Interview with Andrew Wilson - New Tribes Missionary in Papua New Guinea

By | 20:48:00 4 comments
Recently I emailed a few questions about general issues to Andrew Wilson (Wilky), New Tribe Missionary in Papua New Guinea.

Your house is pretty much built & you will shortly be in the tribe, at this time do you have any prominent thoughts/hopes/concerns/prayers and on a scale of 1-5 what is your excitement level?
We are tremendously excited about going into the tribe – 5 on the level. The house is pretty well finished on the outside except for some trim to hold the outer “pitpit” grass walls on. The insides have to be finished yet, but we hope to get to that soon. The electrical work is started wit the batteries and fusing and wiring in place, but the solar panels aren’t mounted and connected yet. The plumbing is not yet complete but we will do that soon too.

What are the challenges of having such a young family on the mission field?
The challenges of having a young family on the field are similar to those at home. The main difference on the foreign field Is that you don’t have grandparents and other family to help you and be with you in times of need. Otherwise there is of course the constant having to ensure that the kids are not in any danger of the people doing things to them which are culturally acceptable to them but not to us. The kids tend to enjoy being in the good weather for playing outside and enjoying the animals and things that they see. Otherwise in many ways it is a good environment to train up your child because there are no problems with disciplining your child and training them in right and wrong.

How important would you say a devotional/quiet time is?
Quiet time is vital no matter were you are. Without it you have no walk with God because it is in His Word that we learn if Him and learn what He wants us to be. Like all others, we struggle with this because of the busyness of life, but my desire is to have time with God every day without fail. It is our daily Bread without it we will starve and our Christian life will starve.

What does family worship/devotions look like in the Wilson home?
When the kids are so young it is a bit difficult t have a family devotion time. In the evenings I read a bible story to Debbie (at the moment the Lamb) and we pray with her before she goes to sleep. We would like to go through Chronological teaching with the kids when they are old enough to concentrate and understand well.

Some of Nelli’s family were over with you recently, how much of a blessing was that and how important & encouraging would you say future visits or correspondence from friends & family are?
Visits from friends and family are very welcome. When people want to visit we must stress to them that things are different over here. Life is different, the people are different, the towns are different, roads are different, everything is different. When visitors come they must accept PNG for how it is and not try to enforce their home culture upon it. We love to have visitors. I think Nelli’s brothers found it hard here because life is slower and things never happen as you plan. That’s life in PNG and after a while you adjust to that. Culture shock usually sets in after a day or 2 and this can be difficult for us to cope with and also for visitors. If you come prepared you can get over it very quickly. We would be encouraged to have visitors but realize the costs make it tremenduously difficult. If you want to come we have a house now right there in the village :)

You are going into the tribe along with another family, have you set anything in place to guard your relationship & unity with them?
We have a strategy set in place to guard co-worker relationships. Before teaming up we deal with certain aspects of life that could cause problems like doctrinal viewpoints, team related finances, dealing with conflict. We have agreed with other to keep short accounts. When something arises we want to talk openly about it and deal with it quickly. If there are major problems we apply what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 18

15 ¶ "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
16 "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'
17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

These principles will help us to deal with problems and get them sorted out according to God’s way. If the problem escalates to the level where we cannot listen to each other and refuse to sort it out together then we call in leadership to help. Right now we enjoy fantastic friendship and fellowship and openness with our co-workers and we thank the Lord for them.

When you get into the tribe what will be the first task in the process of telling them of Christ?
The task of telling them of Christ has already begun the first time we walked into the village on survey! Strange you may say, well, we are “Living Epistles” so when we first see the people we are already portraying Christ to them. The question is how do we portray Christ to them, right!!! After this of course we being to study language and culture (I reckon about 3 years). By this time we will already have translated bible passages and bible lessons. Then we begin challenging their worldview before officially beginning to teach the people chronologically starting in Genesis and working our way through the bible. . It would be weeks before we begin teaching them about Jesus Christ and the gospel message, by that time we trust the lord that the chronological teaching of His Word will have given them a clear understanding of God and His gospel.

What do you do in your free time?
In our free time we enjoy watching DVD’s and reading books (I really love the Tim LaHaye Babylon Rising Series, the Rapture series and that type of book and also good teaching books, Nelli likes good teaching books and Christian novels)

Have you any book, author or speaker recommendations?
We particularly like John piper, Chuck Swindoll, Tim Lahaye, Gary Ezel, John Macarthur, Bob George, Elisabeth George, Kay Arthur

Now that you’ve been on field for a while and are about to enter a tribe, how important would you say New Tribes college was in preparing you?
The NTM training is extremely helpful in preparing us to work with the tribal people. As I said everything is different here and our training helped us to cope with these changes and deal with them in the right way. The language learning skills and culture learning skills are second to none and we will really use them in fact they are in use every day. In every area of life and no matter where you are a walk with the Lord is vital and so the biblical training helped us to establish a relationship with the Lord by getting to know Him better through His Word.

With many missionaries leaving the mission field is there anything we at home can do to help support and safe guard you in your work?
Pray,pray pray. Give financially and write letters and emails regularly. Tell us how things are in your home life and personal life

What would you say is the most crucial aspect in the Christian life?
I have said it already that a good strong and open walk with the Lord is the most vital thing in our Christian lives.

Finally, when you were last home I lent you the 1st season of 24, are you a 24 addict now? (If not you need to repent!)
I haven’t seen another 24 series since we watched yours. We would like to watch it again and probably will do that later on as some of our colleagues have it here :)


Gary Boal said...

Personnally I loved Wilky's answers, it's always a joy to have contact with him! Thanks for doing it Andrew!
One issue does concern me though, that 24 hasn't taken a grip on you! Repent my friend and eagerly watch the next 5 seasons!

Gemma Roche said...

why the obsession with 24? boys! wonderful to hear from wilky, thanks gary for doing that. isn't it brilliant that we can communicate with him while he is so far away? its great to know more so we can pray more specifically and therefore more effectively.

Gary Boal said...

Yeh I thought it'd be interesting for all of us who know wilky to get a bit of a glimpse at whats going on, practically and spiritually with the whole wilson family in PNG. It is class that we have such technology in our day that can be used to glorify Christ in such ways!

Anonymous said...

Classy interview Brother - your questions were really well thought out and made for interesting answers from the Wilson fella.
Keep up this blogging carry-on, you have a real talent for it. As you may have noticed, I have worked out how to leave comments.
Let's all keep Wilky, Nelli, Deborah and Joshua in our prayers - it is an awesome sacrifice they have made in obedience to King Jesus.