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Field Trips – Lesley Stewart (Papua New Guinea)News

At the end of September my husband and I went to see Paul and Lesley McKnight, members of our church in Bangor who are support workers with New Tribes Mission serving on the Mission base in Lapilo, near Goroka in the Central Highlands of PNG.

Lesley & Ian Stewart with the McKnight Family
Lesley & Ian Stewart with the McKnight Family

Paul and Lesley have been with NTM for 10 years. They have three children, Callum, 9, Amy, 7, Lydia 3. Paul teaches PE, History, Geography and Bible Study to the High School children. Lesley is a Physio but currently is mainly at home with the children. She works a few hours in the Medical Clinic on the base and will do more as the children get older.

One of the highlights of the trip was our overnight trip to the Simbari tribal region. We flew there in a Cessna 206. The view over the rocky ridges and rainforest was wonderful. We landed on a narrow airstrip that had been cut out of the rainforest when the missionaries first went in 23 years ago. We were visiting David and Sherri Ogg and their son Jason who boards at the school. Their other 3 children are back in the States. 

A tribal church planting team consists of 2 or 3 families and perhaps a single person.  The missionaries start by sharing the Old Testament – from Creation to Christ. Then they move on to the New Testament. Pidgin is the trade language of PNG but each tribe has its own unique language.    The missionaries write the tribal language down, translate the Scriptures, lead people to Christ, establish churches, appoint elders. It was great to meet members of the Simbari church and to worship, pray and share testimony with them.

We were struck by the commitment of the missionaries; some had been there for 25+ years. Others had gone back home to care for elderly parents and had returned. Then there was Luke on a 6 month internship.  It was also a delight to meet Stephen and Michelle Thompson and their young family from Newtownards and Raymond & Odessa Dunwoody from Markethill. Odessa looked after us in the Lapilo Guest House. Stephen Thompson worked for Bombardier and now is a flight engineer in the NTM Hangar at Goroka airport.

While we were there everyone was looking forward to the new pilot Jon completing his training to fly the new Kodiac – short take off and landing plane. It was with sadness that about a week after we got back we heard he had been in a road traffic accident and had to have his right leg amputated below the knee.    Jon, Adi and their 3 boys are in all our hearts and prayers. 

Paul and Lesley really appreciated us coming to visit them. We had a wonderful time with them, and seeing what God is doing in Papua New Guinea.

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