Papua New Guinea

About Papua New Guinea:

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a tropical island nation in the South Pacific.  It includes the eastern half of the Island of New Guinea and about 600 small Islands in the immediate vicinity.  It is located north of Australia and just south of the equator. The country has a landmass a little bigger than California with a population estimated at around 7 million.

PNG is 80% rain forest and, being located within the “ring of fire,” boasts 67 active volcanoes.  The majority of the population of PNG lives without the modern elements of life, like electricity and running water.  Many still live in primitive tribal situations, and some parts of PNG have yet to be explored.  The nation has over 800 active languages and dialects, demonstrating the intense tribal culture that still exists there.  It has been suggested that PNG is probably the last place on earth that cannibalism is still practiced in remote jungle tribes.

Poverty is rampant in PNG.  There is a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor. While the tribal people are poor they really don’t have anything to compare it with, having lived off sustenance farming and the jungle all of their lives. Their lives to us would seem like abject poverty, but they have all they need.  The cities are a different story.  Port Moresby, the capital, has 300,000 people with a 60% unemployment rate.  This poverty can’t be offset by living off the jungle. 

The interior and highlands of PNG were not explored until the 1930s.  PNG saw a lot of action during WWII with the Japanese controlling parts of the island, and then the Allies.  It wasn’t until then that much contact with foreigners was made.  The intense tribal culture, the cruelty of the Japanese, a lack of Judeo-Christian ethics, and extreme poverty have combined to create a culture devoid of morals for much of the population.  Crime is rampant in the cities – mainly as a way of survival.  Women are still regarded as property in many cases and domestic abuse and rape are widespread.  It is estimated that 70% of PNG girls and women have experienced domestic abuse or rape.  Gangs, called Raskols, control some neighborhoods, while robbery, muggings, and car-jackings are frequent in some high-risk areas.

The people of PNG are hungry for change, because of the hopelessness many feel.  PNG is considered a Christian nation, but for many, Christianity is nominal.  The impact of Spirit-filled ministries is making a difference though, and the people are very open to the Lord.  Once they accept Christ they are generally very hungry to grow and worship.

The spiritual and material needs of this tropical paradise are great.  Your prayers and financial support for Steve and Brooke will make a difference in this nation.