Tuesday, November 21, 2017

We are so Thankful

This week we'll be driving to Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving with Andrew's parents.

There is so much to be thankful for!

*We are thankful that the Kasua People of Papua New Guinea (PNG) now have access to the New Testament:

* We are thankful that we are able to contribute to the work of Bible translation; we look forward to continuing our work of fixing small engines and caring for missionaries after arriving back in PNG on 12 January 2018.

* We are so thankful to those who are partnering with our work in PNG through prayer, financial giving and encouragement.

We are overwhelmingly thankful that 100% of our Wycliffe ministry budget has been pledged for the next three years.  We stand in awe at how the Lord has accomplished this.

* We are thankful for the wonderful times we've had with friends, family and churches this year.

Much of December will be spent packing up and cleaning our house in North Carolina; after that we will travel back down to Florida for Christmas.  We are grateful for your ongoing prayer during this period of travel and change; these are usually emotionally challenging times, especially for our children.
Photo credit: Amy Evers

Friday, October 20, 2017

Learning and Jousting!

Last week we were in two different places:

I (Clare) was in Pennsylvania at the Heartstream Resources Member Care Course.  Andrew, Levi, Heidi and Eowyn stayed in North Carolina and enjoyed a day trip to the North Carolina Renaissance Festival.

The week of training was immensely helpful in preparing me to continue as a pastoral care facilitator in Papua New Guinea.  All that I learnt will help me to be a better support to those in challenging situations, whether through listening, asking useful questions, or helping people work through conflict.  I'm keen to get back to this role in January.

At the Autoshop, staff are eagerly awaiting Andrew's return.  In a recent letter Andrew's manager, James Ernandes, described Andrew as 'irreplaceable in his role'.  He shared how Andrew helps the other Autoshop staff better understand the local culture, and how the staff have been helped many times by his commitment to grace, understanding and patience. 

James added, 'And he is one of our best mechanics to boot. We depend heavily on Andrews knowledge base of motorcycles and small engines'.  To read the whole letter, click here.

We are so encouraged to see how the Lord continues to bring in financial partners in a whole variety of ways.  We still need $825/£650 per month in regular support in order to meet our Wycliffe ministry budget for the next three years.  If you are planning to start giving financially or would like to change your current commitment in any way, we'd be very grateful if you could let us know; this will help us reach the point of being released by Wycliffe to travel to back to Papua New Guinea.

It is amazing, as we meet people on our travels, to discover how many of you are praying for us regularly.  We are most grateful.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Letter From Andrew's Manager

To all interested in the ministry of Andrew Koens,

In total I have worked 2 years side by side with Andrew, as his manager. In that time he has proven himself to be irreplaceable as a mechanic, assistant manager, and shop historian. He is truly an ambassador for Christ, here in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea. It’s been my pleasure to see Andrew help all of us get a better understanding of the Melanesian culture in his daily dealings with our national customers and employees. He is always stressing grace and understanding, before any action should take place. 

There have been times when I would be concerned about employees breaking the rules in the shop. Andrew would always stop me and have me ask, “Why do you think they are doing what they are doing? Are they doing it because it’s culturally appropriate, or is it just blatant disregard for the rules?”.  His patience and gentle handling of people have helped so many situations turn out positive.

And he is one of our best mechanics to boot.  We depend heavily on Andrews knowledge base of motorcycles and small engines. He keeps our missionaries', local nationals' and other missions organizations' motorcycles, generators, air strip mowers, chain saws and any other small engines going.

If you are looking to partner financially with a missionary family, the Koens are worth every penny in their service here. They are a part of our community, our family and our work.

James Ernandes
Auto Shop Manager/DO-Fleet Manager
SIL Auto Shop

Saturday, September 9, 2017

In the USA

After being away from the USA for almost six years, it's great to spend time with family here once again; we've loved meeting new family members too:

We've continued to share at churches and Bible study groups about the work of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea.  We always enjoy telling the recent story of Angam, a speaker of the Tami language in Papua New Guinea: 

After reading Bible verses that his wife brought home from a women's Bible study, Angam joined his wife at the group the following week to hear more.  His wife watched his face physically change as he listened to the Word of God and understood for the first time the forgiveness that Christ offers.  Angam is now chairman of the Tami Bible translation committee and is sharing his story with members of his language group.  Because of the changes in Angam's life, many other Tami people are now excited about translating the Bible into the Tami language.  You can read more of his story here.

We are so grateful for your prayers and your financial giving towards our work.  Several people have joined our financial team since we last wrote and a few churches are considering how they might partner with us financially.  However, one of our main sending churches will be ending their partnership with us, following budget cuts.   We still need to raise an extra $1600 per month in order to serve in Papua New Guinea for the next three years.  Please keep praying!  The sooner our work is funded, the sooner we will be able to finalise our return date, planned for mid-January (before Clare's US visa expires!)

This month's prayer points:
*We praise God for how he showers us with blessings: from friendly welcomes, meals and financial gifts to vehicular loans and housing in a great location.
*We pray for wisdom and opportunities as we plan our schedule for the next four months: We have so many friends in so many places but so little time!  We are very aware that our energy is limited, especially after being busy for a long time.
*We pray for patience and insight as parents as we journey with our children through a lengthy time of transition.
*We pray for Andrew to be able to renew his US driver's license; he is facing difficulties as it expired while we were overseas.

Many thanks,

Andrew, Clare, Levi, Heidi and Eowyn Koens

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Paving the Way to PNG

We've written a lot over the years about broken bridges.  This photo, taken several years ago, shows Andrew helping to repair a bridge on the only road between our home in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and the coast.

The photo reminds me of our current situation.  Just as we can't drive over a broken bridge until it's been repaired, we won't be able to continue our work in Papua New Guinea until our team of financial and prayer partners has been strengthened.

We are so grateful to those who have partnered financially with our Wycliffe ministry over the last 15 years.   Some of these individuals and churches are no longer able to do so due to their own financial challenges.   Wycliffe uses and approves a ministry budget for its members; this budget reflects the amount needed to fund each ministry.  We need to reach 100% of the ministry budget that has been established for our work with Wycliffe, so that we can continue to work in Papua New Guinea. 
The regular gifts we are currently receiving only account for 60% of the funds we need to raise.
Would you consider joining our team of regular financial partners?  Our current partners each give between $15 - $200 per month.  We'd love to hear from you if you are able to support our overseas work in this way, or if you have questions.

Would you like to be a part of our prayer team?  We sometimes send specific requests to a small number of people and we'd love to add more people to this group. 

 This month's prayer points:
*We praise God for the wonderful opportunities we've had in the UK to
catch up with friends and family and share about our work in PNG.  (Let us know if you'd like to see us when we're in the USA!)
*We praise God that Clare now has a visa that will allow her to make temporary visits to the USA over the next ten years.

*We pray that God would continue to provide for all our needs.
*We pray for a smooth transition as we move to the USA for five months on 10 August.  Emotions are already running high!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Avocado Trees and Changed Lives

In our garden in Papua New Guinea are two avocado trees:

They don't bear fruit too often, but we enjoy huge amounts of avocado when they do.  Even more exciting is when the work of Bible translation bears fruit.  It's been thrilling recently to read about lives that have been changed following encounters with the Jesus Video Bike that Andrew has worked on frequently.

We are not directly involved in the translating itself; but just as a tree's trunk supports its branches, we are supporting translation and literacy work by using our practical skills.

The part of the tree that can't be seen is the roots.  We know though that the tree couldn't survive without the roots.  I'm reminded of those who are faithfully partnering with us through prayer and finances from their home countries.  The gifts of prayer and finances go largely unseen, but are vital; without the financial and prayer support of people around the world, there would be no Bible translation work in Papua New Guinea.  

We're so glad to be able to catch up in person this year with many individuals and churches who are supporting our work in Papua New Guinea.  We're excited that we have several new opportunities to share about this work and let others know how they can be involved. 

This month's prayer points:
*We praise God for opportunities to speak to others about our work in Papua New Guinea.  
*We praise God for a successful medical check-up for Eowyn in March this year.  The consultant saw very little change since our last visit, which is a good thing.  We can wait two years before returning for a follow-up visit.

*We pray that God would be strengthening our 'roots' by enlarging our team of financial and prayer partners.

Many thanks,

Andrew, Clare, Levi, Heidi and Eowyn Koens

Friday, April 21, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017

We're (almost) Ready to Go!

Greetings from Papua New Guinea!

With a day to go until we leave, life is busy.  We've been organising and cleaning our house, sorting and packing clothes, printing out tickets and travel directions, organising transport, arranging to visit people, working on furlough presentations, designing photo books, obtaining permission to visit Australia,
finishing up at work, and having our photo taken:

As you can see, Levi is looking more and more like his Dad ;-).

Andrew has been building a workshop behind our house out of a shipping container so that he'll be able to work on projects from home in future.  I expect our children will gain mechanical experience of their own out there too.

Thank you for your prayers regarding our house and dog while we're away; we've seen some wonderful answers.

This is what our travel plans look like for the next few weeks:

6 March: Fly to the capital city, Port Moresby.
7 March: Fly to Brisbane, Australia.
11 March: Fly to Melbourne, Australia.  (We'll be visiting the friends we lived with at the time Levi was born.)
14-15 March: Fly to London and drive to Haslemere, Surrey.
19 - 31 March: Visit friends and family in Warrington, Cumbria, Sunderland, York and Leicestershire.
1 April: Move into our flat in Haslemere.

We have much to look forward to, but realise that the next month will also be very intense.  We would appreciate your continued prayer, especially that we will recover quickly from jetlag and for good emotional adjustments with the changes that are to come.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Dealing with Stuff

In five weeks we will leave PNG for ten months of home assignment. 

As well as making preparations for our time away, I'm working hard to get the house ready for others to live here.  One part of that is getting rid of items that our family no longer needs.  There aren't many recycling programmes in Papua New Guinea, but that doesn't mean that things get thrown away!

Some items are given directly to colleagues and local friends; these items range from used plastic food or drink containers, all of which will get reused, to clothes that our children have outgrown but which other children in Ukarumpa or around the country will appreciate. Boxed up items can be donated to the 'Everything Sale', an annual event run by the teenagers here to raise money towards their youth centre.  Some things are sold to colleagues; there is no Ebay here and the range of products available in local stores is limited so people appreciate the opportunity to buy things from each other.

It always amazes me how many lids I find with no containers to go with them.  Those, at least, will get thrown away if no matching container appears!

We would appreciate prayer as we enter this time of transition:

*Heidi is concerned about being away from PNG, from her friends and from our dog.  Levi was distressed when he heard that he'd have to pack up his bedroom before we left.  Eowyn has no memory of living outside PNG.  Please pray for all of our children as they face these big changes in their lives.   Of course there is a lot to look forward to as well.  They are most excited about seeing family.  Heidi also wants to see a giraffe and Levi is looking forward to visiting science museums.

*We are grateful for the opportunities that we have to connect with friends and churches back home.  It's been encouraging to see our schedule start to fill up:

* Please pray for Andrew and I as we work to complete many tasks that we want to get done before our departure on 6 March.  An added complication is that Andrew can't work on some of these jobs until spare parts arrive from overseas; he'd appreciate prayer for these parts to arrive quickly.

*We are thrilled to hear that there should be someone to live in our house and care for our dog from May onwards.  We are praying that someone would be willing to look after our dog in the first couple of months that we are away.