Stepping out in faith to bring medical care

By Patrick Sprau

We are excited to share with you our project of supplying medical care in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with Wycliffe Bible Translators and its partner SIL International (originally Summer Institute of Linguistics). My wife Anke is a physiotherapist, while I am a general practitioner, and we have two sons, Jeremy and Benjamin. Anke and I […]

We are excited to share with you our project of supplying medical care in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with Wycliffe Bible Translators and its partner SIL International (originally Summer Institute of Linguistics).

My wife Anke is a physiotherapist, while I am a general practitioner, and we have two sons, Jeremy and Benjamin. Anke and I have been keen on serving in PNG ever since our medical/physiotherapy electives in Wewak on New Guinea island’s northern coast in 2005. That year, we had come to PNG from our native Germany towards the end of our respective studies to experience the exciting and challenging world of medical care in a developing country.

When leaving Germany, little did we know that those 40 days in PNG were to serve as a primer for our adventure in mission work. On returning to Germany, we had no doubt that we had a mission now and that there was a life plan for us. In hindsight, we can see where God was in the action, guiding and protecting us.

Twelve years have passed since, which we filled with finishing studies, moving to Australia, completing specialist training, and starting our family. The time is now right for us to step out in faith by returning to PNG to work in our respective professions and provide care to locals and missionaries alike.

We are particularly excited that we have been able to start a relationship with Wycliffe Bible Translators, as we had intense contact with missionaries serving with Wycliffe’s partner SIL in 2005. Living with them and seeing how their Christian faith translated into their lives, where every word, every handshake and every deed was motivated by faith lived to the fullest, inspired us beyond description.

So in a way, we feel by working for SIL that our PNG story has come full circle. We thank Glenice Hartwich from LCA International Mission for pointing us in SIL’s direction when we contacted her some time ago about how to get into mission work in PNG.

So what’s the plan? Currently, we are working on getting ready for deployment to SIL’s mission hub in Ukarumpa in PNG’s Eastern Highlands. Ideally, we would like to depart sometime next year. We will be based in the Ukarumpa clinic and our children will be able to attend the local school there. Currently we are aiming for approximately two years of deployment.

SIL volunteers rely on donations and support from individuals and organisations, as it is not paid work. For the next months, our focus will be on building relationships with congregations and individuals to grow our support base and get the word out. As Lutherans we are thrilled to have LCA on board as a major supporter and as German ex-pats, we are also able to tap into connections in Europe, so it will be a truly international project.

We are yet to formally join Wycliffe as members, so more information on how to support us will be provided down the track. God bless!


This story was also published in the November 2017 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

Patrick and Anke are members at St Mark’s Lutheran Church, Mount Barker, South Australia. If you are interested in learning more about what they will be doing in PNG, please contact Nevin Nitschke at nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au or phone 08 8267 7300, or contact Patrick and Anke directly at p.m.sprau@gmail.com

Read more stories about our partner church in Papua New Guinea at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/papua-new-guinea/

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About the Author : Erin Kerber


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