April 7, 2019
Of TRUSTING and FOLLOWING
want to help: https://abwe.org/work/missionaries/william-l-and-lori-smith or look at the bottom of email for more info
I’m sure all of us have had many times in life where Scripture comes alive in our “real lives” and we can relate so well to what we read in the BIBLE and with those that have gone on before us in this path of following GOD. I am so glad that GOD recorded human drama in such detail so that we can know “its not just us” when times of decision seem claustrophobic and suffocating, and humanly impossible situations loom ever before us. Just as GOD intervened for HIS people ,the Israelites, as they stood there in Pihahiroth blocked by mountains and the Red Sea ,so also will HE miraculously intervene for us, making the SEAS OPEN WIDE and DRY as well.
Serving GOD in a foreign land can have it’s challenges well beyond getting use to having bugs…everywhere, or living with endless mud (rain season) or dust (dry season). IT is more than needing to learn, attempt to understand and live in a different culture with different food, language and even different thinking to our western mindset. IT is more than living in a beautiful rainforest with people you love and doing a ministry that fills your heart with unspeakable joy. IT is also endless government paperwork and red tape and political “atmospheres”.
As missionaries we are “visitors” to a foreign land. WE are very careful to always abide to the very letter of the law, doing all we need to do in order to be in good standing with the government powers that be, but the reality is, that we can be allowed in…..or sent home at any time. Our being there is based on many factors that are beyond our control…but NOT beyond God’s.
This week I was literally reading about when Israel was gloriously released from Egypt. GOD did amazing miracles to make that happen. I could SO relate as GOD is working just as overwhelmingly awesome in the many details of our life right now. MIRACLE upon MIRACLE simply leave us in AWE of HIS grace and strength and love.
While engulfed in this amazing study of God’s work in the past, we heard about some of the missions agencies we work closely with who have been meeting with the Immigration people of PNG about the new Visa requirements that will change missions in PNG very significantly. WE can not share any details as they are negotiating, but the problem is REAL and it is SERIOUS. Bill is currently working on our work structure and visa applications for our ABWE Team. Our situation seems still fairly secure, but that is this year. Reality is that we are seeing the changes GOD has predicted unfold before our eyes. Open doors are closing all around the world. Our hearts ache as we see our enemy storming the gates ….we want to stand in the gap for PNG still.
“Learning to pray Is learning to trust the wisdom, the power and the love of our Heavenly Father, always so far beyond our dreams. He knows our need and knows ways to meet it that have never entered our heads…. Things we think will ruin us (Chariots chasing us, storming the gates!!) if we believe what the Father tells us and surrender ourselves into HIS strong arms, brings us deliverance and joy. The only way to escape is self surrender, ‘whoever loses his life for ME will find it” )Matthew 16:25’” (Elisabeth Elliot)
We had been praying about our sister mission facing the storming chariots of legal red tape and denied visas realizing that it will soon be us in that same boat as well…..when the ever present “voice” once again prompted our hearts…”WILL YOU TRUST AND FOLLOW even if it is crazy?” I had to laugh. HOW many times…even in the past months, have we started down an insane looking path. WE have stepped into the RED SEA and the waters have parted a LOT lately!
This week the applications we have been waiting to come out this year (the details of visas and such change usually yearly…hence the new slot allowing us to file for Dad’s dependent visa just coming “on the books”
this year!!) with requirements on Citizenship just came out! Once again, we JUST meet that requirement NOW. WE have lived in PNG for 29 years, but the requirement is eight years with less than 180 consecutive days outside of PNG during those eight years. We use to take a full year of furlough to report back to our churches. Remember about 10 years ago GOD spoke to our hearts about NOT doing that anymore….shorter more frequent times to crazily run around re connecting to our amazing supporting churches in a few months then returning to the field……madness??? NOPE. GOD knew this was coming! WE had already applied for permanent residency to try to open the door to not needing visa renewal every three years and ensure our ability to stay and minister (and to be there in PNG for our PNG children, too), but they stopped granting them JUST as we applied. MISTAKE? NOPE. GOD had a better plan. WE fit the requirements for citizenship. That is even better. We can be dual citizens with the USA, but we can be PNG citizens enabling us to continue ministry until the LORD returns once we age out of ABWE, too. That would secure Lori’s dad as a dependent under her as well.
As with all things, there are HUGE Red Seas to face!! The first is the COST. It is $5000 for each one of us to apply (Bill and I only…the boys are already dual citizens). The second is that they consider person by person. We have to apply individually. The application fee ($5000) is not returned if citizenship is not granted. THIS is a huge step of faith GOD is leading us to make. We feel GOD asking us to try to submit my (Lori’s) application first. My ministry has direct “impact” on the citizens of PNG with our clinic. Even last year when Cancer kept me longer from the field than we planned, I made a trip back to PNG with James to speak at a ladies conference and connect with his family…..(OH NOW THAT MAKES SENSE GOD IN YOUR LEADING TO DO THAT CRAZY THING…..ha!)so we still qualify with the less than 160 days away. Even this longer time of being away for me after mama’s death and caring for daddy, we plan to return in June just slipping in under that restriction. Wow , GOD has things mapped out amazingly well, doesn’t He?? If Lori’s application for citizenship is approved, it will be easier as Bill’s wife and two kids would be citizen’s to be accepted as well. That is our “crazy” plan GOD is asking us to follow Him in…..and our desperate need for prayer that GOD provides and DOES this for us! We need more Red Seas. As ALWAYS, we have no restraint from following GOD however, whenever and wherever. NO retreat from the path HE lays out before us, and we will have NO REGRETS in this life.
We are SO thankful for so many that have joined our path of “EXTREME MISSIONS” GOD has led us on over the years. WE have done a TON of crazy stuff, humanly speaking I am sure. Adoptions…fostering…baby ministry….church planting in tribal fighting zones…..medical ministry that costs a ton of money, time and energy….GBBC expansion and nationalization… bilateral mastectomy…..making my 86 year old sweet daddy my dependent so I can bring him home, build him a house in my house and care for him to name just a few of our endeavors over the years ….yep it has been a mad adventure. But GOD has been in each step and by faith we have come to Him and HE has opened the RED SEA and then destroyed the enemies of resistance. SO GOD HERE WE GO AGAIN! Please pray with us! We so appreciate we are not alone in following GOD even when it is humanly insane.
SOME needed prayer power:
- PRAY for Bill’s right eye surgery this TUESDAY. IT will be sometime before 9 am that day. We will post the exact time on Facebook as we know Monday afternoon. The Dr said his recovery and healing have been miraculous. WE told him many were praying! His response…”I figured that!” What a testimony to him!
- PRAY we can finalize the sale of Daddy’s home and close this week before we need to get on the furlough trail the week before Easter.
- PRAY for Jessy to have surgery scheduled again. Evidently Missy’s bilum bag was stolen (with the money we had sent for his food, her clothes and phone and his hospital record book (we carry our records with us as patients!) ) which made them late for check in so he was not admitted?! Not sure what the details were but anyways he missed his allotted time in surgery last week then he contracted a cold. SO we have NO IDEA what the next projected date is….but we KNOW a RED SEA IS COMING!!
- Pray for the building of daddy’s home. Pray for safety and for fast and easy assembly of his new “home in our home”.
- PRAY for DAD’s visa to just be expedited and fully approved without any complications or issues. GOD is able to open that RED SEA for us!
- PRAY as we finalize the packing and sale of all our things and daddy’s belongings. We will be allowed to stay in his home for 60 days FREE after closing, but pray that does not lull us into be last minute with the million and one things that must be done for June’s departure to happen.
- PRAY for the new adventure into our quest for CITIZENSHIP in PNG. WE need $5000 and we need MUCH prayer that they look favorably on accepting Lori as a dual citizen.
- PRAY for the container we are packing to send to PNG. Another Red Sea to be opened as we need $12000 to ship and God’s provision of medicine to fill the space around daddy’s treasures we will bring with us. This is an amazing opportunity once again to take advantage of getting needed supplies to PNG so pray with us for GOD to open these doors. PRAY for wisdom and direction as we will be packing and shipping from NY.
9, Progress with the Estate closure has been made as we have united in prayer. They have closure on an above asking price on the house needing to be sold (wow…GOD works in great ways!), and our friends dealing with this whole process have felt God’s direction and guidance in which legal path (of many options) to take in sorting out the details of the estate distribution as we have prayed. NOW we need to continue to pray that the lawyers will look favorably upon the faith based charities (like our clinic and GBBC) they have chosen to be recipients of these funds for the KINGDOM to be benefitted by this available money. Continue to pray for GOD to open Red SEAS for this estate money settlement for HIS GLORY! Pray for HIS TIMING also. IT would be such a huge blessing to be able to have access to additional funds while we are in the USA and could really put it to good use….utilize the container we are already sending…etc. BUT, GOD knows what we need…WHEN we need it and HOW MUCH we need. WE simply trust, pray and wait!
We will begin some furlough traveling as the Dr allows following Bill’s last surgery this week. WE hope to be in as many of our faithful supporting churches as time and strength allows before we return to PNG. SO far this is our confirmed schedule. Pray as we try to schedule opportunities with our supporting churches and balance Bill’s healing and family needs too. This is our start:
April 7: Webster Bible Church (am) and First Baptist of West Seneca NY (pm)
April 14 Bible Baptist in North Spencer NY (am), and Dry RUN Independent Baptist Church, PA (pm)
April 17 Chadds Ford Baptist Church, PA
May 19th Calvary independent Baptist Church, Morton PA (mission Conference)
May 22 The Campus Church, Pensacola Florida.
June 2 (last Sunday ) at Webster Bible Church, NY.
As we follow CHRIST we know we can TRUST the path our Good Shepherd lead us upon. When the mountains loom high and barricading, and the enemy is persistently threatening in pursuit, by faith we are ready to step into the deep waters….and WATCH GOD make a way where there is NO WAY. That, dear friends, is the GOD we serve. NOTHING is impossible. NOTHING is beyond the realm of HIS POWER.
No RESTRAINT. No RETREAT. No REGRETS! Fearless. Faithful.
Bill, Lori , the boys and Dad
WAYS to help
1. BUY GBBC Coffee www.coffee4png.com
2. DUAL CITIZEN project https://abwe.org/work/missionaries/william-l-and-lori-smith
Mark gift for dual citizenship project ($5000 FOR LORI FIRST)
3. CONTAINER SHIPPING COST FOR MEDICINE- $12,000
MARK GIFT FOR CLINIC ACCOUNT 112863-020
4. BENA MENS MEETING JUNE 24-28 2019 HELP 200 MEN COME $20 EACH(COVERS MEETING PLUS EVERYONE RECEIVES A BIBLE AND SONG BOOK,) MARK GIFT FOR CHURCH PLANTING ACCOUNT 112863-006