Staffing Issues

Literacy Course

Betty touched my arm, her curly head bobbing in inquiry. “I know that it costs thousands of kina [PNG currency] to attend a school like this literacy course. So, how is it that I’m able to come? Someone must have paid my school fee—who was it?”

 “Many churches and people in our home countries have sent money to help pay your school fees so you can attend this course,” I explained. “They believe it’s important for you and your community to be able to worship God in your own language.”

 She grasped my hand with both of hers, her eyes wide and sparkling. “Please, please thank them for me!” Laughter burst from her as she couldn’t stop grinning. “This course has helped me so much!”

 Currently, a personnel crisis in the finance office means that we’ll no longer be able to effectively support people like Betty to go to translation and literacy courses. Do you have skills in accounting or financial management? Contact Tara Ellis ( to learn more how you can serve in a vital role here in PNG.


Staffing needs here ebb and flow.  Sometimes departments have more than enough people, and other times they have so few people to get the bare minimum of work done.

When some groups can't get their work done, then Bible translation slows or stops.  Finance is one of those groups.

Because of the training, and the time it usually takes to raise financial support, the average time it takes for a new person to arrive at our field is 2 years.

So imagine, you're doing the work of 6 people, you're tired, you're burning out, you know if you don't keep on, then the department will close and Bible translation will crawl to a stand still.  And then image the light of the tunnel is at least 2 years away.  2 years until you see someone coming to relieve you.

What would your response be?

There is this thing I call the 'staffing hopper'.  Like a grain hopper or a silo.  We have people in various stages of getting here.

Recruiting    - these people haven't decided to join us yet.
Training - they've joined and are still in their home country preparing.
Support Raising (partnership development) - they are still in their home country raising finances.
Jungle Training - they are in PNG and going through several weeks of training.

So from that 'hopper' you have the time to get in country, and the odds that you will get in country.  All kinds of factors contribute to people never making it.  Some can't raise the support, others have a serious family need that changes their plans, a death in the family, change of country assignment, etc.

Recruitment - 5 years out, smallest chance of them arriving in PNG
Training - 2 years out, medium chance of arriving in PNG
Support - 1-2 years out, better chance of arriving in PNG
Jungle Training - 14 weeks out, they are in PNG, good chance they will be assigned the job they came to do.

Are you getting the picture?
So... now... imagine you're that tired, one cowboy working in a job meant for 6 people, and you don't see anyone in Jungle training with skills to help you, no one in the support phase, no one in the training phase, and no one in the recruiting phase.

What is your reaction?  Yeah.  I know.  The spirit wains, we tend to look at things as being bleak.  We start to beg borrow and steal staff from other places, hoping they won't burn out and get upset that they aren't doing what they love to do.  This is the reality of staffing in a country with over 800 languages to translate, 400 of which have work yet to begin.

God knows what He's doing.   God has abundant resources.
Please join me in prayer, we have some very critical needs here.  Finance personnel is highest on the list.
School personnel is second highest.

Would you pray that these needs are met?  Pray that God would send some of those resources to fill the needs?

Thank you.