Serving as a missionary overseas is something Pastor Murray Smith never thought he would do. But then God’s call on our lives can often surprise.
Because that’s exactly what Pastor Murray and his wife Tracy are preparing for, after his call to serve as a lecturer at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea’s Senior Flierl Seminary at Logaweng, near Finschhafen. They plan to move to PNG in mid-November, to allow time for quarantining and orientation before Pastor Murray starts teaching next year.
‘My view of ministry was being ordained to serve in parish ministry and I thought that was what it would always entail’, says Pastor Murray, who worked in agriculture, floriculture and horticulture at Bowhill in South Australia’s Murraylands before God led him to ordained ministry.
Among their preparations for PNG, the Smiths have been completing online LCA training in Biblical Reconciliation, one of the subjects Pastor Murray will teach.
Neither has been to PNG but the prospect of engaging with and serving alongside people of a different culture excites them. ‘It will be exciting to engage with the culture and all that means – the spirituality most of all and the lifestyle’, he says.
Tracy, who visited Indonesia through LCA International Mission five years ago, is also looking forward to a new cultural experience. ‘To be able to go to another culture and to worship with them is life-changing’, she says.
While pastoral ministry involves teaching in many forms, Pastor Murray has not served as a lecturer before – something he views as probably his ‘biggest personal challenge’ in the move.
For Tracy being separated from family will be a challenge. ‘But … God will never put upon us more than we can bear’, she says. ‘And part of the excitement is not knowing where you’re going to fit but … seeing what God’s plan is.’
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