Josh and Autumn Miller

Josh and Autumn Miller

sent out by Grace Brethren Church of Orrville, Ohio to plant churches in PNG

The first time in my adult life that I’ve been compared to a baby was about 4 days after we arrived in PNG, almost 2 months ago. When I heard another missionary explaining to a PNG man that Josh and I were just like “little babies” here who didn’t really know anything yet, I laughed with them and thought it was funny.

Speaking of babies, here are a couple of PNG babies sleeping in their bilums, woven bags that
act as cradle, bed, and baby-carrier for the mamas here in PNG. 

I’ll be honest though, there have been a lot of times since when being a “baby” hasn’t been funny at all!

To try to explain what I mean, I want you to try to imagine with me what it would be like to wake up tomorrow with only the ability to do what a 2 year old can do. Now you’re not a 2 years old…you’d still be your age, but with the abilities of a 2 year old.

Let’s see: you could walk (although not always confidently or well), you could eat (but probably not get food for yourself), you could definitely cry, you’d feel lots of emotions but wouldn’t yet know how to communicate them easily or well or appropriately to those around you. And you’d be doing a lot of watching and exploring anything you could find. Beyond those things, there isn’t much that you’d really be able to do. And there is almost nothing you’d be “good at.”

That gives you a little bit of a snapshot of what transitioning to PNG has felt like at many times.


Now, before you think we’re saying “Woah is me!” I want to assure you that we consider ourselves SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED and PRIVILEDGED to be here, to be CALLED to be part of the work God is doing of bringing unreached people groups to Himself! We don’t HAVE to do this! We GET to do this!

However, the process of learning to become PNG in order to reach PNG is rarely easy and often isn’t “fun!” 

These adorable young kids (who can quickly steal a bit of our hearts) all know far more than we do about how to live and survive here in PNG, which is pretty humbling as an adult. 

Like babies, we’re regularly being laughed at by other adults. Like babies, people point at us and touch us regularly just because we look interesting or different. Like babies, lots of sounds come out of our mouths, but much of it doesn’t really make sense to the adults around us. For a while, the extent of what we could contribute to a conversation were random object names like “man, woman, tree, flower, bush, dog, etc…” Like babies, we spend time looking at/trying to read little kids books in Tok Pisin and still often not understanding what they’re saying. And (at least for Autumn), like babies, we cry more than is “normal” for an adult.

All typical behaviors for a little one, but for independent adults, it’s painful at times.
It’s not captivating reading, but little kid’s books like this help us learn a TON!

However, we’re so thankful for this season God has us in! A season of being humbled, of learning to be like a child, of changing, and of “becoming PNG.” It’s a season of going back to foundational truths that we know from Scripture, and learning them in new and deeper ways as our ideas about our identities are “challenged.” Although it’s often hard, it’s a good season, because it’s the one God has given us!

And we know that in less than a year, when we move again into a tribal location, we’ll begin this whole process again, with a new language and a similar but different culture. So the lessons we’re learning now are laying the groundwork for us to be able to communicate there and fit in there and love people well in the tribe God will lead us to.

Although there are hard times, we’re thankful that being a child isn’t just about NOT being able to do things! 🙂 There are amazing qualities that many children have, and hopefully, in this season, we want to enjoy those parts of being “babies” too!
With child-like awe, we are seeing new parts of God’s beautiful creation, which is truly stunning here in PNG!

With child-like joy, we are exploring new places, and learning to enjoy the process of getting where we are going and smiling at people along the way (even if we don’t know what they’re saying to us).

Like children, we’re learning so many brand new things every day, and finding there are so many people willing to help teach us and show us what we don’t know!

And prayerfully, with child-like trust, we are looking to our Father for everything we need, since like babies, we are incapable of providing it for ourselves.

And that is a great position to be in!

Thank you so much for all of you who are praying for us, supporting us, and encouraging us! We want God to be glorified in our lives here, even during this “infant” stage, and having all of you around us as our support team helps encourage us to keep going and keep pushing forward with the anticipating of what God will do in us and through us!

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