On a mission
For many of those individuals who choose to serve in some sort of missionary work, the call to service can stretch far and wide.
This holds true for Kari and Cassidy Isch of Penn Valley and Simi Valley respectively, who have ventured quite far from home in the name of service.
They are currently serving as boarding home parents for the Ukarumpa International School in Papua, New Guinea.
The ministry trip is being done on behalf of Wycliffe Bible Translators, a group whose mission is to translate the testament into every spoken language in the world by 2025.
Wycliffe was originally founded by William Cameron Townsend in 1942 and describes their vision as making “God’s word accessible to all people in the language of their hearts.”
The couple, married in June 2011, will be serving as boarding home parents for students currently attending the Ukarumpa International School.
The school serves as a means for children of missionaries to get the same kind of education and experience as they would in the United States.
The main role for the Isch’s is the day-to-day duties of parenting — from assisting with homework to discipline and cooking.
The school has two separate campuses for students in the kindergarten-sixth grade and seventh-twelfth grade ranges.
The school has approximately 350 students enrolled and offers Advanced Placement courses as well as a myriad of extra curricular activities.
“UIS is one of, if not the best school in Papua, New Guinea,” said Cassidy Isch, from the boarding home via email.
Both Kari and Cassidy started working with Wycliffe about three and a half years ago looking to use their collective experience of more than 10 years working at various colleges and universities to help with Wycliffe’s mission of Bible translation.
In fact, the couple met while working together at Occidental University in Southern California.
“There are over 2,000 language groups (of the world’s 7,000 spoken languages) that have not one word of the Bible in their language, this breaks our hearts, and that is the reason that we are partnering with Wycliffe to bring the Bible to people who have no access right now,” Kari Isch said.
For both Kari and Cassidy the most important part of their mission is their influence in the lives of the teenagers in the boarding home.
“We have the opportunity to live life with the teenagers, serving as a positive influence for them emotionally, spiritually, academically, and physically,” said Kari.
The island of Papua New Guinea is a small nation which makes up the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, north of Australia.
Although not a large population (approximately 6.7 million), there are more than 800 languages spoken throughout the nation—of these, about 450 have no translation of the Bible available. This great need in Wycliffe’s mission is what ultimately assigned the Isch’s to their new home.
“After hearing about Papua, New Guinea, and the great need for Bible translation in the country, we felt a connection with what would be our new home,” said Kari of their assignment following the couple’s acceptance with Wycliffe.
Although both have done mission work in the past, never have Kari and Cassidy ventured so far from home for their work — the distance is well worth the effort for the couple though, whose greatest joy in their work comes from not only their work as it pertains to religion but the greater impact they have on the teenagers themselves.
“We love that we are able to build positive relationships with teenagers and come alongside their lives in whatever way that we can,” said Cassidy.
Kael Newton is an editorial intern at The Union and a student at the University of Oregon.
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