After 17 hours on large commercial flights, and 1 hour on a small Cessna plane, we stepped out into a thick foreign jungle, grateful to stretch our legs. Our destination: Yembi Yembi, a tribal location in the swamps of Papua New Guinea.
We spent eight days in this tribal location in the summer of 2012. During this time, along with the discomforts, we met the people who called this far-off land home, and we were encouraged and challenged as the people shared their stories of redemption, of being completely lost and in darkness, and hearing the gospel for the first time. The Yembi people expressed their gratefulness for the team that moved to their jungle location and told them the good news of God’s great love for them.
Upon leaving, we were challenged to consider the need and what their response to it would be. We boarded our flight, determining in our hearts that by God’s grace, we would return to Papua New Guinea and share the gospel with another tribe who had never heard the good news.
Before this trip, we had grown up in southern California, becoming high school sweethearts and marrying in 2008. We both graduated from California Baptist University and spent our time post-college joining the efforts of Christian Challenge, a ministry in the state of California, to see college students come to Christ and be discipled in order to make even more disciples.
After completing the 2-year training with New Tribes Mission in Missouri and raising support for the work of church planting among an unreached people group, we officially set off for Papua New Guinea in 2015. Upon arrival, we spent time learning the culture and national language of Papua New Guinea. This took six months, and then we began to survey a very remote location in a far off province in Papua New Guinea. After two eye-opening surveys, the endeavor to reach the people of Maliyali was underway.
Our desire and hope has always been to complete a small piece in God's big mission of reaching every nation, tribe, people, and language. Maliyali, though vast and spread out over a great distance, is that piece. We work diligently, looking forward to seeing His Glory made known in this language for the first time.