Editor’s Note: Papua New Guinea, located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, is one of the most culturally and biologically diverse countries on earth. More than 830 languages are spoken here and there are at least as many traditional societies existing within this land of seven million people. It is also mostly rural, as only 13 percent of its people live in urban centres. The country is one of the world’s least explored, and many undiscovered species of plants and animals are thought to exist here. It is only in the most deeply inaccessible regions of the country that enclaves of traditionally nomadic peoples still exist. Every Home for Christ has been in Papua New Guinea since 1987, and the following report by an EHC worker describes some of the challenges our pioneer missionaries face in this nation as well as the excitement that transpires in knowing people are coming to Christ in this needy land.
I must tell you that since becoming involved in this work I have never been through such unusual experiences in my life! Even on my first journey into the dangerous Wapanamada settlements for home-to-home evangelism, my faith and courage were tested. I was quickly surrounded by a fierce pack of huge dogs and I truly feared for my life. I am sure this is how Daniel must have felt in the lions’ den. But for some unexplainable reason, the dogs stopped in their tracks and not even one bit me. God rescued me and I was completely safe.
Some days later, in that same district, I came upon three gunmen and was informed that I had wandered into a battlefield. I was shocked. No one told me there was fighting in that area. Praise
God, they let me go unharmed, even though they could have shot me not knowing if I was one of the enemy or a spy.
Still, I continued to spread the Gospel and pray for the sick in every home where someone had a need. Later in a distant village when another EHC brother had joined me, we faced even more threats. The chief of the village didn’t want us preaching the Gospel in his village and three different times threw a large bush-knife at us. Praise God, all three times he missed. Again, we did not stop spreading the Good News of Jesus. Even more recently I was so excited sharing the Gospel in the nearby highlands that I became carried away and lost track of the time. I was again working alone as my coworker had returned to the EHC base. Soon it became dark and I realized it was far too late and much too dangerous to return to our main office.
Suddenly a heavy rain began falling and I had to find shelter. At last I found a run-down shack and went inside. I quickly discovered the owner was very sick and had no firewood to make fire.
So now I had to go looking for firewood in the rain. I found the wood we needed and then made a fire for the sick man. Later I shared the Gospel with him and also prayed for his healing. I spent the night with him knowing it was God’s plan for me to be in that place at that very time.
The next morning when it was light I was able to return to the EHC office rejoicing in how God had directed my steps in all these recent days. Truly we feel like the early disciples who were pioneers in preaching the Gospel everywhere among people who had never heard about Jesus.
Thankfully this pioneering spirit in “bush” evangelism is challenging pastors of the older, more traditional churches to leave their comfort zones and become involved in EHC outreaches. This has not always been the case.
Recently EHC pioneer missionaries visited homes in village settlements near the Mt. Hagen region. After their initial campaign, pastors from three different church denominations in the area were challenged by the way the EHC workers were reaching people right where they lived. These local pastors came together and decided to form a special team called Life Rescue Force to work closely with EHC in doing follow-up and discipleship of new converts in the region. They even invited members of the EHC leadership team to teach them the EHC method of reaching homes and doing effective follow-up.
After two days of prayer and fasting, National Director Aaron Nikkie conducted several hours of training for these pastors. Praise God, when the training was completed, these pastors followed the Holy Spirit’s conviction and humbled themselves to join the home-to-home teams in visiting homes in the surrounding settlements. They also encouraged their church members to participate.
All three pastors later testified that the ministry was a breakthrough for them because they were accustomed only to pulpit ministry. They agreed that this work was “the very heartbeat of God” because people were saved, healed, delivered, and transformed from the power of darkness into the kingdom of light. And this happened right in people’s homes and not just inside church walls as they had so long believed was the best way to evangelize and disciple believers.