Questions Linger After Victory in the Mission Field — What’s Next?
Nestled deep in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea, a breakthrough that was 20 years in the making has altered the future of an entire people group. But with the joy comes uncertainty. Some questions remain unanswered.
The Siawi, an indigenous people group, received the most precious treasure possible – a New Testament in their own language. A dedicated team worked for years to translate God’s Word into the language of this isolated tribe. But with this accomplishment comes a question that is ever-present. It’s a concern that I want to share with you today. And the following testimony is a perfect way to communicate what’s on my heart.
ETHNOS missionary Linda Krieg recently finished a 20-year stint serving the Siawi people in a distant village in Papua New Guinea. Why did Linda’s time with the Siawi come to a close? Because she and her fellow workers completed a new chapter in the story of God’s Kingdom. They accomplished the enormous task of translating the Scriptures into the heart language of the Siawi. This good news brings joy. Yet something continues to prick my heart about Linda’s story.
Overcoming Insurmountable Odds
Good things come from O’Fallon, Missouri. In the mid-1980s, God stirred Linda Krieg’s heart to begin a new work of faith. A recent widow in her 40s, Linda began preparing to serve on the mission field. In August 1986, she arrived in Papua New Guinea, opening the doors for her team to work with the Siawi tribe.
For the next 20 years, Linda combated the harsh terrain and remote location, and overcame the fear she saw in the eyes of the men and women she had arrived to serve. The Siawis did not know Christ and lived in constant turmoil.
This people group, like many in Papua New Guinea, were animists and fearfully worshipped the spirit world. The result was family feuds that persisted for generations. The animosity would begin when some illness or hardship fell on a family. Looking for an answer, the hurting group would decide that another family must have used sorcery to cause their suffering. To avenge their injury, the affected family attacked those they believe brought evil their way. This cycle of hate and vengeance continued on for years and years, creating a treacherous and often violent environment for missionaries like Linda.
Linda served as her team’s linguist and began the endeavour to translate the Bible into the Siawi language. For a time, she travelled to help other church planting teams, working as a translation and linguistic specialist. Eventually, she was able to focus on completing the translation of the New Testament.
How did Linda overcome the superstition, mistrust and rivalries that jeopardized the work? The answer is simple but powerful. God’s faithfulness and a passionate field mission team enabled Linda to persevere and accomplish the work to which she was called.
Today, the Siawi people are equipped with the Scriptures in their own language, and they are reaching out to surrounding tribes with the light of the gospel. They are giving as they have received. Families are being restored, and a new story is being passed down – a story of hope, love, and redemption. But one question remains.
Where do we find the next William Carey, the next David Livingstone, the next Linda Krieg?
You may have heard the stories of missionaries from the past, stories of entire regions being transformed with the love of Christ. Linda’s story is now a part of that legacy, catalogued among the missionaries of our time.
But we are left with a challenge. Hundreds of tribes in Papua New Guinea still need a clear presentation of the unvarnished gospel in their own language. More than 200 of them still lack Christ’s words in their own language. Worldwide, 700 people groups have no known Christian witness, and more than 2,000 others have few believers and none of the outside help they need to establish a maturing church. Making disciples of all nations can appear impossible, especially when missionaries must leave the field for one reason or another.
However, my heart is filled with hope. Allow me to share with you an amazing secret; I know just where the future missionaries are located. God can do what man cannot accomplish.
ETHNOS Canada, Where Missions Begins
It is on the ETHNOS Canada campus where tomorrow’s workers are challenged, equipped and supported. In the 1940s, the leadership of ETHNOS saw a need for challenging and equipping Canadian missionaries. This realisation eventually led to the purchase of a 70 acre property just south of the town of Durham, Ontario.
Each semester, the campus is filled with young men and women seeking God’s will and preparing for the mission field. A very intentional curriculum has been designed, one with a specific tribal missions focus. Here, students dive deep into the Word of God to equip them for a lifetime of sharing Christ’s hope, whether that’s stateside, or around the world.
The Great Commission Continues Here
Trainers, many with mission field experience, equip students in both biblical understanding and practical life skills for the mission field. The students live among missionaries, who not only talk the talk but walk the walk. The one-on-one relationships developped with the trainers help the students retain information, deepen their understanding of the Bible, and become mature followers of Christ. As the first disciples in Jerusalem spread the gospel near and far, today’s MTC graduates continue sharing the good news with those in their generation.
This culture of discipleship on campus makes the students more effective at helping others in the field. They learn from individuals like Linda who instill in them a sense of what true discipleship looks like, resulting in more effective missionaries.
The students’ expanded perspective on mission helps them gain new-found appreciation for God’s heart to reach the lost. As a result, the Great Commission becomes more than just a familiar verse but a way of life.
Add to this level of discipleship the fact that students basically pay only for room and board, and you begin to see why the Missionary Training Centre is a special place to grow deeper in Christ. Students leave the MTC campus grounded in biblical knowledge, equipped with life skills for the mission field, and with no debt hanging over them. This enables graduates to enter the mission field much sooner, allowing lives to be transformed, communities changed, and whole nations taught about our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Partner with Us as We Prepare the Next Generation of Missionaries
Today almost 35 students attend classes here in Durham. With your help, we’re providing students a solid biblical foundation with a clear missions emphasis. Join with us to ensure this work continues to thrive. We need your financial partnership to renovate an old classroom building whose sole purpose is to take the hope of Christ into every nation.
Support ETHNOS Canada Today
With your help, we can challenge, equip and support future missionaries to reach a lost and dying world. Financially partner with us to help young men and women to take the gospel to the world. Together, we can reach the lost.