Rise Up and Smite Thee

IMG_5792I’ve heard it said that, on average, the airplane will attempt to “rise up and smite” the pilot once every 1,000 hours. Oh joy–I passed the 1,000 hour benchmark last year.

Today, the airplane did her best to smite me, but she failed.

It was a routine flight, very normal for what I do with our plane–I was picking up two of our national pastors. They had just finished preaching an Easter Revival in a distant village and I was bringing them in for our Pastor’s Conference.

An 11-minute flight saves them almost 3 days of hiking. It’s a no-brainer.

I flew up to Menyamya, picked them up, and flew back to Kanabea. Upon landing, I thought to myself, “That was too easy. No long flights today; no bad weather to work around; just a simple out-and-back.”

That was when the plane saw her chance–I was relaxed. As we touched down, I felt a shudder in the left gear and initially, I thought we were hydro-planing (which is normal on a wet grass strip). But then I realized we were still getting the same shudder without my applying brakes. That’s when it started to pull to the left, very strongly!

I looked out the window as we slowed and I saw the tire doing this weird warble-y shape-shifting. A flat tire!

I applied opposite rudder and opposite brakes and we came to a quick stop.

Here is the cool part–I was already planning to do the 50-hour inspection on the plane today. We had a generator, air compressor, and my toolbox all at the airstrip. We pumped up the tire and limped it up to the top end of the airstrip and out […]


In the last few months, we enjoyed the company of two different church groups. And both of them were awesome!

The first group came from our home church (Landmark Baptist Church in Louisville, KY) and was led by my pastor Matt Anders. Now, some missionaries might cringe when their home church sends their pastor to the field, but since the last time my home church sent their pastor, we kept him as a missionary, I figured we were putting up pretty good averages.
Pastor Matt did what every home church pastor needs to do–he came to observe and be a blessing. Most folks mean “Take you to McDonalds” when they say “be a blessing” but what he did was awesome for my family–he came and walked where we walked. He laughed with us, and he sat and played board games with my children. He displayed a pastor’s heart.

The second group came from Marlbrook Baptist Church in Raphine, Virginia, led by Pastor Larry Wright. Eleven men came for the express purpose of being a blessing to us in helping us build our new house in Port Moresby. These guys did everything–worked in the sun, worked in the rain, sweated their guts out, and they even mixed (lots of) concrete in wheelbarrows! They were here for eight days, and on Sunday I got to take them into one of the local villages after church. That turned out to be a highlight of the trip–and they got to be exposed to real-life missions in Papua New Guinea.

So whether you are 9 or 90, you should take a missions trip. Not a missions-vacation, but go help and see. You might just end up staying.

Is God a grouch?

Right now, I’m lying on the floor. It’s 7:15 pm, and almost everybody in the village has already scurried off to bed. Night falls fast in the jungle.

It’s hot. Sweat drips from my cheek down into my ear as I hold my phone to type. Crickets chirp, frogs croak, the rainforest is alive tonight–especially after today’s heavy rainfall.

Four other young men lie scattered around the room, each under a mosquito net. Two of them are Kamea Bible School students; two of them are American college students. There are rumbles of voices coming from under the mosquito nets–one of the Kamea men is audibly reading his Bible, while the American students discuss the finer points of “taking my yoke upon you.”

In my heart, I know that this is what God has called me to do–train servants of the Kingdom. I’ve watched these Kamea preachers mature in the Scriptures, and now I get to watch them in action reaching others.

So often, I am asked by young people, “How do I know whether God wants me to be a missionary?” or “Where does God want me to serve Him?”

Let me boil it down to this–God wants you to make the most you can of Him while you love Him in the midst of the job.

Some would say, “I could never put up with the heat.” Let me point out that people actually move to Florida for the heat! It’s all a matter of perspective.

He isn’t a grouch looking for a chance to doom you to a life of malaria. And He isn’t a pansy begging you to go.

He is an awesome God, worth talking about, and worth enjoying while we work.

Prayer Letter–February/March 2013

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. –Romans 5:1

Sin reigned unto death; but grace reigned unto life. Much more than the death brought by the first Adam, we have life through the second Adam, and that is received alone by faith. What a simple, yet profound thought. We were hopeless in our sin; but God sent His Son to draw us to Himself. What a Savior!
We are now a month into the last year of Bible School for our six students. I’ve watched as these men have grown spiritually, and at times I have been overwhelmed at their dedication to the Lord.Two of them are involved in the church-plant at Aminawa with Missionary Andrew Schellenberger; two of them are helping my dad John Allen at Ipaiyu; and next month two of them will go with me to start a new church, but I am getting ahead of myself.
In my last prayer letter, I wrote about a survey I did of the Titikaini area.My heart was burdened more than I can remember in recent years. We have been praying about that area, and the enormous open door that is there. Thousands of Kamea people have migrated to the Titikaini area due to its abundance of food, wildlife, and access to a major road.One afternoon shortly after the survey trip, we held a time of debriefing and prayer. As I wept, broken over the lost condition of the people there, I began to feel God tug my heart with the question, “Why not you?” Lord willing, within the next month, I will begin flying there every week to start a church. Please pray as I take Bible School […]

Today Started Yesterday

It’s Wednesday evening, and I’m sitting in church as I think about the irony of what surrounds me. I’m sitting in the middle of a group of small Kamea boys to try to calm them down, and try my best to keep them from distracting everyone else’s attention from the Pastor’s message.

To my right, Noel is scraping the dirt off his toes with a razor blade.
To my left, Pex and Job are playing marbles, using poisonous, oblong, seasonal seeds.
Right behind me, Caleb is forcefully (and loudly) pulling phlegm back into his throat. Again and again. I think I’m going to throw up.
Juwen has fallen asleep right in front of me, and the puddle of drool on his leg is approaching three inches in diameter.
Konden is “all dressed up” for church–his pink sweatpants clash nicely with the red button-up shirt he has on backwards. Nobody seems to care, so why bother changing it?
All these boys are within an arms reach of me.
The little boy that I don’t know is just out of reach, and he just decided to smack someone in the head.

My pilot’s mind wants to push a button and make this chaos stop.

This day is approaching its end, and it has been a long day. In fact, its been a long week. Last week, we had horrible winds out of the south and that caused flights to be put off until Saturday. I usually try to take Saturday’s off, but last week, I had to move preachers and missionaries on Saturday. Sunday was the normal day of ministerial busy-ness, with preaching, counseling, and the other stuff that we missionaries do on Sunday. Monday was filled with a flight to Port Moresby dropping off […]

Miracles Never Cease

The week began for our family in Port Moresby. It was the end of our supply run, during which we race around the city, trying to purchase everything we can think that we might need for the next three months.

Sunday morning, I preached at Morata Baptist Church for Pastor Holmes Tako. I preached mainly to Christians on a Life of Integrity. While we saw the altars filled at invitation, the biggest blessing I received was the six young people that got saved.
Right after church (2 pm), we were driving to lunch. We stopped for traffic, and the bus in front of us decided to back into our rental car. How does one handle an accident in Papua New Guinea? There is no “911” to call and report the accident! I quickly called Pastor Holmes–his phone was still off, due to church services that morning. I then called Avis, the rental car company, and told them to come immediately.
The bus was unregistered. The driver was unlicensed. The owner of the bus had no insurance. The police station did not have the staff to handle the paperwork required for the accident. Nice.

Monday morning, I took off with the family for Kanabea. Another aircraft had just taken off from Kanabea, and he reported cloud ceilings of about 7,000 feet across the entire area (our airstrip sits at 4,000 feet above sea level), but he also mentioned isolated showers scattered throughout. A quick call to Kerema confirmed that they were getting heavy wind and rain. Another aircraft was operating about ten miles north of Kanabea, so I proceeded. Forty-five minutes later, I came across a line of rain and clouds that went to the ground–there was no other […]

First Time for Everything

This morning, I began my day as most others that involve flying. I arose at 4:45 am, had a wonderful time in Biblical meditation communing with the Lord, and left the house at 6 am. As I drove our Kawasaki Mule up the trail, two of our Kamea boys met me along the road. Since it is a common rule that “nobody knows how old they are,” we can only guess at the ages of these two little guys.

I’ve noticed that Morgan has been around for quite a while, and the first memory I have of him is the day his mom passed away. He was in the hut with his older brother and a younger sister. While I preached on eternity less than 100 yards away, the three of them had been waiting for her to wake up that fateful Sunday. He had a pretty bad cut above his eye, and I brought him and his two siblings to my house, and gave them each a bath in our bathtub–quite possibly the first time any of them had washed in warm water. He was quite small, and that was about 6 years ago. So, I guess Morgan (we used to call him “Muki” back then) would be about 10 years old.

Peter is Morgan’s friend, and is about the same size. I never noticed Peter until he broke his arm. He wore a cast for quite a long time, and that was when I noticed his smile the most. It was persistent. Always smiling.

This morning, I was headed up the trail on the UTV, and I came across Morgan and Peter. It was early in the morning, and they asked if they could […]

By |December 21st, 2012|Uncategorized|1 Comment