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Ministering with the Mouk to Reach the Anem

sunset at sea


Josiah and Rachel Van Der Decker are working with the Mouk church to reach the Anem people group. They explained the process: “A survey happens when a team of Western missionaries goes to visit a people group (that has already had a people group assessment done) to determine if a people group is a good fit for them as a team and if so, where to locate in the people group. In that same survey or in a subsequent survey, they will often work out the land agreement and explain why they are coming.” This survey was to find out where they would build their house in order to assist the Mouk church in translation and printing of the Scriptures in the Anem language.


After a bit of a rough start and getting used to being bounced in a fiberglass boat on the ocean waves, the group could see the village where the Van Der Deckers would live. Rachel tells their story:

Finally, at noon [of the second day], we saw it. “There it is!” one of our Mouk co-workers pointed out. “That’s our village!”

It may be just another village on the coast to some people, but to us, it would soon be home. It’s beautiful, was the first thought that rose to mind as I gazed at the thatched roof houses strung along the beach, nestled between emerald green jungles and clear turquoise waters. Already, something about it felt like home.

Though we were there and would be the ones moving into Anem, any agreement about the land would be between the Anem landowner and the Mouk church, the Mouk church leader pointed out. He made it clear that we were here as an extension of the Mouk church and were under their supervision and direction.

[On day four], the Mouk who were with us … led us back towards the beach a few hundred yards to the house site of their choice. It was not too far from the coast, which would make it easier for hauling our supplies up. From the practical side, this place checked all the boxes. From the side of sheer visual pleasure, the view was terrific from this lookout spot, with nearly 120 degrees of ocean view spread out in front of us.


Seven days after starting out, the Van Der Deckers returned to “civilization,” a place with showers and beds and overhead fans. They had accomplished their goal and found great joy in working with the Mouk church. They hope to begin building their house this month. Pray for their adjustment and for their ministries.

Posted in Asia-Pacific, Mouk People, News, Papua New Guinea