The Do People began asking for missionaries in 2003. We sent a team to serve this people group in 2015. Over the next ten years, our goal is to equip them and leave the work in their hands. The people have provided much help from helping to build our missionaries’ houses to providing language helpers. As the Gospel takes root in their hearts, some will emerge as leaders in establishing and expanding the reach of the Gospel.
Ryan and Elna met at church and were married in May 2007. They have two children: Calista and Sebastian. They attend church at Grace Fellowship Pretoria where Ryan served as an associate pastor until being sent as a missionary.
They are both graduates of the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Elna graduated in 2004 with a MBChB degree. She also has a postgraduate diploma in HIV Management. She has helped establish an adult HIV clinic, worked in a children’s HIV clinic, and practiced as a general practitioner. Her primary occupation and joy is schooling their children at home.
In 2002 Ryan graduated with a BA degree and in 2008 he was awarded an Honors degree in Ancient Languages and Cultures. He started attending Grace Fellowship Pretoria in 2001. In 2002 he began working as the church secretary. He regularly taught children’s and adult Sunday School. In 2008-2009 he led an adult Bible study and it was during that time he had a growing desire to go and receive further training.
In June of 2009 the elders affirmed his calling to ministry and encouraged him to apply at The Master’s Seminary. They moved to California and Ryan began classes in the Spring Semester of 2010. He graduated in May 2014 with an MDiv degree. While in seminary he worked at Grace Books International, served in Children’s Ministry at Grace Community Church, and led an adult Bible study. He also had the opportunity to serve as an intern for Dr Ernie Baker at The Master’s College.
In 2014 he worked at Mukhanyo Theological College as the Registrar and then in 2015 he joined the pastoral staff at Grace Fellowship Pretoria. He taught adult Sunday school, co-led a men’s study, led a Bible study at the University of Pretoria, and occasionally preached. He was also part of a team of pastors and churches who are in the process of establishing a seminary in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area.
Sunday, 22 May 2016. 11am. That’s when it happened! Ryan and Elna were listening to Smedly Yates tell their church about three families his church, Grace Bible Church of Tempe, AZ, had sent to do church planting and Bible translation in the Finisterre Mountains of Papua New Guinea. Ryan turned to Elna and asked her, “Do you want to go?”
Without hesitation, she said, “Yes.” And so began their pursuit of ministry in Papua New Guinea.
Calista and Sebastian are full of energy, love the outdoors, bugs, animals, and plants, and are almost always full of dirt. When Ryan and Elna told them about Papua New Guinea they asked, “Can we go today?!”
Ryan and Elna have been sent out by Grace Fellowship Pretoria:
The Canns steady heart for bringing the gospel to the nations is not born out of inexperience. Unlike many missionaries, they knew just what they were getting in to, and forged ahead anyway. Both Cassidy and Zach spent a little time in Papua New Guinea before they chose to move in for the long haul. Zach himself has traveled to and written about missions work in more countries than you can list off the top of your head. But seeing the obstacles and potential difficulties on the field has worked only to strengthen their resolve, and planted their feet even more firmly on the bedrock foundation of Jesus Christ. God has their hearts and lives – they know it and so do those of us privileged enough to work with them. Zach and Cassidy both also have a talent for chronicling real life with such a mix of narrative, wit, and real humility that giving thanks to God is the only response possible to their articles. With updates that inspire, mixed with the antics and pix of their two adorable boys, the Canns online journals of their holy adventure in PNG is reading that may change your life.
If you are in the neighborhood and are able to spend time with this wonderful family, bring a deck of cards and challenge Cassidy to a game. Cassidy enjoys gin (the game), and Zach enjoys winning (anything), so your trip to the South Pacific Seas will offer a unique challenge!!