Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shine Your Light Wednesdays: My Experience With NTM: Destination Summit

This meme has been so much fun, even though I haven't gotten anyone to participate so far (hint, hint)....it's still been so much fun to do.  I love spreading the word about works that are going on that people may not necessarily know a lot about.  It's awesome!  I wish that I could participate and volunteer with every single opportunity, but since I can't do that (seeing as I'm only one person), spreading the word about each one is the next best thing.  Up this week is New Tribes Mission's Summit and Interface programs.  


Back in 1996 (wow, I was so young), I went on a summer missions trip to Papua New Guinea.  (I have to say that some of the pictures here were taken by a friend on that trip, Bruce....who had come with his twin son and daughter.) I don't think I was quite ready for a trip of that magnitude....I don't think I appreciated it as much then as I do now.  Don't get me wrong....it was the time of my life, but having grown up significantly since then, I am more serious about things now than I was after just graduating from high school.:)  I will never forget that trip.  It was truly a marker in my life that I am so thankful for.  I signed up for the Destination Summit missions trip with New Tribes Mission.  It took months of preparation and planning, but God just brought it all together.  We headed to Hawaii first for a time of being together with our teams and preparation for what lay ahead.  My team was heading to the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea, which is full of rivers and jungles; oh and don't forget mosquitoes, which caused my malaria escapade (that's for another post).:)  We were going to work with missionaries in the Saniyo tribe at Pukapuki (pronounced PooKawPooKee), 

which was a 3 hour boat ride from the grass airstrip where our Cessna took us.  We were there for a little over four weeks, and we were assisting the missionaries with physical work that they needed our help on.  There were three missionary families there at the time, and two of the families were working on translation, getting God's Word translated into the language of the tribe, which is so critical.  Anyway, we helped to clear a road from their unfinished grass airstrip to their houses, and we worked some on the airstrip itself.  When I say "we cleared," I don't mean that we had all the conveniences and tools that we have here.  No, we pretty much worked with our hands and machetes (in fact, I think I still have my machete somewhere, if Dan hasn't carried it off somewhere).  The heat was indescribable....the first week we were there, we would work for a little bit, go jump in the river to cool off.  It was so hot; and really, it was the humidity that got us, along with the fireants.:)  It rained almost every day.  The beauty of that land was so indescribable.  To this day, I can still see us standing on the hill overlooking the jungles and the mountains, with the clouds coming down over some of the land, and just "ooohing and ahhhing" at the untouched beauty.  I could easily imagine that dinosaurs still roamed here....:)  The tribal people were just so beautiful....they were kind and friendly and oh so curious about us. 


The kids were so much fun, even getting into a mud fight with us one day while trying to cut out a tree on the airstrip.  The people would have markets for us, where we could buy things from them, and they loved to bargain.  Even though we couldn't understand each other, it was still good times.:)  I actually have a couple of spears and my canoes hanging in our house, to this day.

We would take short, little trips around that area, all by boat or by foot.  We got to hike through the jungle with some of the tribal women and learn how they harvested their staple food from the trunks of trees, even helping them.  Walking into the area where they worked was quite interesting, since we had to balance on the branches that they had cut down....otherwise, we'd be knee deep....:)

We also got to go on a  pig hunt, where we were hoping to see either a pig or emu....although, we were prepared to climb a tree if necessary, some of us trying to figure out exactly how we were going to get up the trees.  LOL  We got to see the missionaries work, whether it was physical labor, translation work, medical work, etc.  We grew close to the missionaries, getting to know them and their children.  Their work came alive before our very eyes.

After leaving Pukapuki, we headed back to Wewak in northern PNG (where we got to snorkel on a coral reef with the most beautiful fish I have ever seen; yep, that's a small crocodile....) 
and then on to Australia for a few days for some rest and debriefing before heading back to the States. 
We grew very close as a team, so close we were all seriously in tears when we left each other at LAX, upon returning home.  Through this trip, we got to see the behind-the-scenes work that a missionary is involved in.  It was an experience I will never forget.  The benefits and things learned through this experience far outweighed the small, petty annoyances, such as heat and mosquitoes.  In fact, I want to take my children on missions trips.  I want them to see life through how someone else lives and is raised.  I want them to experience the things God has for them....which is why I highly recommend a missions trip for anyone seeking to make a change in their life.  

New Tribes Mission has such trips available.  They not only have the Summit Assist program, where you can go and help the missionaries with jobs that need done (usually in the Latin America, Africa, or Asia-Pacific regions), but they also have their 6-week Interface program.  The Interface program allows you to go to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea for a college-level missions course, only in real life.  It teaches how to interact with tribal people.  

My encouragement to you is not to worry about how much a missions trip might cost; instead, give that concern to God, because when you surrender that to God, He is going to do great things.  He will provide above and beyond anything you ever thought you needed.  I just hope that this post will encourage you to get out there and start looking for that next opportunity for you or your family.  There are so many unreached peoples who need to hear about our Saviour; can you imagine being a part of that mission?




Share a ministry/volunteer opportunity that you care about or have just learned about.  Maybe even share about this post on your blog, so we can help to spread the word and shine our lights.  Make sure to link back to Real Heart Prints in your post, and sign Mr. Linky below.

       





2 comments:

ruth stiles October 28, 2009 at 12:15 PM  

so after like 317,562,941 tries I finally got your blog on my google reader.....GRRRR!!!! you are such a gifted writer so when I miss a few days of your postings I take half a day catching up with all the stuff you write!
anyways...this is all to say: HAVE A GREAT DAY!

~Ellie Kings~ October 28, 2009 at 7:30 PM  

Wow that mission sounds amazing! A few years ago, I had the opportunity to go on two missions. The first in 2001 was in Honduras to help finish off an orphanage/school for children who had lost their families when Hurricane Mitch hit. The second in 2004 was in Africa to help orphans and some churches in Nigeria.

It was an unforgettable experience! It changes who you are at the core and helps you realize that the things that are so important to us here in America, are nothing compared to their needs. Loved this post Mel!
PS. I grabbed your button.

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