A Volcano Interrupts Plans
Back in May of last year, we told you about the Biem Church’s desire to go beyond their own village to reach more of their people group on a small island north of the mainland in Papua New Guinea. The Busers and the Chens were part of the missionary team that saw the first Biem Church planted.
Unfortunately, those plans to reach out to the islanders using only Biem believers never came to pass. Why? A volcano interrupted everyone’s plans.
“On Friday, January 5, smoke started pouring out of an opening on the southeastern side [of the island]. This was only God’s grace as the bulk of the population resides on the northwestern side,” Brandon Buser said. “This smoke was seen by a village on the mainland, and they sent two boats to help the islanders. The Biem also sent a boat over to help out. These three rigs, along with numerous canoes, began the work of shifting the entire population over to [another island], six miles away. We were told that by the end of the day the entire population was moved … and the timing could not have been better as later that night, near midnight, the mountain erupted violently.”
Taken by Surprise?
In man’s view, this was a heavy setback to the outreach. But was God taken by surprise? Of course not. We must remember that God’s ways are not our ways, and He has His purposes in this natural disaster.
Did this affect the Biem Church? Yes, it did. They had planned to go over and take the message of salvation to that group, but that is no longer possible. And it looks like it will affect the people of Biem and the church more than they originally thought.
Another Evacuation on the Horizon?
Brandon continued, “The current status of [the island] is that it’s completely uninhabitable, with no word yet as to the future of the islanders and where they will reside. There are discussions at the government level of evacuating the islands due to increasing fault activity. One thing we are certain of though is that these things are in the hands of our good God.”
“It sure feels like at times that God may be scattering the Biem Church in the same way that He scattered the Jerusalem Church in the New Testament,” Wayne Chen added. “We are trusting that God will unfold His plan to us in due time. Meanwhile, please be praying for the Biem people and the Biem Church as they go through this season of uncertainty.”