We love hearing from our team of supporters, especially our New Tribes Mission support team. The other day I received an email from one of our team members at NTM, asking some great questions about our experience so far in PNG. Here’s part of our conversation…
NTM: How often do field missionaries get supplies?
Some missionaries get supplies in sometimes as little as every three months. With limited pilots and aircraft, it’s hard to reach everyone. However, SIL has stepped in and helped NTM. We are so appreciative of them!
NTM: What are some of the missionaries’ reactions to Jon’s support?
Every translator or church planter who Jon has flown has said that they are so thankful for his coming! I have had people I don’t even know come up to me and say, “Your husband flew us out/into such and such village, or to Port Moreseby, etc. and he did such a great job!” Sometimes weather happens and people are stranded. The PNG weather system can sure keep the pilots guessing! But, Jon says the passengers all seem so grateful for their airplane rides. Some are fearful passengers and have expressed to Jon how much the Kodiak is a smooth flying plane and Jon did a great job of managing the bumps!
NTM: How hard it would be for the missionaries to get supplies if it weren’t for the airplane?
Oh goodness, we need aircraft here in PNG! It is so remote here. The “roads” we do have to drive on are in such bad condition that driving into locations is pretty much impossible. Not to mention the length of time it takes to get from A to B. The roads are windy, full of potholes, and not always passable. If it rains or there are landslides, then there is no chance to get in at all.
Our bridge to SIL Ukarumpa collapsed with a fuel tanker on top of it. The bridge was ready to fall at anytime it was so rickety, so it was no surprise. We expected it would take six months or more to fix it. That bridge was our access to the main road, so it complicated our ability to leave the center, to receive cargo and fuel. Praising God, the bridge rebuild happened within 2-3 weeks of it collapsing! Some say that’s unheard of! Only God!
NTM: What has Jon heard from tribal people who were grateful for the airplane bringing/taking cargo?
Jon will fly tribal people into/ out of a village and the PNG folks seem to be very happy (Tok Pisin: Ammamas means happy) to take an airplane ride. Jon has even transported their deceased loved ones back into their villages upon their family’s request so they can be buried back at their Tok Place.
We’ve been hearing updates from the Oggs in the Simbari, the Wrights in LaeLae, and others whose names I’ve forgotten. They’re all sharing about the long, and sometimes slow-going, task of translating, language learning, and teaching their villages. But, as Shari Ogg shared with us, there are some challenges, but God truly rewards the seeds planted when she came back from furlough (being a way from a while) to see Bible studies formed and people growing in their walks with God. And tribal people stepping up to help disciple their fellow PNG believers.
Some new-to-PNG church planters the Hambrice and Sanders families are excited about helping with PNG believers who have a desire to reach out to their fellow PNG non-believers. Now, that is exciting stuff to watch PNG folks desiring to see others have the same faith that they do! To learn how to trust in the One True God!
Thank you so much to our many, many supporters. Your prayers, encouragement, and financial support is such a valuable gift to us. Without your support, we couldn’t do what we do with sharing the Gospel across PNG!