Pioneer Missionaries in Papua, Indonesia Pass On Ministry Responsibilities to the Local Church

Ministry today in Papua, Indonesia doesn’t look the same as it did over 60 years ago, and that’s a good thing; it signals Church growth.

The Indonesian province of Papua sits on the west side of the island of New Guinea. The terrain is rough and extremely difficult to travel. There are also approximately 260 language groups represented on the island.

Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) serves Papua’s remote communities with flights providing humanitarian, medical, and spiritual support.

Dennis Bergstrazer, an MAF pilot in Papua, says MAF was there when missions work first started on the island around 60 years ago. In the beginning, missionaries hiked the interior of the area to build relationships and plant churches. He calls this time period “the pioneering years.”

Bergstrazer says, “Those first missionaries hiked and built airstrips, and then MAF would come in and support them. Finally, they’d get a house built and they’d bring their families in and then we’d support that family while they were interior.”

The next 20 years are what Bergstrazer refers to as “the efficient years.” Missionaries who were still around had more experience and the local Church was getting better established. MAF was growing its network and utilizing its resources well.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh