HandsOn Community Day in Papua New Guinea

It’s Saturday night, May 3rd, which means it’s Hands on Greenville (Community) day at Grace Church. Grace primarily participates in HOG day to build credibility within our communities. By working to better the community and working along side those within our communities, we are able to build relationships and earn credibility to enter into the lives of those around us.

Last night, after Pizza and a movie with the Osborn family, we began to talk about the work the Osborns are doing here in Menya. We talked about the cultural differences between Greenville and Menya, and how much our surroundings affect what we know to be true. During the conversation, I mentioned that the Osborns have been working for 10 years to get here and still aren’t yet able to really focus on the work God has called them here to do as they are putting so much energy into building their home. This lead our conversation in a great direction as Joseph and Elizabeth began to explain that they have definitely begun their work.

As they have been going through the process of building their home, they have very much begun the first part of their mission. The methodology of New Tribes Mission is Culture Language Acquisition (CLA), and the Osborns have been able to use the process of building their home to engage the culture and the people around them. Joseph has spent weeks working along side the men of the tribe as they milled their lumber for the house. This provided the men with work and at the end, Joseph allowed each man to mill his own log. By doing this, he has earned a lot of credibility with these men and was able to see some of the Menyan culture play out before him as these men interacted with him during the milling process. With the house beginning to take shape, Elizabeth finds herself in many conversations with the local Menyan women and kids about her house and why different things are in this house that are not in their own. These conversations and interactions with the Menyans allow Joseph and Elizabeth to better understand what the Menyans believe and why they do the things they do, which they are then able to reference in a few years when they begin to translate and teach the gospel.

As we began our workday under a hot sun around 8 AM, I found myself thinking of Grace Church and how our church family was on the eve of a huge cultural engagement effort. Today we finished framing up all of the interior walls and were able to get the loft joists and loft flooring installed. The team here in PNG participated in HandsOn Community day with the rest of our church, just a community 8,000 miles away from us. But as we sat together at dinner talking and laughing with the Osborns, it was very apparent that we were all in the same community.

– Ryan Burns