Gospel Fellowship Association Missions
By Josh Perkins

A Trip to Amia

It is 11 o'clock on Saturday night. Something soft touches my face. I am quickly aroused from sleep and backhand a rat across the grass hut where I am sleeping. By the time I find my flashlight, the rat is gone. I decide to leave a battery-powered lamp turned on and go back to sleep.

That morning I left Aibai in a truck and started off for a weekend of ministry in Amia. The weather wasn’t looking great. A heavy rain had left the “road” a slippery, muddy mess. It would be a battle going up and through the mountains today. I was glad for a new set of tire chains; without them I wasn’t going to make it very far. After battling to the end of the bush road at the top of a mountain, I grabbed my backpack and set off on an arduous two-hour hike to my final destination. The clouds let loose. I briefly considered my poncho, but in the humidity and terrain it wouldn’t do much good.


Amia is definitely off most people’s maps. Australia built a road out here back in the colonial days, but you would never guess it now. The trail is very narrow, steep, and surrounded by dense tropical vegetation. The village is not large, but there are souls here—souls for whom my Lord died. Clean water is scarce. The closest drinkable spring is a 15–20-minute hike down the mountain from the village. Every day the villagers will get water from this spring in old oil containers and haul it back for drinking and cooking. Life is simple and backbreaking. Homes are woven grass and wood posts split and shaped by axe. Clothes are mostly rags. Money comes through growing coffee and hauling the 80-pound bags out of the mountains on foot to a road where the people can sell them. Food is whatever they grow in their gardens or find in the rainforest. My primary interest here is a small group of believers who are the start of a new church. Because of the time and energy involved, the missionaries on my team rotate coming back here every other week. This week was my turn.


After sitting very close to a fire, I was dry enough to go into the village for a Saturday night evangelistic service. The rain was still coming down, just more slowly. A small group of people huddled around a fire in the middle of a dirt floor home. I preached by flashlight from the books of Romans and John. We sang songs and prayed. I was preaching to them in their second language, a trade language called Tok Pisin. I have no comprehension of their native tongue, and they have no real understanding of mine. But here, in the cool damp air, the Gospel was being preached, and I believe it was clear.

Sunday was a full day. The believers have built a modest little building, having gone through the trouble of hand carrying sheet metal roofing over mountains to make a dry meeting place. I preached one gospel message for broader audiences in the morning and one message later in the day just for the professing believers. We also had a prayer meeting, possibly the first one they have ever had as a church. It was a joy. I introduced them to a new hymn they had never sung before and taught them how to sing the first verse and chorus. One more lonely night in the hut, and my time in Amia was up.


The trip back home wasn’t uneventful. Stomach pains from either food poisoning or a bug started at 3 a.m. Monday morning. An emergency stash of Imodium and prayer helped me hike back out to the truck. The road wasn’t any safer or drier. I am still grateful for those chains. In fact, I am grateful for the whole trip. Most of my family’s transition to New Guinea hasn’t been easy, comfortable, or what we envisioned or expected. As I come to the end of my first year and reflect on the ups ands downs and my own failures and struggles, I am grateful. I don’t deserve to be here. But God has chosen to use weak things to accomplish impossible things as He builds His church.


I could use many adjectives to describe how I have felt over the last year—such as overwhelmed, busy, exhausted, at times discouraged—but the one that I am landing on right now is grateful. Grateful that God would entrust this kind of work to me. Grateful that I would get to be a part of something so much more important than myself, something of eternal value. Cross-cultural missions work isn’t easy in any country or context. But I can’t think of anything more fulfilling or humbling to be a part of. Some may ask if it is worth it. The answer depends on whether you are using a temporal or eternal metric. “He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (NKJV). What do you believe? For me it is settled. My family is really here (pinch). God is really working. We are changing. And I am grateful. For however long God allows us to do this, may He be glorified in His church.