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Into the Heart of Papua New Guinea and Deeper into the Heart of Papua New Guinea: Kay Liddle's book launch.

Its not very often that we have the opportunity to share how significant some of our mission partners are and celebrate some of what they have been able to accomplish. Kay and Gwen Liddle served for many years in PNG and have had on-going links with developments there.

This last month I was asked to present something about Kay Liddle's 2 Books "Into the Heart of Papua New Guinea and Deeper into the Heart of Papua New Guinea" at a book launch and give an update of the current situation in Papua New Guinea. Here is that presentation given at Laidlaw College, April 18th 2013.

The Current situation

Some suggest the days of PNG receiving missionaries is over. I argue that it is not, but a different relationship exists. We need to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in PNG. We cannot leave them and forget them.

There has been substantial growth in the church in PNG over recent years. Papua New Guinean's have evangelised and planted many churches. Many villages and towns are well represented by many of the major church groups operating in PNG. However there is an uneasy lull as the church struggles to remain relevant and be a beacon of hope for the new generation of Papua New Guinean's.

The growing mining, oil and gas industry is soaking up the educated and industry trained elites including many who function as leaders in the churches. Older leaders who grew under the training and mentorship of early missionaries are retiring or dying off. There is a vacuum in the leadership of the church.

Infrastructure is deteriorating with corruption syphoning off some of the monies targeted at development.

Air traffic routes have been reduced by the major national airlines and MAF struggles to find pilots to attend to the growing demands being placed on it. MAF has a wonderful role in the country still and is worthy of promotion and encouragement.
The evangelical alliance is struggling to operate as it should. Churches are working more in isolation than in co-operation or interdependence.

There are growing health issues as more western food is being consumed and diabetes and heart issues are becoming a major concern for middle aged folk. In rural areas, health services are not great. Auwi Muki who was Principal of Anguganak Bible School, died as a result of poor health services.

On more positive notes

Communication via cell phone is very good. Many make use of cell phone technology where they once had to wait for a radio message or letter.

There is a growing number of wealthy PNG folk who are interested in discipleship and development.

PNG has so many resources and a desire to make something of this. Alongside this, there is a growing concern about the environment and sustainability. Many Christians are concerned in this area.

Christian Leader's Training College has received accreditation as an Institute of Higher Education within PNG. It is the only college of this kind in the Highlands region. While being able to award degrees in Theology and offering a Masters programme, CLTC has just had a Diploma in Community Development recognised. Graduates of the college continue to make a difference in a country that needs healthy Christian Leaders. One example is Robin Bazinu – a BTh graduate of thirteen years ago who is the Administrator for one of the regions of PNG (The Huon Gulf region).

Lae Unitech has taken on board an MA in Organisational Leadership with the curriculum coming from Development Associates International, a Christian Leadership training group.

Involvement in PNG means you cannot escape the need for development at local, regional and national level. You cannot escape the huge potential of a country rich in resources that is struggling to be stewards of this for future generations. You cannot escape the need to help Christians be people of integrity who operate in business and church life with a higher agenda. Kay's books are full of engagement at all these levels.

There is a hunger for growth and development and good leadership. The opportunities in PNG are enormous.

In Kay's books he has provided a large number of useful stories and insights into mission, church and nation growth in PNG over the last 60 years. In the later part of the second book, Deeper into the Heart of PNG, Kay's insights about present issues are as good a summary of the state of things as you could find. I particularly like the way Kay describes and uses experiences to flesh out these insights.

Vinoth Ramachandra (a non western missions theologian) says that there are 'many shameful stories to be told of Western missionary complicity in colonial practices of domination' but adds that 'the more typical stories of missionaries and local Christian leaders in India, Africa or the South Pacific who courageously defended native interests and combated racist theories and stereotypes propagated by their fellow countrymen are missing from the anti-Orientalist corpus.' In these two books we have a record and reflection that describes a missionary effort into PNG that was highly ethical, holistic and carefully thought through by a team led by Kay Liddle that carefully navigated its way through the issues they encountered using Biblical principles, anthropological insight and human dignity as a guide.

Our role as partners in this enterprise has moved from one of evangelism and church planting (Mission to World) to growing leaders for the church (mission with church) who replaced many of the original missionaries, to one of partnership where we work together as brothers and sisters, mentoring and mediating through cross cultural situations towards a church that is now able to send missionaries of its own into the world (mission with mission). Kay's books trace this process in narrative form and enlighten us to the ways forward that a new generation of involvement need to grasp.

If you would like to order Kay's books, you can download the order form (230.5 kB)  or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. '; document.write(''); document.write(addy_text86440); document.write('<\/a>'); //-->\n This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I can send you the order form.

Russell Thorp
Missions Director GC3
May 2013.

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