Papua New Guinea. This was one of the last places I ever expected to go. While I’ve felt called to overseas missions for a long time, I was sure I wanted to serve among Muslims. When Matt and I applied with Wycliffe, I did not expect that we would end up accepting a call to serve in Papua New Guinea, an island in the South Pacific that conjured up images of cannibals, boar hunts, witchcraft, and yams. (They eat lots and lots of yams).
When we learned of the need in Papua New Guinea – it has more languages than any country on earth! – and found out that Matt was a perfect fit for an IT position there, I went through a period of confusion, questioning, and especially, crying out to God. “God, what are you doing!? There aren’t any Muslims in Papua New Guinea! Is this really what you have in mind for our family?” One day, in a period of particular turmoil, I begged God for peace about this issue.
That same day, the reading from my Bible commentary was about Paul’s call to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Paul – a Pharisee, highly educated in Jewish law and customs – called to the Gentiles. Shortly after Paul was saved, God said of him, “He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Paul had the background to make a powerful impact on the Jews, and he loved them deeply, but this was not what God had for him. When we see Paul start to share the Gospel with Gentiles, then we see how Paul’s unique calling built up the early church and turned the world upside down.
I knew that God was speaking to me through this reading. I felt this in common with Paul – the door I thought would open for me, the door I thought I was best trained for, God has closed at this time. And sometimes, it is when these doors close that God is then free to use us for His unexpected plans.
We are so excited for the opportunity to serve God in Papua New Guinea! It has been amazing to see how He has opened this door for us. Please pray that God would continue preparing us to live, work, and worship among the beautiful people of Papua New Guinea.