Kurt, Johanna, Kassia, Lukas and Matthias

Our family in Papua New Guinea | 2012

Ukarumpa and Aiyura Valley

Ukarumpa is SIL's center of opperations in Papua New Guinea and where we live and work.

Miniafia New Testaments from the dedication in 2010

"God is a Miniafia Man," the loincloth-clad speaker exulted! "Before He was English, and American, and Australian. But today He has become Miniafia!"

Doini Island

Photo by Tim McIntosh (SIL PNG's boat manager in 2008) | Many of the 100's of islands in PNG can only be reached by boat.

Where do you play when you live on an island?

Children from Nubwageta village playing near the shore.

Miniafia New Testament Dedication

New Testament dedications in PNG usually include elaborate processions to welcome the Bibles.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Metzger December 2009 Update

Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." - Matthew 9:37-38 NIV
Dear Loves Ones,
First of all, thank you for your prayers for Kurt’s knee surgery. The procedure went really well and Kurt has only had minor pain that can be controlled with medicine. Yesterday we went in for a check up with the doctor, and he said Kurt’s knee is fine and he will see us again in a week and recommended that Kurt start physical therapy soon.  He will not be able to play sports again for about 6 to 8 months.
(Luke likes to ride in the car seat!)
We also wanted to let you know that we have enjoyed our first month on our home assignment. Our time in Colombia has been blessed beyond measure. We have one supporting church here that we have visited almost every Sunday since we arrived, and they have been very welcoming and loving towards our family. We spoke during two of their Sunday services and were also able to share in two of their Bible study groups. We are excited to get to know the members of the church better so that we when we leave we can remember each other in prayer. We also feel privileged to be able, to talk about the work of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
We have really enjoyed our time with family here. The kids are having fun with their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We are making special memories that will last a lifetime!
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(Top to bottom: Kassia with her Aunt Adriana – Johanna with her sisters and mom)
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support during the year 2009. Many people received the New Testament in their heart language this year in PNG for the very first time. What a privilege for us to be able to see the results of many years of work by many translators, support personnel, and partners in home countries. Some of the New Testament dedications in PNG this year included the Iyo, Gapapaiwa, and Minaveha. There are about 820 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea but still more than 290 living languages do not have one word of the Bible and no project in progress. Please pray with us that the Lord of the harvest will bring workers to complete the task.
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(Top to bottom: Iyo New Testament Dedication – Gapapaiwa New Testament Dedication)
We are thrilled to play some small part in getting God’s Word into the hands of some of the “tribes and tongues” we read about in Revelation. Thank you for the important part you play in our team!

Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!
In His hands, Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, and Luke)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Colombia!

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8 NIV)
Dear Loved ones,
Thank you so much to those of you who prayed for our trip from Papua New Guinea (PNG) to Colombia. We have been here for five days and are now just getting over the jet lag from crossing 10 time zones. Our trip went mostly as planned except for when we got to the airline counter in Cairns Australia I remembered that I had forgotten Luke’s paper ticket for an infant in PNG. We were able to re-purchase his ticket in Sydney and the rest of the trip went very well but as you can imagine, it was very long.
Our return trip from PNG (Start – Ukarumpa PNG – Port Moresby PNG – Cairns Australia – Sydney Australia – Los Angeles USA – Miami USA – Bogota Colombia – Finish)
In the few days we have been here in Colombia, Johanna and I (Kurt) have already had doctor’s appointments to check Johanna’s eye sight and my knee that I injured more than a year ago in PNG. I had an MRI performed and the results indicate that I have a complete tear of my ACL and a small tear in the meniscus. This next week we will be traveling to Orlando for a re-entry program with Wycliffe. When we get back we will schedule a date for my knee surgery.
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Johanna with her two of her sisters (Olga & Patricia); Luke with Johanna’s mom (Fanny)… they just met for the first time!
Please pray with us:
  • For our family as Johanna and I travel to and from Orlando.
  • For the plans and successful completion of my knee surgery.
  • For our family to be able to develop a routine during this time of many transitions.
Praise God with us:
  • For our safe travels to Colombia.
  • For being reunited with Johanna’s family.
Kurt (for Johanna, Kassia, and Luke too!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Update from the Metzger's – October 2009

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."  (Joshua 1:9 NASB)
Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you for your prayers for Kurt as he served as the Director’s Assistant for Security (DAS). Things have been quite calm during the three weeks he has been serving in this position and we can definitely sense that you have been praying for us. Kurt will be done serving as the DAS tomorrow, October 20th. Please continue to pray so that he will finish the job well. You can also pray for peace in the valley where Ukarumpa is located as there continues to be tribal fighting.
We also want to thank you for your faithful contribution to the work of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We have been serving here in Ukarumpa for almost 3 years now. Kurt has enjoyed his work assisting translators and support workers in the Communication and Technical Services Department. His time at the Helpdesk and Network Services has been a blessing to him. We have both enjoyed working with the youth group here in Ukarumpa for the last two and a half years. I (Johanna) thank God for the opportunity he has given me to help at the Primary School and put my teaching abilities into practice during our time here.
In November we will be taking our first home assignment. November 5th we will leave for Colombia and will be there until January. From there we will be traveling on to Dallas, TX. Part of our return assignment will be to visit churches, friends and family. Please pray for us as we pack up our house and get it ready for our renters. Two single ladies will be staying here while we are gone.
Our home assignment is a time to reconnect with our home culture, take care of our medical needs, and visit our partners—YOU. We will have vacation time included during this time, but that is not the primary goal. While we are in the US, Kurt will do some IT training and I will take some continuing education courses to keep my teaching certification up to date. Although the cost of living in PNG has risen somewhat over the past year, it still is not as expensive as living in the US. Many missionaries find their home assignment time especially stretching on the financial side. We’ll need your prayers just as much as ever, especially as we travel and share what God has been doing in PNG. THANK YOU so very much to all of you who have stood with us in prayer and financially.
Please also pray for our long trip back to the other side of the world! We will leave Australia on November 8th and will travel from Cairns to Sydney (4 hour flight) and then on from Sydney to Los Angeles (14 hour flight). We will spend one night in Los Angeles and fly the next morning to Miami (5 hour flight) and on from Miami to Bogota (3 and a half hours). We should be arriving in Bogota on Monday, November 9th at 8pm. It will be a challenge to travel with a 4 year old and a very active 1 and a half year old.
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We look forward to visiting with you while we are in Colombia and the United States.
Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, and Luke too!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Update from the Metzger's – September 2009

(Dancers at the Gapapaiwa New Testament Dedication)
The above quote comes from a song. Whenever we hear the song we remember why we came here and why we joined Wycliffe Bible Translators, even though it never gets easier to live and work so far from family and friends. We aren’t living in Papua New Guinea just because we like to live in strange places or because of the great pay :) or because we just love adventure. We live here because God wants us here, supporting the work of Bible translation. We are thrilled to play some small part in getting God’s Word into the hands of some of the “tribes and tongues” we read about in Revelation.
This kind of work has its ups and downs, its mountaintops and its valleys. In August we’ve had some of both. We’ve had intense tribal fighting in our valley, homes and lives in nearby villages have been lost; there has been grieving, funerals and many tears. There has also been much rejoicing as we’ve celebrated New Testaments dedicated into three different languages, all within a few weeks of each other.
(Funeral in nearby village)
We hurt with our neighbors as they begin to rebuild their village and mourn the loss of their family members. Please pray for them as they seek peace, reconciliation and forgiveness. Pray for us as we seek to help them, come alongside them, and be a reflection of Christ.
We rejoice with the Iyo, Gapapaiwa and Minaveha people, who all received God’s word in their language in August. Pray that people would embrace God’s word and lives would be changed.
(The Iyo New Testament Dedication)
Praise the Lord with us:
  • For the Iyo, Gapapaiwa, and Minaveha people groups that have received the word of God in their heart language.
  • We always praise God for you who faithfully partner with us in prayer and financially.
  • For Kurt’s work here in Ukarumpa and the opportunity he has to help those who are translating the Bible into the many different languages of Papua New Guinea.
Please Pray:
  • For Kurt to have wisdom as he will be helping as the DAS (Director’s Assistant for Security) for 3 weeks starting Monday, September 28th.
  • For wisdom, patience, and love in raising Kassia and Luke.
  • For our marriage to grow stronger in Christ each day.
  • For our relationship with the Lord to become deeper and stronger and that we can be an example to our PNG friends and coworkers.
In Christ,
Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, and Luke)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

-- July 2009 Metzger Update --

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. “ Philippians 1: 3-7
Dear Loved Ones,
I (Johanna) am writing with a heart full of gratitude to God and to you our partners. God is faithful and His goodness is beyond measure. We truly don’t deserve anything, and yet He gives abundantly. Thank you God!
Since May Kurt has been working to support the network services part of CTS (Communication and Technical Services). At the beginning of June, he helped prepare for and install a new 3.7 meter satellite dish that will improve communications for the Ukarumpa center. The new connection is about to go online. He continues to help translators and support personnel with computer hardware and software issues but enjoys this new aspect of his job and continues to learn new things.
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 (New VSAT; Kurt, Kassia, and Luke sitting on the rocking chair)
Kassia will start pre-Kindergarten this Friday and she is counting the days until the beginning of school. We visited her new classroom on Monday and she had a lot of fun looking at all the centers that she will learn in. She will attend school three mornings a week and the other two mornings we will work on “Spanish School” at home. She can now read two syllable words in Spanish and knows all her letters and letter sounds.
(Kassia playing with her doll)
Luke will be 18 months old next week and is finally beginning to walk. It is exciting to see him taking more steps now and learning to talk. He can say many words now including: hi, bye, ciao, shoe, banana, mama, papa, Kassia (sounds like cha-cha), etc.
(Luke eating homemade pizza!)
This semester, Kurt and I will continue to help the youth here in Ukarumpa specifically being the youth group leaders for the 10th graders. We look forward to getting together with these kids, as we have been working with them for over two years now!
I praise God for the opportunity I will have this semester to help out in the Primary School, assisting in the 3 year old pre-school class. I look forward to using my skills as a teacher to support the missionary kids in Ukarumpa.
I thank God for the opportunity I had to go on a Ladies Retreat called “Come Before Winter” from June 1st through the 5th. It took place in Madang, which is a town on the coast of PNG, and all I had to pay for was the transport to get there. I was truly blessed spiritually and physically. Madang is a beautiful place and I was able to go snorkeling and swimming, which I don’t get to do here in Ukarumpa. We meditated on Psalm 103 all week and I came back with much that I had learned. We serve a great God!
(Johanna and her friend Heidi at the Ladies Retreat in Madang)
In the last three years we have been asking God to show us His will for our family. We have asked the Lord specifically if we should stay here in Papua New Guinea or not. Kurt and I have felt a peace about staying here long term. God has provided a house that we were able to buy at the beginning of July. This is really a big answer to prayer and we can see that God is confirming our commitment to serve here in Papua New Guinea. This house will give us more stability as a family. We will not have to move as often and will have a place to return from our home assignments to. Since we arrived in January of 2007, we have moved 4 times.
(The front of our new house!)

Praise the Lord with us:
  • For the home that God provided for us to buy!       
  • We always praise God for you who faithfully partner with us in prayer and financially.
  • For Kurt’s work here in Ukarumpa and the opportunity he has to help those who are translating the Bible into the many different languages of Papua New Guinea.
  • For Kassia’s school and her friends here in Ukarumpa.
Please Pray:
  • For our relationship with the Lord to become deeper and stronger and that we can be an example to our PNG friends and coworkers.
  • For Kurt to have wisdom in his new network administration role at the CTS.
  • For wisdom, patience, and love in raising Kassia and Luke.
  • For our marriage to grow stronger in Christ each day.
  • What a great God we serve. To Him be the Honor and Glory forever! Thank you for allowing us to serve Him here in Papua New Guinea!
In Him,
Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, and Luke) Metzger!

Monday, April 13, 2009

-- April 2009 Update --

"For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ' Do not fear, I will help you.' (Isaiah 41:13 NASB)
Dear friends and family,
Happy Easter! He is risen! Thank you for being faithful as a very important part of our ministry here in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We pray for you and would like to pray for you more specifically. If you would like, please send us any prayer requests that you have.
(Luke with some friends in Madang PNG)
2009 has been a very busy year already. Kurt continues to work at the Communication and Technical Services Department. He has been training to support our network. In June, one of his colleges will go on furlough and Kurt will be supporting communications for over 160 translation teams and the many support people who are joining in the Bible translation task. CTS is responsible for the operation, support, security, maintenance, and upgrading of a medium-sized installation. There are over 200 corporate workstations spread out over the Ukarumpa Center connected by a local area network along with about 500 personal use computers. The mix and ages of the technologies can cause problems due to the shortage of computer personnel with appropriate knowledge. Corporate servers provide sophisticated services equivalent to those found in North America – email/calendar, SQL database, intranet, file, print and data backup/recovery. Because the Ukarumpa Center is located away from normal urban infrastructure, we operate our own Internet connection to supply email and Internet services to the Centre. There are over 800 user accounts on the system. Our Internet connection is severely limited and expensive due to our remote location.
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(Kassia and Luke)
For the first three weeks of March, Kurt also helped part time as the Director’s Assistant for Security (DAS). During that time he was a part of peace talks that took place between two clans that live just outside of Ukarumpa. Thank you for praying for Kurt as he served as DAS.
SIL Papua New Guinea Branch Conference began on March 26th and ran through April 8th. Kurt and I (Johanna) attended conference every day (we had meetings from 8 to 12 and 1:30 to 4:30). In the afternoon we took turns to be at home with the kids. During conference we elected the Directorate and Executive Committee that will be serving our branch for the next two years. We also worked on developing a new comprehensive branch strategy that will help us to finish the task of Bible translation here in PNG. There are still more that 300 language groups that have need of adequate scriptures that speak to their hearts. Kassia attended Vacation Bible School each morning during conference. She memorized several Bible verses such as Romans 10:9 and Isaiah 41:13.
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(Kassia and Luke)
Kurt and I are a support team for one of our translation couples. Dave and Sarah Troolin work in the Madang province of Papua New Guinea with the Sam people. While they were in the village in January, we were able to talk to them on the radio once a week to see how they were doing and how we could help them while they were away. We also were able to buy food for them from the store here in Ukarumpa and send it on a helicopter so that they could store the food in their house until their next village stay.  In March I was also able to help Sarah work on some primary school books that she was preparing for some teachers in the village.
(Dave and Sarah Troolin - children from left: Rebekah, Samuel, Matthew and Joanna)
He is risen indeed!
Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, and Luke)
-We always praise God for our faithful prayer partners and those who support us financially.
-For the opportunity that Kurt had in March to be DAS and help with Ukarumpa’s security.
-For the SIL PNG Branch Conference where we could work on developing a branch strategy.
-For Dave and Sarah Troolin’s work the with the Sam people in the Madang Province.
-For our relationship with the Lord to become deeper and stronger and that we can be an example to our PNG friends and coworkers.
-For our marriage to grow stronger in Christ each day.
-For wisdom, patience, and love in raising Kassia and Luke.