Since the end of 1995, Crystal and I have spent many years in the beautiful South Pacific country of Papua New Guinea. We have been involved in Christian education there, much of it aviation oriented. At first I served as the coordinator of the schools using the ACE program in PNG. Later, with some PNG partners, we established Eagles' Wings Aviation Ministry, still utilizing Accelerated Christian Education (ACE). We have had the privilege to train Christian School staff who are now serving from one end of Papua New Guinea to the other.
The picture above is one of my favorites, showing the beautiful mountain scenery of Papua New Guinea, as well as the heart of a missionary for her people. This is Crystal and our daughter Rachel at Kassam Pass about 2002.
Papua New Guinea is the eastern half of the world's second largest island. It is just south of the equator and directly north of Australia. We have had the privilege and honor of ministering to, and working with, these warm-hearted and friendly people. It is our desire to bring people of all ages to a knowledge of Salvation through Jesus Christ, help educate children and young people to see all of life from God's point of view, and to do His will with their lives.
When missionaries first began to penetrate the highalands of what is now Papua New Guinea, in the late 1940's through the early 1960's it was still the "stone age." Even though I was not there until 30 years later, I have talked to multiple people who remembered before they had metal tools, and people who judged their age on about how big they were when the airplanes of World War II came over their highlands villages.
The geography of the Country includes broad nearly level tropical rain forest toward the North Coast, and to the Gulf of Papua in the South. A large mountainous range runs the entire length of the Island of New Guinea, which also includes the Indonesian Provinces of Papua and West Papua. This range of mountains divides the northern coastal lowlands from those of the south, and includes two mountains with elevations of over 14,000 feet. Mt. Wilhelm, the highest at 14,793 feet (4509 meters), is in the Chimbu Province about 30 nautical miles from Goroka, our "hometwon." The second highest, Mt. Gilewe, (pronounced Gil-a-wa) is in the Southern Highlands Province, with an elevation of 14,327 feet (4367 meters).
The climate in the coastal areas is always very hot compared to the moderate temperatures above 5000 feet, such as in Goroka. The vegatation and food supplies are quite different as well, and of course there is better access to various sea foods.
Papua New Guinea is also known for having over 800 differnt indiginous languages, and of course cultural customs and traditions vary greatly from place to place, as do various religious beliefs, much of it being rooted in the fear of spirits. Tens of thousands of people have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as the true Redeemer, and are trusting Him for their Salvation.
We believe God has a plan for every life. Every child was created for a specific purpose, and only an education centered on the truth of God's Word can possibily bring the student up to his full potential and fulfillment.
As of April 6, 2020, we are "locked down" in Papua New Guinea because of the Coronavirus threat. Some of the restrictions are scheduled to be lifted in the next couple days. When we get back to the United States, I will have access to many more of my earlier photos, but my present display does include several from the entire 24 year span we have been involved in this work.
I will also soon be working on a Photo Gallery page, with pictures of our family, avaition memories, and mission work.
Pictured above, is Manam Island, off the North Coast the island of New Guinea, and it is one of the 1300 islands, making up the country of Papua New Guinea. The picture was taken from the village of Bogia in July 1996. We were visitng EBM missionaries Jerry and Becky Schenck, and the local PNG Bible Church, on that trip. Their children Crystal and Jeremy were teens at that time, as were our children Ben, Charlotte, and Thomas.
The best way to reach us when we are in PNG is by email. The same email addresses follow us whether we are in PNG or the USA.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here we are with our children, Ben, Charlotte, and Thomas soon after we arrived in Papua New Guinea the first time. We arrived on the last day of 1995, and this picture was taken about a week later. Since then, our family has grown to include many lovely and loving people of PNG.
During our 2019 - 2020 ministry in PNG, the Lord sent Hellena into our lives within about two weeks. She literally came walking into our hearts, and has been with us almost every day, helping in any way she can. Since we have had to do a lot of walking and carrying fruits, vegetables, and other "cargo," she has been an immmeasurable blessing, as well as a loving "granddaughter." It would be hard to imagine how we could have gotten along without her.
By 2002, our other children were out of the nest, and these two Papua New Guinea girls had become a permanent part of our family. Hannah Keru spent about 8 years with us, and I taught her to fly. Rachel Joy Hersman was orphaned at a very young age, and adopted when she was 10 or 12. Both of these girls are marrried, are mothers, and are Christain Educators.
My Dad came to visit us three times in Papua New Guinea. Once he went on up to Pacific Bible College, at the EBM station at Pabarabuk, and taught some classes there. He was totally on his own. There were no other missionaries to look after him, and he didn't know Pidgin, the common mixture language. Dad always said, "I'd like to make at least one more trip to Papua New Guinea." He was a faithful Pastor for over 70 years, and continued to serve the flock of God until a few days before the Lord called him Home at age 93.
Although our minstry in Papua New Guinea has been consentrated on Christian Education, including Educational Leadership Training, we have also endeavored to establish a grass roots aviation movement, which would help to open aviation opportunities for PNG young people. I have had the privilege of teaching two Papua New Guinea girls to fly, but they don't have reasonable access to airplanes, even though PNG has lots of mission flying going on everyday. :(
Eagles' Wings Aviation Ministry sponsored several "AvBungs" in Goroka, Mt. Hagen, and Lae. We usually had about 100 in attendence, and there was extensive interest in flight training programs. After the Coronavirus threat is past, the need for aviation personnel is expected to escalate once more. Flight training has been very limited and sporatic in PNG. Traditional economic dependency make it very difficult, but not impossible, to organize a sustainable, efficient training program.
Our home has always been a open door for PNG nationals, including a host of children and young people. At one point over 40 of them would gather in our living room-dining area for Sunday evening services. Most evenings we allowed them to come for wholesome videos and snacks. This picture was taken at a church opening celebration at in place named Popikola in January 2020.
Below is a group of students from Eagles' Wings Christian Academy on a mountain hike in 2009.
Eagles Wings Ministries, provides Educational Leadership Training (ELT), and sponsors Eagles' Wings Christian Academy, which we established in 2006. This year during our ELT, one of our former high school students from Goroka Christian Academy, felt the Lord was leading her to become involved in the revitalization of the little school in the Village of Massy. She went all the way through school on the ACE program, we have known her for 24 years, and we are confident of her abilities as the new Administrator. Here we are presenting Sophie Isikel with a new Bible given by an American donor through Evangelical Bible Mission.
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