Adventist Frontier Missions

The Gogodala Of P.N.G.

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: John Kent (Host)


Series Code: AFM

Program Code: AFM000010

00:27 Hi, everyone. I'm John Kent, director of training for
00:29 Adventist Frontier Missions. For the past 25 years,
00:32 God has been using AFM to plant the church in places like India
00:36 Albania, Africa, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
00:40 We currently have 85 missionaries serving in 16
00:43 different countries. Now if you were to ask any of
00:45 our missionaries what it's actually like to be one,
00:48 I'm certain they would tell you it's one of the most rewarding
00:51 as well as challenging things they have ever done.
01:53 Papua New Guinea is located in the South Pacific Ocean
01:57 about 93 miles north of Australia.
02:00 The capital city of Port Moresby is an exciting place to be.
02:03 There's a lot to see and do there.
02:05 The first thing you'll notice are the high-rise buildings.
02:08 Just ask the right person, and you might get a bird's-eye view
02:11 from the top of one of those skyscrapers.
02:13 Most of the goods and supplies that come to Port Moresby
02:16 arrive by cargo ship. The ocean is beautiful.
02:19 You'll even see whole villages built right over the water.
02:22 Then go to the marketplace, and there you'll see how talented
02:26 the people are.
02:27 These baskets and crafts you see are handmade by the locals.
02:40 I hope you enjoyed that quick tour of Papua New Guinea's
02:43 capital city. In this program, we want to give you three
02:45 exciting glimpes into the work that AFM is doing
02:48 in that country.
02:50 Here's and overview of what you are going to see.
02:52 David and Cindy White have been working for several years
02:56 as career missionaries among the Gogodala people in
02:59 Balimo, Papua New Guinea.
03:01 They specialize in friendship evangelism.
03:03 It's clear to see that David and Cindy genuinely
03:07 care about the local people.
03:09 Their deepest desire is for their Balimo friends to know
03:13 Jesus as their personal Savior.
03:16 From Balimo, we will take a short boat ride up the Aramia
03:19 River to the village of Kotale, where we will find the
03:23 Erickson family also working as career missionaries.
03:26 The second video report is from the village of Kukea, where
03:29 Dale Goodson and his wife Lety worked as missionaries among
03:32 the Dowa people for more than 11 years.
03:35 Their goal was to establish an Adventist church where people
03:38 didn't just know biblical truth, but applied it to every aspect
03:42 of their culture. Finally, after a 20-hour canoe ride, we will
03:46 reach our last destination, the May River Project.
03:50 This is the most remote place on earth that AFM is working in.
03:56 But first, let's go to Balimo, where we begin our
03:59 three-part series.
04:03 David and Cindy White are
04:05 stationed in Balimo, New Guinea,
04:06 which is a very remote location.
04:09 The only way to access Balimo is by bush plane.
04:12 It's an exciting experience to fly in one of these planes.
04:16 The pilot said he had flown over 4,000 missions and never
04:21 has had any problems.
04:33 As you can see, transportation can be very challenging,
04:37 and getting needed supplies can be an even greater challenge.
04:40 There's no local hardware or grocery store, so most of the
04:44 supplies have to be loaded onto a ship in Port Moresby.
04:47 After a couple of days of ocean travel, the cargo ship comes
04:51 inland up the Aramia River where it arrives near the town
04:54 of Balimo.
04:56 It's dry season, and water levels are low, so David
04:59 and Steve have to drive their small boat through
05:02 several miles of shallow waterways in order to meet
05:05 the big ship and get their supplies.
05:12 It's exciting when the ship finally does arrive.
05:14 Soxie helps guide the boat alongside of the ship.
05:17 David and Steve are eager to see if everything they
05:20 ordered has come because this ship contains precious cargo.
05:24 They are unloading construction materials like cement and
05:27 foundation poles for a new church that's being built in
05:31 Balimo. And because of many generous donors, supplies have
05:34 been purchased, and the church will soon be finished where
05:37 new believers can come every Sabbath and worship Jesus,
05:41 the source of the true River of Life.
05:47 Balimo is situated on the western banks of the
05:49 Aramia River and is home to the Gogodala cultural group
05:53 known for their artistic skills in carving huge wooden canoes.
05:57 The larger of these canoes can carry over 40 grown men
06:00 at any one time, and they use them to travel the massive
06:03 waterways of the Papuan delta.
06:06 One of the highlights of Gogodalan culture is the annual
06:10 canoe race. Up to 40 grown men stand upright in one canoe
06:14 as they paddle in unison to win the race.
06:17 It's an incredible sight to see.
06:21 After the canoe is carved, they paint them with colorful designs
06:24 to appease the spirits that they believe inhabit the canoe.
06:27 Even the paddles are skillfully etched and painted with symbols
06:31 of spirits who are asked to inhabit them.
06:43 Animism is the predominant religion of the Gogodala.
06:46 They believe spirits inhabit everything.
06:48 The whole purpose of life is to try and manipulate the
06:51 spirits to either give them good fortune or to leave them alone.
07:06 The day of the race has arrived. It's 4 a. m. and the people are
07:10 excited. They call on spirits to give them speed for the race.
07:14 While some perform rituals to keep away bad spirits,
07:17 others familiar with Christianity call upon God to
07:21 bless them as well.
07:22 The winning team will receive several thousand dollars.
07:27 Months of preparation are and practice are on the line.
07:32 It's amazing how they can paddle these huge canoes and
07:35 stand at the same time without falling out.
07:49 The end of the race determines a winner; however, there's a
07:52 dispute. The team that came in second accuses the winning
07:55 team of casting magic on their canoe, preventing them
07:59 from winning the race.
08:00 A huge fight quickly erupts, involving not only the racing
08:04 teams, but hundreds of villagers on the shore.
08:08 They grab sticks and rocks and anything they can get their
08:11 hands on and throw them at each other, or beat up
08:13 anyone not quick enough to get away.
08:15 No one was seriously injured when the fight was over.
08:18 What a miracle that was.
08:25 These people depend on the river.
08:27 It's the essence of their lives.
08:28 They fish in the water; they bathe in its shores;
08:31 they play in the mud banks and swim in its eddies.
08:34 They hunt wild game near its banks, such as crocodiles
08:37 eels, fish and birds.
08:40 Yet will all their sustenance coming from this life-giving
08:44 source, they are left wanting more. They seek a better way
08:47 for meaning in life.
08:48 They are in search of the River of Life.
08:52 Working out here has really been a blessing.
08:54 It's actually very exciting
08:56 because we are now having
08:58 groups of people that are
09:00 wanting to become Seventh-day Adventists.
09:02 Around the area, they've heard about our work here,
09:05 and now they're asking for us to send missionaries into
09:09 their villages to teach them. They want to raise up a church
09:12 in their villages.
09:19 The greatest joy I have is
09:23 when I can share with some
09:26 of the local men and ladies here about Jesus.
09:35 We've got three men that are all ordained elders in the
09:40 Balimo church. These three men are a direct result of the
09:45 efforts Adventist Frontiers made in the past.
09:50 One was given literature by Jeff Bishop, and the other two
09:55 were brought in by Jean Cader and his effort in the Upper Room
10:02 Jean did a lot of good work. And then followed not too long
10:08 after Jean was Joe Beasley, who had the Upper Room school.
10:12 And the Upper Room was a real popular school in this area.
10:17 The three men are Peter, Paul and Wamasy.
10:22 And out of the three, Wamasy is probably the rising star.
10:28 He is gifted relationally.
10:30 He is the pulse of the church here, and because of his
10:34 efforts, this church is coming up in a strong way.
11:01 The work of the Upper Room resuted in many people giving
11:05 their hearts to Jesus. After many years of spirit worship,
11:08 they gladly gave their hearts over to the One who fills their
11:12 life with joy and peace.
11:14 Now they belong to a family of believers, and together
11:17 they look forward to Jesus' soon return.
11:42 We've spent many years now studying the culture,
11:47 trying to determine where the holes are in the culture.
11:51 It's like we want to spread a gospel net and catch them
11:55 in the net and win souls. One of my favorite verses is
12:00 that Jesus said, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men."
12:05 Well, we have to make sure that the net that we throw
12:09 doesn't have any holes in it. And so, as we look at the
12:13 the gospel and the way we present the gospel,
12:18 in a western fashion, we see there are very big holes
12:21 and that people will go right through those holes.
12:24 And so, we've been sitting here trying to plug up all the holes
12:27 and see how we can present the gospel that when we finally
12:32 throw that net, we are going to catch them.
13:18 Kingsley tells us how the sound
13:20 of an early morning church bell
13:21 led him and his whole family
13:23 to a new life with Jesus.
13:25 The bell was the witness.
13:27 It was ringing so uniquely every time. That tuned our
13:30 ears to that church, the Seventh day church which I am now in.
13:34 The sound of the bell guided Kingsley and his family to
13:38 church that Sabbath morning. Since that day, the entire
13:41 family has given their lives to Jesus. No longer does gambling
13:45 or alcohol have a hold on Kingsley's life.
13:47 Let's listen now as Kingsley explains how he feels about
13:51 the work that Adventist Frontier Missions is doing in that area.
13:56 I tell you, they really changed the lives of the people here.
14:00 I always encourage my church members: once they are here,
14:04 use them to the fullest. And I always tell them,
14:07 Look up to them and ask them as many questions as you can.
14:10 So that we can learn from them and what they introduce
14:13 to us, we will carry on from there and we will go
14:16 extending the gospel of Jesus Christ.
14:19 It's encouraging to hear the passion Kingsley has in sharing
14:23 the gospel with others. Planting Adventist churches
14:26 totatlly operated by local people is the ultimate goal
14:29 of AFM. Now, don't go away. There's much more to come.
14:33 We will be back in a few moments with the rest of our story.
14:40 You know, most people don't think about darkness unless
14:43 we are in it.
14:45 Darkness is a place of shadows and fears,
14:49 of things unknown.
14:51 It's a place where we go to hide.
14:56 A place where we wonder who's out there.
14:59 A place of uncertainty.
15:00 In John chapter 8, verse 12, Jesus declares,
15:09 So God steps into the picture, light dispells darkness.
15:13 Life destroys death.
15:16 Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness.
15:21 Have you ever wondered why the Bible spends so
15:26 much time talking about light and darkness?
15:30 Could it be that behind the veil of darkness are faces?
15:35 Faces of people with hearts and families?
15:40 Faces of people that God loves?
15:45 Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. "
15:50 Will you go and bring the light
15:53 to the people God loves?
16:12 Welcome back to the second half of our video report
16:15 from Papua New Guinea. We go now to the village
16:17 of Kotale, where Steve and Laurie Erickson and their
16:20 daughters are serving as career church-planting missionaries
16:23 among the Gogodala.
16:53 I just felt the need to
16:56 do something more for God.
16:58 I was the head elder of our
17:00 church, and I wanted to work
17:02 full-time for God. So when this opportunity came up,
17:05 I believe God opened the doors for this.
17:09 So I had prayed for a break, and God opened the doors.
17:15 So here we are today.
17:18 We weren't going to be happy if we didn't go where
17:20 God wanted us to be. If we had stayed at our home
17:23 where we were, I know we wouldn't have been happy.
17:26 And life is challenging out here.
17:29 There's no doubt about it.
17:30 But I feel very content. I'm very happy to be here.
17:36 Living in the village here is much different than living
17:41 in America in that we live here, we are part of the village,
17:45 and people come and, I'll never forget standing
17:51 at the kitchen window washing dishes and
17:54 there would be group of people sitting in our front yard just
17:58 outside the window, facing our house and watching
18:02 the window as if they were watching a soap opera on TV.
18:07 And it just drove me nuts.
18:10 And I kind of have gotten used to that, and the people have
18:15 kind of gotten used to us, so they don't do that
18:17 quite as much.
18:18 One of the happiest things for me that makes me very proud
18:21 as a mother is to watch my girls interact with other
18:25 young girls and wanting to lead them to Jesus.
18:29 They've had the opportunity already to lead one girl
18:32 to baptism, and they are studying the Bible with
18:35 another friend. And they have their own Sabbath School class.
18:39 They've grown so much spiritually and as leaders
18:43 I can just see them growing tremendously, and it's been
18:47 a great experience for them to take these responsibilities on.
18:53 Johanna and Karin begin each morning with worship
18:55 reading the Bible and praying for their Heavenly
18:58 Father to guide the day. They both have school work
19:01 to do every morning, and their favorite subject is science.
19:06 Johanna has learned how to bake bread. She especially
19:09 likes to do this for the family. Homemade bread
19:12 tastes extra good in the mission field.
19:16 It's dry season, so Karin helps her dad get water from the
19:19 local village well. It's good exercise
19:22 and it's a nice time to talk with friends.
19:26 Getting water is hard work, so they are sure to use
19:28 water only on things that are needed.
19:33 Karin and Johanna love to play games with the local children.
19:36 They treat them with the same love and compassion as they
19:39 would their own family members. They consider it
19:42 a privilege to be accepted and trusted by the local people.
19:45 These friendships have opened the door for them to share
19:48 Jesus with many of the villagers. They use their
19:52 talents to praise God, and their Christian example has led
19:55 many young people to the same wonderful Jesus
19:58 that they know and love.
20:00 While being out here,
20:01 we decided to start a choir,
20:04 a girls choir to sing for the
20:06 camp meeting. And one girl named Lucy, she decided
20:11 to join. And because of that, she has been coming to
20:15 church every Sabbath faithfully, and we've
20:19 been giving her Bible studies.
20:25 Holy, holy, holy, holy.
20:32 Lord God almighty,
20:39 which was, and is, and is to come.
20:43 When I go back to the States,
20:44 We are going to be going next
20:47 year for a break, and what we
20:49 really miss there is Taco Bell.
20:52 That's one of our favorite places to eat.
20:55 The things that are different about living here
20:58 are people in the States - we
21:01 tend to be rushing, trying to
21:04 get to a meeting on time. But people here, they don't
21:08 care how long it takes them to get somewhere.
21:11 Time doesn't really mean anything to them.
21:14 When I was back home in the States, I was mostly
21:18 trying to impress people, but then when I came here,
21:22 life is simple, and the people are humble.
21:26 And because we are right in the middle of nature,
21:29 somehow it just drew me closer to God.
21:33 And I really changed when I came out here.
21:37 And I just think that if anybody goes to the
21:42 mission field, it's going to change their lives.
22:03 Elsie really loves Jesus, and she wanted to be baptized
22:06 with her friend Johanna. But she kept getting sick.
22:09 So Elsie's dad had Laurie Erickson come and check
22:12 on Elsie. Laurie thought she had malaria, but looking
22:15 further, Laurie discovered that Elsie had appendicitis.
22:18 So they took Elsie to Port Moresby where she could get
22:21 the surgery that she needed.
22:55 For a long time, Nasa was considered to be the meanest
22:58 person in the village of Kotale. He was known
23:01 for being a thief. One day he broke into
23:03 a house and stole a radio. He thought he had gotten
23:06 away with it until some people came knocking at
23:08 his door asking if he knew anything about the stolen
23:11 radio. Of course, Nasa denied it. That is, until the men came
23:15 in to do some investigation of their own.
23:18 Sure enough, they found the missing radio, and they
23:20 threatened to beat him up if he didn't stop stealing
23:23 things. A few days later, Nasa couldn't help himself.
23:26 He had stolen chickens before, and he thought it would be
23:29 easy pickings. This time, some angry people were waiting
23:32 for him. They decided to chase the chicken thief down
23:35 and end his life.
23:51 The angry mob looked for Nasa everywhere. They were going
23:54 to chop him to pieces. But God had a different
23:56 plan for Nasa.
24:28 I know many of you are praying for us.
24:30 And we would just ask that you continue your prayers
24:34 for us because there is a spirtual battle going
24:37 on out here, and prayers make a difference.
24:40 And I would like to say a prayer just now for you.
24:45 If you would just bow your head with me, let's pray.
24:51 Father in heaven, thank You for being with us today.
24:56 Lord, we have answered Your call to go to the far corners
25:00 of the earth. I want to pray for each one of the viewers
25:05 that You will touch their hearts. I know there are
25:08 some out there that You have been working on their
25:12 hearts, preparing them to work as missionaries.
25:15 Lord, we just pray that You will work out their situation
25:18 so that they can fulfill Your purpose, so this gospel
25:21 can reach the whole world, and then we will see
25:25 Jesus come. And so, Lord, we commit our lives to You
25:30 and ask for Your will to be done. In Jesus' name, amen.
25:35 I want to thank you in advance for your prayers and
25:38 financial support. They are greatly needed as well as
25:41 greatly appreciated. We end our program today with this
25:44 special music from the Balimo Seventh-day Adventist church
25:47 in Papua New Guinea.
26:33 It's a moment that I will never forget in my life.
26:36 How they talked to us, how they loved us.
26:38 I came into an atmosphere, and I felt that I was
26:42 already coming home.
26:43 And I'm just very happy to join the family of God.
26:46 It's so wonderful and nice.
26:50 Sweet home.
26:56 It will be a sweet home for the Gogodala when they reach
26:59 heaven. The Whites and Ericksons have dedicated
27:02 their lives to bringing the gospel to the Gogodala,
27:05 a people truly searching for the River of Life.
27:08 Please keep them in your prayers. If you felt God
27:10 impressing you to support Adventist Frontier Missions,
27:13 then please send your donation to:


Revised 2014-12-17