Steve and Gerdine are blessed with their ‘boevenman’ Oscar and twin girls Alice and Millie.
Steve from England and Gerdine from the Netherlands joined New Tribes Mission in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Steve had been on a short-term mission trip to Papua New Guinea with NTM which cemented a desire to be involved in tribal missions. Steve joined the NTM training with the goal of returning to PNG as a missionary. Gerdine applied to train with two desires, she wanted to get to know the Bible better and she wanted to live in England. She googled ‘bijbel school engeland’ and NTM was the 2nd hit, but most importantly it was the cheapest option.
Steve and Gerdine met during the NTM training in England. Steve was aiming to get to Papua New Guinea but Gerdine wasn’t there yet. After completing her first year of Biblical studies Gerdine decided that she wanted to volunteer for a year in the training center kitchen in order to consolidate what she’d learned in Bible school.
It was that year that Gerdine more deeply considered missions herself and decided to stay to do the missionary training. Steve had already finished his training but decided to stick around because he didn’t want to leave without Gerdine.
Steve and Gerdine were engaged that year, married in the summer and then spent a year living in the Netherlands so Steve could learn a bit of Dutch.
Steve and Gerdine arrived in PNG in January 2016 with the desire to form a team with 2 other missionary families and move into a tribal group that didn’t have the gospel. After spending years in training and preparation they were eager and raring to go. They spent time with the Hansen family getting to know Philip (since they both knew Natalie very well from training) but were disappointed to find they were short another family of coworkers. The momentum of the previous years bled off and they found themselves in PNG waiting for another family to join their team.
While disappointed at the time now they can look back with grateful hearts. The year spent waiting for coworkers gave them opportunities to teach chronological Bible courses in Tok Pisin around Goroka giving them plenty of practice to deepen their understanding of PNG language and culture, and it also meant that they could team up with the Stous family who arrived in PNG year after them.
Picking a country to serve in as missionaries was a hard decision, but now picking which tribe to serve in that country turned out to be even harder. With so many needs, and so many places to go what criteria were we supposed to use to settle on just one? In the end, we set a deadline for a decision to avoid spending months vacillating between all the options. The day before the deadline we seemed no closer, but suddenly the Lord seemed to lead us and Kovol was where we were convinced we should go.
As we look back on how our lives have gone we marvel. God has provided all we need. At each stage of the journey there have been fears and unknowns and we’ve seen how God has led us through it all, and we’re convinced he’ll continue to.