Participants in a mission training programme run by OM in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Kepo Kure.

Hands-on training bears fruit

An outreach as part of a mission training programme run by OM in Papua New Guinea is bearing fruit both in the trainees themselves and in the communities they visit.

An outreach as part of a mission training programme run by OM in Papua New Guinea bore fruit both in the trainees themselves and in the communities they visited.

As part of their training course, which was held at the end of 2023, the four participants, aged from 19 to 42, had the chance to take part in an outreach to a village so they could practise what they had learnt in the classroom over the previous two weeks.

Two of the new recruits, staff from OM in Papua New Guinea, and two volunteers travelled 47km (about 29 mi) southeast to the coastal village of Gaire. The team was hosted by two families during the duration of their stay.

Kepo (Papua New Guinea), the leader of the OM team, said, “The team lived, ministered and served the locals in various ways. They helped clean up and build a toilet, distributed clothes and Bibles, engaged in personal evangelism with individuals in the village, visited and shared in different homes, spoke in church meetings, conducted an open-air outreach, spoke in youth and children’s meetings, and women’s meetings and visited schools.”

Realising the need for a saviour

Present in one of the church meetings was Peter*. He had attended church almost all of his life and was considered a good man who behaved well and belonged. As an elder in the church the team was ministering in that evening, he was certain that he was a Christian and possibly a good one.

But his perceptions were shaken during the meeting when the team did a presentation of how many people are truly followers of Jesus, how many claimed to be followers of Jesus but are, in reality, nominal Christians, how many have heard the gospel message less than ten times, and how many have never heard it at all.

After the presentation, Peter said, “For the first time, after many years of having been an elder in the church, I clearly realised my need for the Saviour.”

Peter surrendered his life to Jesus for the first time that evening.

“It is unusual to hear of a church elder who has not made a firm decision to follow Jesus, but on the other hand, it is quite possible if religion or church attendance has become a habit or tradition,” Kepo explained. “When people behave to belong, yet the heart has not been surrendered to Jesus, regeneration has not taken place and been experienced by the individual.

“We rejoice over Peter’s decision because the scripture tells us that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7)”.

Practical training opportunities

OM in Papua New Guinea currently runs two missions training programmes. The first is for new recruits interested in joining OM to serve overseas. Those who sign up usually find out about the course through an event run at their church.

The second training programme is for those who have already completed the first programme, and is the final step in preparing for service overseas. The team which visited Peter’s church was taking part in this programme.

Kepo said, “Given our context where most of our people joining come from the villages, we run our pre-field training for three weeks, to help equip them for the world out there. For many, it's their first time to go overseas.

“The first two weeks of the training are spent in the classroom where we teach subjects such as the biblical basis of missions, cross-cultural adaptation and communication, world religion, spiritual disciplines, introduction to OM, evangelism and missions mobilisation tools, public speaking skills and many more.”

After they have completed the training programme, participants return to their own churches for the next six to 12 months. During this time, they raise funds for their support, complete reading assignments and prepare to leave. They also visit different churches to share their story of God calling them into mission.

"Once all the requirements are met by the recruits and they are ready to join their respective fields within OM, a commissioning service is held in their local churches and we send one of our staff to represent us,” Kepo said. “After this, they attend a one-week briefing with us in Port Moresby before they fly out to their respective fields of ministry.”

Praise God for the lives that were transformed during the visit. Pray for the elder and his work within the church. Pray for the young people who showed an interest in getting involved with OM’s work. Pray for the training programme going forward, both for the people who run it and for those who may take part in the future.

*name changed

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