Papua New Guinea even today is one of the most remote places on earth... Not to mention back in 1948 when the Missouri Synod arrived.
The Enga Provence is located in the highlands between 7,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level.
From the International Airport at Port Moresby, no roads exist to reach the Enga Highlands. Light aircraft and by foot are the primary ways to reach the remote regions.
Where there are roads, travel can be treacherous with frequent wash outs, giant potholes, and other hazards. If this is true today, how much more so in 1948?
Yet by the mid-1960s an elaborate system of mission stations had been established, complete with electrical generation facilities, repair shops, even a wood shop for furniture so both the missionaries and the Good News Lutheran Church could have tables and chairs for classrooms and for the missionary homes. Hospitals and schools were established... The missionary task operated along the lines of Witness, Mercy, Life Together -- body and soul care.
The largest and strongest partner churches of the Missouri Synod are the ones where we had the largest and longest presence. Walking along side someone over the long term is much more effective than short term endeavors.
A map from the 1960s of the Lutheran Mission Stations.
A text description of the mission stations.
Still much potential and much work in PNG. For instance, the GLC-PNG hymnal in Tok Pisin and Enga has been out of print for 25 years. The entire Book of Concord has never been translated into either of these languages. Yet the congregations are taught the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Small Catechism.
A picture of the Third Commandment with meaning in a GLC-PNG school.
Governor Ipatas requested that the LCMS send teachers to teach in the schools, and for missionaries to return to help shore up the institutions established by the LCMS 40-50 years ago. Many people in PNG government and business were the products of Lutheran schools originally established by the Missouri Synod.
While we visited The Good News Lutheran Church, time and again people said the children are the future. We need to teach them to be the leaders of the church.
The GLC-PNG is a product of the LCMS mission endeavors. The people of the GLC-PNG clearly see that The Lord sent the Missouri Synod to bring them the Gospel. Let us remember how The Lord used us and look to the future on how he may continue to use us.
- Posted in Tokyo, Japan, by Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone