By Engage on Oct 18, 2011
Special assignment missionaries Michael and Diane Chapman have been serving in Papua New Guinea since December 2007, when they accepted their first assignment on the mission field. After 22 years of living in Alaska, they left their home and jobs to answer God's call on their hearts and lives to help build His kingdom in Papua New Guinea. Serving the Lord and following His call is an adventure they say gives their lives meaning.
Mike is the Melanesia Nazarene Bible College coordinator for maintenance. He is taking classes toward ordination, and will finish by January. He also serves as project manager and consultant Work & Witness coordinator for the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital and the Bible college.
Diane teaches the missionary children, grades 1 to 8, on the Kudjip Mission Station, assists Mike and arranges Nazarene College of Nursing activities for students and tutors.
Their children and grandchildren live in the USA.
Engage: What is your favorite aspect of what you do in your present assignment?
Chapman: Being with the Papua New Guinea people. Building relationships, going to the village and sharing Jesus. Sundays going to the bush church being with the people and watching them respond to God's Word.
We have helped and continue to work as a team with all missionaries to help build strong relationships with the local tribes and the Nazarene Mission. The construction projects have been a tool used to introduce and role model Jesus to the workmen and community. Each day begins with devotions and prayer given by a variety of people – local pastors, workmen, doctors, nurses, students to name a few. We have been privileged to speak in several local churches encouraging the workmen and their congregations to live a holy life through the role model of character that is shown in everyday life. Several workmen and women have come to know the Lord from the time spent on the work site, at the church, or in the village. We believe that God uses us each and every day to be an example of what the Bible teaches to live a holy life and to share the gospel with all people.
Engage: What are some of the challenges that you face in carrying out your work?
Chapman: Waiting for the right time to build God's kingdom with his people.
Mike was assigned the responsibility of Project Manager for the Nazarene Health Ministries. As of today, he has completed the new Nazarene Hospital that is open and serving 3,000 Papua New Guineans each month in the Western Highlands and others who come from all over Papua New Guinea. Other projects that have been completed in the two years include: new hospital temporary sewer system, new hospital pharmacy, new volunteer Barnabas House (25-bed guest house), staff dormitories – hospital and Bible College, and Hydro-electrical Project Design for the hydro dam and plant rebuild project (read more about hospital's need for reliable electricity).
As the Work & Witness coordinators for Papua New Guinea, we organize and host Work & Witness teams that come to help build projects. There have been five teams come to the field in the past two years. The goal is to have two teams each month, so that the needed projects can be built throughout the field and region.
Engage: How did you first recognize God’s call to be involved in missions?
Chapman: Everyone who came into our path talked Papua New Guinea. At first Diane said no, but soon realized that God said to depend on Him, and we have been on an awesome adventure ever since.
Engage: Please share a story of a significant event or moment that has happened in your current assignment.
Chapman: One night the phone rang. Dr. Erin said she had one of the [hospital] workers in ER [emergency room], brain dead. She was not sure that she could do anything for him. Dr. Erin was very upset. We hurried to the ER, find him not responding and losing a lot of blood. Mike started talking to him constantly, and telling him that we are not giving up. His arm started to move. Dr. Erin and Dr. Raymond were stitching up his head in five areas because the police had used a gun butt while breaking up the fight. The worker man started to respond to Mike He started to move more body parts and talk to Mike. In a two-hour period, we watched God perform a miracle. The workman went to the surgical ward knowing everything that had happened before and after the fight. It has been a life-changing experience for him and has given him an opportunity to witness for God's saving power. God is using him for something special. Praise God for miracles that happen every day.
Engage: How do you maintain a close relationship with God and your family in the midst of the demands of missionary service?
Chapman: To maintain a close relationship with God: Daily Bible reading and prayer and devotions with workmen and students. To maintain relationships with family: Email and online chatting.
Engage: What are the rewards of what you do?
Chapman: Knowing that the Papua New Guinea people are our family; knowing that we are following God's direction and leading for our lives; teaching and training in construction and education skills that will improve lives.
Diane was assigned the responsibility of teacher for the Missionary Children’s Elementary School. The children, who attend come from missionary families who live on the Nazarene Mission Station in Kudjip. The school partners with the Evangelical Brotherhood Church (EBC) to also teach their children from Kugark and Tamil Wagi. The EBC children are learning English as a second language. The total number of students varies each year from 6 to 10. Diane is responsible for all subjects that are taught throughout the school day. Volunteers, who come throughout the year help enhance the curriculum and increase the time spent with each student. The students like to learn and work very hard at their assignments. After teaching in the public school [system] for 25 years, teaching in the mission school proves to be very rewarding experience for Diane.
Engage: What are some aspects of the culture where you live that you have come to love or embrace?
Chapman: The willingness to learn and try new things.
Engage: What do you like to do for fun?
Chapman: Go to the village and "story." This means sitting down, talking and visiting -- listening to the elders tell about what has happened in the village before and since the missionaries have come to Papua New Guinea.
Engage: What advice would you have for others exploring a possible call to missions, or embarking on their first missionary assignment?
Chapman: Learn how to be a people person, learn as many different skills are possible, and don't be afraid to try new things.
Currently, Mike has been assigned to the Melanesia Nazarene Bible College and Teacher College as construction consultant. His responsibilities continue to be teaching Papua New Guinea men and women how to manage the work site and develop construction building skills. His 30 years of working and teaching on construction sites around the world has helped him to easily adapt into the Papua New Guinea culture. His experiences of running his own company and working with commercial organizations has been very beneficial for all the many variety of projects that are needed and still have to be completed for the Nazarene Health Ministries and Melanesia Nazarene Bible College and Teacher College.
Engage: Other comments?
Chapman: We will be going on home assignment July 15 through October 15, 2012. We look forward to seeing everyone.
I Peter 1:13–16: "Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you. He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am Holy.' (NIV)"