What we want to do is something impossible.
Something that only God can do.
And yet, we take steps to do it because that is how God has chosen to work: through small, frail human beings that take steps in their best attempts to display his glorious grace.
We want to ultimately plant a church in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and so we’re taking steps to get there. Here is what the big picture of what we’re trying to do looks like:
From taking two summers of linguistic school in Canada to training with missionaries who have lived in Papua New Guinea to becoming qualified men and women to learning Greek in order to translate the Bible from the original text…there is much training that we’ve been doing here since 2008 and much more that still must be done. But we are thankful that God has given us both the minds and wills to do it until we’re ready to leave which is, Lord willing, August of 2014.
This is the step we just began as of March 2013 and we are excited! As believers, we either go or we send and we are excited to see who God has here to send us! If this is something you are interested in, please check out our give page at the top.
Arrival on field and orientation.
In August of 2014, we will hopefully get on a plane, fly to the other side of the world, and land in Papua New Guinea. Once we arrive, we will spend 6-8 months living in the city of Madang, learning Pidgin(the trade language over there), researching tribes to possibly go to, and generally becoming accustomed to the culture of Papua New Guinea.
That’s right. Surveys. As in surveying the land for which tribe to go to. Towards the end of those first 6-8 months, we will take aerial surveys to map out different tribes which might be good for us to visit. In the process of visiting, we will explain that we are wanting to move there, learn their language, write it down, translate the Bible and teach them the Bible in the hopes that one of them will actually want us to do that! See where prayer comes in?
Allocation into a tribe.
Lord willing, someone will say yes. And then we take them up on their offer and move in. This may sound simple enough, but in reality, it means flying in by helicopter ourselves, our team, materials to build a house, and any other supplies we need. The goal for this step is to build both of our houses (one for us and one for our teammates) in 6-8 weeks. We will most likely have some people come out from the States to help us when this time comes to get the work done as quickly and efficiently as possible. The houses that we build will be somewhere between the houses we have here and the hut the villagers live in. We want to build houses that free us up to do what we came to do without being a stumbling block to the people around us.
Culture and language acquisition.
Then begins 2-3 years of what will be the most intense language learning we have ever done. The language that we go to will probably not have a written language. That means that we will develop an alphabet during this time and try to figure out the grammar so that we understand what words mean which things. During this time, we want to learn as much as we can about who these people are and where they’re coming from so that we will be able to communicate the gospel clearly to them when the time comes. Our goal is to learn this language just like we try to do everything else: as a family.
Once we as a team feel like we have a grasp on the language, we move into pre-teaching prep. This is where we begin developing literacy materials so that we can teach the people how to read and write their own language for the first time. We will also start translating different texts from the whole Bible so that we have something to teach from in their language when we start teaching them the Bible. This period of time will probably take about 6 months.
Well, it‘s been about 3-4 years at this point and now, NOW, we finally get to preach the gospel in their language! We get to teach them the whole counsel of God, from Genesis to the cross, over a period of about 6 months. This moment seems a long way off right now, but this moment is what we are preparing for today. It is for this moment that we think and plan and pray and trust the Lord.
Establish the church.
If God is merciful and creates a church in that tribe, then we will have the privilege of doing this. We want to go and leave behind a self-sustaining church. So, we do at this point what Grace Bible Church does here. Draw in, Build up, Send out. We want to raise up disciples and teach them all that the Bible says and then send them out.
We do have an end goal and here it is. We leave. Once the church is able to stand on its own feet, we let them. We will have been telling them since day 1 that we will someday leave and at this point, that day has come. So, we let them do what God has called them to do and keep praying and visiting the work that God has done in the hearts of the men and women and boys and girls we will one day meet in a tribe in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.And that’s it. Do you see what we mean by impossible? But, then again, the work He did in our own hearts was impossible. And He did it. So, we trust that He can do this.