Papua New Guinea

God Does The Connecting

Trevor and Judy Clarke, NZ New Tribes Mission representatives, first met Stephanie during a class where they shared about the work of NTM at Shepherds Bible College.  She had taken the whole of the 2015 year off from school teaching so that she could do a full year at Bible College, with every intention of resuming teaching in 2016.  The Lord had other plans for her though. A few months later, we were there for the Impact conference, with more than 1000 people in attendance, and I (Judy) was with Stephanie at the breakfast table one morning and just happened to say to her that we have a huge need for teachers in many locations, actually 87 teachers needed at that time.  A week after the conference Trev and I were on our way to PNG to help out in the Interface program.

Almost immediately after arriving there, we were presented with an enormous load of needs of personnel, especially for our Wewak Center.  Families there were struggling with not enough workers on the base to fulfill the needs of the whole Sepik Region and added to this, were the demands of schooling their kids.  There were even considerations that the Center of Operations may have to close, and the straw that was breaking-the-camels-back, was lack of a teacher.  This weighed pretty heavily on Trev and my hearts, so we sent an email off to Stephanie, thinking that she could just be the one!

Yes, Stephanie prayed about it, asked a lot of good questions and saw that this was exactly what God had for her.  It coincided with some previous thoughts that she would like to teach somewhere where teachers didn’t normally go (or possibly not want to go).

All the pieces began slotting together, right down to how she couldn’t go to PNG before finishing her Bible college year which would mean she wouldn’t arrive in PNG till early/mid-January.  Little did she know that was no problem because all the necessary paper work, visas, work and entry permits would take up that time anyway!

This is a HUGE relief and a massive encouragement to the families working on the Wewak Center.  It is huge for Stephanie, and just one of those privileges that keeps Trev and I excited about our job.  We just have to keep going places sharing about Missions and God nudges His people to GO.

Prevent Hewa Women from Being Murdered

An Outbreak of Measles

After an outbreak of measles in Papua New Guinea brought death to the Hewa village, a witch hunt began. Blame had to be assigned. Someone had to be held responsible. And in Hewa culture that someone would be a woman or child accused of being possessed by evil spirits.


Accusations were brought against four woman, along with 13 of their family members. These accusations didn’t need to be substantiated. Their innocence didn’t matter. They stood accused of witchcraft and that meant a death sentence.

The police came in and gave warnings. But ultimately, fear of the spirits would overrule fear of the authorities.

“Four months from when the police, missionaries and government officials went into our neighbouring village to warn people that witch killing was illegal and would carry severe consequences — four months to the day — a woman named Mifila [who was accused of witchcraft] was brutally murdered,” wrote missionaries John and Jessi George. “Her brother claimed that he could and would protect her if anyone tried to kill her. But when a large group of armed men come in with guns … so they can chop your sister with axes and machetes there really is nothing you or anybody else can do about it.”

A Mass Exodus

And the danger has not passed. There are others in the village marked as witches. And if nothing is done, they too will meet the same fate as Mifila.

“A mass exodus [is] planned for many women and children who are currently marked as witches,” the Georges’ wrote. “Plenty of times before … they have come to us asking about leaving, then decide the threats against them are not real… Now, Mifila’s death has them all scared, so many who were not ready before to take the giant step of leaving their homes, families, gardens and even language to go somewhere new where they will be safe are now begging to go.”

But this “exodus” is being threatened. Some are saying to “hurry up and kill them before they can escape,” Jessi recently wrote. Your prayers can make a difference. Pray for a protective hedge around these falsely accused women and children as they await flights. Pray for their transition to a new village with a new language and a new culture. And do not forget to pray for God’s truths to reach into the hearts and minds of those making the accusations and carrying out the brutal attacks. Only then will lasting change come.