One would expect housing to be inexpensive in Papua New Guinea, but it’s quite the opposite. Multiple towns in this country rival New York City’s expensive housing market. In order to make it possible for teams to live and work here on support from their churches, PBT has bought properties and built housing units for their workers to rent reasonably.
For some time now, the branch has been seeing increased growth. Just last year we added three new teams, and more are in the pipeline to come. This is exciting and highly energizing! At the same time, we’re beginning to find our resources stretched. Read below to better understand how important it is for us to provide adequate housing for our teams. If you want to help, please click here.
By Lori Witham
When I began my ministry with Pioneer Bible Translators in 1993 and moved to Madang, Papua New Guinea, we had fewer properties to rent to our missionaries than we do now. At the time, all PBT housing was filled. So Sandra, another single missionary, and I rented an inexpensive apartment owned by another mission organization. We did this for a year until a small, one-bedroom PBT apartment became available, and I moved into it. I unpacked my bags, hung up my paintings, and made my house a home. God blessed me with a place I could call home for most of the remaining years I lived in PNG.
Sandra, on the other hand, stayed where she was for a year or less, until that mission had need of the apartment. Because of the lack of housing for singles on PBT properties, Sandra moved between the few available mission houses in town run by other mission organizations. PBT bush teams needed the limited transient places that were available through PBT. Renting from anyone outside of the mission community wasn’t an option because of the extremely high rent and the safety issues for singles. Finally, after a few years of being “chased out” of other missions’ apartments, Sandra was worn out. We both had been in PNG a short time, but she had yet to unpack her luggage, so to speak. So she sat down with administration and shared how important permanent housing is to a person. They listened, and through God’s intervention, and juggling of our permanent/transient properties, a permanent place was designated for Sandra. Since that time PBT, through the help of our worldwide team of supporters, has purchased property and built housing on already owned property. We had solved the housing problems of the past.
But praise God our PNG branch has since grown and God continues to bring the workers we need to complete the task. Now we’re back to needing more affordable and safe housing both for families and singles. But we want to build ahead of the influx of new teams. We want to be prepared for them, and not find ourselves in the situation Sandra found herself in. We want to say, “Welcome Home” when they arrive.
Lori works in the Publications Department, serving remotely from the USA as a desktop publishing specialist.