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Generational Faith

Generational Faith

SPRING/SUMMER  2019    |    4  MINUTE  READ    |    BONNIE GOUGE


Throughout history, God has worked in families and used families for His kingdom. Genesis shows us how He moved through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have had the privilege of watching my daughter Veronica Porter as she and her husband, Seth, along with their four children, serve God in Papua New Guinea. What I didn’t expect on my recent trip to PNG was to hear Janet’s story of how God has worked in her family. Decades ago, God began a work in Janet and her mother through another WGM missionary. Today, we are privileged to see God continuing to move through her and, now, her children.

I was in PNG April through June 2018 to help after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake damaged my daughter’s home. Veronica’s family lives in a remote, mountainous area of PNG, serving the Lord and loving the people.

I joined my husband, Ron, and our granddaughter Veronica Salto (who was named for her aunt). Together, we spent two months helping the Porters repair their house that the earthquake had knocked off its supporting pillars, doing extensive damage. After a lot of hard work, the Porters were finally able to move back into their house.

Then God opened doors for each of us to serve Him, using our own unique gifts and talents.

Women's Leadership Retreat

My daughter asked if I would be willing to share with the women in a one-day retreat. She and I prepared and planned to share with 12 to 15 women in the district who are leaders in their churches. They would be equipped to go back to their local churches and share what they had learned.

The day of the retreat dawned cloudy with light showers. We watched the clock as the starting time came and went, but very few women had arrived. Slowly, they did eventually arrive, carrying their umbrellas. The rain stopped, but the women did not. They came from distant churches and from the mountains, walking barefoot on the muddy mountain paths. We realized that our small, intimate group of leaders had become a large group of about 50 women wanting to learn.

As we talked about the different stages in a woman’s life—and applied it to life in PNG, I said, “Tell me how you saw God work in your life when you were a child.”

Janet sitting with a group of women

At that moment, Janet stood up and shared her story.

“I was born at home in this area, about two months early. I was too weak to eat, and my mother didn’t know how to care for one so little who could not suck. But God sent missionary nurses just in time. They took me into their home and fed me, and they taught my mother how to care for me. Then, when I went home, they checked on me every day. They saved my life. And I know that it was God who preserved my life. I see His hand in my life as such a young infant.”

Later, Veronica shared with me that as a child, Janet’s prayer and hope had been that she would marry a pastor. God answered Janet’s prayers, and she married Stanley, who is pastoring the local church next door to Seth and Veronica. Janet serves with her husband, sharing the message of Christ, working in the church and the community. Janet is the leader of the mama group in her local church. God is working, and lives are being touched–including Janet’s son, Winter’s.

Janet and Bonnie with part of her family in front of Veronica’s home.

We saw more evidence of God’s work in PNG when we had the privilege to see 51 people take a step of faith through baptism. On our first Sunday in PNG, we drove about 25 minutes to a church. Joining the believers, we walked along a road toward the creek. Then we began a roughly 20-minute slip and slide down a muddy hillside until we came to the dammed-up creek. After a time of singing, three pastors waded into the water. Three by three, 51 white-robed new believers joined the pastors, stepping lightly into the creek, making their professions of faith, and following the Lord in baptism.

Among those 51 was one of Janet’s children–Winter–who wanted to commit himself to the Lord in a new way.

51 people being baptized in a creek

Hallelujah! God continues to work in PNG. Decades ago, He used WGM missionary nurses to spare the life of a premature baby girl. He drew her to Himself and called her to serve Him. Janet’s children’s lives have been impacted by her faithfulness, by the influence of WGM missionaries like the Porters, and by God’s goodness and love. Yes, God works throughout the different stages of our lives and uses us for His kingdom.

God’s work always has lasting repercussions—often, for generations. The work God is doing in your life will be felt not only by you but also by those who come behind you. Are you letting Him do that work in your life? How will your life impact the generations to come?

Bonnie Gouge and her husband, Ron, live in Kentucky. They have served in Bolivia, Argentina, and in regional leadership in South America.

ACTION STEPS

PRAY: Janet is the mother of six children and is a pastor’s wife. Pray that she will be encouraged and strengthened in her day-to-day routine as she continues to walk closely with the Lord. Pray, too, that the Porters will find strength and courage in God as they face the challenges of living life four to five hours from the nearest city.

GO: It’s stories like Janet’s that move people to action—stories of transformation because of someone’s obedience. God needs people just like you to go—maybe for a week, a month, or a year—and be His hands and feet to the people of PNG. Take the next step at www.wgm.org/get-involved.

GIVE: Storytelling is how information is passed on in PNG. You can support a vital ministry that offers solar-powered audio Bibles. Even if someone can’t read, they can still hear the Good News of Christ through this ministry, which you can financially support by going to www.wgm.org/solar-bibles-png.

The Call (Spring/Summer 2019)

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