Mt Hagen is the third largest city in Papua New Guinea, with over 50,000 residents. Hagen is the capital of the Western Highlands Province, located in the fertile Wahgi valley in the central part of the country. It is 5500 feet above sea level, compared to Indianapolis which is less than 1000 feet above sea level. Hagen is in the central part of Papua New Guinea where the work of the Church of the Nazarene first started. In a wide swath of territory covering various provinces, the Church of the Nazarene is healthy and well represented. In this area, we not only have a Nazarene Bible College, Nazarene Teacher Training College, and Nazarene Nurses training school, we also have one of the best hospitals in PNG, the Nazarene Hospital in Kudjip.
Jacob Uri, the principal of the Bible College, helps me load my luggage into his vehicle, and we begin driving back toward the Bible College. Harmon Schmelzenbach, the field director, I am able to meet along the roadside as he is preparing for a trip to the USA. It is here that I am able to thank Harmon for his hospitality in allowing me to stay in his home on the Bible College Campus. I also was able to see Kafoa the DS of Fiji who I will spend time with later in his country before I come back home. I also met Justin Miller a missionary who lives in Kudjip. Justin and his wife Stephanie will help me in a couple of weeks and were a real blessing. They were some of the guardian angels the Lord sent me continually while in Papua New Guinea. After greeting the missionaries along the side of the road (Actually, we stopped at a Horticulture College) It was a wonderful greeting committee.
The Principal takes me to get settled into the mission house. Then he announces “we are going to church and you are going to preach.” I felt a little rattled but off we went to the Sunday morning service. I must make at least one comment regarding the roads in the Highlands. They are very rough! The potholes were the size of which I have never seen. Jacob Uri is quite a skilled PNG driver. He knows how to get around, and I believe in my country I would describe his driving as aggressive. When we arrived at the small village of Wagmil a little ways past Kudjip. The Principal tells me the pastor is doing a great job. The pastor is Nigel and his wife is Maggie. The church building was small but full. The front of the church was decorated with fresh fruit. It was beautiful. When I went forward to preach. I was given a bilum (a traditional bag woven by the ladies of PNG) it would be the first of many I received while in PNG. I preached, and the people were responsive, and many in the congregation came forward to pray. After the service, we walked into the village to the pastors home. The pastor is bi-vocational as are many if not most in Papua New Guinea. The pastor is a builder, and tools of his trade were all around his village home. It is a humbling experience when pastors who have little, share what they have with me. Their home was small but comfortable. They had prepared chicken and kow-kow (sweet potato) and other vegetables and rice as well as greens. The meal was very nice and the visit a blessing. I had to speak to the pastor through an interpreter. Though I could not understand the pastor, he spoke with such a wonderful spirit, and it was like his face shone when he talked about the Lord. I especially enjoyed speaking with his children. The children attend school, and the school instruction is in English. They asked me all about “America.” After lunch, I was taken back to the mission house on the campus. I rested and later had dinner with the faculty and staff of the Bible College. I would meet for the first time several folks that I would become very close to over the next month. Tonight I preach in chapel. The service was beautiful, the music and spirit were heart-warming. I preached on Isaiah 6: Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord. At the conclusion of the service somewhere between 30-50 come forward to have an encounter with the Holy God. My first day in Papua New Guinea is finished. I am exhausted but blessed. During the next month, I will experience things I had never experienced. I would be blessed and genuinely have a life-changing time..-
Even though my name is misspelled the sentiments were touching when I found this on the door of where I would be staying while at the Bible College