Missionary Life with the “Mad Woman”

This week’s article is written by Jack Housley. Jack and Janie are now retired after serving from 1975 to 2017, most of those years in Papua New Guinea.

The river called the “Mad Woman” in English, was always a pain to the missionaries working along her banks in the early 80s . But it was a source to get us to a tribe where language could be learned and a church planted among the Bisorio people.

missionary teaching

Bob Kennell teaching

River Life and Church Planting

Janie and I met the needs of those who were studying language full time and preparing to preach the gospel. There were supply runs to be made to the nearest airstrip, eating up most of two days if all went well and the river was good to us. There were times when the river was very high and times when we needed to pull the motorized canoe through the shallow waters. In the early days we were making back-to-back trips getting the missionaries settled in.

Over the years the language was learned, and the church was planted. When the young church became strong, it was time for the missionaries to leave.

men studying the Bible in their language

His Church Still Stands

This March, I turned 72 years old and returned to the little village along the banks of the river, travelling with Bob and Noby Kennell, just to see how they were doing. The church was fine, and many young new believers were there to meet us, singing and praising God.

Then I took a little trip down memory lane. All the houses were gone, the tractor was gone and the airstrip was cut in half. The river had won again.

The river took it all — the works of my hands. But the sounds of the church praising God with their songs echoing into the night reminds me that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

All the hard work is just a side job. The real work is the Holy Spirit letting us missionaries work by His side until the job is done. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” On the banks of that river in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, that power has been realized. We have seen firsthand men and women coming from darkness into the light, and to Jesus we give thanks.

Help Others Have the Bible in Their Own Language