.

Having never lived in Uruguay, Marco has had to learn the country’s unique Spanish. He was able, however, to soon begin the Iglesia Bautista Fundamental in their home. The church began in the living room, kitchen, and under the carport. God blessed and the church grew. They currently meet in a rented building but are looking for a building in a better location. Marco preaches on the radio five days a week and sets up a literature table in two open-air markets where he witnesses for Christ. Thank God that the Paulichen family is faithfully giving the Gospel to the lost in their city. However, many more missionaries are needed for the places where the people wait for someone to bring them the Good News. Pray for laborers for Uruguay and the surrounding countries. Remember that the Gospel is not Good News if it gets there too late!

Cindy Stacy
Missionary to Zambia

Cindy Stacy is not another Mary Slessor. She does not trudge alone through the African jungles facing the danger of lions, cannibal tribes, and pythons. (She does need to avoid contact with black and green mambas and other venomous snakes). Much of what she does as a missionary in Zambia is what she did for many years in New Mexico.

On March 24, 1964, Cindy was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Eight years later, she was born again at Temple Baptist Church. After graduation from the Temple Baptist Christian School, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University.

Cindy joyfully served the Lord in her highly active church, Gospel Light Baptist, in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She taught in the Christian school for twenty-three years. Why did she not stay where she was comfortable and safe? She was drawn to Zambia because she saw a much greater need there. Of the 13,800,000 people in this Southern African country, half are under the age of fifteen. Cindy saw wide-open doors and opportunities. A church-planting missionary family needed her experience and expertise. Though most of Cindy’s peers are willing to serve the Lord in the United States, few of them want to go overseas. However, Cindy was willing to serve outside her comfort zone. Instead of asking, “Why should I go?” she asked, “Why should I stay?”

Mission work requires preparation. Once Cindy’s church commissioned her as their missionary, she began presenting her plans to other churches. Knowing full well what children need, she began asking God’s people for school supplies to take with her to Zambia. They responded generously to the need. Cindy also began saving for passage and setup expenses. A single missionary may require a smaller amount of monthly support, but plane tickets, visas, housing, furniture, and vehicles are expensive. Cindy worked diligently. Seeing the benefits of BBTI’s Advanced Missionary Training, she arrived for training in August 2014, graduated in May 2015, and left for Zambia in January 2017.

English is not the first language of Zambian young people, but they need to learn it. Cindy teaches grammar, reading, and ESL classes to the youth. She has Thursday and Friday evening Bible classes for neighbor children and conducts a successful Children’s Bible Hour on Saturdays. Cindy enjoys teaching her Sunday school class of seventy-eight children as well as discipling ladies.

Missionary work is not simply teaching people but training people how to teach other people. Through the Solid Rock Bible Institute, Cindy is training two young ladies to be future teachers. Though they are not allowed to have their own class in the church before they graduate, they have begun a neighborhood Bible class on their own. One lady asked Cindy to teach her four children to read. Instead of teaching the children, Cindy trained the mother to teach her own children. The team wants the young people to have Bibles, but they do not simply give them out. The children must earn their Bible through the Faithfulness Campaign which requires church attendance and Scripture memorization.

While church and school duties keep Cindy very busy, she still finds time for her cat, dog, and vegetable and flower gardens. Zambia, like many places, has its share of difficulties, and Cindy must share those difficulties with the people she loves. Often there is no daytime electricity, and water is very scarce. Prices have increased by seventy-five percent, and, of course Zambia was plagued by Covid-19. Nevertheless, Cindy is very content and does not want to be anywhere else! She extends this invitation: “If you’d like to come work in Zambia, you can teach the two-to-seven-year-old children. I will give you thirty children, chairs, a room, the curriculum, a helper, and all the hugs you’ll need for the rest of your life.”

Winter 2022-23

 

 

Charles V. Turner in 2021

Charles V. Turner was born in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1934 and born again in 1951 at a summer camp ministry of Marcus Hook Baptist Church in Pennsylvania. It was at this church that he dedicated his life to the work of missions in 1952. The following year, he enrolled at Columbia Bible College and graduated in 1957.

Classmates of Charles were Wanda Sifford, Mary Lou Pruitt, and Joshua Crocket. Charles married Wanda and they served the Lord in Papua New Guinea as missionaries with New Tribes Mission. Joshua married Mary Lou, and they were home missionaries helping struggling Native American churches.

Charles was busy in 1957. He finished Bible College, took the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) course in Norman, Oklahoma, got married, and began training with New Tribes Mission (NTM). No sense wasting time when you know what God wants you to do! During summer vacation of 1959, while still students at New Tribes, the Turners returned to Norman to re-take the SIL training.

In 1960, after six years of formal training, the Turners were sent by Marcus Hook Baptist Church to Papua New Guinea where they served until 1980. First, Charles and Wanda learned the trade language, Tok Pisin. Then they learned the unwritten language of the Sinasina tribe. Applying the linguistic skills, they learned at SIL and NTM, they developed an alphabet, giving the language a written form. They produced literature and taught the people to read. In 1975, they completed the translation of the New Testament. After several years of use in the churches, Brother Turner and the church leaders revised and improved the Sinasina scriptures. For twenty years, Charles and Wanda spread the Good News, baptized converts, taught literacy, and began four or five churches and a Bible institute. In recent years, the work has flourished, and many more churches have been established in the Sinasina area. According to family members and medical experts, Wanda should never have gone to the mission field because of a heart condition. However, she did go and was a good missionary/linguist. In 1975, Wanda had open heart surgery, and then returned to the field.

In 1980, the Turners returned to the NTM training center where Charles taught Bible translation, linguistics, and language and culture learning. He began writing the book Biblical Bible Translating. In 1982, they transitioned to Baptist Bible Translators Institute (BBTI). They took the BBTI training which was a review that prepared Charles to teach the same courses at BBTI. In 1991, he became the director of BBTI and served in that position until 2005.

Wanda passed away in December 1994. Later, Charles married Mary Lou, whose husband, Joshua had died a few years earlier. Mary Lou took the BBTI training and served the Lord and the BBTI students. She went to be with the Lord in November 2020.

Charles desires to visit the Sinasina people again; pray that his health will allow it. He currently serves the Lord as a BBTI trustee, a deacon at Truthville Baptist Church in Truthville, New York, and a teacher in their Christian school. Servants of Christ may change locations and job descriptions, as Brother Turner has, but when he signed on, it was for a lifetime of service.

Fall 2022

 

Joe and Lindsay Risinger are 2019 BBTI graduates. Their children are Joseph (6), Abbie (4), and Titus (1).

It was August of 2019 when we began living in a village in northern Uganda where we could not understand a single word of our neighbors’ heart language. The language they spoke during their growing up years is the same language they use to ponder deep thoughts, and it was nothing but meaningless noise to our foreign ears. This local, tribal language called Lugbara was one that we were warned would not be an option for a foreigner to grasp. No language school exists [although Lugbara is spoken by 1.7 million people]. Because it is tonal, the most subtle change in one’s tone profoundly alters the expressed meaning.
God called us to these people, therefore we felt it prudent to take whatever steps necessary to understand their culture and communicate in their heart language. For months we would go out every single day, notebook in hand, and use the language acquisition tools we were given at BBTI. Under the shade of a mango or avocado tree while our three-year-old and one-year-old played on a papyrus mat with the African children, we carefully transcribed words and phrases to commit to memory afterwards.

What was their reaction? Absolute fascination! They could not fathom why this family would come from America to learn their language and do life with them. They were overwhelmingly humbled by our desire and anxiously supported our effort. The most frequent question was “Why? Why are you here? Why are you learning our language?” I explained, “Our plan is first, to learn the language, and second, to help people understand the truth of God’s Word.”

There is a mosque in our village which half of our local community attends. The Imam (leader) of the mosque is a man named Agobi. The only language he speaks is Lugbara. I met Agobi during our early months on the field but had very little ability to communicate with him. The Lord gave me a burning desire to share the Gospel with him. Our surface relationship was maintained for some time until two years later when he invited me to his home for tea. My heart was full as I was able to sit in his home and share, in Lugbara, the simple, powerful truths of who Jesus truly is. We pray he will one day turn to Christ.

The preaching of the cross and the hope we have in Christ is well worth any amount of language learning effort if it causes a single lost man to become more tender to such a message. By striving to speak the language of these people, a powerful statement of sincerity resonates in their hearts and minds. Every Lugbara person we encounter is met with an immediate connection and highly effective bridge to the Gospel because of the ability to speak their heart language. I cannot think of a better way to invest our time during these first few years on the field than learning this language.

Summer 2022

Elisabeth on her last birthday

Tom and Barbara Needham were farmers, and they went to Cameroon, Africa, to teach the people better farming methods. There a missionary led them to Christ. They returned to Iowa, sold the farm, went back to Cameroon as missionaries in 1991. Their daughter Elizabeth, the fifth of seven children was two years old at the time. There she grew up and served the Lord with her family. She learned Pidgin English and Fulfulde, the language of the Fulani Muslim people, as well as sign language. Elizabeth was homeschooled and was saved at age six. At age twelve at summer camp, she was memorizing the words to the hymn their group was about to sing. “All to Jesus I surrender. All to him I freely give.” She realized that it was not true of her, but she immediately surrendered all! Suddenly she had a burden to reach the lost.

Cameroon is divided into two parts; one speaks English and the other French. The Needhams worked in the smaller English-speaking section until forced to move to the French side because of violence that arose in 2018. Elizabeth is currently learning both French and French Sign Language.

Elizabeth graduated from the Baptist College of Ministry in 2012 and then returned to Africa. She and three of her sisters attended BBTI from 2019 to 2020. She was an excellent student and a blessing to all each day. Elizabeth’s childhood friends named her Sangle which means “joy,” and to this day, she wears a perpetual smile. She returned as a missionary to Cameroon in January 2021.

Through her church, Elizabeth ministers to women and children, but God is especially blessing her outreach to the deaf. Here are a few testimonies:

“One deaf man who trusted in Christ last week said, ‘I want my wife and all my deaf friends to hear this same preaching.’ He invited us back the next Saturday to preach to all the deaf that he could gather but was disappointed that none of them came. We taught him how to share the Gospel with others and arranged to meet him again next Friday to meet his wife and other deaf friends. Another deaf man who was a Jehovah’s Witness also trusted in Christ two weeks ago after Synthia and I had witnessed to him multiple times. He came to church with two friends and really enjoyed it. He is still holding to his connection to the JWs, trying to decide which one he will follow. Another deaf woman told me, ‘I have gone to church many times, but I have never heard before what you have told me today about Jesus.’ She was so surprised and amazed to hear that Jesus died to take away her sins. Today I stopped by to give her a Bible. She was so happy! Charnelle, another deaf woman I have reached out to came to church last Sunday. She told me afterward, ‘I do not understand anything in the church that I have been attending. I just sit and stare at the pastor until he is done. But here you interpreted for me, and I could understand. I want to come back next week.’ Charnelle’s deaf husband came to me with one of the tracts I had given her. He told me he is a believer and said, ‘This paper is so true…I want to gather all my deaf friends in my house on Saturday and explain to them all what I read in this paper, and I am going to invite them all to church on Sunday.’ One very tall deaf man with large hands stood in front of the rice shop where he loads and unloads 50 kg bags of rice. He meekly listened to the Gospel and asked questions. Then he prayed a sweet, simple prayer, ‘Jesus forgive me. I believe in you.’”

We praise the Lord that He allowed us to have a small part in a great work in Africa. But what if Elizabeth had not surrendered all? Most missionary kids do not return to the mission field. Thank God Elizabeth did!

Spring 2022

The 10/40 window covers Africa and Asia between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator. The world’s most unevangelized countries are located in this rectangular area. Because it includes the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, it has also been called the “Resistant Belt.”

Several BBTI graduates that we must not identify serve in countries of the 10/40 window. Missionaries are most needed where they are least welcome, and we rejoice that they are declaring the Gospel in places controlled by atheists or religious fanatics. Because many of these countries have laws against proselytizing or even distributing Christian literature, missionaries must operate under the radar. We must be especially careful not to expose them as missionaries; our carelessness with social media or the internet could cause them to be expelled from their country or worse.

Brother C—— and his wife S—— were recently expelled from a large Muslim country. They are working and praying for visas to return. In the meantime, they are conducting Bible studies with their people by Zoom.

T—— and his wife C—— live in the Middle East and are currently helping individuals who are escaping from the Taliban. They are helping these desperate souls with food and of course, a Gospel witness. Their young son does not want the Taliban to be killed because he does not want them to go to hell.

P—— and L—— have worked very hard learning the language in their Communist Asian country. He was able to preach and teach over twenty times this last year, and L—— has also taught several lessons. C—— and K—— have worked in the same country for many years. C—— is busy teaching in a secular university, preaching in secret church services, and helping with a Bible translation project.

J—— and K—— work in a different Communist Asian country. They too have learned a difficult, tonal language. They have endured a severe lockdown, but they get out to visit people as much as possible without getting into trouble with government officials.

R—— reports that she is making good progress learning her new language. Her country is not closed, but she plans to work on a Bible translation project for a large people group in a neighboring Muslim country that is very unfriendly toward Christians. This means that R—— will need to learn two languages. We are praying for others to join this project in the days to come.

K—— and his wife Y—— have been in the states taking care of necessary family business, but they should be back in their country by now. Brother K—— is working hard to learn the language while Y—— already speaks it well. Their country is not closed to missionaries, but they hope to reach another nearby country that is very closed.

J—— and N—— desire to return to their field. They thought they had all the necessary paperwork together only to learn that the rules had changed, and they needed to show proof of the COVID vaccine along with their visa application. The next possible date to submit their visa request is in January.

C—— and B—— want to return to their Communist country in Southeast Asia to continue their language learning. Pray their new visas will be issued soon.

It seems to be the COVID restrictions that are hindering J—— and T—— from returning to their ministry. God has been using them there in a very special way, and the enemy does not like it!

S—— and M—— are doing unusually well raising their support, but the Communist country where they originally planned to work is completely closed. So instead, they are looking at Thailand. We will keep them unnamed because they might go to the Communist country in the future.

Winter 2021-22

Darkness and Death

Sam & Mary Beth Snyder (BBTI 2015 graduates) Tommy (age 10)
Leland (age 7)
Bethany (age 5)

To many in our world, sickness and death are never due to natural causes but always to some evil activity of spirits. People make sacrifices to protect themselves from sickness, to insure the fertility of the land and the women, or to bring the rain. There is usually a shaman or witch doctor who is the expert in communicating with the spirits. The spirits tell him or her what remedy is needed for healing or who is guilty of placing the curse that caused the sickness.

This is the world that a missionary comes to and the culture that he must understand and contend with. The following narrative was written by Mary Beth Snyder, who serves with her husband, Sam, in the remote mountains of Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG).

We have heard the hopeless sound of wailing off and on this past week, for the family across the road lost a son, a brother. Today, Leland said it reminds him of the man in Pilgrim’s Progress who was in a cage yelling, “No hope!” The young man who died, electrocuted in Lae, had adamantly opposed the mission, and Sam remembers it well. His father is a papa graun (landowner) who has consistently shown interest in gaining material possessions and may be involved in witchcraft. The young man who died has been mostly away from the village for the past several years, and it is sad to know that he was so close to the Gospel in the past but rejected it. We went over to be with family and friends this afternoon and sat on the ground with the grieving. A young child coughing with the ever-prevalent kus (mucus) and the dirtiness of it all is a stark reminder that the ground is cursed, full of disease and death. Tears dripped down my face.

Our Papua New Guinean surroundings boast abundant natural beauty. While hearing tropical birds sing and enjoying occasional butterflies floating by banana trees in the midst of lush mountains surrounded by misty clouds, I can imagine what the paradise of creation may have been like. Reality sets in when I hear the cries of children in the clinic, when I assist mothers in childbirth, when pouring rains drench the clay-like ground making it hard to grow food, and when our feet are habitually coated in mud. Today, the curse was more evident than other days as I sat and watched our friends sobbing, wailing, and falling on the casket. Actually, it is a blessing that there is a casket. This young man died in a coastal town many kilometers from here, and it took over a week to fly his body back to our airstrip. Sam then drove it here in the ATV. Another haus krai (funeral) I attended several years ago involved the typical practice of people wailing over and hugging the dead body.

We have heard reports that Covid is hitting hard in the towns the past two weeks. On top of that, its spread is even more inevitable because of the large town gatherings to honor the recently departed Grand Chief Somare. As I watched people hug and sob face-to-face today, the nurse in me saw how easy it is for sickness to spread. We customarily shake hands with those who offer their hand, make sure we wash our hands well when we get home, use vitamins and oils, and pray for protection from disease. Our good friend and only believer in that family had just returned with his dead brother’s body from a major town, and we shook his hand. Some things are just too culturally important to shun, for after health teaching is done and customs don’t change, it is best to avoid stumbling blocks. One consolation is that the temporary mourning tent, church building, and clinic are all airy.

Reminders of the curse are everywhere the past few weeks. Another elderly man, the papa graun of the mission property took another wife. He has had multiple wives in the past and many children, but he has not taken care of them well. Before our arrival, he made a profession of faith, but he has not attended church for a while now, blaming it on a sore leg. His wife and daughter attend church regularly. It is sickening to find out that he had his eye on a young girl from another village and that he and her family went through with the arranged “marriage.” It is child abuse. He must feel that he is powerful enough to take or buy what he wants, no matter the cost to others. It is sickening and infuriating and has been heavy on my mind this week. While I battle with anger, I really do pity him. How many sermons has he heard? How many verses has he listened to? How many chances has he had to follow the light? Yet, he seems to delight in darkness. He also lives almost across the road from the church buildings. Incredibly sad. Marriage is sacred and the first institution God ordained, and, of course, our enemy attacks it in any way he can.

After the children and I were back home from visiting the haus krai, a man, carrying an old lady who had been brutally bitten by a pig, came to the clinic. The pig unexpectedly bit off many of this poor woman’s fingers. The nurses gave her an injection of pain medicine, and Sarah drove her in the ATV to the small hospital at the airstrip. Tommy quickly mentioned that it could be that an evil spirit had entered the pig. Witchcraft is a reality in some situations.

In PNG, it is a common belief that grief shown at a death can assure that the dead spirit will not be angry, but instead, will bring blessing on the living. The Bible teaches that when we die, our spirit goes to heaven or hell; it does not linger around the village. Do our believers not understand that, or are they wailing to simply show their grief culturally, or do they wail because they realize the man was not a believer?

Sam is getting over a respiratory virus. His nose has been bleeding off and on, which could be from the infection or because he was hit there several months ago by an angry man who came up behind him when he was working on the road. God protected Sam and others and the situation was finally resolved. This morning, a woman came to the clinic with a severe knife wound to the back of her head, inflicted by her husband. She was returning up the mountain from the haus krai and was attacked by her jealous older husband when she did not hand over enough money she was supposed to have made at market. Later in the day, someone came running and said that when they were digging the grave at the village about a mile from here a man fell into the hole and was injured.

Our children are not completely sheltered from violence, anger, greed, decayed wood breaking and causing a bridge to collapse, nor from the sting of death. Though the sadness is a little sobering for our children, it has opened up good discussions on sin, sickness, Satan, and salvation. We can enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, but it is groaning.

While we see some encouraging progress in the lives of several believers, in the Bible Institute, and in the growth in new church music, Satan is not content to lose a foothold here. Spiritual oppression is evident. We are in a war. But we know Who the Victor is, and we are on His side. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. As I recently taught in Sunday School, Jesus is more powerful than Satan and his demons. This is evidenced by Jesus’ sinlessness and victory in trials, by His performance of many miracles and casting out of demons, and by His death and resurrection. He has crushed the head of the serpent and will ultimately cast him into the lake of fire. Jesus is more powerful than witchcraft. That is what we need to be talking about in our houses at night.

Satan is the father of lies and delights in destroying lives. It can seem hopeless at times, but we are not without hope. We rest in the work that only the Spirit of God can do, and we continue to give out His Word. We are here for His glory and because of His grace. He is the Light of the World. He gives eternal life: joy in this life no matter the trial, and everlasting life with Him in heaven. Those who live for the things of this world sadly only have an imperfect ground to enjoy for a short time.

Josh and Rebecca Florence with Abigail, Ruth, Titus, and Josiah

Papua New Guinea is the world’s second largest island and the home of over 850 languages and people groups. In many ways it is a very beautiful country, but with its superstitions, witchcraft, vengeance, violence, and religious confusion, it is also a very spiritually dark place. Fortunately, it is considered a Christian nation with complete religious freedom, and many missionaries are taking advantage of the opportunity to preach the Gospel of Christ to its people. Among these are Joshua and Rebecca Florence, 2012 graduates of Baptist Bible Translators Institute (BBTI). On an eight-week survey trip in 2010, God broke their hearts for this dark place and showed them that Papua New Guinea was their place of service.

The early lives of both Joshua and Rebecca were blessed by godly parents, Baptist churches, Sunday School, Christian education, youth groups, summer camps, and mission trips. Rebecca was saved at age five, and Joshua, who was adopted into a Christian home at age six, made a final and effective profession of faith at age fourteen. At age seventeen, he announced his call to preach and his desire to be involved in fulltime Christian service. He graduated from Pensacola Christian College (PCC) with a Bachelors’ degree in Bible and youth evangelism and then earned a Master’s degree. It was there at PCC that he met Rebecca who became an RN, earning her Bachelors’ degree in nursing.

The Florences arrived at BBTI with baby Abigail. Later, Ruth, Titus, and Josiah were added. They continued raising support on weekends while students and finished deputation after they graduated. They survived a serious automobile accident in Tennessee without injury but totally ruined their car. However, they drove through a giant redwood tree in California with no injury or damage to their car! (Missionaries on deputation have many experiences, some wonderful, some not pleasant at all. Pray for missionaries!)

They arrived in PNG in February 2014 and live in the Western Provence city of Kiunga, a port city on the Fly River. They have established a church there, and in June 2020, they began a new church in Ningerum, located two hours north. They also began the Western Baptist Bible School which currently has ten male students. Ten pastors represent the beginning of ten churches and probably many more in the days to come! Students study tuition-free but are required to work about twenty-five hours each week developing the school campus. Joshua and the men cut the trees in the jungle and mill the lumber.

The Florence family faithfully serves in a place of spiritual darkness. They must be covered daily with the armor of light as good soldiers in spiritual warfare. God is blessing with many souls saved and lives changed. They are bringing the light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people and reaping a field that is white unto harvest. Thank God they are there! Pray for thousands more like them to go to thousands of other places and shine that light on those sitting in darkness and damnation.

Spring 2021

Cherith began literacy work among the Kamea in 2009 as a single woman. Today, she continues that ministry along with her husband, Jason Ottosen. She wrote the following report of their ministry during the early days.

The four Kamea primers were finished, and I, Cherith, was introducing and testing them in local villages where they had never seen their language written. Two men, Nicodemus and Lazarus, immediately became immersed in the excitement of reading the primers. I started them both in primer one and left to visit some other villages. When I came back several hours later, they were still reading. They made it to primer three before they headed home.

As the day wore on the women got closer and closer to me. Eventually, I was able to pull out the primers and explain that the purpose of the primers is to teach them to read so that they can read the Bible. At first, they did not respond. But then I started reading to them and asked them to help me make corrections if I said anything wrong. Page after page, they got more interested, delighted in the black and white drawings and thrilled that I was speaking their talk. Every time I stopped they would say, “anta fi”(some more). They finished my sentences and often would retell the stories to new ladies walking up.

That night as we sat around the fire, Rosalyn, the pastor’s wife, spoke with tears in her eyes, “The men will learn how to read, my sons will learn to read, but who will teach the women to read their Bibles?” As she continued, I thought through a typical Kamea woman’s day—work the garden, carry heavy bilums, fetch water and firewood, fix dinner, care for the many children, do laundry, etc. Pray the Lord gives us a way to implement reading for the ladies that will make it achievable. Before heading down the trail the next morning, I sat with Rosalyn for about a half hour and told her that she could learn to read. When I opened the primer, an irreplaceable smile swept over her face. We worked through the first five pages, and if you had asked Rosalyn, she would have told you that she was learning to read.

Winter 2020-21

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On May 10, 1968, the pastor’s wife and another lady from Beacon Hill Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, were visiting new arrivals in their area. The house they planned to visit had whiskey bottles in the front window. The intended message was “Bad people live here; don’t mess with them.” The residents, Robert and Linda Huddleston, had bought the house and recently moved in. They had met at the Player’s Lounge where Linda was a bartender. The church ladies considered skipping this house, but they didn’t. Instead they won Bob and Linda to Christ!

Bob was born and raised in Oregon. He served as a Korean language specialist in the United States Air Force and was also trained in data processing. Linda, born and raised in Dallas, Texas, was a high school dropout but later earned her GED at Baptist Bible College (BBC) in Springfield, Missouri, where she and Bob prepared to serve the Lord on the foreign field. While a student at BBC, Bob began Maranatha Baptist Church in nearby Richland. Some of the missionary students from the nearby linguistic training school of New Tribes Mission (NTM) attended their services. The NTM people told the Huddlestons about the many unreached, Bibleless tribal people of the world, and God began to burden their hearts to reach them. At NTM, they met Baptist missionaries George and Sharon Anderson. The Andersons had left Mexico to attend the NTM Boot Camp and Language School with the stated purpose of learning all they could from NTM so they could begin a similar school to train Baptist missionaries.

That school, Baptist Bible Translators Institute (BBTI), began in September 1973 in Forth Worth, Texas. Bob and Linda were in the first class along with the Andersons and two other families. Early in 1976, the Huddlestons went to Colombia, South America, and began learning Spanish. Their BBTI training, especially the phonetics, helped them to speak the new language much better than most foreigners. Their goal was to work with unreached jungle tribes, but unfortunately, the communist guerrillas were making major inroads and controlling the jungle areas. The Huddlestons were allowed to stay in Colombia but were forbidden by the government to work in the jungle. They began churches in Villavicencio and the Llano (plains). They also began a Bible institute. During the beginning days of their ministry there, they adopted a Colombian baby girl whom they named Jody Lynn. After approximately ten years in Colombia, Bob and Linda were denied visas and were forced to leave. Jody became a US citizen at age nine.

The Huddlestons did not quit serving the Lord; they just changed locations. For the next ten years, Bob pastored the Trinity Baptist Fellowship Church in Phoenix, Arizona. During those years, Bob finished his BA and got his MA and CPE. After that, he became a chaplain in the Texas State Prison system. His bilingualism was a great help in these places. Linda also was hired by the prison to work in the mail room. All prison correspondence, entering and leaving, must be read by prison officials, and her ability in two languages was especially useful. During his tenure in the prison system, Bob began pastoring a church in the East Texas city of Jacksonville. There he taught the people why we hold to the Authorized Version of the Bible and established a faith promise missionary giving program that still continues. Bob stepped down from the full-time pastorate in 2009. He is a Trustee of Baptist Bible Translators Institute and continues to preach and serve the Lord in East Texas, witnessing in both English and Spanish as the Lord gives him open doors. The Huddlestons are helping to home school their ten-year old granddaughter. It has been over fifty-two years since they kept whiskey bottles in the window!

Fall 2020

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