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.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

{Metzger Ministry Update} December 2013 | "Christmas"

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

Dear Loved Ones,

Again and again, thank you for your love and care for our family. Every month we are humbled by your generosity, encouragement, and support. We know that we would not be able to do our work in Papua New Guinea (PNG) if it wasn’t for your faithful partnership with us!




(from top: Our family in Bogota [Download our updated prayer card]; Matthias; and Lukas)

God has been faithful and given us the opportunity to visit and share at two churches that are dear to our heart here in Colombia. We visited Confra Salitre where my (Johanna’s) Youth Pastor, from 20 years ago, leads a church that encourages us when we are in PNG. We also had the privilege of attending Confra Unicentro; the church where I grew up and where Kurt and I got married almost 14 years ago! What a joy it was to be in these two special places. We have also been spending time with family!



(from top: Johanna with her 3 sisters and cousin; Kassia at the park in Singapore)

We are starting to get ready to go back to the US in January and are excited to be able to see many of you while we are there! Lord willing, we plan to return to our ministry in PNG in July 2014. However, for that to happen, we must have 100% of the monthly financial support that Wycliffe requires before we will be released to return. Would you like to partner with us? If so, click here. We will need $634 more per month prior to our return. Would you please pray with us now that God will raise up new support for our ministry so that we can return on time? We know He is able!


We need to increase our support by:

     $634 per month


Christmas Blessings,

Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas and Matthias too!)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{Metzger Ministry Update} November 2013 | "Thanksgiving"

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. – Psalm 100:4 (NLT)

Dear Friends and Family,

We’re in Colombia! Thank you so much for praying for us while we traveled. Our travels went remarkably well for the entirety of the trip with the exception of forgetting to put a diaper on Matthias while he slept during our layover in Frankfurt. Thank you Lord!

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(Almost there! Our family during our layover in Frankfurt, Germany)

Thanks again,

Kurt (for Johanna, Kassia, Lukas and Matthias too!)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

{Metzger Ministry Update} November 2013 | "Around the World"

And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. – 2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT)

Dear Friends and Family,

Please pray for us as we travel (see requests below)! In just under a week we will begin our journey to the other side of the world. A viral sickness has recently been going around in our community and Matthias was sick throwing-up 2 days ago…

Our itinerary will take us (times are local-see http://timezonecheck.com/ for yours):

  • from Ukarumpa to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) for 1 night – 13 November
  • on to Singapore for 3 nights – 14 through 17 November
  • then to Frankfurt, Germany for 7 hours – 18 November
  • and finally to Colombia for the next 2 months – 18 November through 15 January


(After 3 years in PNG we’ll complete our trip around the world!)

Pray with us while we travel:

  • For good health for our family
  • For times of rest for all of us, even during the long flights
  • For safety and a good travel experience


Kurt (for Johanna, Kassia, Lukas and Matthias too!)

Monday, October 14, 2013

{Metzger Ministry Update} August 2013 | "HF Email"

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

Dear Friends and Family,

What a joy we have in Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith! We’re coming to the close of our second rewarding term here in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We have been stretched to our limits at times during the last 3 years, but God has been faithful. We have been encouraged by you, our partners in ministry. Thank you for standing beside us through your faithful prayers for our ministry and family and through your inspirational financial support.

Johanna returned from a 5-day retreat (Encounter) with the Ukarumpa International School high school students on September 24th. She was selected as a sponsor by the 12th grade girls she has been leading in a weekly Bible study for the last 3 years. It was a privilege for her to be able to attend Encounter and she will miss these girls!


(Johanna with the Ukarumpa high school students at Encounter)

One of the interesting technologies that I (Kurt) support here in PNG is email via HF (high frequency) radio for village translation teams. HF radio transmissions are what you would normally associate with Amateur Radio operators and for voice only. However, HF radio is great for long distance communications with low power requirements, so most translation teams already have an HF radio for voice communications from the village. Pairing the HF radio with an HF modem has made this older technology indispensable for very remote bush locations with limited or no access to in-country telecommunication infrastructure. Village teams are able to interact electronically with the outside world via email—send and receive translation data, correspond with family, friends and partners, or just update a blog or Facebook. We’re not talking full-blown internet access; it’s only email and it’s actually quite slow (about 100 characters per second). Most clients are set up to only accept emails up to 50Kb in size while automatically moving all larger email to a folder on the server, we host here, until they return from the village.



(from top: Danny DeLoach (a translator) using an HF radio connected to solar power; Our HF Email server)

While we are just getting ready to leave PNG this November, we are already planning for our return at the beginning of next July 2014 because staffing here in the network operations center is critical. Currently, there are only two of us maintaining our entire network. We will be starting our home assignment next month, leaving the other network engineer, Andy, by himself. Andy’s family is scheduled to return to the US at the end of June 2014, so you can see the need to be back here on time is pressing. Many of you already know that Wycliffe requires us to be at 100% of our monthly support quota before we will be released to return to the field. Knowing that, and that costs have gone up—travel, insurance, food, education, etc.—we have been working with our finance office in order to estimate what increase in support is necessary for our family. We will need $634 more per month prior to our return. Would you please pray with us now that God will raise up new support for our ministry here so that we can return on time? We know He is able!




(from top: Matthias; Kassia; Lukas and Matthias)


Kurt (for Johanna, Kassia, Lukas and Matthias too!)

Friday, August 02, 2013

{Metzger Ministry Update} August 2013 | "Multicultural"

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

Dear Loved Ones,

There are people from approximately 20 different countries in the Ukarumpa community where we live. We all work together in several capacities. It is important to learn how to understand our own culture and cultural biases so that we can better love others. At the end of July and beginning of August I (Johanna) had the privilege of taking part of a Multicultural Course taught here in Ukarumpa. Two years ago I attended this course and learned much from it. This time around, I was able to be a part of a team that facilitated the course.

day group

We will be on home assignment (furlough) from Mid-November of this year, 2013 through June of 2014. We are planning to arrive in Colombia in the middle of November and then travel to Dallas in January of 2014. For Matthias (our youngest son who is turning 3 this month), it will be his first time in Colombia! Our home assignment will be a time to visit with YOU, our partners. We look forward to connecting with many of you and catching up on your lives!




Kurt and I have been sick the last couple of weeks. Thankfully, the kids are doing great! It looks like Kurt has dengue, a virus (acquired through a mosquito bite) that debilitates and tires. Please pray for our family as we deal with this sickness and try to get ready for furlough!

God is faithful and His character never changes. We thank Him for the privilege of being able to serve here in Papua New Guinea. Thank you for the part you play in our family and ministry here. We could not do this without your prayers, support, and love for us!


Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas, and Matthias) Metzger

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

{Metzger Ministry Update} June 2013 | "Seimat NT"

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your partnership with our ministry and family here in Papua New Guinea. We are grateful for your faithful prayers, encouragement and financial support.

Celebrate with us as the Seimat people received the New Testament in their heart language last month (May 2013).


The Seimat people live on the Ninigo Islands--the airstrip is on Mal Island--



The Seimat NT Dedication (photos by Neil Coulter)

(to see all the pictures from the Dedication check out our Facebook Page)

Kurt continues to work at the Communication and Technology Services Department here in Ukarumpa. He is currently supporting communication and networking services for the SIL PNG Branch. In 2011, Kurt helped install a solar powered satellite internet connection for the Aitape West Translation Project (AWTP) located in the Sepik province of PNG. The connection allows national translators, from up to 11 translation projects, to synchronize and backup their translation data to a repository on the internet. Please pray for our friends Ben and Mandy Pehrson (heading up the AWTP) as they go to the village on June 18th with their 5 children. They will be primarily consultant checking 1 and 2 Timothy with their co-translators.


Kurt installing the AWTP satellite dish

We praise God because Kassia and Lukas are at the end of their school year. Kassia is finishing up second grade and will be starting third grade at the end of July when Lukas will be starting kindergarten. They are both excited because they will get a month school break!

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(from top left) Johanna & Lukas at the school book fair; Matthias; Kassia

In His hands,

Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas, and Matthias) Metzger

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

From Axes to Bibles

Wycliffe Bible Translators USA


By Richard Gretsky

In early 2013, Matt* went to Immi—a village in Papua New Guinea—to get a jump-start on a Bible translation project for the Enga language. While there, he met Joseph, one of the local men who helped him learn the Enga language and culture. Matt was quickly won over by Joseph’s humble, gentle spirit, which is why he was shocked to learn of his new friend’s past.

Joseph had been one of Immi’s most feared warriors—fighting countless battles with neighboring people groups. He was so powerful that he was even hired out as a mercenary who fought for other villages. In the end, when the fighting was done, Joseph was one of the few Immi men left standing.


In 2010 a pastor felt called to start a church in Immi to reach out to those who had experienced heavy fighting. He taught messages on forgiveness, saying, “When Christ died on the cross, He died for all of our sins, even the most heinous.”

When he heard these words, Joseph humbled himself and eventually decided to trust Jesus.

Matt could clearly see how the trajectory of Joseph’s life had changed dramatically. He had become one of his people’s leaders, a man who leverages his life for the well-being of others. When Matt’s time in the village finally came to a close, he took the opportunity to thank Joseph and the other two men who had helped him learn the language and take care of his family. In a ceremony at a local church, Matt presented each man with an axe or machete, and then gave each man a Bible—one in English, one in the trade language of Tok Pisin, and one in a language spoken nearby.


“Before, your lives were based on weapons like these, and you used them to destroy,” Matt announced. “Now your lives are based on the Word of God. And these axes and machetes that you used to use to destroy will now be used to build new houses and build a new life based on the Word of God.”

Joseph locked his arms around the Bible, while tears poured down his cheeks. He tried to speak, but just stood in front of the crowd, eyes focused on that book—his first Bible. He could read the words, but only very slowly, since it wasn’t in his own language and most Engans cannot read well. Even so, Joseph cherished those words.

Today, the translation team is focused on producing an audio Bible—and a physical Bible— for the 300,000 people in the Enga Province. And Engans like Joseph are prepared to fight again, but this time it’s to do whatever it takes to get a Bible in their own language.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

This story can also be found on wycliffeusa.wordpress.com

Ethnologue entry for Enga | Ethnologue: Languages of the World is an encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 7,105 known living languages.

Where do the Enga people of Papua New Guinea live? Here’s a Map.

Friday, April 05, 2013

{Metzger Ministry Update} April 2013 | "Jars of clay"

Dear Loved Ones,

Over 300 SIL/Papua New Guinea (PNG) Branch members got together here in Ukarumpa during the last week of March for our Biennial Conference. A wonderful British Pastor led us in devotions for an hour each day. The theme of his talks is the verse on the top of this update, 2 Corinthians 4:7. We elected new leadership for the next two years for our PNG Branch and discussed changes in streamlining our governance. Please pray for our Branch as we follow God’s leading in implementing changes.

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We were also blessed to hear project updates from several language teams and regional directors. One such report was from the Seimat translation team who have just received the printed copies of their New Testament and are preparing for the dedication in the coming months. A Seimat (language info & map) translator related to us: “Reading the Bible in any English translation is like swimming on top of the ocean but when I read it in my own Seimat language it is like putting on a diving mask and swimming down under the surface and discovering the ocean and floor below.” What an amazing gift to have the Word of God in one’s own heart language!

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Kassia and Lukas were able to attend a Vacation Bible School program called KidZone while Kurt and I (Johanna) participated in the conference. They enjoyed it! Matthias was at Daycare during the mornings of conference.

Thank YOU for your prayers for the SIL/PNG Branch and for our family and ministry here in PNG!


Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas, and Matthias)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

No-one bothers to write down the ancestors of spirit beings

by John Hamilton

Papua New Guinea

As a student at Trinity College Dublin, I used to pop into The Old Library to look at the current page of the Book of Kells which was always on display. I may have seen Matthew’s Genealogy of Christ. I may have admired the beauty of the lavish calligraphy of the 9th century manuscript. But I would never have dreamed that this passage of the Bible would lead anyone to faith in Jesus Christ.


Book of Kells: Matthew’s Genealogy of Christ

But it has done – and I’ve since heard the story below – but never in such detail. It’s well worth a read as we remember Paul’s words that all Scripture is useful for teaching…

When Des told Jenny, ‘We finished the last of Matthew today,’ she replied, ‘What about the first seventeen verses.’

Oh yes. Those uninteresting verses that told of Jesus’ ancestry back to Abraham. They had to be tackled before he had really finished the book.

Surprisingly, Sisia [his language helper] sailed through the long genealogy without a trace of boredom. He made no comment on the translation as he often did. But when he rose to go, he said with some deliberation, ‘There’s going to be an important meeting in Nameepi’s house tonight. I want you to come and bring what we’ve done today.’

Des wondered, What’s he up to? Why a meeting tonight? Perhaps he wants to celebrate finishing Matthew. But why does he particularly want me to bring what we’ve translated today?

That night, Des took the lantern and walked the short distance to Nameepi’s house, just above his own.

He walked into the central room to find it already filled to capacity. All Sisia’s family were there around the fire. Two other rooms, off to either side, were also packed with people. Des had never seen so many packed into a house before. There was also an odd sense of tension in the air that made him nervous.

He was led immediately to a seat on the floor beside the fire. Sisia took command and spoke in his usual authoritarian voice.

‘I have asked Mata’a Des to come and read what we translated this morning. I can’t tell it to you. I want you to hear it for yourselves.’

The room became extraordinarily still. Des was conscious that all eyes were focussed on him. He cleared his throat and began to read: ‘These are the ancestors of Jesus Messiah, a descendant of King David and of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac; Isaac was the father of Jacob; Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers; Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah; … ’

Des could not look up. His eyes were glued to the text. He was trying to read as naturally as Sisia has spoken the sentences to him that morning, but the tense atmosphere in the room made this difficult.

He did not see Fofondai’s eyes grow wider and rounder, as did Maraa’aro’s and several others near him. He could sense, though, that every word he spoke was being grabbed and critically examined by the listeners.

He became conscious that Yawo was moving near to him. So were A’aaso, Aaka and Yaa’a. He was aware Sao watched his lips unblinkingly. As he continued reading, more and more people began pressing. The people from the other rooms were pushing into the central room. Fofo was so close that his beard almost touched the written page. Yawo’s arm was rammed right against Des’.

Des suddenly felt scared. He had a sense of being crushed. It was not only the pressure of bodies; it was the uncanny silence. It seemed that not a dog barked, not a baby cried, not a person released his breath.

He did not know if the list of names offended some ritual taboo about which he knew nothing. If so, and the people were angry that it was being so blatantly publicised, he was in an awkward position. There was no way of escape, hemmed in as he was. And with the atmosphere so charged, he felt he dared not ask a question. These people were so volatile; they could erupt in a fury so easily.

So he kept on reading. ‘Matthan was the father of Jacob; Jacob was the father of Joseph (who was the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus the Messiah). There are fourteen generations from Abraham to King David; and fourteen from King David’s time to the exile in Babylon; and fourteen from the exile to Christ.’

They had heard him out.

Des raised his eyes to look at those within a breath of his face—and saw, not anger, but incredulity. ‘Why didn’t you tell us all this before?’ Yaa’a demanded.

Des recoiled instinctively as if he’d been struck.

‘No-one bothers to write down the ancestors of spirit beings,’ Fofondai stated.

‘It’s only real people who record their genealogical table,’ A’aaso added.

‘Jesus must be a real person!’ someone else cried, his voice ringing with astonishment.

Then everyone seemed to be talking at once. ‘Fourteen generations, that’s two hands and a foot, from Abraham to King David …’

‘And two more hands and a foot, to the time of the kalabus (the captivity) …’

‘And another two hands and a foot till Jesus’ time …’

‘That’s a very, very long time.’

‘This ancestry goes back further than ours.’

‘Yes, none of ours goes back two hands and a foot three times.’

‘Jesus must have been a real man on this earth then. He’s not just white man’s magic.’

‘Then what the mission has taught us is real.’

Yes real. Des pondered on that as he made his way home. The ancient list of names which he had always found boring and pretty well meaningless had ratified Jesus as a real person to his unlettered friends. He possessed a genealogy like their own! To the Binumariens, the truth of the scriptures was now beyond doubt.

Des and Jenny Oatridge were members of Wycliffe Australia and worked with Binumarien colleagues in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s and 70s to translate God’s Word into the local language. Their story has been written up in a book by Lynette Oates called Hidden People: How a remote New Guinea culture was brought back from the brink of extinction.

Text and image source:  “No-one bothers to write down the ancestors of spirit beings” (November 2, 2012) in John 20:21, a blog written by John Hamilton, Wycliffe UK.

John Hamilton currently works as Coordinator for a Church Engagement team in Northern Ireland.

Ethnologue entry for Binumarien | Ethnologue: Languages of the World is an encyclopedic reference work cataloging all of the world’s 6,909 known living languages.

PNG map of language group

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

{Metzger Ministry Update} February 2013 | "Armor of God"

“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children." Mark 10:14 (NLT)

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank YOU for being a very important part of our ministry team through encouragement, prayer and by partnering with us financially. Each month we are humbled by your generosity and your faithfulness and we realize it is only by God’s grace that we can serve here in Papua New Guinea (PNG).


In January, I (Johanna) had the joy of participating in the Tok Pisin Holiday Bible School (VBS). I was a part of the Praise and Worship team. About 600 children from all over Aiyura Valley attended the five day event. The theme of the week was the “Armor of God”, which was taken from Ephesians 6:11-18. Bible lessons each day highlighted a different aspect of the verses. Many of the children memorized the entire Scripture section. Besides the Bible lesson, the program included times of enthusiastic singing, and the children were fascinated by the puppet and drama teams. Over seventy children talked to teachers specifically about salvation or their spiritual growth.



Kassia was able to participate in the Tok Pisin Holiday Bible School and Lukas and Matthias watched the singing, puppets, and Bible lesson.

In His hands,

Johanna (for Kurt, Kassia, Lukas, and Matthias)