by Jim Tanner
As the mountain grew dark with the encroaching clouds, I could still see a glimmer of clear sky to the west as I stood behind the big grass-roofed hut where we would be sleeping in the village of Kalanga. Glancing from the ominous black mountain to the fading light, I couldn’t help but think of the two great kingdoms at war in Papua New Guinea. For many centuries, Satan has held this country in the grip of his lies and deception. He has been a hard king who has shown no kindness to his subjects, filling them with fear and hatred. As he whispers words of deceit for their hearts to feed upon, they remain in constant confusion. Yet in the midst of Satan’s kingdom there are glimmers of truth that can transform these slaves of sin into God’s holy people.
There we were, about 4 hours drive away from the Highlands Headquarters near the provincial town of Goroka. We were among strangers except for Joshua who had come to my office to invite us to visit his village. I had read his letters pleading for help for his clan. He had written several and when he came to see me, it was his third trip to ask for a missionary to be sent to help his people understand God’s Word in their own language.
Now we were standing among friendly strangers who kept telling us with unbridled joy how happy they were that we had come. Each one had a similar tale, saying, “No white person has ever come and sat down with us. No white person has ever shown any concern for us. You have come to us and we are overjoyed.” Then would come the question that tore at our hearts every time we heard it repeated, “When will you send a missionary to live with us?” What could we tell them?
To be honest, our files are home to many such requests. Those heart-wrenching pleas that are silenced in the iron filing cabinet not 6 feet from my desk deserve to be heard; need to be answered by soldiers of Christ who care more for the souls of the lost than for their very own lives. We have no one to send to them. How will they ever escape Satan’s stronghold?
These people are from the Waghi Valley. Numbering over 60,000, they live in the Western Highlands Province of PNG. NTM has never worked in this province before. Don’t you think it’s about time to advance into this new frontier?
Beyond the border of this province lie the provinces of Enga and Southern Highlands. They are also great frontiers waiting for God’s servants to make eternal advances to rescue the souls living there.
Pray for the Highlands Region of PNG. Many seek easier languages in other regions, but what about these heavily populated tribes in the Highlands? May God use some of you in the advance party to enter these frontiers.