One of the coolest things we do is work with an awesome team called NTM-PNG. As Coordinating Director we get to interact with all departments to facilitate church planters doing their ministry. Sometimes, things come up that are “off-script” and we get to pull together and function as a family, team, and the body that God created us to be. Here is a recent event that we had the privilege of being involved with – THANK YOU for allowing us to be here and be apart of what God is doing through HIS church.
Here is the official statement on an NTM Missionary that was on a boat that sunk at sea.
Chad is Safe and Sound. God has answered prayers of thousands.
Yesterday at about 1:30pm Chad Earl left from far eastern tip of West New Britain for The Patpatar people group of New Ireland. Chad was heading out to do several People Group Assessments over the next several weeks. However, around 3pm a sudden squall came up and a wave swamped the boat he was traveling in and they sank in just a few seconds. This left Chad and 7 other passengers clinging to wood and cargo from the boat. Three of the women could not swim so Chad and some of the other men stayed with them. They fastened the boat gas tank to a wooden deck from the boat and waited for help. Right before they sank, they had been traveling with another boat which did see them go down and did return to check on them, however the boat would not offer assistance due to fear of the same fate. This boat soon left and continued to their destination leaving the 8 people afloat in the ocean. Darkness soon settled in, leaving Chad and the others clinging to a makeshift wooden float and some cargo for the night. Two of the men drifted apart as they were holding on to various pieces of cargo. They later drifted to shore in the night but Chad and the others remained at sea.
The NTM and church family rallied to action by contacting emergency services, embassies, friends, family, and those willing to pray. At daybreak planes and helicopters were mobilized for search and rescue. All the local folks from Patpatar rallied together and put together a large flotilla of search boats and went looking for the 8 folks at sea which included Chad. Shortly after 7:30am Chad and the others were all rescued, still holding their wooden raft with the boat gas tank. That is 15 hours of floating at sea, 12 of which were in the dark of night.
The NTM family want to thank the many government officials, especially the National Maritime Safety Authority in Port Moresby that worked hard to help us through this emergency. We also want to thank the local Patpatar People group for their help. The people of Patpatar and the surrounding areas did everything possible to make this a happy outcome. Thank you to everyone that worked as a team to be sure that each person was accounted for and returned safely to shore. Thank you to the many that prayed through the night. Of course, the NTM family did a great job of working together like a family does in a time of crisis – thank you. Chad was transported back to the mainland to re-outfit for his planned people group assessment trips. Chad has lost all his gear, computer, cell phone, camera, wallet, Bible, shoes, and backpack. He was left with only his shorts. However, we are so very thankful for his life and safe return.
Through the night we were so thankful that we serve the God that created the ocean and the stars, the wind and waves. We are thankful that a great and powerful God cares about people lost in a vast ocean and folks on dry land that are praying for their safe return.
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by (in) the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
The NTM mission helicopter & plane mobilized at dawn, along with a doctor, nurse, and fellow missionary with 15-yr-experience in search & rescue. Everyone that was lost at sea survived. All of them are fine & the villagers that were with him were taken to a local hospital where they were evaluated. They will all have a story to tell. NTM picked Chad up at the village & flew him to the NTM mission center where he is currently with our mom and dad. He was ready to head straight back out on surveys, but we will ‘force’ him some time to recover & be refreshed before going back out into the jungles. His legs are pretty stiff and sore from kicking for 15-16 hours in the water trying to stay afloat and get to shore. He also has some rashes and chaffing from rubbing against the wooden pallet & trying to keep others afloat. His eyes are VERY blood-shot from all the salt water. Other than that, he is totally healthy.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone, for joining us in prayer.
You ever touch a tooth while you brushing and flossing and say “WOW – who replaced my filling with a taser?” That got me thinking about something I would like you to pray about. We have an awesome dental clinic, x-rays, etc. etc. etc… the whole works. But right now the lights are off and there is no one available to handle any of the dental needs for over 400 missionaries and their families. Would you please pray that God would send us a dentist, hygienist, or maybe just a crafty mechanic that wants to try his hand at dentistry. We could use them for anything from 1 week to 1 year … to forever. Please pray that God will lead someone with these skills to come and help us for at least some time to take care of our normal mouth maintenance and maybe even a few sore spots. Hard to share the Good News with a sore mouth.
Thanks for prayer.
Last week we had a great time of visiting with another mission organization that works out in the western area of PNG with the Atbalmin people group. It was great to travel with their director to an area that is looking to have NTM come in to help with taking the church to the next level of development. There are a few young believers scattered in this area, but they really lack a deep understanding of The Word because there has not been adequate vernacular ministry done in the past in this location. NTM-PNG will provide a team of missionaries that will learn the local language and their cultural beliefs. This team will then teach the people to read and write in the vernacular. Finally, the team will also provide scripture and lessons that will one day make the redemption story and New Testament available to this portion of the Atbalmin people group in their heart language. What an awesome privilege to provide direction for this team and work with other organizations to open doors for the growth and development of HIS church among the Atbalmin people.
Thank you for allowing our family to be a part of this work. Please pray for us as we work with this team to see them allocated in the next few months.
Time flies when you are having fun. In January we set off for Hewa. We were able to write lessons and teach the young church through Corinthians. What a perfect time of seeing a young church learn about how God intends for them to function. The key theme that we kept going back to was found in Chapter 1:10 “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters,t by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”
This has always been the goal of humanity – even in the jungle, but they could never seem to figure out how to accomplish goal. Due to sin, selfishness, and the vices common to all humanity, they have never been able to realize this desire. However, now the Hewa church sees that as they abide in HIM – HE gives unity to the church. (Cor. 15:57).
From Hewa we were off to our mission support center in town for our annual missionary conference. A great time of relaxation and refreshment as about 160 missionaries gathered for 4 days. An excellent conference speaker encouraged us from the Word and we had a lot of downtime for informal catching up with old friends and co-laborers.
From the Sepik support center- Keith flew back into the bush for yet another house move. A crazy time time of tearing down a house and shipping it via helicopter for reassembly further down the river. The trip was a success as we got a lot accomplished and there were no major injuries.
Once we flew out of Hewa we moved for 12 weeks to Goroka. This is our mission hub and home to the MK school for PNG. All the girls were enrolled in school and finished their respective grades in a formal school setting. There were many adjustments but overall they loved it. Lindsey will be attending the Boarding School this coming year for 8th grade. She is so excited and has been asking to do this for several years. She is excited to prove herself on this new adventure.
From Goroka we were off to our support center on the island of East New Britain. This is the support for all of the church development endeavors on East New Britain and New Ireland. It was a great time of getting to know the missionaries from this area and understanding the tremendous difficulties they face as they work in this very isolated part of the world.
Finally, after 6 months on the road – we flew back to our Sepik support center to settle down. The family needs to settle for a while so we are planning to operate out of the Sepik support center for the next year.
How you can pray:
- Pray we have a great summer break with Lindsey – she will head off to school July 25th.
- Pray for the Hewa church as they continue to grow in the harsh jungle of PNG
- Pray for Jonathan and Susan Kopf as they live in Hewa and continue to teach disciple and translate the NT. He is currently working through Revelation and finds it challenging.
- Praise – we are all healthy.
- Praise – we get to keep doing this wonderful ministry.
We love you all and thank you for your generosity that makes our ministry possible.
Please Pray for the Hewa Church. They are very busy with teaching at 3 different locations and building an airstrip. Please pray that they will keep Christ central in all they do.
Please Pray for the Kopf Family. They have been in the bush for nearly 4 months without seeing another expat. Pray for their endurance, spiritual strength, and health. They are modern day heroes of the faith.
Pray for our family as we prepare to “Go Bush” at the end of January. We are planning to teach the book of Corinthians – pray for wisdom as we teach and for good understanding by the Hewa Church.
Thank you for continuing to make our ministry possible through your prayers, generous support, and frequent encouragement.
It was a Merry Christmas!
The first words out of my mouth on Christmas were, “Thank you God.” I would like to say I pray that every day – but Christmas was special because we awoke to rain and a cool breeze. You don’t know how many missionaries pray for that on Christmas – at least all the ones that live near the equator. It was wonderful to have a cooler day (80′s). The rain doubled for snow and we had a great time opening gifts, enjoying each other, and remembering the reason we celebrate.
Happy New Year!
Right now we are living at the support center near the coast. However, January 24 we will be off to Hewa Land to teach through Corinthians. This is a critical book for where the young Hewa Church is at in their maturing process. We will be discussing the themes of Corinthians which include; how to prefer each other, how to deal with conflict, how to function together as a body and how to love one another. We are looking forward to a great time of growth in the Hewa body.
“Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23
These days – the best way to stay in contact is through Facebook @ The Copleys or Keith-Angie Copley.
Greetings from Sunny PNG,
We are currently out of the bush and getting to help 6 new families as they orient to the field of PNG. Soon they will be prepared to allocate to a bush location. These folks vary in age and cultural background, but all have one common desire – To see God’s name glorified among the many different people groups of PNG. One of the first things they must do is acclimate to the new language, culture, and climate in PNG. They are all doing great and we are thankful for the opportunity to minister this way.
One of the other ministries that we are involved in is that of Consulting with teams that are in the various stages of Church Planting and Cultivation. We have had the opportunity to work with the teams ministering in the Mibu, Biem, Alemblak, and Bises people groups in just the last couple of months. That means lots of travels by boat, plane, helicopter, and foot path. We are blessed with kids that adjust well to sleeping wherever as long as we are together. The greatest thing is the friends we all get to make along the way as we travel.
When we visit these churches, our primary goals are to evaluate how the church is doing and how we can set a course for continued growth and maturity. I did not invent the standards used by our mission, but I should write a book on the principles because they can give tremendous clarity to a church as to the state of their health and how they can improve. What a privilege to be a servant to the church – the bride of Christ.
The Hewa church continues to grow and mature. Our co-workers, The Kopfs, are back in the bush living in the little cabin and continuing on with translation. Please pray for Jonathan’s back which was broken a few years ago. Whenever he does a lot of physical work, he suffers from pain – a smart guy would not be a missionary in the shape he is in, but wisdom and commitment causes him to lay himself on the altar daily and make the painful sacrifice which will result in praise to our Father. What a privilege to serve alongside such men and women of honor.
We are hoping to get back into the bush just as soon as we can. I Corinthians is the next book the church is needing. Romans and Ephesians have focused on the individuals position and how that should affect their walk. Corinthians will focus on The Church and how she is to function as one body. Please pray for us as we translate the lessons and prepare for teaching.
How you can pray:
- Pray for the Hewa church as they continue to grow, teach, and help Jonathan and Susan with New Testament translation.
- Pray for Jonathan’s back to be healed and for the Kopf’s daughter Mikenna as she is adjusting to life in the bush.
- Pray for Angie as she home-schools the girls – Lindsey, Lauren, Layla, and Lexie are growing fast and doing well. (you can see the pix on http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Copleys)
- Pray for Keith and Angie as they orient the new missionaries to PNG and as Keith evaluates and strategizes with churches around PNG.
Most of all – thank you for your continued support. It is a pleasure to serve HIM, but it would be impossible without your prayer, encouragement, and generosity.
With you, for HIM – The Copleys (Deuteronomy 32:3,4)
Jonny & Sue –
I want to record today’s events so I will remember them and I thought I would write them in a letter to you.
Let me start with yesterday – we worked on the 2 options for baptism sights – one in the place where we collect water and do our laundry, and the other that is over the hill and across the log. It was kind of fun as all the men and boys gathered together to help build the ponds. We worked making a dam which included some guys chopping logs, others digging hunks of mud and clay to fill in the holes, and others clearing the surrounding brush. I could not help to think that this was the 3rd grave that I helped to prepare in as many weeks. One for baby Jon, one for grandma Leso, and this one for the Adam portion of the 13 people that were going to get baptized. Purely symbolic I know, but symbolic of a grave nonetheless. We worked for several hours in the mud and water, laughing and enjoying a good time of fellowship.
Then on Sunday, we got up at about 6:30. I heard people outside, but did not think much about it as their always folks out around any time after 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. starting fires, collecting wood, etc. About 8 a.m. I looked out the window and realized that there were people meeting in the church. I grabbed my Bible and headed down. Yanis was leading those that were planning to get baptized in a little service – strengthening their hearts and teaching God’s Word and the important portions of the redemption story. I slipped in the back as he was wrapping up – and we discussed the order of the service. He informed me that we would first meet together at around 11 a.m. and I could share a bit before he shared from Romans 6:4-11. He was going to teach on how we are crucified and buried with Christ and raised to walk in the new life we are given in Him. I asked if I could share the story from Acts 8:30-40, and he said that would be good. I also asked to share from Acts 19:1-6 regarding the fact that several of the folks getting baptized had done so before, but they had done so in the name of another church and NOT with an understanding of Christ and His work on the cross. Now that they understood the salvation that comes through faith in the work of Jesus on the cross, they were getting baptized to testify to their new faith. He agreed that would be good for folks to hear.
The Service went great up here at the main village area, we sang and prayed and talked through the afore mentioned scripture, then we all went down to the creek and those that were to be baptized lined up across the dam. People gathered around spread all over the surrounding logs and hillside. There are quite a few outsiders due to the two recent funerals. Each person gave clear testimony of a life held in darkness. A life bound by the lies from Satan, his angels, and the Hewa ancestors. The talked of worshiping spirits in trees and rocks, and fear of witches and demons. They said, “Before the Hewa people were born, built houses and gardens we gathered food, and we died. They described their hopeless existence. Then they gave testimony of hearing of the true God Yahweh His power and perfection and His creation of the world. They learned about God and His plan for fellowship with humanity which had been broken by man’s sin. They talked about Christ, the lamb that was sacrificed as payment for their sins. They talked of believing that His blood washed away their sin debt and now they were going to live forever with Him at His ground. They said, “We are getting baptized today not for salvation, but as a testimony to God the Father, Spirit, and Son – The Three in One God. We are letting our hearts belief be seen by Him, by you men and women gathered, and by Satan and his evil angels. We want all to see that we are trusting in Jesus alone for our salvation. God has given us new life. Our old ways have been crucified and buried with Christ and we are going to walk as Jesus walked until we go and see Him at His ground.”
The other believers all clapped and then started to sing as each person walked into the water one at a time and was baptized by Eyaka, Yanis, and Faimbot. The last people to enter the water were our girls, Lauren, Layla, and Lexie. I joined them and with Yanis they too were baptized as a testimony of their faith in Christ alone for salvation. It was a special day for them, one I would not want to have experience anywhere else on earth.
It was all over and the girls wanted to linger a bit and swim, but that did not last long as the water was ice cold. Despite being too cold to swim, Angie and I and the 4 girls found ourselves lingering there at that creek. I don’t know if it was the beauty of the mountains, streams, logs and dragon flies that held us captive or if it was the beauty of the moment. It is incredible to see God’s handiwork in creation, but even more incredible is the work of His Holy Spirit giving new life to an entire community cut off from the rest of the world. Jonathan and Susan, if God had not allowed us to come here and learn this language – these guys would still be grinding out their meager existence in their hopelessness. I can’t help but think of the sacrifices so many have made over the years to pray for us, send finances, encourage us, and make this possible. I cannot help but think of the hours you have logged on the trail hiking through aches and pains so that this could happen. I cannot help but think of the blood, sweat, and tears – the best years of your lives you laid on the altar so that God could receive the glory He is due from the Hewa people.
And yet, all of our sacrifices seem insignificant when you consider what it cost Jesus. His blood, sweat, and tears. His strength, his will, his career, his comfort, and his choices. All sacrificed at Calvary. Why he chose me I will never understand, but I am eternally grateful for the hope I have for the future, and the joy I receive daily from walking with Him. I am so thankful that we get to do this ministry. It is such a blessing to be able to sit on the front row of the most incredible show in all of space and time. To sit on the precipice of eternity and see the God of the Universe reach down and touch the souls of mortal men and women that would otherwise live and die and never leave a mark in history. He reaches down in front of our eyes and saves The Hewa people and marks their names with indelible ink into The Lambs Book of Life. We get to see this from the best seat in the universe – we are seated with Christ.
It is such a pleasure to do this work, especially with folks like you both – Blessing upon Blessings for You, Susan and your family from ours,
Here are portions of an update I sent to our co-workers Jonathan and Susan Kopf
Hey Jonny and Sue,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I know you are crazy busy – but it was really nice to read the letter to Yanis and Unai. They seem to be taking it as well as could be expected. Yesterday morning, we buried Jon about mid-morning. At different times through the night and day different ones would read scripture or sing songs, then they would wail some more,,, then others would read.
At one point Mikol read Acts 1:1-11 about the Holy Spirit coming and he talked about how the Holy Spirit lived with us now to give us strength. We hadn’t planned it – but I read from Rom 8:26-30 about the HS groaning and praying for us even when we don’t know what to pray. And that God had plan for this – and I had no idea what it was or when if ever we would see the fruit from this – but I knew God was good and did not do anything bad. I told them I did not have a bunch of words to share because only God’s Word would give them strength or comfort at this time. The only word I had was for Yanis and Unai – I told them that God had made them one, and they needed to mourn together and be together during this time. I encouraged Yanis that Unai would need him to minister to her. She would need her physical needs met with getting sweet potatoes and fire wood – but she would also need her spiritual needs met through hearing God’s Word.
Some other passages that I read and either translated on the fly – or Eyaka would turn were Ps. 139:1-18, I Thess 4:13-end, The 2Sam 12 story, 1 Korin 15:51, Deuteronomy 32:3,4. Others read from Jon 14, Rom 8, Jon 10,
Overall – everyone seems to be convinced that Jon is in Heaven after hearing The 2Sam Story, Mark 10:13-14, Ps 139 etc. We talked about Jon’s Spirit – leaving immediately and Was chimed in and said – yeah, my parents told me the spirits wandered around and went to that waterfall over there (the one we can see from our house) or that they went to Urap and Yano.Then he laughed and said, “it was all lies.” Now if we believe that Jesus paid for our sins we know that our spirits go to God’s ground and if not we go to the fire. I asked them who would drink the water if we put a bottle on the grave (Another church’s tradition), the said, “not Jon” – I asked who will eat the buai or smoke the tobacco? And they replied, “not Jon – his spirit is gone. He is not here any longer” – so it was really good to hear. Also – I asked several folks if they thought Yanis would be okay – they said, “Yes – he is holding on to God’s Word, is not chanting about witches and payback killings. He is just crying and talking about how much he had planned to do with Jon.”
We had a big feast – no meat – but veggies etc. Angie and I cooked a bale of rice (we “just happened” to bring in an extra) – cooked it with the rest of the frozen chicken we brought in with us. The girls suggested we throw it in the pot so we did.
In the evening – everyone was eating and laughing and in pretty good spirits. Mikol read from God’s Word – John 10 – about us being God’s sheep and He was the Good Shepherd — When darkness came last night – there was about an hour more of wailing – but I noticed Yanis and Unai slip off together and head to their house before anyone else left. I think they are exhausted from 36 hours of no sleep – just wailing. Both of their voices are completely gone.
Pray for them – there were times at 3 or 4 in the morning that I woke up and heard her crying. There will be lots of days of sadness in the future. Her sisters did make it in from Fiyawana – so that will help – but they will need lots of prayers in the coming days.
Pray for Angie and me to have wisdom as we seek to be a blessing and encouragement. The people want us to fire up Ephesians teaching again this evening – if that happens, we will be teaching Ephesians 4:7 & 11-16.
Resting in Him – K&A Deuteronomy 32:3,4
“Son wake up – get up, the sun is going down and it is time for you to eat.”
Those are the heartbreaking words sung in a wail-ful cry by Unai, our neighbor who was mourning the loss of her firstborn son. Unai is the wife of Yanis. Many of you will recognize Yanis as one of our key translation helpers and teachers. Yanis has worked tirelessly to teach the Hewa people God’s Word. He has taught the Hewa people to read so that they can see for themselves what God’s Word says. He has an incredible deep understanding of God’s Word. He married Unai about 18 months ago and a month or so ago they had their first son John. Yanis and Unai were so proud of John.
Right before we arrived, a really bad respiratory infection started to affect everyone in the village. Yanis was very busy distributing medicine as he is also the village medical aid. John took a course of medicine and seemed to be on the rebound. Yanis, Unai and John live right next doors so we saw them every day since our arrival in May. John was doing a little better and eating and sleeping like normal. However, mom was giving John his bath this morning and noticed that John was not acting normal during his bath time. Yanis was down in the school assisting me with literacy – someone came and asked Yanis to come quick. We all immediately went to the house to see what was wrong. John was glassy eyed and breathing very shallow. We tried giving him a breathing treatment as his respirations had become very shallow and labored. Within 15 minutes, he just stopped breathing. We tried all we could, we prayed for a miracle – but God chose not to revive John’s little body.
It has been a very long day. Yanis is a true brother in The Lord that has labored vigorously many hours over translation and teaching material. Yanis is one of the sharpest men I have had the privilege of working with. His wife is a beautiful believer that seemed to be the perfect fit for a leader in the church. Today we have listened to crying, tears, sorrow, heart pain, anguish and tremendous grief. The Hewa people are extremely vocal when they mourn. And they stayed on our porch mourning for the first hour or more.
They have moved down a few houses to a larger house that can accommodate the crowd. As we have mourned with our friends, we have taken time to sing songs of God’s salvation and Jesus’ precious blood that was spilled to pay the debt for our sin. We have prayed for strength and encouragement. We have read from passages including Romans 8:26-32, 2Sam 12:22, at Lindsey’s suggestion we read Psalm 139:13-16, and we concluded with 1Thessalonians 4:13-18. It has been a very difficult day listening to Yanis talk through tears expressing all the plans he had for his son. “He was going to God’s work, and teach all over these mountains and I was going to go with him and support his ministry, and now he is gone.”
This afternoon Eyaka, another key man in the church, and I spent a few hours building a casket on our front porch. Layla came out to watch and said, “It is so sad that the casket is so tiny.” Her and Lexie had a good cry over the loss or their baby neighbor. We all spent several hours today in the “house-cry” shedding tears, listening to wailing that is deafening at times, and just being there in solidarity with a church that is in mourning. Lauren and Lindsey stayed with me until dark even after mom and the little ones left.
We need your prayers, the baby will be buried early in the morning. Less than 24 hours after his passing. We will have a small graveside service. Pray for Yanis and Unai. Pray for the Hewa church. Pray for the Copley girls to learn that God is good, even when things don’t turn out the way we prayed. We have HOPE because we know The Savior that lost His son, so that we could have eternal life.
Resting in HIM -
The Copleys – Working with The Hewa People of Papua New Guinea Pictures of Yanis, Unai and John are available on our FB Page.