Saturday, January 23, 2021

Meeuwse Year End News 2020

Happy Belated New Year from Matt, Amanda, Grace and Audrey!  

I had started this update before Christmas but life got very busy quickly and I didn't have the time to finish.  So, now I am sitting in Jakarta doing a 5 day quarantine, waiting to be reunited with my family.  This last year was unusual to say the least.  There were many stressors added on top of normal stressors and as we start 2021, we are tired, as I imagine many of you are too.  Trying to adapt to all these new situations and ever-changing regulations is exhausting.  But, the good news is we are not defeated!  I love this passage in 2 Corinthians 4 - 

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.......knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to things that are seen but to the things that are unseen for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

 What an encouragement to keep running the race.  We do this for "you" so that lives are saved and thanksgiving will increase.  It's easy to think a new year will fix everything, but looking in to 2021 we are looking at many giants to conquer.  And we could sit here and talk about how big these giants are and why it looks so grim, but that isn't what David did.  He saw the giant and only talked about how big God is and Goliath doesn't seem so big after that!  Another thing that helps keep our perspective is looking back and seeing the power of God at work in history and specifically in our lives.  God does not change and he still does miracles today.  He still takes down our Giants today! Here is a recap of our year 2020, I hope as you read this you see God working and that you get to receive the blessing of being a part of what God is doing through us here in Papua!

Removing the blades for inspection
We had a 6 month furlough and arrived back on base in November of 2019.  It was a stressful beginning as almost every helicopter was coming down for big inspections, but our maintenance team and I were able to complete the inspections in time without any delay in our flight service.  After that, Covid-19 hit around the world which changed everyone's way of living.  Travel got much more difficult, if not impossible.  Our flight schedule got drastically reduced and team mates and people we served left their posts in mass numbers.  Many locals went back to their home towns or villages and our town became quiet.  Our family remained in Wamena from March until December 2020 without ever leaving Wamena except for flights that Matt performed and once for our visa application.  This year has been quite a challenge in many ways, but also very exciting.

Before we left the US after furlough our pastor prayed that this term would be a term of seeing fruit from our labors.  We had to laugh a bit as upon arrival to Wamena, we had so many local friend come literally bearing fruit for us to eat.  We had so much, we couldn't eat it all.  We chuckled and said to each other that the prayer was answered so quickly.  But, God really did answer that prayer already.  

Abed's first time flying solo
When we first arrived in Wamena back in 2015, Matt connected with Abed, a local worker that had a dream to become a pilot.  Matt spent every Wednesday with Abed doing pilot ground training, not knowing if there would ever be a way to actually fly.  God opened a way and Abed was sent to Jakarta for official flight training this year and he just obtained his pilot's license.  It was so exciting to see Abed fly all by himself, and he has such a testimony of how God provides at the right time.  He has a heart to serve his own people here in Wamena, and for us, this is a huge gift from God to see the fruit of our labor.  Abed still has a long road to go ahead of him as he learns how to fly in one of the most dangerous places in the world, but this a huge step for him and a huge step for Papuans in general!

This is Oten!
Another way God has encouraged us is through one of our house guards.  We moved to Wamena and Oten was working at the house we were to live in.  As we got to know him, his faithfulness really shown.  It is impossible to have a conversation with Oten without it ending up in scripture somehow.  Well, about a year into our first term, he asked if he could go to school to become a pastor, but needed to continue working for us or he wouldn't be able to pay for school.  We talked about it and decided we would let him continue on with us and go to pastoral school.  We told him that so many people had invested into us in order to get us to where we are and we want to do the same for him.  Now almost 4 years later, Oten has passed all his schooling and just started a 6 month apprenticeship here in town.  We are so excited that Oten passed and will be able to preach God's word to his own people in their own language.  It is so much more powerful when locals reach locals and to be a part of this process is so humbling.  We feel so encouraged to know that the people we are investing in are going to invest into other people and that God's kingdom will continue to advance!

Amanda doing some science!
 On the home front, Amanda had to step into a role (as many have had to do this year) that was not expected.  She, with another  mom, took on the role of 2nd grade teacher.  This really increased Amanda's workload and at first seemed very scary to have to teach.  She set up the school room so nicely and has learned to love teaching and feels very blessed for the opportunity to teach Gracie this year.  We are still praying for teachers and God has provided a teacher for us here in Wamena which is a huge blessing.  She arrived a few days before Christmas and spent Christmas with us!  This teacher was actually a friend of ours when we lived in the states.  Matt led a small group for our church and she was a young lady that attended.  We watched her learn how to drive and got to invest into her too during the years we lived near each other.  Now, she is out here on the mission field investing in our kiddos.  It's pretty amazing.


Grace with Fina
Gracie has learned so much this year.  It's amazing to watch her grow!  We love how much she connects with the local Papuans wherever we go.  She has really increased in her reading, writing and arithmetic abilities and many times I'm surprised at what she knows.  She is full of imagination and can have fun wherever she is.  We built her a place to do trapeze and we get a bit nervous seeing all the tricks she does on it.  We are a bit more cautious now as there is no expat doctor out here anymore.  

Audrey and Grace
Audrey is now 3 years old and in a very funny age.  Her vocabulary is finally increasing and the things she says makes us laugh every day.  She is so sweet and wants to help us whatever we are doing.  Every Sunday we wake up and make pancakes together and it has become a very fun tradition.  We have to make the batter from scratch and it's always a fun process.  She is picking up a few Indonesian words and it's really cute to see her interact with the Papuans she knows.  She warms up to new people very slowly, but when she knows you its a lot of fun.  


This year has been a year of so many challenges, but through all these challenges God continues to prove that He is in control.  He continues to bless his work and it's so fun to be a part of.  We write this letter a bit tired from the challenges of this year, but we also are filled with joy at what God is doing.  We are looking forward to this next year even though our team again will become smaller as our base manager has decided it's time to head back to their home country to focus on his wife's health.  We will be down to only 3 expat families which means our workload will increase a bit next year.  We have a few people in the pipeline to show up, but the earliest they could be on base would be 2022.  So, please pray for us to continue serving with joy and stamina during this next year.  We are so thankful for all the flights we were able to do without any incident or accident.  Please pray for Oten and for Abed as they get to begin living out their dreams and that we can continue to invest into the people God places in our lives!

We love you all and really appreciate all your prayers and support that keep us out here.  If you want to join our financial support team, click the tab for support to learn how you can become a donor.  For all of you that give faithfully, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Because of your faithful giving you get to be a part of what God is doing here in Papua.  So thanks for blessing us, thanks for blessing Abed, and thanks for blessing Oten.  There are so many more stories of lives being touched through what we are doing here that I wish I could share with you.  Thanks for being a part of this story,

 God bless you all,

The Meeuwse Family

"I have made you a light for the Gentiles, 

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth."

Acts 13:47

1 comment:

  1. I am so proud of your family! What a wonderful adventure you are on as you live out God’s love. Praying for all the obstacles to be overcome and for joy to be prevalent. We love you!