Pastor Frank carefully descended the steep mountainside toward the raging river in the gorge below. He was on his way to hold meetings in a mountain village in the heart of Papua New Guinea. Because there are no roads in the area, the only way to reach the village was to follow the narrow path.
Pastor Frank reached the bottom of trail and made his way to the bridge that crossed the torrent. The bridge was not made of steel or even wood, but had been woven from bush vines. Pastor Frank was used to such bridges, and he crossed the river without trouble.
When word reached the village that the pastor was coming, happy church members ran to greet him. With 21 other churches in his district, Pastor Frank didn’t get to each village often.
A tropical rain fell most of Sabbath, but it didn’t hamper the villager’s high spirits. Pastor Frank taught them Bible truths, baptized new believers, married couples who had been waiting months, and dedicated babies that had been born since his last visit.
When it came time for Pastor Frank to return home, one of the believers asked to accompany him to the mission station. As they walked along the trail that led to the river, they met some people who announced, “Turn back. The river has washed away the bridge. It’s impossible to cross.”
But Pastor Frank told his companion, “We are on God’s errand; He will make a way to cross the river.”
When the men arrived at the river, they saw for themselves that the heavy rains had torn the fragile bridge from its moorings and washed it away. The rain-swollen river flowed so fast and so deep and so wide that there was no way they could cross. The two men prayed that God would make a way for them to cross the river. They tried to find a place to cross, but their path was blocked by jungle and boulders.
As they stood on the bank of the raging river wondering what to do next, a huge log came hurtling down the river. Suddenly the current threw the log into the air, and it came to rest on the two riverbanks, just like a bridge.
Quickly the men climbed down the muddy bank and stepped gently onto the log. Pastor Frank tested the slippery log and decided that it was safe. The two men carefully walked across the log and scrambled up the bank on the opposite side. Almost immediately the log crashed back into the swirling water and hurtled downstream.
Still standing in the slippery mud, the two men offered a heartfelt thank-You to God and then clambered up the slippery path toward the pastor’s home.
They met some men on the trail who knew that the vine bridge had been washed out. “Where have you come from?” the strangers asked in surprise.
“We came from the village on the other side of the river,” Pastor Frank answered.
“Impossible!” the strangers said. “That bridge was washed out yesterday!” Then Pastor Frank told the men about the bridge that God had provided. The strangers didn’t believe the pastor, so they followed the pastor’s footprints to the riverbank. They saw a gash in the mud where a large log had lain. But they saw no log. Then the men knew that God really had made a bridge so that His servants could safely cross the dangerous river.
God’s message continues to spread throughout the isolated villages in the mountains and swampy regions of Papua New Guinea. Our mission offerings help make this work possible.
Several years ago part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped provide a new mission plane, so that more villages could hear God’s message for the first time. That offering helped provide flipcharts that are bringing simple Bible stories to life for the children and adults in these villages.
This quarter a portion of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help provide MP3 players to villages, so that people can hear God’s Word even when a worker isn’t present. And it will provide at least four desperately needed medical clinics in some of the most isolated regions of the mountainous region, so that villagers who once had to walk for days on dangerous trails to receive medical care can now find help nearer their village homes.
Thank you for sharing so that others can have a chance to hear God’s message of love for the first time.
Maye Porter and her husband, George, served as missionaries in Papua New Guinea and other regions across the South Pacific for 30 years.