How we got to where we are today . . .
Rick spent his early years in Pennsylvania. When he was a preteen, his parents decided to become missionaries with New Tribes Mission. As a 10 year old, Rick accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Rick spent his teenage years with his family among the Mouk (rhymes with coke) tribe in Papua New Guinea. There he saw the need that the lost have for the Gospel and the amazing power that a relationship with Jesus Christ has to change lives.
Anji grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. As a young teenager she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior during a series of revival meetings in her home church. She was exposed to missions during short term mission trips. On NTM’s Interface program she saw the need and discovered some interests and abilities that she might not have otherwise known about.
Rick & Anji met at Messiah College and were married in 1993. Over the intervening years Rick worked in the Used & Antiquarian Book business and Anji taught English at a public school. During this time they were active members in their home church and continued their strong interest in missions.
Training With NTM
Both Rick & Anji graduated with bachelor degrees from Messiah College. They have also continued their training through a variety of courses offered through their home church.
In 2001, 10 days after Kira was born, they entered the training provided by New Tribes Mission. The first year focused on cross-cultural church planting and the next year and a half focused on the skills needed to learn and analyze an unwritten language and culture. During this time Keane joined their family as well. They graduated from New Tribes Language Institute in December 2003. During this time God had planted a desire in their hearts to help tribal people reach out to other tribes.
On the Field
First Term: After 6 months of partnership development, the family headed to the Island’s Region of Papua New Guinea. There they began field orientation and learning the national trade language. As they were finishing field orientation, the Mouk church elders asked NTM to send missionaries to help them in their outreach to the Lusi, particularly in the area of Bible translation. Rick, New Tribes leadership, and Mouk leaders participated in two surveys of the Lusi people. In May 2006 they moved into the tribe. In August 2006 they began language & culture learning. In July 2009 they passed their final language check and developed a literacy program for the Lusi. They also taught their Mouk co-workers to type. After a year of Home Assignment in 2010 they returned to the field in 2011.
Second Term: They began working on translating the Bible into the Lusi language. They completed all passages needed for Phase 1, 2, and 3 of the Chronological Teaching Program. This includes portions of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Kings, Psalms, Isaiah (and other OT prophecies of the Messiah), Jonah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. Meanwhile their Mouk co-workers were writing the Lusi Bible Lessons, and in 2013 began the first outreaches to a small group of Lusi completely in the Lusi language. After Rick & Anji attended a workshop on translating the Epistles in fall of 2013, they translated the book of Romans. There were further outreaches in 2014 resulting in the growth of the Lusi church.
One of the things Rick & Anji did not expect to do, but God had other plans, was the developing of a How to Learn A Language and Culture Class for Mouk believers who wanted more tools to help them reach out to other tribal groups where they didn’t already know the language or the culture. The class began in 2012 with 3 students and grew to 15. We developed 4 language and culture learning books in the trade language to use with tribal language and culture learners. As a result today, there are 15 Mouk missionaries who have gone through the class, and are currently going to 3 language groups.
Long Term: Our desire is to assist the Mouk elders as they work to plant churches among the Lusi and other people groups in Papua New Guinea. Because this is a Mouk outreach and we want them to retain ownership, we seek to assist them with training, technology, resources, and translation and by not taking over any of the work that they can do for themselves.
This Next Term of 4 years: Two main goals — 1) Continue translation of the books of the Bible that support the Chronological teaching program. 2) Continue training Mouk elders to type so that they are better equipped to write Bible Lessons, whether in Mouk or in other languages.