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When legendary Foursquare Missionaries Mason and Virgene Hughes were sent from the U.S. to Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1956, PNG was a Stage 1 nation in Foursquare’s Four-Stage Model with a vast population of unreached people.

With Mason and Virgene, and generations of missionaries who followed, including the Post and Greer families, Foursquare implemented an audacious missions model.

Pastor Eli Taki of PNG explains: “When they came here, they didn’t control everything. They taught the nationals, and now the nationals are running the church, and the church is growing.”

These U.S. Foursquare missionaries believed God had set a purposeful model in His redemption of the world. He reached out to humanity by becoming a man, and empowering His disciples with the Holy Spirit to do what He did and “greater works than these” (John 14:12, NKJV). Following Christ’s and early church leaders’ examples, missionaries in PNG worked toward raising up disciples of Jesus and passing the baton to a Spirit-filled local leadership that could take the gospel even further.

“When we tell Papua New Guineans things like ‘Jesus Christ heals’,” Frank Greer explains, “they believe it. One young pastor asked God to raise a woman from the dead, and He did.” As disciples and churches rapidly multiplied, Foursquare started a Bible college to prepare PNG’s future church leaders. Now, PNG has four Bible colleges, mostly led by local leaders.

“When we tell Papua New Guineans things like ‘Jesus Christ heals,’ they believe it. One young pastor asked God to raise a woman from the dead, and He did.” —Frank Greer, Foursquare missionary

Today, PNG is a Stage 4 nation, no longer dependent on outside support; they are self-governing and sending missionaries out into the South Pacific. They are a spiritual big brother to many of the Pacific islands where PNG missionaries have been sent: West Papua, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati. They even have missionaries in Australia working with aboriginal peoples.

Timothy Tipitap, national leader of Foursquare Papua New Guinea, adds: “I want to thank the Foursquare national church for starting their work in PNG, bringing us this far, releasing the work to the nationals, and continuing to partner with us.”

Watch “Papua New Guinea: Then and Now”

is a freelance writer living in Colorado Springs, Colo.