The Ganka Family
Terry & Melinda, Jay, Tyler, & John
The summer of 2018 was certainly a life changer. As the year progressed, we both felt that change was coming in our lives. As we explored and discussed this season of change, it was clear that God was leading us toward something bigger than ourselves. We had been volunteering and serving in the church and community for some years, but through Sunday and radio sermons, daily devotionals, friend’s unknowing conversations, and scripture, the Lord began to move our hearts to help spread the Gospel elsewhere in the world .
This revelation was a jaw dropper for us. We would have NEVER considered this for ourselves in a million years. After all, we don’t feel like the typical missionary type. In our uninformed minds, missionary work was for pastors and saints. But we were corrected. With the perspective that the world outside the church walls IS the mission field, and our desire for helping and mentoring people in their search for a real relationship with Jesus Christ, we saw we weren’t too far from the missionary type. Speaking with our elders and pastor, we were encouraged and reassured that the Lord asks for the willing servant, not the perfect clergy. And that through Him our skills, testimony, passions, and even failures can be used to glorify HIM. We searched the Lord’s will and felt lead to help the church planting and translating ministries in Papua New Guinea. Already knowing friends serving as missionaries in Papua New Guinea, we reached out to their sending organization, Ethnos360, and subsequently started the application process with the organization.
Ethnos 360’s mission is to share the good news of the gospel to all people groups, translating the Bible into each spoken, or heart, language and helping them establish native churches. They train missionaries from local churches and send them around the world, including Papua New Guinea. Worldwide, there are over 6500 people groups with 2500 considered unreached and living without the Gospel. We want to follow the Lords call to use our home and workplace skills to support Ethnos360 in the mission of reaching the unreached and establishing a thriving church for every people.
As of April 1, 2019, we have been commissioned to serve as missionaries in Papua New Guinea through Ethnos360. Finding the right organization and applying with them was the first step. The second was finding the right role to serve within the organization. And through our friends in Papua New Guinea and through the Ethnos360 organization, we became aware of the need for a Flight Coordinator in Goroka, PNG, supporting Ethnos360 Aviation. There are few connecting roads in Papua New Guinea, so reaching remote villages is typically done by foot though the jungle. Because of this, transporting missionaries and mission supplies, humanitarian aid, and medical transportation can be a real challenge. It takes 4 minutes to fly the same route that can be hiked in 4 hours. In 45 minutes, aircraft can fly the distance it would take one week to hike. Without the support of the aviation division in this remote area of the world, the people doing the great works of church planting, evangelism and translating would be isolated from supplies and emergency evacuations.
As Flight Coordinator in PNG, Terry will help coordinate flights for the three fixed-wing airplanes and one helicopter. Melinda will serve as an Administrative Assistant in the support center Business Office. By serving in these roles, we can help meet the needs of the field missionaries as well as the people of Papua New Guinea.
As you can imagine, we are very excited, but pretty nervous, too. As Associate missionaries, we support career, or life-long, missionaries in the field. The duration of our service is no less than six months and no more than four years. It is our family plan to serve with Ethnos360 for four years. The boys are very excited to go, as they already have friends waiting for them in Papua New Guinea.
We feel like dare-devils peering over the Grand Canyon, about to attempt a jump with our motorcycle, but it is not by chance! This is the greatest challenge we have ever faced, and we are trusting God with this new venture because He is calling us to it. But we realize. . . we need your help! Just as we are joining a team, we also need to build a support team. We are in need of monthly prayer and financial partners. And by partners, we truly mean it. We know that many have the desire to serve, but not everyone has the chance to go. By partnering with us in this ministry, you can share in the work of the Great Commission through Ethnos360 by sharing the Gospel with all people groups. Please pray and consider if God is calling you to partner with us in this ministry.