Last month marked 135 years since the gospel of Jesus Christ first landed on the Papua New Guinea (PNG) mainland, introduced by Pastor Johannes Flierl at Simbang Finschhafen, Morobe Province, on 12 July 1886.
The written and oral histories of how the gospel spread are beyond imagination: crossing high mountains, fast-flowing rivers and rough seas, plains and valleys, and to the ‘no-go’ territories of people with different languages and cultures.
This is what God’s mission is all about. The histories record the amazing results from the work of the missionaries, of which you and I are also part. Over and over again, missionaries preached the gospel among remote-living people who had never heard it, and individuals were converted; their lives transformed.
There were many participants in the missionary work, both sending and receiving. The progress of mission was so magnificent because of faith-promise missionary giving. This giving went beyond tithes. It was giving of an amount by faith to mission so systematically.
What can I do for my church, in my time and in my day? This question does not require systematic answers. It is all about giving. God gave Jesus Christ to the world because he is a missionary God. He wants us to continue the mission by giving ourselves – our lives, our time and our resources – so that the gospel reaches and transforms the unreached.
Pastor Giesa Panpan serves with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG’s Ministerial Training Department.