Goodbye to the Patpatar
After over 14 years in the tribe, we are saying goodbye to our Patpatar friends and family.
In 2003, we move into a the village not knowing the Patpatar language and culture. Our goal was to learn from them and build relationships. We wanted to be able to eventually create a literacy program in their own language to teach them how to read and write. We wanted to be able to translate God’s Word into their own heart language for them to read. We wanted to teach the Bible and see a church established that could thrive.
Those goals have been and are being met.
- In literacy: Four separate literacy programs have been created to cater to young and old from beginner readers to advanced. Materials have been provided and teachers have been trained.
- In translation: The New Testament had been completed by SIL and has been a huge resource. We have continued as a team to work on Old Testament portions and have initial translation goals complete. Now, there are some other passages we would like to translate and are continuing to work on them as we are able.
- In the church: There is a solid core of Christians growing as the Body of Christ. They have been taught through the major portions of the Bible and are standing strong in the truth. Over 20 book have been written and translated into Patpatar to provide curriculum, tools, and resources. They have been equipped to continue to study God’s Word for themselves to be able to spiritually feed their families and the church. Elders and deacons have been appointed. They no longer need us there full time.
It is time for us to say goodbye. Our goal has always been to work ourselves out of a job. We have always wanted to see the Patpatar church established and standing strong without relying on the missionary—that is happening. In May, we gave away our house, said goodbye to the church, and moved out of the tribe. We also had to say goodbye to Madonna, our coworker for the last 8 years, as she headed back to Australia to help her family as a foster parent to her sisters children.
We are not gone from Patpatar forever. We will continue to go back and visit and have extended stays in the village. We will continue to work on translation and tools. We will continue to encourage the church and help as we can, but we have closed the chapter on full time living in the village.
Hello to other places and opportunities
Having been through the process and as a consultant, I along with my wife are able to come alongside others and encourage and equip them with their ministries. In the last two months we have been in four different people groups to help other missionaries accomplish their goals.
Two of the locations had missionaries still learning the culture and language of the people group they are working among. In one of the two, I was able to give them their final evaluation and test and confirm they were fluent and could now begin to engage full time in teaching and discipleship for the church. The other two locations have brand new churches where the missionaries have been working and teaching. We were able to travel to those places with some Patpatar Christians to see how they were doing and to help give some direction for the early church.
For the last three weeks our family has been part of the staff for the Interface program in Papua New Guinea (https://ethnos360.org/mission-trips/interface) teaching college-age students about how to do missions to the least reached people groups of the world. We are involved in their lives by teaching daily classes including Bible, language, and strategy, along with giving assignments and taking them on outings to the local villages. It has been a blast.
Goodbye to New Tribes Mission…the name
In 1942, New Tribes Mission was founded with the vision to risk everything for Christ in order reach every tribe. That vision to go to the least reached people groups of the world remains, but with the ever changing dynamic on the world stage a new name could better explain our purpose.
“Ethnos360 is the name that anchors us to our foundations and points us to our vision.
Ethnos is the ‘nations’ that Christ referred to when He commanded His followers to ‘make disciples of all nations.’
360 represents the entirety of the globe — all 360 degrees. Our goal is to go wherever in the world is necessary to see a thriving church for every people, not only to focus on one particular type of people group.”
So we have said good bye to the name New Tribes Mission and hello to Ethnos360. https://ethnos360.org
Hello to You
In the last 16 years nearly 14 of them have been spent in Papua New Guinea. It has been over four years since our last time in the United States as a family and we headed back home soon for our “Home Assignment” or furlough.
We will arrive in Oklahoma the middle of July and spend the first several weeks near Lori’s family reconnecting and meeting with churches in the area. At the end of August we will head to Sioux City where we will be based during the school year. During that time we will be traveling a bit to reconnect with our support base and will be continuing to work remotely on things for the Patpatar and our other ministries in Papua New Guinea.
We are so thankful to the Lord for this term we are finishing and for the many great things He has done. We look forward to seeing many of you that stand behind us and having the chance to say “hello” in person. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Aaron and Lori, Avalon, Sierra, Kylee and Briella
Working with the Patpatar people and equipping missionaries in PNG