Looking Back – Looking Forward

7 Jun 2023

I am old enough to remember when Pioneers of Australia formed. Back then, in 1998, my husband and I were doctors serving with Asia Pacific Christian Mission in healthcare ministry at Rumginae Hospital, Papua New Guinea. Decades earlier, missionaries from Australia and New Zealand had pioneered gospel ministry in remote parts of PNG and, by God’s grace, the Evangelical Church of PNG was born.

Mark and Judy arriving in PNG in 1987

A handful of young Americans from a new mission called Pioneers came to work with APCM in the 1980s. So, why did APCM and South Sea Evangelical Mission merge and then join with Pioneers – ‘the new kids on the block’ – to become Pioneers Australia 25 years ago? The answer is, it had become clear that the need for missionaries in the Pacific was rapidly declining as the church was maturing. Praise God!

The APCM and SSEM boards recognised fresh vision for the future was needed to continue sending workers into God’s global harvest field. They looked to the relationships of trust forged with Pioneers USA through years of like-minded partnership in PNG and asked, “Could we join you in sending workers not only to the Pacific, but to ‘everywhere’?”

God was at work. Pioneers USA was already talking with mission boards in Canada, Singapore, Ghana and Europe about Pioneers becoming a truly international fellowship. Pioneers Australia was birthed, and Pioneers International became a reality as those boards joined hands. We celebrate with gratitude as we remember all the ways God has led us!

I will proclaim your great deeds and celebrate your abundant goodness!
Psalm 145:7

We remember and give thanks for the men and women of faith and vision and for the courageous decisions they made that transformed the future. For 25 years we have seen God bless and multiply as hundreds of Australian workers have joined or initiated Pioneers worldwide teams for the sake of lost people who have not yet met Jesus. To God be the glory!

It is my privilege and joy to have had a ringside seat since joining the newly formed Pioneers Australia board in 1999. From small beginnings with around 20 Australian Pioneers members back then we have seen God multiply our missionary force more than ten-fold. God is growing His work. I am deeply grateful for the many faithful people who are serving and supporting, and for the wonderful mission family of which we are a part.

The future is no less bright! We continue to seek God for fresh vision and to adapt to our changing times. I pray you too are encouraged to look back and to look forward in this 25th anniversary year of Pioneers with hearts filled with unspeakable joy. You have a place in this story and celebration; lives being saved for eternity. Thank you sincerely for all you have done in being a partner with Pioneers.

Warmly in Christ,

Judy Fitzmaurice | Board Chair

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