Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

Couch potato

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Taking a well earned break after unloading the Menya teams cargo off of MAF's Twin Otter

Just another quick update to send out.  My Co-worker Travis Ray and I took a quick trip into the Menya work to help two new family’s, the Walkers and Osborns move into their homes.  It was an in and out operation, only took us two days.  MAF’s Twin Otter and NTM’s Cessna 206 hauled in all their cargo and it was our job to get it moved from the airstrip to the houses.  Which doesn’t really seem all that hard until you realize (more…)

Stranded in the Bismark Sea!

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

This bush house wast completed in 2 weeks!

Hello all,

It’s been quite some time since my last update so I thought I’d send one out.  We’ve been busy, busy, busy since our last newsletter so there’s a ton of stuff to say, but you’d all probably be bored to tears if I tried to tell it all so I’ll just hit the highlights for now.  So far this year, (more…)


Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

View from our room at the Resort

Wow, its been a long time since I posted last.  I’m truly sorry for the delay, but in my defense things have been hopping around here.  So many things have happened in the past 12 months that I think a brief year end review is in order.  As you all know, we will have been here in PNG one year as of February 23rd… I can hardly believe it.  The Lord has been so good to us this year in so many ways.  We hit the ground running last February by starting NCLA (National Culture and Language Acquisition) which we planned on taking us between 6 to 9 months… it ended up being 9 months.  There’s one good reason I’m a Tech Specialist and not a Translator.  Melanesian Pidgin is one of the easiest languages in the world to learn and it still took me awhile ;-).  However, Melody (more…)

The lights are on, and the house is still standing!

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Sunday, November 4th, 2012




Josh is in the Pal tribe this week helping to finish the tribal missionary home for the Hostetter family.  We were in the Missouri training with them.  SO FUN to see where God has brought each of our families.  Doing completely different tasks here on the field, but this week, Josh and Chris are part of a team with the SAME TASK!  Building Chris and Maggie’s FIRST PERMANENT HOME they’ve had…and it’s in the jungle on a mountain ridge in Papua New Guinea.

Talked with Josh last night.  He said he’s a “good sore” and tired, but excited to be there and getting a lot done!  He got there on Tuesday morning after a 1 day delay due to rain and cloud cover.  The only way they could’ve started right into working faster than they did is if they set him down on the rooftop.

Installing Solar Panels on the Hostetters bush house somewhere in the PNG bush!

The solar panels were carefully installed before 2 hours of rain hit.  NOW, lights are on and all the electrical wiring has been run.  After finishing up the electrical, they’ll start in on plumbing.  SO GREAT to be in such a remote location and have an indoor toilet!!

Continue to pray for the team.  All 3 families hope to fly into the tribe this coming Monday, the 29th!

The Pal tribe is located in the Madang region (usually hot), but since they’re on a mountain ridge, they get a bit of a break.  All 3 families are well into their language learning…some nearly done I think.  Literacy programs and Translation work can begin as soon as they finish!  AMAZING GIFTS the Lord has given them!

p.s.–Josh hopes to have his final language check by November 9th.  These last several months have dragged on with the language side of things, and we are trusting the Lord to help us finish this stage well!  We have some new language helpers and staff in the mix now, and are very thankful for the extra help!

p.p.s.–THE TITLE:  1) It’s so exciting to be able to be a part of turning on the first lights in a new home out in the middle of the mountainous jungle of PNG!  2) There was an earthquake during the time Josh was there in Pal, and it was a good test for the house they were building!  IT’S SOLID!

Trip to Roja House Lain

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Walkabout to Roja haus lain

Walkabout to Roja haus lain

Hello again.  As some of you were aware, we took a walkabout into the bush today to a neighboring village or “Haus Lain”, which in English would be pronounced “House line.”  We started out around 8:45 AM and made our way through the coffee, Sweet potato, Tapioc, and rice gardens to the “Garden trail,” which led us up to where the Roja house lain is.  We met several villagers on the way and stopped to chat.  Chris and Maggie Hostetter went along with us since it was our first time and we had no idea how to get there.  They’re just finishing their Tok Pisin study here at the Center and will be moving into a tribe soon.

Melody and I kept our eyes and ears open for new words as we listened to Chris and Maggie dialogue with the folks we met along our way.  We’re beginning to hear bits and pieces of the conversation as we tune our ears to the melody of the language.  We also had a local guide with us who resides in the Roja hans line, his name is Tom.  He explained many things to us, such as graves, and what the different parts of the houses are made from.  The Walls are made from a plant called Pit

Kunai grass roof

Coffee beans being dried for market

pit, that they dry and flatten out to weave it into wall panels.  The floors are made from a type of Bamboo pronounced “Mamboo.”  Most of the houses will have a separate smaller structure off to one side that is designated for cooking and is called the “Cuk Haus.”  We were also able to see coffee beans being dried in the sun.  All along the way pigs were basking along the trails and beside houses in the shade, paying no attention whatsoever to us as we walking by, inches away.  We didn’t even warrant a cursory side ways glance.  As I’ve said before, pigs are a prized possession in this culture and in many way’s they’re value is almost the same as human.  Our language helper Nicky had to pay a bride price for his wife Carol, that was set by his wife’s Uncles and Papa.  They ended up settling on a bride price of 8,000 Kina ($4500), 16 pigs, 2 cows, some goats, chickens, and ducks!  Ouch!  That’s better than the first price they set of 15,000 Kina.  Not every bride price is the same.  Some women who have been educated and have good jobs bring a much steeper bride price, such as in Nicky’s case.  His wife Carol is a school teacher so she was very valuable to her family.

Peanuts, Kau Kau and Banana plants

We were also invited to a MuMu on Saturday.  Thats a sort of cookout that the whole village or anyone waling by can come to.  They just through a bunch of Kumu (Greens), Kau Kau (Sweet Potato), Beans in a pit full of hot stones and then cover it up for an hour until its done.  Sometimes, for important occasions they’ll through in a side of lamb, pig, or chicken with it. I’m told its excellent.  So, we’re bringing some Cockaruk (Chicken) to through in.  We’ll be sure to post plenty of pictures from it.  Well that’s all for now.  Until next time.  Lukim yu behain!

All Tribes and Tongues!

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Hearing the word at a PNG church.

Hello to all my stateside friends and family.  We had the wonderful opportunity to hear a message from a New Guinea pastor this morning.  It was an English speaking service with some pidgin mixed in here and there.  It was good message, and the singing was well done two.  We sang a round of Hymns with the guitar and then with the piano.  We really enjoyed hearing the word preached in and to a culture that are at present still fairly foreign to us.  However, Melody and I both felt a some emotion welling up inside as we looked around and were reminded of what it will be like in heaven we all our brothers and sister from around the world will be singing praises to our Lord and glorifying Him. (more…)

We’ve Arrived

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Walkabout into the village for language study

Well we’ve arrived in PNG after years of preparation, hard work, and answered prayers!  Thanks to all of you who have been such a huge part of this process.  Many of you have been with us from the beginning of this journey which started almost 10 years ago, and the rest have joined along the way and all of you have experienced the hills and valley’s with us.  I’m reminded once again of the importance of the Body of Christ and how important it is for each of us to be ready to lift a brother up when in need.  Without the Body our family may very well have not made it here.  Please continue to pray for us, your job is not over, you’re not off the hook.  We love you and are depending upon you to continue to pray for the work that God is doing in PNG and that we could be useful tools for Him.

It is our desire to above all to be imitators of our master, and a picture of Christ for our co-workers, and the citizens of PNG.  We want people to see Christ working in us and through us and to realize the hope we have can be their’s as well.

We always knew living in PNG would be an eyeopening and challenging endeavor as we cross cultural boundaries and embrace a new world view.  However you can never be fully prepared for everything, there’s always going to be something that surprises you and catches you unawares.  We’ve had some of those experiences already.  For example, I new it was going to be expensive to live here, but I didn’t expect a 14 year old truck with high miles and all sorts of defects that we wouldn’t pay $2000 for in the states to still be worth upwards of $10,000!  Ouch!  Talk about sticker SHOCK!  The glass half full view is that vehicles don’t depreciate nearly as much as they do in the states and therefore you will get a nice price for it when its time to sell.  The glass half empty approach is that I don’t have any children I’m willing to part with to acquire one!  Bahahaha.  But, the Lord has done some pretty spectacular things in my life, so I wouldn’t be surprised to have cash in hand pretty soon to purchase a vehicle for our ministry here.  Vehicles aren’t the only thing that’s expensive, everything here is probably 3 to 4 times more expensive than in the states, from your $1 roll of Toilet paper to your $16 bag of brown sugar!  I’m not complaining mind you, I’m just trying to give you a picture of one facet of living in another land with value’s that differ from our own.  Praise God that we have a team of supporters back home who are sacrificing for us to be here and doing ministry.  There’s a huge need here, and we pray God will use our family in a way that brings honor and glory to Him.  Well, I’m going to sign of for now, but keep your eye’s open for another post soon.  Keep looking up!  Lukin Yu Behain!


Now boarding our Coach Passengers!

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
How awesome would it be to fly on this Beast with all the paintings!

How awesome would it be to fly on this Beast with all the paintings!

Well we did it, we took the plunge!  We now have one way tickets to Papua New Guinea!  We will have a one night layover in Brisbane Australia to give the family a break from Planes, trains and automobiles.  We depart Monday February 20th at 6:15 pm from Norfolk International…and arrive in New Guinea on February 23rd…not sure which day of the week though.  We cross the International date line on our flight over the Pacific and somewhere along there we completely skip Tuesday, February 21st!  The only way I can explain that is “Time Travel,” eat your heart out Captain Kirk.  He had to sling shot around the sun and all we have to do is fly west…for a long, long time!  Anyway, we end up in Brisbane Australia on the 22nd which will be Wednesday…I think???  Whatever…not only will we have traveled into the future on this trip, but we’ll also have crossed the equator  into the Southern hemisphere!  I recall crossing the equator one other time in my life while in the service, but it wasn’t very pleasant.  Some of you know all about the Shellback initiation all sailors have to endure the first time they cross the equator.  I remember my knee caps were raw and my hands looked like hamburger from crawling all over the ship for hours, hanging my head over the side shouting for flipper, and crawling through a tunnel of a weeks worth of spoiled leftovers from the mess deck.   (more…)

Cleared for Take off!

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Monday, December 19th, 2011
Entry Permits to Papua New Guinea have been granted!  PNG here we come!

Entry Permits to Papua New Guinea have been granted! PNG here we come!

Today was a very exciting day in the Simmons Household.  About 11 o’clock this morning I heard loud banging on the door and jumped up to investigate the source of the interruption.  To my surprise as I opened the front door where a very kind looking gentlemen stood decked out in a Fedex uniform with his hands extended gesturing for me to sign for a package.  I looked at the parcel in his hands and my heart leaped with excitement as I my mind registered what my eyes beheld.  I hurriedly signed the electronic pad snatched the package out of extended hands, closed the door and began tearing into the Fedex envelope.  As I opened the parcel and peered into its dark depths I spotted 5 small blue booklets…Our Passports!  The PNG Embassy in D.C. had sent our Passports back to us…but were they stamped with our Entry Permits?  I fished one of the passports out of the envelope and fumbled through the pages.  As I flipped over the 4th page my eyes glimpsed a yellow peel and stick label with the the PNG bird of paradise on it that read and I quote “This permit entitles the holder to enter and stay in PNG until 07OC14.” A wide toothy smile of victory began to spread across my face as a huge weight slid off my shoulders.  This was the culmination of over 6 months of hard work that included countless copies, endorsements, waiting, expense, and nail biting.  Finally the waiting was over and we had our Papua New Guinea Entry Permits (Visa’s) in our hands.  I just sat there staring at them for a couple of minutes, holding them, caressing them, and pinching (more…)

Thankful Thoughts

Posted by Josh and Mel Simmons on Monday, November 28th, 2011

Giving thanks for the Feast before us...dig in... Pass the Collards please!

Giving thanks for the Feast before us...dig in... Pass the Collards please!

Thankful Thoughts…

Just thought I’d share a few thoughts about what I’m thankful for this year.  First, I’m thankful that God has allowed us to serve Him.  Melody and I are constantly blown away by the Lord’s graciousness towards us.  We have been extremely blessed this year as we have prepared for our journey to Papua New Guinea.  The Lord has taken us through some deep valleys, for example when He closed the door on the ministry in Aviation that we had been striving for.  He has also guided us up to some mountaintop experiences, as when He surrounded us with the body of believers which encouraged us and nudged us forward through another open door leading to a Tech ministry.  It’s incredible to see all the details and decisions that lead to our current situation perched on the edge of a new chapter in our lives.  All of this was made possible by the Lord’s love, compassion, and chastisement I might add.   (more…)