Chris and Maggie Hostetter and family are part of the churches planting team among the Pal people of Papua New Guinea. The school year has ended and they finally got a chance to go back to their tribal home as a family. Maggie and the kids had not been there in almost a year, and all of their friends and neighbours could not get over how big all the kids are now. It went both ways because many of the “kids” who were small when they moved in are now married and having their own babies. It was good that they could spend time together with friends without the pressure of too much work that needed doing.

It was also great for them to spend time together as a family. As the kids get older they seem to get busier, and their evenings during the school year are getting fuller all the time. However, teenagers in the middle of jungle where there are no friends and bad internet, have lots of time to hang out and play games together! Several forced marches on trails they grew up hiking along, included a very long hike (six hours for Maggie!) to the neighbouring tribe to visit missionary friends there.

One project they worked on during their time in Pal was jumpstarting the post-literacy programme. This programme is designed to give graduated literacy students goals to work toward and motivation for improving their reading. There are different speed levels, with snail at the bottom and eagle at the top, and they race against the clock to get to the top levels. The Pal people love some good friendly competition, so they are hoping this programme will fuel better readers in the future.

Chris also spent lots of time with the teachers talking about their decision to allow and/or participate in a magic ritual to ward off sickness. They have admitted that they are still afraid of death and that fear caused them to misplace their trust. In God’s perfect timing, Chris just finished translating Galatians and was able to teach through the first few chapters in church. It was exactly what they needed to hear, and they praise God for how His Word speaks to everyone, everywhere, at all times. Chris and Maggie praise Him for their repentant hearts and for His grace when they fall. Pray that this experience helps the teachers to understand God better and respond in faith and to grow in their ability to shepherd the Pal church. Thank you for praying for them.