PNG Looking Back and to the Future

Papua New Guinea even today is one of the most remote places on earth… Not to mention back in 1948 when the Missouri Synod arrived.

The Enga Provence is located in the highlands between 7,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level.

From the International Airport at Port Moresby, no roads exist to reach the Enga Highlands. Light aircraft and by foot are the primary ways to reach the remote regions.

Where there are roads, travel can be treacherous with frequent wash outs, giant potholes, and other hazards. If this is true today, how much more so in 1948?

Yet by the mid-1960s an elaborate system of mission stations had been established, complete with electrical generation facilities, repair shops, even a wood shop for furniture so both the missionaries and the Good News Lutheran Church could have tables and chairs for classrooms and for the missionary homes. Hospitals and schools were established… The missionary task operated along the lines of Witness, Mercy, Life Together — body and soul care.

The largest and strongest partner churches of the Missouri Synod are the ones where we had the largest and longest presence. Walking along side someone over the long term is much more effective than short term endeavors.

A map from the 1960s of the Lutheran Mission Stations.

A text description of the mission stations.

Still much potential and much work in PNG. For instance, the GLC-PNG hymnal in Tok Pisin and Enga has been out of print for 25 years. The entire Book of Concord has never been translated into either of these languages. Yet the congregations are taught the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Small Catechism.

A picture of the Third Commandment with meaning in a GLC-PNG school.

Governor Ipatas requested that the LCMS send teachers to teach in the schools, and for missionaries to return to help shore up the institutions established by the LCMS 40-50 years ago. Many people in PNG government and business were the products of Lutheran schools originally established by the Missouri Synod.

While we visited The Good News Lutheran Church, time and again people said the children are the future. We need to teach them to be the leaders of the church.

The GLC-PNG is a product of the LCMS mission endeavors. The people of the GLC-PNG clearly see that The Lord sent the Missouri Synod to bring them the Gospel. Let us remember how The Lord used us and look to the future on how he may continue to use us.

- Posted in Tokyo, Japan, by Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Enga Governor Ipatas

After traveling from the Enga Highlands to Mt. Hagen, then flying to Port Moresby on the coast, we had the opportunity to meet with the Governor Ipatas of the Enga Provence. He was in Port Moresby to meet with Parliament. The governor was pleased with the LCMS’ recent visit and asked us to consider sending more missionaries and teachers to Papua New Guinea.

Currently, Governor Ipatas is overseeing the construction of the Enga Teachers College. The governor was educated in LCMS mission schools and has been a strong proponent of education connected to the church ever sense.

It was a privilege and honor that the the governor took time to meet with us.

- posted 22 January 2013 by Rev. Dr. Albert Collver in Hong Kong.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wittenberg and PNG

When Bishop Nic and General Secretary Ezekiel Peter visited Saint Louis last fall, they heard about the Wittenberg Project. Upon returning to Papua New Guinea, Bishop Nic asked the GLC-PNG to raise money for the Wittenberg Project.

During the service on Saturday, 19 January 2013, where more than 2,000 people attended, the GLC-PNG collected an offering for the Wittenberg Project.

GLC-PNG Church Council Members counting the offering for Wittenberg.

On Sunday, 20 January 2013, we worshiped in a local congregation in Irelyia, where Rev. Dr. Willard Burce established a school for children and where Rev. Dr. David Birner once had been stationed, also collected an offering for the Wittenberg Project.

In total the GLC-PNG raised about $3000. This is incredible.

In the book of Acts, the Macedonians took up a collection for Jerusalem. Here something similar occurred when the GLC-PNG took a collection for the Wittenberg project.

- Rev. Dr. Albert B Collver in Mambisanda, Enga Provence, PNG.

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Installation of GLC-PNG Bishops

On Saturday, 19 January 2013, the GLC held an installation service for her head bishop, Nicodemus Aiyene, and the regional bishops. The procession consisted of more than 150 people with an estimated attendance of over 2,000 souls.

An Enga traditional choir sang during the service. The choral groups typically sing three songs to be Trinitarian. The chorus of two of the songs went something like this: “Thankful that LCMS came to Enga with Gospel;” and, “Jesus is the key to heaven. Salvation is only through Jesus.”

Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver preached on Mark 8:36-9:1, the text for the Confession of Saint Peter. Mr. Anton Lutz served as interpreter for the sermon into Tok Pisin, also known as Melanesian Pidgin English. Rev. Maniosa Yakasa interpreted the sermon into Enga.

After the sermon, Rev. John Nathan, seminary rector of Saint Timothy, installed the head and regional bishops. Drs. Collver and Mehl gave a blessing to the newly installed bishops.

After the installation, the service continued with Holy Communion, where a large number of the 2,000 plus were communed.

It was a very good day for the GLC. After the service, we celebrated with a pig roast.

- Rev. Dr. Albert Collver from Birip in the Enga Highlands.

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Lake Birip and Bishop Nick

Yesterday after the GLC National Pastors Conference, we walked up the mountain above St Timothy Seminary in Birip.

The St. Timothy Seminary was established in 1962 by Rev. Dr. Willard Bruce.

Some children followed us up the mountain to see Lake Birip.

Bishop Nick and Julie Lutz sit in a missionary house talking about the National Pastors conference by candle light. There was no electricity at the flat. Julie Lutz has served in PNG since 1986.

On Saturday, a large service with a pig roast is planned. Approximately 2000-3000 people are expected.

- Rev. Dr. Albert Collver

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Location:Birip, Enga Provence, PNG