WE ARE PAUL & ELLEN SWENSON AND OUR CHILDREN: SAM, HAZEN, NOAH, AND EMMANUELLA.
Our Desire: To work with a group of people that doesn’t have the Bible in their native language and to see God establish a church there.
Who are we?
Our family is from northeastern Vermont. Ellen and I both believed in Christ at young ages. In the year 2000, we both graduated from Cedarville University with high school teaching degrees and got married that summer. After getting married we lived in NH, then we moved back to Vermont. We became involved in our church and I worked in Ellen’s family’s electrical supply company (Green Mountain Electric Supply) in sales and management from 2001 to 2014. Over the years our family grew with Sam, Hazen, and Noah. Once our boys were in school, Ellen taught at United Christian Academy in Newport, VT. In 2013 Emmanuella joined our family when we adopted her from Ghana.
In late 2012/early 2013, we were praying for friends of ours who were training to be tribal church planters with Ethnos360 (formerly New Tribes Mission). In April 2013, we went to Ethnos360’s exposure program in Pennsylvania called Wayumi so that we could better understand what tribal church planting is and to see if that was something God was leading us toward. After leaving Wayumi, we were ready to say as a family that we would go as God opened the doors for us. God faithfully opened doors for us to be able to go. We had the privilege of training at Ethnos Canada’s training center, Emanate, and we graduated in December of 2015.
In January of 2017 we moved to Papua New Guinea to be part of a church planting team there. After finishing our field orientation in July of 2017, we remained at the field orientation center to help facilitate the next two orientation classes. In May of 2018, we joined the Tanguat work. The Tanguat work began in 2011 with missionaries partnering with the Inapang church to reach the Tanguat language group of about 1,500 people. In 2017, the Inapang church elders requested help for the Tanguat work as they had lost one of the two missionaries that were helping them with translation and Bible lessons. The Inapang elders were also seeing a great need for discipleship for the young Tanguat church as the Gospel was presented in 2015, but there was no one available to invest in the discipleship of the believers. A group of men who were bilingual had started off with discipleship but had fallen away from the Lord. Our family and Derek and Chantal Chen
and their family joined Promise Vaughan and the Inapang church to see the Tanguat church brought to maturity. We are currently involved in culture and language acquisition and we look forward to the day when we can be actively involved in Bible lesson development, translation, discipleship, and helping train the young Tanguat church to be able to take the Gospel to the other Tanguat villages who have yet to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Why are we going?
In Revelation 5:9 there is the statement that Christ has purchased people from every tribe, language, nation and people and in Revelation 7:9-10 we see a picture of them worshiping Christ together. God used those verses to get us specifically thinking about those who don’t have access to the Bible in their own language and don’t have a knowledge of who He is. Statistics were another way that God challenged us to go. In the world today there are about 6,900 different languages; of those languages there are about 2,000 that have no access to any part of the Bible in their language. In English we are blessed to have hundreds of different versions of the Bible, but there are still so many language groups in the world with no Bible at all!
We as a family are thankful to be a part of what God is doing through His church to reach the unreached. While it is very challenging, we are glad we are part of a team with the goals of learning the language and culture, teaching literacy, translating the Bible, teaching Bible lessons, discipling the believers, and training leaders that God would raise up to lead the local church. This takes MANY years and requires great sacrifice from us (the church), but it is something that we would hope would be done for us if we were unreached.