Its been over two months since we officially resigned from our work among the Tigak in Papua New Guinea. This transition has felt like a lifetime as it has been one of the most challenging things we have ever faced. We loved the Tigak, had great fellowship with our co-workers and felt confident that we would be used by the Lord to be a part of Him bringing the Tigak church to maturity.
Through this transition we have cried many tears, felt discouragement in new ways, experienced anger on some occasions and deep sadness on most. We have written countless emails to individuals and groups of people all over the world, made and received painful phone calls, opened ourselves up to public criticism in an area that most people would consider deeply private (and received it in some cases). It has been a time of disorientation and great stress.
At the same time, the Lord has provided so much support for us, mainly through our family and through our home church.
Our families, specifically my sister and her family and Beth’s parents and sister and her husband, have provided a lot of practical support and helped us process through this decision in ways that only family can. The pastors and elders of our church have also been a huge support in supporting our family in our decision. Through our home church as a whole, we have found the love and support we needed to process this change and take some next steps.
Most of our supporters have stuck with us through this difficult time as well, which has been a great encouragement to us and has been something the Lord has used to help make it clear that He desires us to continue pressing on in service to Him. Many of our friends and supporters have gone above and beyond in being a huge source of encouragement. We have also received continual strength through God’s Word and reminders of His truth and sovereignty through trusted and wise counselors.
“I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.” -Hebrews 13.5
Why am I sharing all of this? Because this difficult trial has shown us once again how much we need Him; how dependent we are on the Lord. It has shown us afresh that we are loved and cared for by Him, and how in these times of confusion and heartache, He uses His Word, His Spirit and His body, the church, to bring us through. He has has not abandoned us. We still grieve of course, and will continue to. We may never know why He has allowed what He has in this transition, but we can trust in His love and care, and His sovereignty in knowing what is best for our family, the Tigak church, our co-workers and those we seek to serve in the days ahead.
It is because of all of this, and because we are committed to the spread of the gospel where it has never been, that we are excited to share with you our final decision we have made regarding our future:
After lots and lots of prayer, seeking wise counsel and research, we have applied to join the NTM field of Mexico and have been officially accepted! With over 113 million people, the country of Mexico is home to many language groups, many of which remain without access to a clear gospel witness. We are excited to head in this direction and look forward to learning more about how we can fit into the work going on down there.
This is also exciting news for our family because Beth’s sister Chrissy and her husband Don and our little niece Lily are also moving down to Mexico this coming week to serve in ministry! We’re excited that the Lord has opened up a door to be nearer to them.
We are unsure at this point of our exact timeline. As it is with everything we trust the Lord with, we are unsure of how He will work and how quickly He will choose to provide our needs. So we are making plans and trusting in His timing!
In the next few weeks I will heading back to Papua New Guinea to pack up our house and say goodbye to the Tigak church. Please pray for this trip as it will be very emotional and difficult for me. Our family is trusting the Lord that this time will bring helpful closure through good time spent with our Tigak friends and honest and loving conversations. No matter how difficult, our primary goal is that this difficult trip will bring glory to God.
Upon my return from PNG we will be raising a one time start up cost, which will include the needed purchase of a reliable, family-sized vehicle. Keep your eyes out for more updates on that in the weeks ahead.
As always, please feel free to email us and ask any lingering questions you might have!