Gandep is one of the remotest places in the world. To get from Brisbane to Gandep takes 3 days travel and involves 1 day air travel and 2 days travel by boat and canoe followed by a 15km trek through swampland. Gandep was built in the 1980’s as a training college for the local villagers and remains as a major centre of education and trade.
The people of Gandep
I was born 1956 in Temnung near Bunapass on the Ramu River. My name is Cathy and my parents are Christians and were taught about Jesus by Miss Dorothy Howden. I accepted Christ into my life at 13 because of Aileen Draney’s Church of Christ Bible Correspondence Course. My uncle was very concerned that I decided to follow Jesus when I was so young. Because he had many trials and struggles as a teenager, he thought I should wait till I was older, but I was baptised and knew God would help me. Many of my friends left following Jesus and went back to their old lives, but Jesus helped me to be faithful to Him. After leaving the Bunapass Church of Christ Boarding school I stayed home till I was 16. I then went to Yamen Girl’s Bible school over in the Keram area for 2 years. MECOC then appointed me to run the Bible Correspondence Couse for 3 years. Miss Draney recognised Jesus had given me a gift of teaching and so I was then asked to teach at Yamen Girl’s Boarding School. I taught courses on discipleship and leadership for 4 years, but in 1991 I went back home to Temnung to serve in my village church. After 3 years I returned to further studies at CLTC in Mt. Hagen and then again in 2012 for my Theology Diploma. I am now leading the MECOC Women’s Ministry and also lecturing here at Gandep since 2014. I have given my life to Jesus to tell others about Him and to serve women in His church. I have remained a single woman so I may serve our Lord, as my faithful missionary teachers and friends – Miss Draney, Miss Catts, Miss Howden and Miss Fay Christenson have done. Thanks you for all the work you have done in our country. The TRUTH was given to us because of your faithfulness.
My name is Petra. I was born in Chungribu village, on the Ramu, in 1985. The Gospel came to my village when our elders invited Pastor Frank Beale from Tung to come and tell them about Jesus. My father was taught by Alan Fletcher and then by Miss Dorothy Howden, so my parents were Christians. When I was 7 years of age I went to our village school and completed years 1-5 but later had to move to Gokto to finish year 6. After that I went back to my home village in Chungribu where Pastor Bonija, a child evangelist, led me to see my need of Jesus and so I was baptised by him. By 15 years of age, in 2000, I was married and at 16 I had my first daughter. I then had 3 more beautiful daughters but in 2010, a terrible accident happened in our village and my husband died.
I went to live with my parents, but I wanted to know more about Jesus and His Holy Bible, so I asked my parents if I could go to Gandep College while they looked after my children. I couldn’t get into the college till 2013. I am very interested in teaching in the children’s ministry. When I finish this year I want to serve by teaching in my village of Chungribu. This is my father, Bob Munde.
My name is Robin and I was born in the Sepic Area in 1970. I went to a community school there until my mother moved to Yip where I finished my year 6. Then my mother moved to Engoram so I could finish high school. I was not a Christian when a terrible thing happened. One day I was wrongly accused and the deputy Head Master attacked me, hitting me over the head. I had to “pay-back” the student who caused my trouble, so I hurt him badly and was suspended. But I came back to school troubled by these events and felt useless and in a dark place. I left school and did many bad things.
Still feeling useless, I went home to my mother’s village, Yar, on the Karam River. Yar is a village of 300-400 people and Pastor John Bolton had bought in the Gospel there many years before. I felt drawn by God to change so I committed my life to Jesus. When I was 25 I married my wife, Sophia, in 1995. At 28 I was baptised and started serving in my village church, thankful to God for His saving grace. I was asked to be the chairman of the Keram-Grass Region which covered 15 Churches of Christ. I served there for 9 years but I wanted to understand more of the bible so I could bring the lost to Jesus. Then in 2010, I applied to attend the Gandep Training College but I couldn’t get a placement. God gave me a vision that I would be leading a music/evangelism team into the Keram areas – “Keram for Christ” and we would save souls by God’s grace. 2012 – I was accepted into Gandep College. My family – Sophia, Samantha (20), Harran (14) and Alice (6) live at Gandep. We grow our own food, raise our family and I learn about evangelism, pastoral care, children’s education and the truth that saves souls so God’s Kingdom can come. I will follow that vision God gave to me!
I will begin by telling you that my father Inakuri was trained as a leader by Pastor Frank Beale and became our village Pastor of Tsumba in 1970. But sadly my father died 12 years later. My home is Bumbera village on the Keram River, but we had no school there, so I had to travel every week with my food to a Church of Christ boarding school in Bunapass where I did years 3-6. One of my teachers was Miss Draney. From there I went back home to Tsumba for 12 years during which time I became a music band leader. This time of my life was a dark time when I did many bad things. But Jesus never forgot me. Revival came in 1984 to the Chungribu area through Pastor Yamri and one night while I was sleeping, God spoke to me. “I am coming soon,” the voice said. “I am coming soon.” Three times He said this and I woke up knowing I must seek God’s forgiveness for all my sins. I started going to the revival meetings where people had witnessed fire coming out of Pastor Yamri’s mouth – the Holy Spiri was surely in this place. Pastor spoke to me saying, “You will take your father’s place.”
So then I knew God had called me. In 1983 the year before this revival, my father had died and then in 1985 I was baptised by Manis, another of Pastor Beal’s students, who still works at Gandep College today. In 1986, I studied at Gokto Bible School for 2 years, then married Jocelyn, my wife and started serving in my home church till 1994. Then the people of Lai, further up the Ramu, asked me to come and teach them about Jesus, so in 1994, after 8 months a church was planted there. I was a MECOC church advisor for 8 years and then did more study in Vanuato. For the last 9 years I have taught Theology here at Gandep. I serve God because He loves me and He has saved me. I teach others about the Truth of His Word so they take it back to their villages and help others to have better lives.