Even though COVID-related travel restrictions make deploying a missionary overseas a far more drawn out and challenging prospect than it was just two years ago, Pastor Murray and Tracy Smith are now a step closer to their move to serve in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Pastor Murray has been called to serve as a lecturer at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG’s (ELC-PNG) Senior Flierl Seminary at Logaweng, near Finschhafen from next year. The Smiths, who plan to move to PNG later this year, were joined by family and friends at St Martin’s Lutheran Church at Mannum on the River Murray in South Australia on 17 October for Pastor Murray’s commissioning as an LCA missionary.

Having grown up in the nearby Bowhill congregation, the choice of Mannum for the service was significant for Pastor Murray, as those who nurtured him in the faith were able to come together to praise God and encourage the couple as they set out on this new adventure of faith and service. LCA Assistant to the Bishop – International Mission Pastor Matt Anker officiated at the service and acknowledged that the Smiths are following a long line of LCA missionaries who have served in PNG and, in particular, at the seminary in Logaweng.

Pastor Matt said that, while the Smiths go to serve, they can look forward to being richly blessed by the community there.

Rev Dr Jack Urame, head bishop of the ELC-PNG, greeted Pastor Murray saying, ‘We wish you and Tracy all the best in your preparations for this great task ahead of you and look forward with excitement to seeing you soon. The peace of the Lord be with you! Lukim yu long PNG’.

Pastor Murray’s call to PNG is being financially supported in partnership with Mission Eine Welt of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.

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