Missionaries return to a fragile situation.

By March 21, 2006

PNG (MNN)–A New Tribes Missionary team is hard at work at their Papua New Guinea ministry among the Hewa people again after their evacuation in January.

Jonathan and Susan Kopf and Keith and Angie Copley were forced to leave their tribal home because of the threat of reprisal violence.

Much unrest still exists in the tribe after the murder of Tomas, one of their members. According to NTM, because of the threat, nearly every village boy and man is decorated in war paint and keeps his weapons with him at all times.

The threat of pay-back killings or house burnings from the nearby Paiela tribe is real. Rather than risk all out war, some of the leaders are considering moving their village further away from the Paiela.

For a nomadic people, this is not a hardship. However, it poses a significant problem for the missionaries’ ability to pursue ministry.

At the moment, Jonathan is working feverishly translating the book of Acts, trying to get as much done as possible before home assignment begins. Susan is working hard to get another literacy class underway and is helping Jonathan with translation. And, Keith is writing Bible lessons in preparation for further teaching.

Pray that the Lord would bring back stability into the village setting. The threats aimed at the Hewa people must subside in order for them to turn their attention from defending themselves, to growing in their new-found faith.

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