Marriage in Iski
In the Iski people group of Papua New Guinea, “marriage is an ill-defined term,” said missionary Aurélie Tousch. “People go out together, move in together [and] break up, a bit like in the West. There is no wedding day but a ‘trial period’ that often ends in separation even after the birth of a child.”
After the gospel was presented and Iski believers began growing, the missionaries taught biblical principles of marriage. Though countercultural, the Iski believers accepted the teachings and have been waiting since 2017 for an opportunity to demonstrate their obedience.
Bitris and Moombi
One of these Iski believers is Bitris, a young, single lady. She “has been devoted to growing in God’s Word and strengthening herself and other women in the church,” said missionary Nisae Williamson. Bitris’ friends encouraged her to marry, but she chose to wait because there were few single, believing Iski men.
Meanwhile, in a different language group far across Papua New Guinea, Moombi, a young Mibu elder, began looking for a wife. For years, he waited to marry because he “felt rather strongly that God wanted him to focus on ministry and leave these things in His hands,” said missionary Chris Walker. Then in December 2018, his brothers “informed him that it was time for him to get married,” continued Chris Walker, and Moombi followed his family’s wishes and began growing his beard in a Mibu cultural practice to “advertise” that he was looking for a wife.
First Iski Wedding
By March 2019, Moombi and his family were having difficulties finding a wife because there were no single, Mibu Christian ladies who were spiritually mature enough to partner in Moombi’s ministry. Moombi asked Chris Walker if he could ask other missionaries if there was a potential wife for him in another ethnic group.
With time and prayer, Moombi and Bitris learned about each other and believed God’s direction for them was to marry. God worked out many details, making a way for Moombi and two others to travel to Iski to encourage the church and to meet and marry Bitris.
Moombi and Bitris’ wedding in July 2019 was the first wedding celebration of believers in Iski! Nisae Williamson said, “It was a mix of both cultural and Biblical principles and made for a special day and a milestone in the Iski church. We pray that many other young people here in Iski follow in their footsteps!”