We, Levi and Robyn Lenz along with our children, are serving as missionaries with Ethnos360 (founded in 1942 as New Tribes Mission) among the North Wahgi people in Papua New Guinea. Our ministry includes developing and teaching a literacy program, Scripture translation, Bible lesson development and teaching, small group Bible studies, youth group and Sunday school program development, personal discipleship, basic medical care, ambulance service to the local hospital, as well as home-schooling our children.
In January 2012, a small church was born. Over the last 6 years we have seen God grow His Church. At times, this growth has been very slow and painful, battling attitudes of complacency and apathy toward spiritual growth and cultural and religious tradition strongholds. Religion, not the gospel, was introduced to the Wahgi people some 75 years ago. Since then syncretism, the blending of the traditional animistic beliefs and what pieces of western religion to which they have been introduced, have clouded their minds and ruled their lives believing that they are able to fulfill the requirements for their own salvation. Just as they believe(d) they could appease and manipulate the various spirits, they have now transposed that ideology onto God. The same offerings are made and the same incantations are said, only now replacing the name of the spirit with “God”, without a change in understanding. We seek to combat this worldview with the Word of God through the systematic, chronological teaching of the Scriptures, small group Bible studies, and personal discipleship of believers.
As one of the facets of the church plant, our team began Scripture translation in 2011. As of April 2018, the New Testament has been completely drafted into the North Wahgi language! Old Testament portions which coincide with our Bible lessons have also been translated into the language. 59% of the New Testament has gone through the rigorous translation and checking process and has been cleared for printing. The remaining 41% is at various stages in the translation process.
While Scripture translation is a vital part of the church plant, it requires literate people to read it. Our team has developed a literacy program to teach those with little or no education how to read and write in their own language. However, many people fail to see the necessity in becoming literate as they haven’t had the need to read in the past. We challenge the church that the ability to read is vital for the church to be able to grow in their personal walk with the Lord and also to compare false doctrine against Scripture. Please pray for faithful students as well as a few faithful men or women to take over the role of teaching literacy classes and Bible teaching.
We are thankful for FBC Bolivar’s corporate and individual partnership in this ministry. Please consider adding “Lenz’s View” as a Facebook friend or writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to be able to follow the North Wahgi church planting ministry.