As you know, we are back in South Africa after a 3year+ stint in PNG. Our main purpose is to have Madeleen settled in a special home for her called Camphill village. Check it out at – Camphill Village. Marie will soon write more about how she’s doing and also the rest of us as a family.
Let me start off with a great big thank you to all of you guys making it possible for us to serve in Papua New Guinea. We have been there 12 YEARS now, and it’s all due to God’s grace and provision through you guys!
This short letter serves as a quick reminder of what God has done through you guys!
TRAINING (2005 – 2006)
After being send out by the church in South Africa, we went to the UK where we received some specialised training to specifically plant churches in remote locations amongst tribal groups like the Mengen. This was great but it was our first taste of what it means to be away from home and the challenges of living amongst a different culture. It was also a huge financial challenge for us and our first step in faith, having to trust God to look after us financially.
It was during this time that we have seen how God will raise supporters for us and he started to raise up you guys to invest into His work.
PARTNERSHIP DEVELOPMENT (2006-2007)
Mature churches are what we are aiming at and one of the greatest privileges, I have is to work with mature church leaders into reaching new areas, and helping other needy churches. As you know, all of us want to finish our work well. Planted churches are just like children. Till the day we die, there is a maternal/paternal connection that drives us to want to see our children succeed. With that in mind, we are thinking past our full-time interaction and work towards positioning our church plants to continue to mature and grow in biblical truths and in everything pertaining to life and godliness. He is able.
I remember sitting on the plane back to South Africa, with Marie and holding her hand, talking about our year of partnership development. This is the time during which we develop a network of supporters to help us reach the unreached. It was like a huge mountain in front of us. But as usual God has been faithful and has provided us with you guys. I remember a phone call from a missionary telling us that they would like to support us, an they became our first financial supporters and has faithfully supported us over 12 years! We have two individuals and 4 local churches who have been supporting us for 12 years now!
There are many more between all of you who have faithfully supported us or prayed for us.
NCLA – NATIONAL CULTURE AND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION. (2007 – 2008)
This was an amazing year in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, during which we learned the national language called, “Tok Pisin” and also got introduced to the culture in PNG. This is also when Liam was born! The little guy sgrew up here in PNG and has proven to be such a blessing!
This time was also an opportunity for us to work in a support role and get an understanding of how our support team functions here in PNG.
After moving the Islands region we joined the Mengen work and moved into the village. Here we had to renovate a house we bought from a previous missionary, and equip it all with solar stuff, water system etc. Not just did you help us get settled, but you have kept us there by helping us maintain our airstrip, our generators, our solar systems, water systems etc etc.
None of this would be possible without you guys praying and financially contributing helping us!
TCLA – TRIBAL CULTURE AND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION (2008)
Slowly but surely we started the process of learning the Mengen language and Culture. Through Gods grace we learned the language and build fantastic relationships with the Mengen people. God used this time to prepare their hearts for the Gospel presentation.
Often these kind of times aren’t easy for supporters as they are investing time, prayer and finances without seeing any fruit yet. But thankfully we can look back and see that this was not a waste of time!
EVANGELISTIC TEACHING (2008 – 2009)
We build this very simple little bush house in which we taught about 80 Mengen adults evangelically from Genesis to Christ. Through this process we clearly taught them on Gods character, man’s sinfulness, Christs redemptive work and how they can obtain salvation through faith in Christ. The Mengen church was born.
God used your prayers and support to send us there and keep us there and also do a miraculous work in the Mengen people’s lives, without about 60 people trusting Christ for their salvation at that time.
LITERACY CLASSES (2009 – 2018)
It was also during this time that we developed the literacy program and also started to teach literacy. This was and still is a major part of our ministry as it teaches people to read Gods word, but also teach believers to inductively study Gods word. Its also a platform we use to train and disciple teachers and future deacons and elders. And finally it’s a platform we use to do pre evangelism, during which we challenge unbelievers and prepare communities to hear the gospel.
Due to your support you have helped us over the years to produce many literacy kits and booklets and many people have learned to read through your support!
TRANSLATION. (2003 – 2018)
Early on in our ministry amongst the Mengen, our co-workers started to work on the Mengen New Testament Translation. This has been a huge task which is still not completed but getting there. We have about 80% of the New Testament translated and checked and being used by the Mengen people. As soon as we have a booklet translated then we have them printed out and distributed amongst the Mengen believers.
Together with the literacy process as well as teaching and discipleship program you guys have made it possible for us to give an amazing tool into their hands!
DISCIPLESHIP (2009 – 2018)
When people hear the gospel and trust in Christ for their salvation then we start taking them on the long process of discipling them into maturity. We worked many years to tech and disciple the church through Acts, Romans, Ephesians, 1 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, Titus, 1 Thessalonians and Revelation. It’s taken us many years of hard work, teaching inductively through these books. Not just have we been teaching through these books, but also walking alongside believers and discipling them into these truths and seeing it becoming a reality in their lives.
You guys committed yourselves for the long run and supported u all the way through these tough times of persevering and discipling these young believers into maturity. Now we are also starting to see the fruit of this!
MISSIONARIES TO BOLOGO (2013)
After many years of teaching and discipleship and training, God allowed two families to move down to Bologo village as our first missionaries. This was a huge event, and these families have done a great job in faithfully teaching and discipling many believers into Christ and also starting and maintaining the literacy program. I lost count of the amount of trips I made to and from Bologo, mostly hiking but at times with a chopper and at times with a vehicle.
You guys made this possible and helped us plant a church there in that village.
MISSIONARIES TO SOI (2016)
Since the outreach to Bologo we had multiple requests to go to Soi village and we tried to postpone that for many years due to a lack in teachers to send. But after allot of pressure from Soi village we send Eddie and his family to move to Soi. Some you who have followed our news about the work in Soi will know that God has done just amazing things down there!
Again you guys helped us get this church plant of its feet, helped print curriculum, print literacy materials and helped me travel there and back by hiking, flying and vehicle.
CONNECTING THE CHURCH WITH THE BROADER CHURCH
Mature churches are what we are aiming at and one of the greatest privileges, I have is to work with mature church leaders into reaching new areas, and helping other needy churches. As you know, all of us want to finish our work well. Planted churches are just like children. Till the day we die, there is a maternal/paternal connection that drives us to want to see our children succeed. With that in mind, we are thinking past our full-time interaction and work towards positioning our church plants to continue to mature and grow in biblical truths and in everything pertaining to life and godliness.
You guys have helped us in helping the Mengen Church connect with other mature churches and we are seeing a closer interaction between these churches which contributes to maturity and sustainability.
ONLY SKIMMING THE SURFACE…..
When trying to give a “short” account of the effect your support had on the Mengen people and the people in Papua New Guinea, I can only skim the surface. I don’t mention:
– Helping us home-school our kids.
– Helping us medically as doctors and dentists and paying for our medical insurance.
– Helping us come home and looking after us while back in SA every few years.
– Helping with settling Madeleen at Camphill.
– Helping the Mengen people medically
– Helping the Mengen people socially for example with a Kakau project or chainsaw or solar lights or solar listening devices etc etc.
I am just going to end by saying THANK YOU! We are privelaged to be your partners!