Paul and Carina Greer, Foursquare youth pastors turned Foursquare Missions International (FMI) missionaries, have made Papua New Guinea (PNG) home along with their two sons, Mason and Ezra.
For Paul, a third-generation missionary to PNG, the call was a little surprising. He had spent much of his childhood in PNG, and although he and Carina knew they were called into mission work, the country felt almost too familiar. Yet God has been doing a great work through their ministry, and Paul is swift to mention that even their boys knew right off the plane that PNG is “home.”
PNG is known primarily for its fascinating, sometimes illusive and complex culture. The country is home to over 800 indigenous languages, and stories have been reported of people groups who were unaware of other groups living merely a few miles away due to the mountainous terrain and rural life in some parts.
Geographically, PNG is roughly the size of California, with an estimated population of over 6 million. Culturally diverse and spiritually deep, the people of PNG commonly hold animistic beliefs and often face the brutal hardships of poverty, the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS and the devastating consequences of human trafficking.
The country is between stages three and four in Foursquare’s Four-Stage Development Model, as missionaries are being sent out and the development of leaders and pastors in the country continues. The Greers have focused their work on PNG youth, and prioritize raising up leadership.
How did you end up in PNG?
Paul: While we were serving as youth pastors at The Cornerstone (Anaheim East Foursquare Church) in California, overseeing youth camps for [what was then called] the Foursquare Orange County District, we felt God tell us that it was time to do missions. At that time, our children were 2 and 4, and we had fears about raising our boys in a Third World country.
As we began to pray and seek the Lord, we felt like no matter what our fears were, we wanted to say yes to God’s plan for our lives. A few months later, the Foursquare leaders in PNG asked us to come and help develop the national youth ministry, and train youth pastors and leaders. We were so excited to be going to PNG to serve a people I love so much!
What was it like to transition your family?
Paul: It was a big transition full of uncertainty. My wife had never been to PNG. We wondered whether she would like it. We went from Disneyland in our backyard to the jungles of PNG—a place where we sometimes go days without power and often endure water shortages.
We saw God preparing our hearts early on, however. An example is when the plane landed in PNG. The flight attendant said, “Welcome to Papua New Guinea!” and our eldest son, Mason (only 4 at the time) shouted out: “Mom! Dad! We’re home!” My wife and my two sons all feel like PNG has become home. We love the people and feel privileged to serve them.
What is spiritual life like for most people in PNG?
Paul: The people are very passionate and spiritual. They understand that there is a spiritual realm, and it affects their day-to-day lives. Once a person of PNG gives his heart to God, he becomes dedicated and loyal to Him. Church life immediately becomes the center of his life and community.
What are you most excited about right now?
Paul: This year, through the help of the Foursquare Foundation, we are doing 12 training and outreach events geared toward youth pastors and leaders around the nation. We expect, believing God, to see thousands of leaders trained and baptized with the Holy Spirit, and thousands of young people come to know Christ.
We also teach a Bible study at a public high school. Over 400 youth from the school attend every week, and we are praying for more youth at the school to come to know Jesus this year.
What are your most pressing needs, and how can the Foursquare family in the U.S. help?
Paul: We live on a Bible college campus that badly needs remodeling and water tanks to help supply more water to the students and faculty. We are missionaries who live entirely off of support from loving friends, family and Foursquare church families in North America. We would love to have more partners in ministry.
How to Pray for the Greers:
- Pray for their family’s health and protection. Carina recently had surgery in Australia. She is fully recovered, but anything medical can be a struggle in PNG. The family has also struggled with malaria and typhoid fever while living in the country.
- Pray for Paul as he travels to conduct youth leadership training and outreach, and pray for these events. Also pray for his family, who stays at home.
- Pray that God would call forth a new generation of faith-filled leaders in PNG to lead the church to new heights. Ask God to bring revival among the youth of PNG.
How You Can Bless the Greers:
Our Foursquare missionaries are always encouraged by and grateful for any prayers and correspondence they receive. Whether it’s a gift sent on a holiday, or simply a letter or note of encouragement, you can make a difference by expressing your support in a practical way.
For more giving opportunities, visit the FMI World Missions Map.
Interview conducted by: Ashley Wolpert Miller, a freelance writer living in Long Beach, Calif. She has enjoyed leading and participating in several international missions trips.