|Supporting Tribal Church Planting in Papua New Guinea|
|“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20Why didn’t Jesus just “Zoom” in?This pandemic has changed a lot of things about how people interact. One thing that has changed is the rising popularity of digital meetings, reunions, and chats. However, as much of a blessing as the ability to video chat is, I think everyone would agree that it’s no substitute for the real thing. There are numerous articles out there about “zoom fatigue” and the toll that staring at a screen rather than a real person takes on us. There are subtle visual cues that we miss by not being present with someone, and there is a shared trust that is built when we physically share a space. There simply is no substitute for face to face communication. As missionaries, we have been thankful for digital communication these past 4 1/2 years. However, we have also had the blessing of having 5 different family members come to visit us in PNG. We feel like those family members understand us and our lives in a deeper way because they have been here with us.|
As the world gets more connected, many wonder if the idea of sending missionaries to foreign countries is becoming obsolete. Wouldn’t it be better just to send money to train local believers, produce audio Bibles, or facilitate video trainings? Do we really need missionaries on the ground, struggling each day in a culture not their own, working to bring the gospel to unreached places? There are several reasons why missionaries are still needed, the biggest one being that in unreached people groups, THERE ARE NO LOCAL BELIEVERS TO TRAIN! That’s why they need believers to go there and learn their language and culture. In Papua New Guinea, there are over 800 distinct language groups, and sending a missionary from one language group to another is actually far more complicated than sending a foreign missionary (although that is a long term goal), and even that requires foreign believers to actually come and help local believers. Methodology questions aside, there simply is no substitute for being with someone. The biggest need is not more money, programs, or training to spread the gospel- it is more people to spread the gospel.
Jesus told us to “GO into all the world and preach the gospel.” I think that His command still stands, and He ended with the great encouragement that He would be “with us.” New Tribes Mission is unique in the way that our bush missionaries actually live full time in the village in which they serve. That is their home, and they are with the people day in and day out, cooking with them, working with them, and eating with them. They are experiencing what their lives are like, so they can understand their concerns, struggles, and joys. They can pick up on subtle cultural cues and know how to accurately translate God’s Word in a way that will speak to them. There is no substitute for showing God’s love through life-on-life discipleship. No brilliant program can replace unbelievers getting to see God’s love through their neighbors. So, yes, we still need missionaries to actually go to unreached places to share the Word of God. Jesus didn’t just “Zoom in,” and neither should we.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
We are so thankful to have children’s church again!
– We’ve had many answered prayers lately
– We’ve been enjoying leading our small group again
– We are almost done with term 3 of school
– Missionaries continue to return to the country
Ty with some creations of his
Matt hard at work in his office
– that Karissa can do a good job teaching
– for endurance for Matt in his work
– for details to come together as we prepare for home assignment
|What are we supporting? This month’s tribal focus:Pray for the Dinangat people. The Dinangat church is now thriving on their own, and the missionaries have moved out of the tribe, just visiting and supporting them from time to time. They are doing outreaches to other villages within their language group. After a recent outreach, 19 people put their trust in Christ! They have also just heard that a village that was previously resistant to the gospel is now asking for the Dinangat believers to come and teach them God’s Word! Pray for open doors and open hearts.|