“It has been estimated that as much as one-third of the world population of six billion people are still not within reach of a local church able to effectively communicate the gospel to them.”
Global Church Planting, Craig Ott and Gene Wilson, 2011
As we began to think about our survey trip and wonder about the different ways God could use us for His glory, one ministry that we were especially excited about was church planting. Church planting is necessary to regularly gather together a committed body of believers, for the Biblical purposes of prayer, worship, instruction, edification, service, evangelism, and celebration of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper. How exciting it must be to watch the formation of a church. A few timbers placed in the ground by a few dedicated men and women turns into a place of worship for the King of kings and the Creator of the universe. A small assembly of the faithful, turns into a thriving body of believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, ready to pick up their cross and go out to preach the gospel where Christ’s name has never been heard. We were able to see first hand two new church plants during our survey trip. The picture above is of the Lucilo Baptist Church. Located on top of a mountain, the road to the church stops there. What’s beyond? No more roads, thick jungle! Jungle, just waiting for the next faithful servant to share the good news to those who have never heard of the God who loves them so much He died for them.
We thank the Lord for the Goroka Baptist Bible College (GBBC). The goal of the college is train national leaders to be Pastors, Christian workers, and leaders in the church so they can go out and plant churches. The majority of the people in PNG do not own a vehicle. If they want to go to church, their only option is to walk. They will walk for hours to go to church. There needs to be many more churches planted so the saved can grow spiritually, and the lost can hear the gospel. Please pray for us as we mentor the students, teach them skills, and partner with them in the church planting process. We are eager to return to PNG to help plant more churches. If you would like to partner with us and help make this happen, please call or email.
Here are a couple of videos of our drive up to the church.
As we prepared to leave Indiana for our survey trip to PNG, many questions were on our minds. What will the living conditions be like? What will the food be like? Will the people be friendly? In what ways will we be able to serve in ministry? What about the weather, insects, cost of living, health risks, personal safety, etc? Maybe the most important question of all. Will we be able to live and serve in a country that is frequently listed as one of the most difficult places in the world to live? So many questions to be answered. We returned from PNG with only one question remaining unanswered. How soon we will be able to return! In every possible way, God’s confirmation was clear. He wants us to serve Him as full-time missionaries to PNG. We give Him glory who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. It is only by His power within us that we can do anything good. So, thank you Lord for your grace, for giving us a heart for the people of PNG, for giving us a desire to serve You there, and for helping us to focus on eternal things, not the temporal.
As we reflect about celebrating Thanksgiving this past week with family and friends, we can’t help but express with thankful hearts first and foremost to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. How He loved us so much to die in our place is overwhelming. Words cannot express our gratitude for Jesus’ love for us in that, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” If you do not know Him as Lord of your life, make that decision today! As we returned from Papua New Guinea a little over a week ago, we do so with very grateful hearts. We are so grateful for the guidance, wisdom, and training of our mission agency the Association of Baptists for Worldwide Evangelism (ABWE). We are so blessed that Bethesda Baptist Church is our sending church for the leadership, incredible support and love for us and for the many individuals who encourage, partner with us in ministry, and lift us up in prayer. A huge word of “thanks” to our families for their loving support of us. A resounding, “Thank You.”
Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see how God confirmed our calling to be missionaries in PNG.