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Mission Trip Testimonies

Megan JohnsonMegan Johnson

(9 months - 2007/08 - age 26)

Going to PNG on a short term missions trip was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I went into it not knowing what to expect or what it would be like but I knew that the Lord wanted me to go and so I did. Leaving the U.S. and going to a foreign country was the first step in realizing that there really is a world out there beyond my state and my country. Once you see for yourself first hand it’s overwhelming and it finally begins to dawn on you how big this world is!Working in a ministry full time and knowing you are doing something worthwhile is the most rewarding thing a person could ever do. By going to PNG I was able to draw closer to God in a way I had never done before. The pace of life there was so much slower that it forced me to slow down and really think about all the “running around” I was used to doing on a daily basis and how it bogged me down spiritually, to a point where I wasn’t thinking about or listening to God and I didn’t even know it. While in New Guinea my everyday life was centered on the spiritual and without even realizing it God began to weed out the unnecessary things in my walk and show me what really was important, living for Him and winning the lost. God gave me a love for a people that to our way of thinking are unlovely and my heart was truly burdened to win the lost. Going to Papua New Guinea changed my life forever, and I am immensely grateful that the Lord allowed me the opportunity to be a part of the work there.

Pastor John Mele

(Hope Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN - June, 2010)

If you are going to travel to see PNG and the Wells’, pray for God to fill your cup.  Any mission field can revive and invigorate a preacher’s heart for God.  But, PNG is a unique place because it is a place of true contrasts.  People live in the same  kinds of structures that they have built for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  At the same time, you can buy a Coca-Cola in every nook and cranny of the country.  The landscape is naturally beautiful but the ground is unnaturally trashy.  Everyone is friendly and smiles at you, yet many establishments have fences around them with an armed guard keeping watch.

The two main things I noticed about the people of PNG is that they are not very industrious!  There is no ambition to achieve something with their lives.  Most will sit in the same spot along the road selling coffee beans and betel nuts until they die.  And yet, they are very smart.  Many can speak two, sometimes three, languages.  The second thing I noticed is that they live in a tribal mindset instead of a family structure.  Kids are the village’s children as opposed to a specific mother and father’s children.  The men are very publicly affectionate one towards another.  They will hold hands, intimately embrace, and sit with each other in church. You rarely see a man and woman embracing, or behaving as if they are even familiar with each other!  After several days, I began to see how the tribal philosophy provides some real obstacles to the spiritual growth and development of these souls because of its overreach into the home.

Finally, you will see that in many cases, PNG is NOT a country lacking exposure to the Gospel.  Missionaries (of every kind) are all over the land.  Just like in America, the Gospel is available, and yet, it is rejected just the same.  Unlike America, however, you will be treated very respectfully by the people.  The legacy of missions in PNG is that missionaries actually come and help solve problems that exist there.  PNG-ers are not ambitious but they will work hard with an industrious, leader-missionary.  The Wells’ families are those kinds of God-touched missionaries. And because of their hard work ethic, vision, and burden, the people in their ministries are productive and shine brightly for Christ.  You shall get a wonderful blessing spending time with these missionaries to PNG.  Have a great trip!

Travis & Linda Baker

Travis: When we first considered the idea of taking a trip to Papua New Guinea, the first obstacle for me to overcome was the cost.   We had some money saved up, but the idea of spending that much money on a single trip to a mission field was difficult for me.  I could think of a lot of other things that we could spend that much money on.  But the truth of the matter is there will always be excuses.  There will always be other things to spend the money on.  I believe God just wanted me to trust Him.  We were a newly married couple, and we knew it would only get harder to do something like this once we started having children, so we decided to just go for it.One of the things that this trip did for me was to get me away from the daily distractions of life for a few weeks.  For once, I didn’t have any of my regular day to day concerns to worry about.  I realized that God can use any time that you are willing to give in serving Him.   If you have five minutes in one day, and you use it for Him, He’ll use you.  If you can give Him two hours on another day, He’ll use it.  And if you are willing to give an entire day to His service, He will use you.  The opportunities seemed endless in the country of Papua New Guinea, and it was obvious that a man could give his entire life to the work, and God would use Him.  The opportunities probably seemed more obvious simply because I didn’t have a job or any other responsibilities while in PNG.  The truth is, there is just as much opportunity in America, if we will just open our eyes to it.  It was a good thing to remember as I returned to the daily grind in America, that God would use me in His service if I was willing to put aside some of my daily distractions to give some time to Him. Another doubt in my mind was whether or not my wife and I could actually be capable of being missionaries.  I didn’t feel as though God was calling us to be missionaries ourselves, but I had wondered if He ever did call us, could we handle it?  Could my wife deal with living in a third world country?  Could we really give up the comforts and conveniences of living in America and give our lives to a mission field?  The Wells were so down-to-earth, and so balanced, that it gave me hope that we really could do it if God wanted us to.  They were good examples of living among the people, but also finding a standard of living that they could deal with for the long haul.  They showed my wife and I that missionaries are real people.  And I was glad to see that my wife handled the bugs and dirt quite well.  If God ever calls us to be missionaries, I know that He would give us the abilities we would need to fulfill that call.Going to PNG for a short term mission was great!  I am glad we did it.  God used it in my life, and I would love to take another trip some day.  Hopefully, we will be able to do it again!

Linda: My husband and I traveled to Papua New Guinea eleven years ago when we were first married.  In fact, we celebrated our first anniversary while in “the bush.”  It was definitely an experience of a lifetime and something I will never regret doing.  Now that we have three children, it would be much more expensive and much more difficult to do (at least until they are older).  I am so glad we took the opportunity at that time in our life.  It really did a lot to deepen our relationship as a married couple, as well as our relationship with the Lord.  We learned to rely on each other and we talked about things that we had never talked about before.I was surprised at how nervous I was the day we actually left for New Guinea.  But once we arrived, it was exciting!  The Wells made us feel very much at ease and very safe.  And we received quite the experience!  We spent most of our time in “the bush” at Dennis and Dee Wells’ house in Palapini.  I loved being in the bush.  I spent a lot of time with the village women and children.  I couldn’t understand a lot of what they said, but they tried to teach me, and laughed at my mistakes.  Most of them spoke Pidgin, which was relatively easy to pick up.  I learned quite a bit in the short time that I was there.  I learned some songs in Pidgin, and whenever we would walk along a path we would usually sing.  I liked that, because it felt like we were communicating.  We believed in the same God, and could sing about the same things. .  It’s amazing how the Lord Jesus Christ connects people.  If they had not been Christians, I don’t think that bond would have been there.  It was because we knew that we believed the same things and had the same God in our lives, that we felt that sisterhood.  Even with people from a completely different culture, different race, different language, different life……. My God was just as much a part of their lives as He was a part of mine.  That was amazing to me.Mrs. Wells had a school where she taught children for a few hours every morning.  She asked me to help, and I was very excited to do so.  My husband and I have always had a heart for children, so this was the natural place for me to help out.  I have some experience in art, and so she asked me to teach a basic drawing class.  The night before, I planned out my lesson.  It was difficult to teach with Mrs. Wells translating for me.  Mostly the kids giggled, but we had a lot of fun.  Hopefully they learned a little something about drawing!  On Sunday, Travis and I taught their Sunday School class.  We had so much fun with the kids.  Kids are the same no matter where they live!It was sad to leave at the end of our trip, but we had developed a new appreciation for living in America!  When Travis and I decided to go on this trip, we really didn’t know what God had in store for us.  We didn’t feel as though God was calling us to be missionaries ourselves, but we were so thankful to get to see a mission field.  And we got to visit some of our favorite missionaries in the process.  Now, whenever I hear stories or prayer requests from the Wells, I feel like I can really see it in my mind, and understand where they are coming from.  I feel like I know better how to pray for them and what some of their needs might be.  I am so glad we took the time and spent the money to go on this trip.  It was well worth it, and God opened our eyes to the lives of missionaries, and we also had great exposure to a third world country.  I would recommend a short term missions trip to any Christian.  It will do much for your walk with God! 

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