En Route to Papua New Guinea
Thank you for joining me on this journey of faith. Thank you for praying for me, and thank you for praying for this amazing ministry in Papua New Guinea. It is God’s work, and we are privileged to be His hands and feet!!
“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'”
To understand the vision behind the Ramu Valley Academy, watch this 2 minute video that was created as plans for the school were just getting underway.
My Journey to the Jungle
Well, not quite the jungle. I’ll be living in a mission center on the coast in Madang province. But it is definitely a verdant place full of the beauty of God’s creation! From a quick glance at the PNG bird guides I ordered (yeah, those are the first things I got!), there will likely be cockatoos, lorikeets, and all other manner of birdlife! 🙂
My brief testimony:
I was raised in church and made a profession of faith and was baptized when I was 8 years old. I had a relatively solid scriptural foundation and began reading my Bible daily at about the age of 12. Active in several youth groups, I continued that pattern with a Christian organization in college and grad school.
But it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that the Holy Spirit truly regenerated me. God in His sovereignty had brought me to Grace Community Church in Maryville, Tennessee. Over the next several years of excellent teaching and study, I became aware of my own depraved nature and the depth of my sin, realizing my dire need for a Savior (Romans 3:10-12, 23; 1 John 2:15-17). What had always been head knowledge finally became heart knowledge, and I became a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
My identity that was once grounded in my career and passion for God’s creation was completely turned on its head. No longer was I a bird biologist and educator who just happened to be a Christian. Instead, I was first and foremost a follower of Christ who just happened to be a bird biologist and educator. The Lord gave me a passion for sharing the gospel and began to develop in me a desire to work in full-time ministry.
Through a series of difficult circumstances, I had to leave my dream job in the Smokies and my beloved church family in Tennessee. Even though I relocated to West Virginia for a new job, God in His grace and mercy was faithful and provided for me every step of the way.
Now, as I prepare to leave my new job and church here in Virginia, and even though it will be a very difficult sacrifice, I know from experience that God will always provide because He is faithful, even when we are not. I want to be obedient to this calling!
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
What is this calling??
From the first time I heard of Bill and Kelley’s work in Papua New Guinea over 10 years ago, I felt irresistibly drawn to engage with their ministry in some way.
They lived in a remote village with the Inapang people, learning the language and getting to know the people and the culture, for 2 years before they started teaching them about Christ through God’s word.
Check out this 8 minute video to learn more about the ongoing ministry among the tribes of the Ramu Valley.
Now, almost 20 years later, there are 7 thriving churches among the villages of the Inapang, planted by redeemed local believers. Those churches are now in the process of reaching out to three neighboring tribes who speak different languages and have different cultures, and new disciples of Christ are emerging.
None of these tribes had access to a Bible in their own language and their languages weren’t written down. Training in literacy and translation of Scripture is currently ongoing, and the people are so grateful every time a new book is finished. Imagine not having access to the entirety of God’s word in your language!
Training the next generation of believers:
Ramu Valley Academy is the first of its kind in the Ramu Valley. It’s a boarding school specifically for tribal students from the villages of the Ramu, who have rarely had access to quality education.
Our prayer is that these students will return to their villages with the Light of the gospel and be Godly leaders in their country. They are already such encouragers for their friends and family at home who are continually facing false teaching and opposition.
In 2018, when I first heard about Bill and Kelley’s plans to open up the school, I immediately felt called to teach there. They are in their second year now, with 7th and 8th graders in attendance. The plan is to add a grade each year.
So when I sent them a message this past March saying that I’m still interested in their ministry and would love to teach a ‘short course’ in ecology or natural history sometime…it was both a shock and very obvious calling when Kelley wrote me back a few days later saying something like, “I went to bed a little anxious last night because we just found out our science teacher is leaving soon. Then I woke up and read your message!”
I took about 1.5 months to think and pray about it, but I really had my answer immediately. I spoke with several elders from Grace Community Church (officially my ‘sending church’), then with Bill and Kelley. After they received references from my elders and read over my self evaluation and resume, they affirmed that they would like to have me join their ministry team in PNG.
From that moment until now, my life has been a roller coaster of emotion, preparation, notarized forms, peeling away idols of the heart, intense missionary training, reading, hundreds of questions thrown at my friends in PNG, somehow still working my full time job, and most importantly, fervent prayer and seeking the Lord through study of His word.
“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
How can I get involved?
I’m glad you asked! 😉
The most crucial thing you can do is PRAY.
Will you commit to being a prayer partner?
I’ll usually include prayer requests at the bottom of my newsletters. Please pray with me for the Lord to work in the lives of these students, their families and friends, and in the nation of Papua New Guinea. May our prayers be as incense before the throne of Grace!
You can GIVE
Will you prayerfully consider partnering with me financially?
I am deeply grateful for all of you who have already generously given or committed to give towards God’s work in Papua New Guinea.
I need to raise about $2500 a month to be fully supported on the mission field. Monthly contributions are welcome, as are one-time gifts of any amount.
Check out the birdie chart below…Will you adopt a birdie? 🙂
You may pay by credit card, check, or set up an Electronic Funds Transfer to be withdrawn directly from your account (preferred by our finance department, and you also won’t be asked if you want to pay the credit card processing fee).
Important: If you feel led to become a monthly donor, please consider beginning your contributions in August. I plan to leave in January and will need to begin relying on my ministry support beginning in November.
- Humility and trust as I raise financial support
- An affordable (or free!) place to store my furniture and belongings
- The mission team from Maryville, TN had a fruitful and encouraging time in PNG!! They encouraged the Housley’s, made several presentations for the RVA students on various topics, and made great progress on building ‘my’ house!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!
- God has provided a loving home for Benny the bunny and a splendid long-term foster home for Rico the parrot. 🙂