Sunday, 22 May 2016. 11am. That’s when it happened!
Elna and I were listening to Smedly Yates tell our church about three families his church, Grace Bible Church of Tempe, AZ, had sent to do church planting and Bible translation in the Finisterre Mountains of Papua New Guinea. I turned to Elna and asked her, “Do you want to go?”
Without hesitation, she said, “Yes.” (This is the second time I was very glad she said “yes”.)
And so began our pursuit of ministry in Papua New Guinea.
A little about us. . .
Elna and I currently serve at Grace Fellowship Pretoria where I am an associate pastor. We met at church and were married in May 2007. We have two children: Calista and Sebastian.
We are both graduates of the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Elna graduated in 2004 with a MBChB degree. She also has a postgraduate diploma in HIV Management. She has helped the SA military establish an adult HIV clinic, worked in a children’s HIV clinic, and currently practices as a general practitioner. Her primary occupation and joy is schooling our children at home. At church she currently co-leads a young ladies Bible study and serves in the creche ministry.
In 2002 I graduated with a BA degree and in 2008 I was awarded an Honours degree in Ancient Languages and Cultures. I started attending Grace Fellowship Pretoria in 2001. In 2002 I began working as the church secretary. I regularly taught children’s and adult Sunday School. In 2008-2009 I led an adult Bible study in my town and it was during that time I had a growing desire to go and receive further training.
In June of 2009 the elders affirmed my calling to ministry and encouraged me to apply at The Master’s Seminary. In December 2009 we moved to California and I began classes in the Spring Semester of 2010. In December 2013 I completed classes and graduated May 2014 with an MDiv degree. While in seminary I worked at Grace Books International, served in Children’s Ministry at Grace Community Church, and led an adult Bible study. I also had the opportunity to serve as an intern for Dr Ernie Baker at The Master’s College.
We returned to South Africa Christmas day 2013. In 2014 I worked at Mukhanyo Theological College as the Registrar and then in 2015 I joined the pastoral staff at Grace Fellowship Pretoria. I currently teach adult Sunday school, co-lead a men’s 5am study (yes, 5am!), lead a Bible study at the University of Pretoria, and occasionally preach. I am also part of a team of pastors and churches who are in the process of establishing a seminary in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area.
Calista and Sebastian are full of energy, love the outdoors, bugs, animals, and plants, and are almost always full of dirt. When we told them about Papua New Guinea they asked, “Can we go today?!”