As we get close to Pentecost this coming Sunday, here’s a little story of how the Holy Spirit works in my life – gently, and over a long period of time!

A week ago I signed up for Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Bibleless People’s Prayer Project, in which I agreed to pray for a specific people group that does not yet have God’s Word in their own language.  Wycliffe will send email updates, etc., to let me know how the translation work is going, and I will pray for the people, translators, and everyone involved.  Pretty cool!  

Part of the deal was that WBT would assign a particular people group to me, without any choice or preference on my part.  That’s OK with me – I’m willing to pray for whomever the Holy Spirit guides them to assign to me.  Today I received notice that I have been asked to be praying for the Gusan people of Papua New Guinea (PNG), a people group in the mountains of central New Guinea, and I am delighted to do that.

Now for the Holy Spirit.  When I was a seminary student almost 35 years ago my wife and I went through a season of exploring whether or not we should head for parish ministry or for a mission field.  We had some conversations with some missionaries and the Missions Department at the headquarters of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, but ultimately decided that because of our children we would stay here in the US.  That was OK, and we have had no regrets or second-guesses about that decision, BUT – for whatever reason (the Holy Spirit?), when asked about the mission field we might like to enter my heart and mind were drawn toward Papua New Guinea!  Though we’ve never gone there, there’s always been a bit of a tug in my heart and spirit for the people of PNG and the Gospel in that land.

Now I see that the Holy Spirit has been in this for all these years, and has not entirely let me go.  I still don’t know whether I’ll ever get to PNG in person, but that I can pray for a remote people and language group there – that can only be His work!

Thanks be to God!