It’s the women who inspire me

By Nevin Nitschke

Agnes lives in the mountainous countryside of the Chimbu province in Papua New Guinea, in the shadows of the imposing Mount Wilhelm. Here the self-sustaining farmers plant and tend crops on mountain slopes it’s possible to fall off. Since 2006 Agnes has been the Lutheran Women’s Coordinator of the Chimbu District, which has more Lutheran […]

Agnes lives in the mountainous countryside of the Chimbu province in Papua New Guinea, in the shadows of the imposing Mount Wilhelm. Here the self-sustaining farmers plant and tend crops on mountain slopes it’s possible to fall off.

Since 2006 Agnes has been the Lutheran Women’s Coordinator of the Chimbu District, which has more Lutheran church members than the Lutheran Church of Australia. The role sees her select and train sixteen women in leadership, setting up and assisting in running women’s training sessions in sewing, cooking and music. She conducts sessions on overcoming violence against women, adult literacy and flower arranging. She runs a guest house she established to provide extra income for the local unpaid pastors. She spends time evangelising remote communities and coordinates the Lutheran Women’s Conventions.

Agnes is organised, dedicated, in love with Jesus and respected by the males of the church in a male-dominated culture. Agnes is a doer. Where others talk, Agnes does. She sees God’s hand in her life and His will for her is clear – to build and encourage women as leaders.

‘Together’, says Agnes ‘we can move the gospel to everybody near and far.’

Agnes has seen much in her life. She recently attended a Women’s Conference in Geneva, while in the same breath explains the how she is helping to bring the gospel to a remote Papua New Guinean community. In this community, if a woman is pregnant, an older male will kill a pig and mark the baby. If it is a girl, the male owns the child. At any given time he can say he wants the girl. By this stage he is already old and the young woman finds herself with several children, a dead husband and living in a culture which ensures she never marries again. This system leaves the women poor and the young men of the village without wives.

As I see her lead the Women’s Convention with a theme of ‘Women as Leaders and as Missionaries’, I sit in awe. All of the community, not just those connected with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, attend the conference. It is a social gathering in their village and these are social people.

To my Western eyes I see poverty and hardships, but I also see incredible generosity, strength in community and a spirit-filled passion to proclaim Jesus.

In a small village nestled in the remote mountains of the Chimbu, I realise that God, through Agnes, has much to teach me about trust, faith and his love.


Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

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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