We Can with God

South Pacific Division

Mardlyn Francis was the assistant Women's Ministries (WM) leader of her church in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG). In PNG the WM directors train the local church leaders in small group ministry.

Mardlyn decided to help three women in her village learn how to read. Since she had no books to teach from, she used her Bible. After the first lesson, she asked each lady to bring a friend for next time, which they did. Mardlyn challenged the six to bring six more women next time. Then there were12 learning to read and write from the Bible.

When a lady had difficulty understanding, Mardlyn asked all to make a circle around her, hold hands, and pray that the Holy Spirit would help her understand.

Mardlyn wanted to change her village, where most men sit around drinking and playing cards, so after much prayer and Bible study she encouraged the women to invite their husbands. The small group grew to 34.

A teacher from a nearby primary school heard of Mardlyn's class and offered the use of aclassroom and any help he could offer.

When she began the literacy class, her church family disapproved, saying her independent ministry was against church rules. Some started ugly rumors, but Mardlyn didn't get discouraged. Someone reported her to the church pastor; after they talked, he encouraged her good work.

With the encouragement of her pastor and her conference WM Director of, Jeanette Egu, she continued in spite of rumors and threats from church members. After praying, Mardlyn decided to forgive her brothers and sisters. But her students, now more than 100 and none of them Seventh-day Adventists, decided, as is the custom in the Highlands of PNG, to attack those spreading rumors. Fortunately, Mardlyn was able to convince these people to forgive. Because of her prayers and attitude, a disaster was averted.

However, she and her students were chased out of the school. Miraculously, they found a  vacant lot and set up a canvas shelter, but a strong wind tore the canvas. These people have no income except from selling vegetables. They sacrificed to buy timber and a few iron sheets to build a small shelter. When people saw this, more joined and the group kept growing. Three times they had to expand their shelter.

More than 400 have joined the church through Mardlyn's literacy school. Please pray for Mardlyn and for all women using their gifts to spread the Gospel. We all can—with God.