Surfing the Waves

Our skipper sped up the boat to ride up on the next giant wave, then slowed quickly, turned the boat, and we rode along the wave, coming down the other side. He then sped up again to approach the next wave and repeated the process again and again, until finally, 45 minutes later, we reached the harbor and our destination.

Despite what you perhaps imagine, we are not “chilling out” over here in the South Pacific on a soft, white sandy beach with our boogie boards and surf boards. But as life typically goes, we find ourselves navigating the waves, the ‘ups and downs’ of life here, just as our skipper did in the story above.

Interestingly, we’ve learned a couple of valuable lessons from this crazy wave-riding on the boat:

  1. Growing in our understanding of the process of how to navigate these waves, the fear in approaching such waves dissipates, and is replaced by trust in the skipper.

  2. In order to navigate tricky waves, the skipper turns the boat frequently and keeps changing/adjusting speed. Sometimes this appears then that we are not on the right trajectory to reach our destination, but it is not so. The process is designed to get us safely to the destination.

There are, of course, some great spiritual lessons we can draw from the two points above, and that has been encouraging in this season with ups, downs, and always opportunities to trust Him more.

*Psalm 13:5-6: But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.

I will sing the LORD’s praise, for He has been good to me.

Some of the recent “ups” in ministry and family life have included:

  • Men’s Ministry: Noe has been meeting weekly with the believing men, and he reports that this continues to be hugely encouraging as the read and study together in the Word, and as they discuss many areas of life and personal application. We continue to ask the Lord to raise up more elders, as well as deacons, for the Tigak church (there currently is still just one elder). We also keep asking Him to raise up these men to be Godly, Bible-believing men who grow to love the Word more and more, love their wives, and lead their families in Truth.

  • Women’s Ministry: After not meeting for a few years, the believing ladies asked to start having weekly meetings again, so that is a great sign! They have asked that we missionary ladies lead this meeting for the time being, as they continue to grow in faith, in their knowledge of the Word, and in spiritual maturity.

  • Children’s Ministry: Many village children have been coming to the church building every week before the main worship gathering, and our Tigak elder has been teaching them a short lesson each week, following the Bible chronologically (Creation through Christ) and singing some songs. Naya and Jocie have been eager to help, either with a coloring sheet or a game that coincides with the lesson taught.

  • Naya and Jocie are doing well with school and just finished 5th and 3rd grades. They both scored well on their annual school testing last month!

  • We enjoyed going to our missionary conference last month as well. It was so great to hear good teaching from the Word, enjoy corporate worship through song, and fellowship with other missionaries.

  • Translation: Lisa has completed the translation of 1 Samuel chapter 1, and has the green light to continue with the book. This has also created opportunities to build further relationship with some of the newest Tigak believers, and for conversations about spiritual growth to happen.

  • Translation: Our coworker, Ned Beall, after almost 20 years of translating, completed the translation of the New Testament into the Tigak language last month! This is such wonderful news for the Tigak church, both present and future.

Some of the “downs” recently include:

  • It is difficult of course to watch some of the “downs” in the lives of these young believers, whether that be family relationship problems, abusing alcohol, or not gathering with the church to be taught from the Word so they can be encouraged and in order to spur on spiritual growth.

  • One of our oldest (in age) believers, Martha, who is the mother of our Tigak elder, is very ill and has been told there is nothing left that can be done, and so she was sent home from the hospital. It is difficult to see her becoming more frail by the day, but encouraging to hear her talk about her hope, as she knows she will be with the Lord forever because of her belief in Christ’s work on the cross on her behalf.

  • When we were at our conference last month, we were able to see one of our mission doctors, who recommended that Lisa get a lump or two checked sooner than later, as there is a strong history of breast cancer in her family. So we just arrived in Australia a few days ago so that we can get this addressed. Noe will also be able to have a medical procedure done that will allow him to swallow food again without trouble (he had this same problem 6 years ago, and the surgeon informed him he would need to repeat the procedure in 4-5 years). Lord-willing, everything will go well with these medical issues and we’ll be back to PNG in just a couple weeks. But we have a God that we can trust completely with all of these things!

So, as mentioned above in “lessons learned from boat-surfing,” we would have previously found these “downs” to be extremely discouraging to our progress and growth (in all areas). However, we’ve grown quite a bit (and continue to) all these kinds of experiences, and we realize that our times are in His hands (every moment, not just big-picture). What looks like an interruption and perhaps driving in the wrong direction, is actually to the Lord just a part of the path He has marked out for us on this journey in which He is ever conforming us to the image of Christ.

*Psalm 13:5-6: But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.

I will sing the LORD’s praise, for He has been good to me.

Thank you for continuing to be such a huge support and encouragement to us!

~the Martinez family