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Don't Forget My People"

Published Aug 26, 2011

On the west side of our Kamea people lives another people known as the Tewata or Tainae. Their numbers are much smaller than the Kamea, perhaps numbering only around 1,000. They live in a few villages in a very isolated area, without an airstrip, an aid post, or any development. We know them because they hike a full hard day to come to us for health care.

My wife has ministered to many Tewata peoples’ health needs. Most that we meet come from a village called Pangoni (Pan-go-nee).

Andrew is their spokesman and representative. He speaks some English and can write in Pidgin. Somewhere along the way he heard the Gospel and trusted Christ as his Savior, and has a good testimony of it. He never asks for anything; well, nothing, except for a missionary. He knew a missionary would bring some medical help to his people; but more than that, he wanted us to plant a church there so that the Gospel could be preached to his people and they could learn for themselves what God said in His Word. Andrew was responsible for some of his own people coming to Christ, but he wanted help.

On every visit to us, Andrew always had a warm handshake and time for a story. I enjoyed seeing him come. And our parting always ended like the same. “Brother John,” Andrew would say, holding my hand and looking into my eyes, “Don’t forget my people.”

“Don’t Forget My People”

It was the same when I last saw him before I came home on furlough. “Don’t forget my people. Tell your people in America that we need a missionary to come live with us, to learn our language and tell us about Jesus. Don’t forget my people.

Yesterday I met with two new PNG missionaries, and we did talk of Andrew’s people. I also shared it with their pastor.

Two hours later I got word from my son Matt: Andrew was dead.

Andrew suffered with chronic breathing problems, as many of our people do. He had just received medicine a day before, and seemed to be all right. But in the night, he had a breathing attack. His last words to those with him were, “Take me, Jesus.”

John & Andrew from Pangoni
John & Andrew from Pangoni

I write you this story to fulfill my promise to my friend Andrew. I won’t forget his people. Friends, they need a missionary among the isolated Tewata/Tainae people. They have no spokesman now. Open the attached picture of me and my friend Andrew. And then, will you pray “the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest” among the Tewata/Tainae people?

Will you consider going yourself?

Look at Andrew in the picture, and hear him say, “Don’t forget my people.”

Tags: Andrew, church planting, , need for missionaries