I had just finished ministering at a week long Pastors & Leaders conference in a remote part of the Highlands in Papua New Guinea when a woman of God leaned over to me and said, "Empty out your bilum (handwoven bag)." I was a bit confused but I followed her instruction and turned the bilum upside down, inside out, and poured out all it's contents on the seat next to me. The host Pastor then called me up to the pulpit again, hung the now empty bilum around my neck and invited the congregation to come forward and give a love offering to bless me. One by one, hundreds of men, women, and children came running down to the Altar to embrace me and in so doing place a handful of coins, a crumpled K2 or K10 note, and a few K20 and K50 notes down in my bilum. These were not town folk, they were mostly humble ples lain, many uneducated and unemployed, but they gave out of the abundance of their heart and faith. The heavier that bilum grew around my neck the more my tears of gratitude flowed to greet the river of their generosity. The Holy Spirit spoke to me saying, "In order for you to be filled you must first be empty. You had to pour out everything else in order to receive this blessing. I desire that you LIVE EMPTY so that I might bless you."
After meeting with the indigenous Papuan community in Indonesia, now more than ever my heart cries out for the full democratic liberation of West Papua. These people are blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh, genetic and cultural Wantoks separated from us by the annexation of arrogant colonial powers. Papua New Guinea can NEVER rightfully call itself "...the big brother of the South Pacific" until we first acknowledge the genocide in West Papua and demand that the Indonesian government grant autonomy to our brothers and cease perpetrating the gross human rights violations against the Papuan people. One young West Papuan boy told me, "We are prisoners here... we have a lot of materialistic things but we are spectators in our own land. Our people have been killed. Our land occupied. We are not free." Join with me today in interceding for the freedom of the West Papuan people.
I grew up the son of two preachers who dreamed of one day becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a writer... anything except a minister and I certainly never dreamed of becoming a missionary here in Papua New Guinea. I wanted to live a private life far removed from the unceasing scrutiny of judgmental church folk... I wanted to live a "self sufficient" life free of dependency upon the favor of God and possessed no desire to follow in my parents footsteps of living by faith. However, a elder man of God from Oklahoma prophesied over me when I was ten years old saying, "I see you standing on blue carpet behind a pulpit ministering to thousands and you are the only White person in the Church!" but I rejected that unwanted Word and ran away from that destiny for a decade until I finally accepted the call of God. A few years after my Ordination, I obeyed God and said goodbye to all that was familiar to me and boarded a plane for Papua New Guinea. My first year in PNG was the hardest of my life... adjusting to living in a grass hut, overwhelming loneliness, malaria, abandonment, being physically attacked by the people I had come to minister to and later having virtually all of my money stolen. I survived entirely by faith. I was sustained by the hands of Asples ravens who met me by the brook of my betrayal. At a point where I was ready to give up on PNG and was unsure of whether or not God had really taken me there I was invited to preach at the largest Church in the Capital and as I stood trembling behind that pulpit at a loss for words I stammered and looked down at my feet only to realize that I was standing on blue carpet and when I looked back up at the thousands of Islander saints looking at me I awakened to the realization that the Word of prophecy given 13 years before had been fulfilled in my life. I have remained in love with PNG for nearly a decade now and traded all my own dreams for the promise of a holy and transformed nation interwoven out of a thousand tribes. I yet remain here vowing to continue fulfilling my purpose of creation.
When I die bury me in the valley of Morobe, under an ancient shade tree and beneath a sky that is a brilliant blue. Leave my heart where the winds from the coast cause the tall grass to dance as it rises up to greet the Highlands. Don't send my body back to America... I belong to a thousand tribes in Papua New Guinea whose land has become my land and whose people have become my people.