Not yet blooming but growing nonetheless

Ralf and Elli Schlegel spent seven weeks with the Dinangat church this summer.

The first weeks back in the village were a bit overwhelming for Ralf and Elli as they were bombarded with many hard things like suffering marriages, believers that are not coming to church, believers that do not read God’s Word, gossip in the church and leaders that are apparently not looking after their ‘sheep’ well. Ralf and Elli made a visiting plan to visit different families three evenings a week. They wanted to visit as many families as possible during their time there. During their visits, they asked specific questions to find out where the people are at in their walk with God and what they think about how the church is doing. After a couple of weeks they had a good picture on where things are and even though they heard of the hard things they also heard of some really good encouraging things going on.

Ralf taught the last five Sundays about different topics that they thought were needed to challenge the growth of these young and sometimes struggling believers. The elders and Bible teachers were thankful to get a little break. He taught about the Gospel… what it is, what it is not, and how it influences all areas of life; about personal relationship to God and how absolutely necessary it is for believers to regularly study God’s Word in order to grow and stand strong in faith. The last Sunday he was asked to teach about what the Bible says about raising kids.

The Sundays were packed with people including some believers from the neighbouring village. They were very thankful to see so many people hungry to learn and grow in their knowledge of God’s Word. Pray for the church leaders that they would have strength and wisdom to lead the church and disciple and care for the believers and for all the believers to have strength to withstand the temptation of gossip.

Besides endless translation sessions and meetings with the elders, Ralf and Elli also had meetings with the Sunday school teachers, the ladies meeting teachers and the elders’ families. They also had great opportunities to sit with some of the struggling married people who are feeling the pain of growth the most. Please pray for those struggling in their marriages.

Pray for the growth and blooming of the Dinangat church.

“You don’t have to be blooming to be growing, so don’t give up. Blooms will come because He’s faithful to finish what He begins in us.” (Ann Voskamp)

Ralf, Elli and their youngest daughter Mimi are super excited to get to see Naomi and Rebekka very soon! They are flying back to PNG from Germany where they had a great time together.  Rebekka’s 12th grade and Mimi’s 4th grade schooling will start at the beginning of August while Naomi will take her three-week break with them in Goroka before returning to Germany.