“Earthquake!” I exclaimed to David as we sat up in bed. We were in town, and it was 3:44 a.m. We have experienced many small earthquakes here in PNG, but this one really shook the house hard for what seemed like a long time. Its power was scary.
In the morning, we heard that a 7.5 earthquake had struck the mountainous region of PNG to the south of us. The shocks were felt across a large part of the country. Seismologists said it was the strongest earthquake to hit PNG in 100 years.
When we arrived back at our village, many people came up to us asking for news about the big earthquake that had caused so much destruction. The local people don’t have access to newspapers, radio broadcasts, phones or the Internet, so it is difficult for them to find out what is happening in the world or even in their own country. Rumors were going around that a much stronger earthquake was expected at any time. People were near panic as we continued to feel aftershocks every few hours. Was it a sign of the end of the world? People wondered. We saw an opportunity to share about the signs of Jesus’ second coming. Yes, there will be one final earthquake that will shake down all the houses in the world right before Jesus comes in the clouds. Yes, the end of the world is soon, but it is not the end of all things. This earthquake was just a sign.
A couple weeks later, M.J. came to our house to get David’s help with some solar-powered lights. On our living room table we had a finished puzzle of Nathan Green’s painting “The Blessed Hope.” Given to us by a supporter, this puzzle depicts Jesus coming with His angels in the clouds. The painting shows people from many countries, including two from Papua New Guinea with their arms stretched upwards, welcoming Jesus. M.J. stared at the picture for a few moments as he recognized what he was seeing. He had been a member of our church years before but had backslidden. He was drawn to the picture—that was obvious. He said that after the earthquake he was troubled with thoughts that the end of the world was drawing near. We explained that the earthquake was a sign to encourage us to be ready for Jesus to come. He expressed how concerned he was about his spiritual life. Then he said, “It is time for me to go back to church.” We prayed with him and gave him a postcard of “The Blessed Hope” to take home and share with his family and friends.
Please pray that M.J. will follow through on his plan to come back to church. He certainly feels the Holy Spirit tugging at his heart.