Pioneering the Pacific… The Story of Asia Pacific Christian Mission
1 Jan 2005
In 1931, the “Unevangelised Fields Mission” was formed in England, with a vision to initiate the planting of churches among unreached peoples around the world. Over thirty men and women joined UFM in those early days, with a vision for Africa. Far away however, in Melbourne, Australia, a young man, Albert Drysdale, a student at the Melbourne Bible Institute (now the Melbourne School of Theology – MST), applied to join UFM, with an interest in working in the land of Papua New Guinea.
Soon after, Albert left for PNG and began a pioneering work in the Western Province of PNG, in the tiny and remote settlement of Balimo. Others soon followed. Even during the tumult and danger of World War 2, and in spite of intense physical and spiritual challenge, the first believers of what was to become the Evangelical Church of Papua New Guinea, were baptised.
As the work spread, churches, schools, medical clinics, literacy and health programs, translation projects and bible schools were established. Hundreds of workers were mobilised, and in time, the work became independently known as the “Asia Pacific Christian Mission.”
Throughout these years, the Chairman of the APCM Council, Len Buck, along with a handful of key church leaders connected with the mission, had come to know a young American business man, Ted Fletcher. Ted shared a similar passion and zeal for mission to unreached peoples. In the early 1980s, when Ted Fletcher was in the process of founding Pioneers USA, Ted turned for assistance to his old friends from ‘down-under,’ and a partnership was established with APCM, enabling early Pioneers workers in PNG to join APCM teams. At the time, the Director of APCM, Doug McConnell, was a young American who had lived and worked in Australia for many years.
In 1998, after years of prayerful reflection and strategic planning, APCM and Pioneers USA formally merged, to form Pioneers International. APCM’s former Director, Doug McConnell became the first Pioneers International Director.