We are getting ready to go back to Papua New Guinea soon, and I thought it would be good to give you guys a bit of information on what our plans look like for the next term. A term would mean about 2 years for us, as we are needing to settle Naomi back into our home country in 2021. So what are the next 2 years looking like for us?
What have been accomplished?
Lets us first start with what we have accomplished up to now, through God’s grace and your support.
Through God’s grace we have come a long way:
1) You have discipled and equipped us back home (1996-2004),
2) then supported us as we went through our training in the UK (2005-2006),
3) helped allocate us in Papua New Guinea (2006-2008),
4) then helped allocate us in the bush amongst the Mengen (2009),
5) then helped us learn language (2009-2010),
6) then start literacy (2010),
7) then teach evangelically (2010),
8) and bring the church to maturity (2010 – 2019)
10) which included:
– translating the New Testament,
– curriculum development,
– long term discipleship
– and new church plants in new areas.
Through your prayers and support we today have an evangelical church planted amongst the Mengen people.
What is our ultimate goal?
Our ultimate goal is far beyond initial evangelism. Based on Gods purpose for humanty and His example and commission through Christ and teh apostles, our ultimate goal is to see a group of people come to saving faith in Christ, and then grow in maturity to a point that they are self-sufficient and reproducing themselves, to Gods glory.
We see a mature church as a church that functions well in the following areas.
– Word –They have Gods Word in their own language. They understand it to be authoritive and they can read, interpret and apply it well, and teach others to do the same.
– Identity –They understand their new identity in Christ based on their faith in Christ for their salvation, as well as their identity as the body of Christ here on earth.
– Life –Compelled by the love of Christ they are living life’s dedicated to Christ.
– Discipleship –Compelled by the love of Christ they are reaching out to their own, evangelizing and discipling them into maturity. This happens cross culturally as well.
Only when we see these characteristics being fulfilled within the church, and that the church can duplicate itself self-sufficiently, then do we start talking about a mature church.
Where are we now?
If we evaluate the Mengen church and look at these 4 areas I mentioned above, then we are starting to see growth towards maturity, although we are not all together there yet. Me and Marie planned an intentional absence from the tribe during our previous term. The purpose of this was to see how the church does without our permanent presence. This time showed some gaps and areas that needs attention.
We are thankful for my co-workers who returned to the work after a 6-year absence, as they will be able to help address some of these needs.
We hold on to Gods picture of planting and watering, and also view our work amongst the Mengen in that way. We have planted and are watering, but we also have coworkers who can continue with this, as well as other national churches and believers.
What’s our plans when we return?
6-month evaluation –When we return, we will take 6 months to evaluate what our role will be within the Mengen church. We will be staying on our support center from where I will visit the Mengen church and outreaches, as well as the other mature churches in our region. During this time, we will do an evaluation of our church plant and also dialogue with other mature church leaders about possibly partnering with them.
Curriculum development –During this time I will work on some revisions in our curriculum, to try and get that ready for Simon and our Mengen leaders to use. As you know we have completed our New Testament translation and I might work on preparing the Old Testament portions for checks.
Liaison role –If we decide to partner with the national leaders then my role will be to focus on finding ways to equip them to shepherd the broader church, especially in New Britain and New Ireland. I am very excited about this possible ministry as this brings us into the next level of church planting beyond the local church. Now we are starting to see these local churches partnering with each other across cultural boundaries and starting to function as one body. This strategy would involve the following:
– Traveling and building solid relationshipswith all the phased-out churches as well as current works in New Britain and New Ireland.
– Working with a core groupof elders in evaluating the maturity and needs of these churches.
– Facilitating ways to address the needsamong the churches, by having healthier churches reaching out and equipping churches with needs.
– Equipping the nationalchurch to reach out cross culturally into new areas.
There are many other amazing possibilities and challenges in all of this for example:
– finding ways to engage with the already existing national churchin PNG.
– finding ways to establish a presence within urban communitiesin PNG.
– finding ways to disciple and equip the national church to handle the “infrastructure” needed to sustain the work.
– and ultimately working towards exiting from New Britain(very long term goal).
As you can imagine this is a daunting task, but very exciting, especially as we know that God will equip us.
Keep on praying
Please keep on praying for us as we move into the next level of church planting, working towards having the national church in Papua New Guinea, taking this task of shepherding Gods Church on themselves.
Will you consider supporting us?
– Will you consider financially supporting this effort amongst the Mengens and people of New Britain and New Ireland? Check out this link: Financial supporting the Laureti’s
– And if you are from South Africa then you can make donations into the following account, Standard bank account at the account number – 238403122.