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Questions linger after victory on the mission field … what's next?

Nestled deep in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea, a breakthrough that was 20 years in the making has altered the future of an entire people group. There is true cause to rejoice and celebrate.

The Siawis, an indigenous people group, received the most precious treasure possible — a New Testament in their own language. A dedicated team worked for years to translate God’s Word into the language of this isolated tribe. Yet even as the cheers of joy and accomplishment echo, the clang of uncertainty reverberates as well. Some ever-present questions remain unanswered.

What happens now?

20-year stint comes to a close

In the mid-1980s, God stirred Linda Krieg’s heart to begin a new chapter in her life. A recent widow in her 40s, Linda began preparing to serve on the mission field. Because of her age, gender and lack of a husband, she was encouraged to serve somewhere other than a tribe. But Linda didn’t feel that was God’s plan for her. So in August 1986, after a two-hour river trip, a four-hour jungle and swamp hike, and a plane ride, she and her two teenagers arrived in a Siawi village in Papua New Guinea.

For the next 20 years, Linda combated the harsh terrain and remote location. Daily she faced the anguish and fear she saw in the eyes of the men and women she had come to serve. Without Christ, the Siawi people lived in constant turmoil.

These tribal people, like many in Papua New Guinea, were animists and fearfully worshipped the spirit world. The result was family feuds that persisted for generations. The animosity would begin whenever an illness or hardship occurred in a family. Looking for an answer, the hurting group would decide that another family must have used witchcraft to cause their suffering. To avenge their injury, the affected family attacked those they believed brought evil their way. This cycle of hate and vengeance continued on for years and years, creating a treacherous and often violent environment for the people and for missionaries like Linda.

How did Linda overcome the superstition, mistrust and rivalries that jeopardized the ministry? The answer is simple but powerful: God’s faithfulness and teamwork.

Today, the Siawi people are equipped with Scripture in their own language and are reaching out to surrounding tribes with the light of the gospel. They are giving as they have received. Families are being restored, and a new story is being passed down — a story of hope, love and redemption.

But as Linda’s 20-year stint comes to a close, an important question still looms.

Where do we find the next William Carey, the next David Livingstone, the next Linda Krieg?

You may have heard other missionary stories from the past, where entire regions were transformed by the love of Christ. Linda’s story is now a part of that legacy.

But we are left with a challenge:

  • More than 200 tribes in Papua New Guinea still lack Scripture in their own language.
  • 700 people groups worldwide have no known Christian witness.
  • More than 2,000 groups have few believers and none of the outside help they need to establish a maturing church.

Making disciples of all nations can appear impossible, especially when missionaries must leave the field for one reason or another.

However, we’d like to share an amazing secret. We know just the place where future missionaries are located.

Missionary Training Centre: Where missions begins

It is on the campus of NTM Canada’s Missionary Training Centre (MTC) where tomorrow’s labourers are found. In 1968, the leadership of NTM saw a need to better equip future missionaries. This realisation led to the purchase of our current campus just outside Durham, Ontario.

Each semester, the seats are filled with young men and women seeking God’s will and preparing for the mission field. An intentional curriculum has been designed with a specific focus on tribal church planting. While a Bible college offers general Bible classes to help prepare individuals for Christian work, the MTC focuses exclusively on cross-cultural church planting. Students dive deep to equip them for a lifetime of sharing the hope of Christ and making disciples.

Distinctives of the MTC

  • Instructors with mission field experience train students in biblical understanding and practical life skills. Learning from teachers like Linda Krieg results in more effective missionaries.
  • Specialized training focuses on the specific skills missionaries need for cross-cultural church planting among people groups with little or no access to the gospel. This includes introductions to culture analysis, language learning, Bible translation, teaching literacy, etc.
  • Discipleship is intentionally cultivated inside and outside the classroom as students live among their missionary teachers and see them practice what they preach. The one-on-one relationships developed with faculty and staff help the students learn by example how to become mature followers of Christ. The culture of discipleship nurtured on campus also equips students to become better disciple-makers on the field.
  • Extremely affordable 18-month program since students basically pay for room and board. Costs are low because faculty and staff are missionaries themselves, supported by those who believe in their desire to train the next generation of missionaries.

These distinctives help ground MTC graduates for a lifetime of discipleship on the mission field without any debt hanging over their heads. This allows them to enter the mission field sooner, engage in life transformations sooner, see communities changed sooner, and be a part of teaching whole people groups about Jesus Christ that much sooner.

More MTC students equals more missionaries

The next generation of missionaries are sitting in the classrooms of the MTC today. Some may not even realise their potential yet. Others do. Or like Linda Krieg, they may recognize their own potential even when others don’t. Whichever is the case, the MTC can begin the process of helping each new missionary be equipped.

Today 16 students attend classes. That translates into future missionaries all over the world. The students listening and learning today will be the ones hiking into remote jungle villages tomorrow. And there’s room for more. You can help make sure every available seat is full.

The journey starts here

Do you want to be part of sending more missionaries to the field? Then encourage your sons, your daughters, your grandchildren, your friends and any other potential students from your church or youth group, to attend the MTC. Or decide to attend yourself. The result may be a tribe somewhere in the world coming to know Christ.

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Posted in Asia-Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Training