Currently tear-down and construction are happening simultaneously in Mawerero. The same is true of our ministry in Papua New Guinea. We are wrapping up our time in Mawerero, and establishing ministry in Madang at the same time.

After breaking down the Cann house, cement footings remained where the posts of the house used to be. In the same way, we did not leave Mawerero without a trace- the foundation has been laid. There are a handful of believers, and a faithful family who will God willing return soon to minister to them.

We remain committed to the believers in Mawerero – our goal to strengthen the church in Madang province includes strengthening the church in Mawerero. We will continue to do what we can to build it up – even though we will no longer be the primary missionaries living and serving full time in the village. The most practical way we are doing that right now is Ryan’s extensive involvement in building the Canns’ new office and home. We are the only FinisTerre family in PNG at the moment and as such the tasks rest squarely on his shoulders. Translation work we do on counselling material also benefits the believers in Mawerero. Another fun benefit of living in town is being able to provide village friends with a resting place and a meal on their way through town…

Ryan visiting with a teacher from a neighbouring village. He is in town more often than most of our village friend so we get to see him quite often.
This little guy used to be our most frequent porch visitor in Mawerero. We got to see him as he accompanied his dad and older sister on a trip – they were dropping his sister off at a school she attends in the highlands.

And just like Ryan was pouring cement footings for the office while the tear-down of the Cann house was happening, we are laying foundations for ministry here in Madang while the work in Mawerero is still happening. We’ve been very encouraged by relationships we’ve built in the local church in Madang. Our friendships with the leadership and their families are growing, and Ryan is frequently called on to preach and be part of the church services. The picture at the top of this post was taken on a very rainy Sunday where church attendance was quite low.

God has provided many great conversations and given insight into the needs and opportunities for church strengthening – in town, in the surrounding villages, and into the Finisterre mountains. We’ve seen a great hunger for training in expository studying and preaching and noticed a serious lack in training in biblical counselling. We are also thinking through opportunities to improve adult literacy – both in Tok Pisin and English. Many people in the local church rely on others reading to them for any Scripture intake. We want to see them feasting on the Word!

Mitchells with pastor Samuel, his wife Janet and their son Jordan
We’ve enjoyed having visitors in our home. Here Steven is showing Ryan the location of the village he grew up in.
Janet helping Elna check her Tok Pisin translation of counselling material.

Please continue to pray for us for wisdom and perseverance. When we think of gardening, we do not limit the concept only to harvesting. Gardening includes preparing the field, sweating away at the plough, planting seeds, weeding and tending them… And so we plug away during this season of hard work. Much is still uncertain, but we know that God is working all things together for good. May the Lord of the harvest be glorified by our efforts.