Many of you friends have been asking me questions about PNG, which is great! There are some questions that have been coming up frequently, and sometimes I feel like a broken record or I go into auto-answer when you ask them. No worries, I am just taking time now to answer them because I’m sure more people have the same questions!
- What exactly are you doing in PNG? The answer to this question is two-fold. For the first six weeks, I will be joining the rest of the team and we will be learners. I do not know exactly what our days will be constructed by, but we will be sitting in on classes (pertaining to linguistics, basic Bible translation, survival methods, etc.), and then we will be sent out to practice what we have learned. We will have the opportunity to learn from career missionaries and see them come and go on the base. We will be staying on base in Wewak for most of the time. Then, at the end of the six weeks we will go into the jungle to a designated tribe for 4-5 days and spend the whole time with them. Additionally, we will have free time, bonding time, and I wouldn’t doubt that we have projects to work on. The second part of the trip comes after the first six weeks. The team leaves Wewak on June 28 and I stay. There are two other girls staying with me, and we will be the hospitality for the second group of students coming in. This means that I will remain on base and do whatever needs to be done. I am under the impression that there is always the possibility that I can be sent to a tribe/family if they need help with anything. For the most part, though, I will be hanging out with the second group of students, doing whatever needs to be done around base, and getting to know the missionaries more.
- Will you be evangelizing or anything like that while you are there? Probably not. The only situation I can think of is one in which a teammate is not saved. But we all had to write a statement of faith for the application and one could assume that New Tribes would not admit a student who is not saved. There is a reason for this (not evangelizing): basically, each tribe speaks their own dialect of Pigeon and the missionaries will not even begin to present the gospel until the language is learned in full. This process could take upwards of 10-15 years. Then, once the language is learned, the missionaries begin teaching from Creation to the Second Coming. There are many reasons for this, which I can go into later if you guys want. So the gospel isn’t necessarily presented in a tribe at first chance. Again, there are many reasons for this, and the more I learn about NTM‘s procedures, the more I get excited about their legitimacy. You can learn more about it on their website. As someone who is going to be in the country, and not even in a specific tribe for such a short amount of time, there probably will not be an opportunity to present the gospel or evangelize.
- How long is your trip? I leave from Los Angeles with the rest of the team on May 23. We arrive in PNG on May 25. I will leave the country (with the other two girls who are staying longer) on July 19 and coming back to LA on July 20. The visa to remain in the country of PNG lasts for 58 days. In short, the trip will be 2 months long.
- Who is going with you? Interesting question. I am joining about 15 other students/20s folk for this adventure. I have never met any of them before, and a few of them know each other. So the better question to ask might be, “Who went with you to PNG?” 🙂
- What are your plans after PNG? This depends hugely on whether or not I get sick in coming home (many people have advised me that getting sick is common and can last for 2-4 weeks). My plan as of right now is to come home to Sacramento for about a week, then move back to LA to start work during the first week of August. I am enrolled at Dallas Theological Seminary to start taking classes in the fall, and I will be doing this on-line from LA. I am pursuing a Master’s of Biblical Studies with an emphasis in Cross-Cultural Ministry degree. The plan is to take courses on-line and be in LA for 2-3 years and then transfer out to Dallas to finish the program up. From there, Lord willing, I desire to be on the field or in ministry full-time.