Late Night in the Swamp


It was 11:53 pm. The moonless sky was pitch-black with clouds. Unseen mosquitoes buzzed near my ear, and a very small fire was trying to burn about 20 yards away. A short, elderly man scurried about, picking up little pieces of trash from the area near his house. I watched as he paced, tears welling up on the bottoms of my eyelids. That’s when I heard him lightly singing a tune I’ve never heard. I just had to know what he was singing.

That short elderly man was Elijah, a man that got saved about three years ago, here in Kotidanga. When he got saved, he was very sick. The Lord had directed Pastor James, my dad (Missionary John Allen), and me to all three independently witness to him in the same week. Elijah moved to the coast last year, and has not been back here since. His severe asthma just doesn’t aggravate him in the lowlands. He built a house in the swampy area of Titikaini, and repeatedly sent requests for us to send preachers to his area. His plea: “The people here really need the Gospel. Please send a preacher.”

This past weekend, we made a survey trip to visit the Kamea villages of Titikaini. Missionaries Andrew Schellenberger and Jason Ottosen accompanied me along with two of our Kamea preachers, Tony Tinandi and Konos Manus. We stayed at Elijah’s house, and we hiked to the surrounding villages. Elijah had told us the truth–there are a lot of villages in that area, and there are only three churches, all Seventh-Day Adventist. No Catholic churches. No Lutheran churches. No Charismatic churches. No Baptist churches.

As we […]

By |November 21st, 2012|God, people|1 Comment

Out of Every Tongue

Today’s church service was a little different from normal. We had two pastors from the Ihu area preach this morning–one in Sunday School, the other during the morning’s main service.

As church services came to an end, Pastor James was giving an invitation and I began to hear people praying around me. Many times, our people will pray in quiet audible tones. And that’s when it struck me–I was praying in Pidgin from my heart, but Pastor Jerry was praying next to me in Orokolo. Preacher Jack was on my other side, praying in the Kamea language, and Ricky was praying behind me in Gadsup language.

How many lanugages were represented today? After church I took a look around and began asking that question. I came up with nine languages represented in our congregation of about 180 people.

Most of the people were Kamea, since we live right in the heart of Kamea-land; but Baimiri is from Akoye and that is her heart-language. Pastors Jerry, Murphy, and Maisa (who are visiting for the Pastor’s School this week) are all Orokolo men. (What a manly language it is, too!) Pastor David is from Baimuru and he has two heart languages, one from his dad and one from his mom–Koriki and Eare. Pastor Jorim is from Kaintiba and he speaks Hamtai. Ricky and his wife are from Asarunka in the Eastern Highlands Province and they speak Gadsup. Of course, Tok Pisin (aka Pidgin) is the trade language, and all of the missionaries speak English, especially the large number of them that we have here from Wyoming. (We almost have more people here from Wyoming than Wyoming has people living in it!)

This morning’s church service gave […]

By |November 4th, 2012|God, people|1 Comment

Why do we pick these days?!

This week we will be hosting a “graduate level” Pastor’s School for our graduates and the pastors from Ihu. This has involved a lot of planning and preparation on the parts of the speakers–my dad (aka John Allen), Pastor James, Missionary Andrew Schellenberger, Missionary Jason Ottosen, and myself.

This past Tuesday, I flew up to Menyamya and bought the food for the meeting–these guys are going to consume a lot of rice, tuna fish, and noodles, along with the staple local kaukau, taro and bananas. The weather on Tuesday was gorgeous. For that matter, the weather for the last two weeks has been gorgeous!

For the last two weeks, we have been planning to pick up the national pastors today–it’s the best day that fits in the calendar, and with the weather having co-operated so well, why not get them today?! The classes start on Monday morning, and tomorrow is Sunday which is the day I like to be involved in church services (and NOT flying an airplane).

This morning, Andrew Schellenberger and I left our houses at 6 am, headed to the airstrip. It’s a 45-minute drive away in the Kawasaki Mule. Some places have to be in 4-wheel drive with the differential locked…but that’s another story for another day.

Usually, on good weather days, we drive in the early morning fog up the Kotidanga side of the mountain, and break out of the fog near the top of the mountain. But today, the fog covered the top of the mountain.

As I crested the top, I began to see patches of blue sky…and then I could see mountains on the far side of the Tauri River Valley. This valley is 8 miles wide, and those mountains looked […]

By |November 3rd, 2012|aviation, God, people|1 Comment

Mother and Child

On the way back from the airstrip, we came across this lady with her baby. The afternoon rain had come a few hours early, and she had gotten caught in the rain.

She was kind enough to let me take her picture. I was kind enough to share my lunch with her.


First Post

MattInHatI’m sure that my most-revered Grammar-and-Composition teacher from high school will most likely have a mild heart-attack when (if…who am I kidding?) she reads this blog post, but I’m going to start off with what I’m not supposed to start off with–

This is my first blog ever. So, while I am new at making a blog, I’m definitely not new to reading them. I’d like to be frank on this blog, and I’d like to try not to use very many more “I’s” in this paragraph. So while you will be reading what the guy formerly known as “I” write, hopefully what you read will be interesting.

I love missions. I exist for two purposes. (Please don’t correct me with responses like “No, you exist to bring glory to God.” That’s why we all exist.) I exist for church-planting and disciple-making. Those two cannot be divorced. Too often one or the other is attempted, but they must go hand-in-hand. More on that in a later post. This post is all about it being my first post on a blog. So suffice it to say that we’ll be talking about church-planting and disciple-making. And the Bible. And God. And Sunday School.

What makes me a little bit unique is the fact that I live in Papua New Guinea. Time here means nothing. As one Papua New Guinean put it, “We have no clocks, but a lot of time. Americans have a lot of clocks, but no time.” To the outsider, the culture is completely bizarre. The sights, the smells, the reactions and ways of thinking–its all very different. But after nine years here, I believe I love these […]