Bad news, Good news, Good news

August 16, 2020

Our original timeline of events was as follows: Leave the US on August 30; arrive in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on September 2; quarantine at the New Tribes base in the highlands of Goroka for 2 weeks, and then begin what’s known as the E2 program. E2 stands for Equipping Stage 2. Equipping Stage 1 was our two years of training with New Tribes in Missouri. Equipping Stage 2 is the national language and culture training done in-country. The last and longest stage is E3 which starts with moving into a tribal location and ends with moving back out about 10 years later once a self-sustaining church has been established.

In the last couple weeks, Papua New Guinea’s coronavirus infection count has shot up rapidly. Given their poverty and weak healthcare system, stricter safety measures are being implemented. That means our E2 program wouldn’t be able to effectively engage us in the culture with the people.

That being said, leadership has made the decision to move our E2 start date to January 2021. The good news is that since we are fully supported and all our paperwork has been completed, we along with another family have made the decision to fly over and begin living in the country. The good good news is that we have purchased plane tickets with our new departure date in late September! New Tribes is very understaffed right now in Papua New Guinea, so we will be living on the missions base and helping to fill some of these support work positions that are vacant or overburdened. It’s crazy how the coronavirus is literally impacting the entire world, and we hate for us and for you who support us that our plans have changed several times, and yes, they could change again. Please pray that the international route we’ve purchased tickets for will stay open and we can make it over there. The three most commonly traveled routes to PNG have all shut down. So this is one of the last remaining.

There are two kinds of missionaries in our context: support and tribal. Tribal missionaries go into an unreached people group, learn the language, share the gospel etc. But support missionaries are equally “missionary.” Support missionaries work behind the scenes so that the tribal missionaries can stay in the village and focus solely on their work. Support missionaries do things like: Prepare PNG taxes, file paperwork with the government, take care of insurance, do accounting, buy food and medical supplies in the towns and load them on planes to fly to the villages, sort mail, print and bind literacy materials and Bibles. They are also pilots, maintenance and construction workers, nurses, IT workers, dentists, translation consultants and language evaluators. Obviously, we’re not qualified to fill many of these positions, but we can be trained to fill some of them in order to help the tribal missionaries currently in the villages.

We don’t know yet what support positions we’ll be helping with, but we are very much looking forward to finally getting to Papua New Guinea and getting to work! In the meantime while we wait until January, we’ll get acclimated to the country and climate, attend a national church and pick up some Tok Pisin (the National/Trade language) and culture along the way. It’ll be a good head start for our more formal E2 training. And we are truly more excited than disappointed with this new turn of events. We’ll keep you posted!