2 years ago today, July 24th, we first landed in Papua New Guinea!
Take this short QUIZ about our first 2 years in PNG! Let's see how you do:
As you know, it's been a very full two years ~ full of learning, full of change, and full of travel. Here is a whirlcap**** of our first 2 years in Papua New Guinea.
We spent our first 4 months in PNG learning the national/trade language, Tok Pisin, and familiarizing ourselves with some of the general culture of PNG*. Following this, we moved to another region of PNG to familiarize ourselves with the many areas of support that NTM missionaries provide to tribal (bush) missionaries.
We then flew to a far out** region to visit a tribe, Tigak, that already had a small church, for our Bush Orientation, to 'finish' learning Tok Pisin and experience tribal living firsthand. This tribal work had recently lost a missionary family, and so after many hours of discussions about philosophy of ministry, values, and other important areas, the missionaries asked if we would consider joining the team. We agreed to pray about and consider this opportunity. In February 2015, after seeking the Lord and asking for much wisdom and counsel from many other believers, we joined the Tigak team!
We took about a month to make preparations for moving in to the tribe, then flew out to the Islands region for the missionary conference, and following the conference we moved in to the Tigak tribe. We have been living among them for just over a year now (1.5 years if we count our 2 months there for Bush Orientation).
In this last year, we've been learning the Tigak language and culture. Our consultant told us, at our most recent CLA evaluation, that he believes we can be finished learning the language in about 1 year's time. So that is our rough goal!
In addition to CLA, because there are believers, we have also been involved in discipleship (using much Tok Pisin, which is not ideal but which is understood relatively well by the people), especially Noe. Lisa gets out when she can to visit with the ladies. Noe gets out often to visit with the men, and he is also meeting weekly with the one man who is currently able*** to do the Bible teaching on Sunday mornings.
Our desire is to 'finish' learning the Tigak language quickly and thoroughly, so that we can most effectively minister to the believers (and unbelievers). While it is true that most of them on our island are able to speak and understand Tok Pisin, the tribal language is still very strong and it resonates more deeply for them than Tok Pisin does (just as YOUR heart language does with you, even if you have learned a second language). We also desire to continue learning more and more culture, so we can best understand 'why they do what they do'. We've noticed several occasions where "old, animistic" beliefs or values still capture the thoughts of both believers and unbelievers. We hope that the believers will continue to grow in their faith and in their knowledge, understanding, and love for God and His Word. It is only through this that these "old, animistic" ways of thinking will truly be cast aside.
Thank you for standing with us these past 2 years (and longer!) in prayer, financial, and moral support! We press on with you at our side, to see Christ Jesus continue to build His Church among the Tigak people of Papua New Guinea.
~Noe, Lisa, Naya and Jocie
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*There are over 800 distinct languages in PNG, and each one of these language groups maintains their own cultural beliefs, values, and behaviors.
**Far out, not in the way the hippies used it... just far out as in, a long loooooooooong way away.
***Able, according to the qualifications laid out in Scripture, such is in 1 Timothy.
****A whirlcap is an attempt to recap for you what our past 2 years has been like in the speed and efficiency of a whirlwind... (Example: "The missionaries on furlough were given 3-5 minutes to whirlcap the past few years of ministry.") Chuckle, chuckle. :)