Unique Opportunities: Only in PNG...

I apologize for not getting an update out over the last few weeks.

Over the last couple weeks, I've had some very unique opportunities to see vastly different aspects of PNG life.
Two weekends ago, I hiked out to a nearby village called Ipaiyu with two of the Bible students (Matt Allen currently is training six nationals for ministry) and spent the night there. Ipaiyu is an area of towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and gorgeous views. It was a neat experience to eat the local cuisine and sleep in a bush house (I also might say the latter was an "eye-opening" experience...didn't sleep too much). On Sunday, I had the privilege of speaking in the church service (with about 5 minutes notice...that's the PNG way) and fellowshiping with the believers in Ipaiyu. After the service, we were told that one of the church members had passed away that morning, so in keeping with local culture, we attended the haus krai. Basically, everyone shows up to mourn with deceased's family. And by "mourn," I mean wail and sob. To say the least, this too was a unique cultural experience.

The bush house I spent the night in
 Last week, we (myself, the other two interns) flew into Port Moresby with Matt to do work on the land. In two days of work, we put in 340 fence posts and ran one kilometer of wire. We worked through blazing heat, refreshing rain, and ferocious mosquito attacks. It ended up being a great time of fellowship and productivity. It is exciting to see progress on a piece of land that will be used to train men for the glory of God among the people of PNG.

One of the unique things about PNG is the mind-boggling diversity of cultures, people groups and languages. Most counts show over eight hundred such divisions. I have been privileged to interact with several of these various groups during my stay here. In Kotidanga, the people here are Kamea. Around Moresby, the language is Motu. Last week, we traveled down the coast to Apinaipi and participated in a ministry among the Mekio people. It was a great privilege to preach at the only Baptist church in this people group and be so warmly received. During our two-day stay, we ate some of the best food I've had in PNG: fish, crab, wallaby (I didn't know what it was until later), and fresh fruit. Speaking of fruit, it was thrilling to see God transform one man from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son by the power of the gospel. Soli Deo Gloria.

My time so far in PNG has involved far more than just seeing the culture and putting up fences. God has given several opportunities to preach in churches as well as a chance to teach Philippians to the Bible students in Kotidanga. For a long-winded preacher (that is a redundant statement, I know), losing half your time to translation (and oftentimes, clarification by the interpreter) is certainly a learning curve. It has stretched me in new ways and forced me to re-think how I present God's Word in order to make it understandable in different cultures (quite a struggle at times since I don't know the culture here very well). But at the end of the day, despite language barriers and cultural differences (and the resulting time constraints), there are few things in the world as rewarding as proclaiming God's Word, even (perhaps, especially) when you feel inadequate.

These last few weeks have brought more memories and experiences than I could describe in writing. From showering in a frigid mountain waterfall to swimming in a stagnant swamp to singing the most unusual rendition of "When we All Get to Heaven" I've ever heard (sorry Andrew, had to put that in here!) to surviving a harrowing (to me it was harrowing, anyway) airplane landing on a mountainside-airstrip, God has blessed me greatly in allowing me to be here. To Him alone be the glory.

(And sorry for the excessive use of parenthetical comments in this blog.)

"May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His Sufferings!"


  1. I'm so happy to hear that God is blessing you, using you, and keeping you safe.


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