“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” -Romans 12:4-6a
When I was in second grade, I watched a documentary about a woman who was born without arms. She was able to do everything with her feet- pick out food at the grocery store, drink a cup of coffee, and even dress her baby girl. I was amazed at this documentary, and much to my mother’s chagrin, started trying to do everything with my feet. I had a lot of fun trying this out, but I never got as good as the woman in the documentary. While feet can serve in the place of hands when necessary, doing things like holding a pencil feel a lot more natural to hands. It is what they were designed to do. I think that is true for us as parts of the body of Christ too. Often we are called to serve in ways in which we are not particularly gifted, because there is a need there. However, God has designed each of us for the unique roles He intends for us to fill, and when we do them, it feels a lot more natural.
God has given us both an unquenchable passion for bringing the good news of Christ to people who have never heard it before. There is a whole team of people here in Papua New Guinea whose goal is to do just that- that’s why we came here. Our plan had been to fill the role of church planters on this team, but time and again the doors to do so have been closed. We are beginning to think that God wants to have us play a different role in the team than we expected. So what do we believe are our parts of the body of Christ, our roles on the team here in PNG? What has God uniquely gifted us to do?
We believe that God has given me (Karissa) the spiritual gifts of teaching and exhortation. One of the main reasons that missionaries leave the field is because of the needs of their kids. By teaching the children of missionaries, I can enable them to continue doing their ministries, knowing that their kids are being taken care of. By teaching kids who are PNG citizens, I can help give them a quality Christian education, teaching them to be literate critical thinkers, thereby raising up the next generation of PNG citizens to be able to reach others here. I am also excited about being a support missionary because I want to encourage and refresh missionaries when they come out from the bush.
We believe that God has given Matt the spiritual gifts of shepherding and mercy. This year Matt will start teaching most of the Bible classes at the school here. He is excited about teaching God’s truth and investing in the junior high and high school students. Another thing that Matt is passionate about is coming alongside of people, listening to them, and discipling them to be the people that God wants them to be. In addition to teaching Bible, Matt is very excited about being a support to other missionaries here, specifically through counseling. Missionaries deal with a lot of difficult things- crossing cultures, leaving family, navigating relationships with coworkers, undergoing traumatic situations, and more. They, just like other believers, often need someone to help them work through things. Matt has just been accepted to Liberty University, and plans to begin online classes in order to pursue a degree in counseling. Our dream is to be an encouragement to missionaries when they come out from bush places, as well as even flying into their locations to serve them.
So, all this to say, our goal remains the same- to spend our lives working to reach every tribe and tongue with the news of Jesus. However, we have decided to do this as support missionaries- serving as teachers and in caring for other missionaries. We have already shared why those roles are vital in enabling the church planting work here to continue, but we are also beginning to see how we are uniquely gifted to fill those roles. We continue to be thankful for your role on this team too- supporting and praying for us.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
– Missionaries are starting to return to PNG
– NCA is planning to start school in the fall
– Phase 1 teaching is going well in the Amdu and Wantakia tribes
– For missionaries to be able to continue to return to PNG, as it is not an easy process
– For rest for our family
– For the new believers in the Pei tribe, that they would grow in their faith