We (Elna and Ryan) met at Grace Fellowship Pretoria, South Africa. We were both students at the University of Pretoria where Ryan was studying ancient languages and cultures and Elna was studying medicine. We were married in 2007. God has blessed us with two children, Calista and Sebastian.
Elna has worked as a medical doctor in HIV clinics and private practice. At Grace Fellowship she served in the young ladies’ Bible Study. Ryan served as secretary of Grace Fellowship 2002-2009. In 2014 he graduated from The Master’s Seminary with an MDiv. In 2014 he worked in the administration of Mukhanyo Theological College, and then from 2015 until our move to Papua New Guinea in 2018, he worked as an associate pastor at Grace Fellowship, where he assisted in the formation of Shepherds Seminary Africa.
In 2016 we sat in on a presentation about the church planting work of FinisTerre and immediately knew that we wanted to be part of the work. So starting in 2016 we began preparing for the field. In 2017 we received 6 months of training in Phoenix, AZ, and then once our Papua New Guinea permits and visas were finalised, we moved to the field in 2018.
Since then, we were given the privilege to be part of a church plant in a small village in the Finisterre Mountains of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea! After a devastating earthquake in 2022 destroyed our village home, we decided to transition to a church strengthening ministry in Madang town.
We are part of a team
In 2019 we joined Cassidy and Zach Cann, who had been laboring in our village since 2016. They have worked faithfully over the last 7 years to learn the Do language, develop and implement our literacy program, translate Scripture, and preach the gospel.
To learn more, please visit their website.
In Madang town, we will be serving alongside the Twombly family.
In the book of Acts Luke records for us that Paul and Barnabas did not undertake their mission to the Gentiles on their own. They were sent out by their home church—the church of Antioch (Acts 13:1-3)—to which they often returned (Acts 14:26-28; 18:22-23).
Grace Fellowship Pretoria is our sending church. They are “holding the rope” while we are on the mission field. We love our church. And they love us and the people of Papua New Guinea.
We highly recommend the following sermon on missions by our pastor Joel James: Keep Your Eyes on the Map (Matt 28:19).
For more about Grace Fellowship Pretoria, please visit www.gracefellowship.co.za.