Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Threat continues against Lutheran Missionaries for deportation despite court order


THE public outrage in Wapenamanda, Enga, PNG and abroad grows regarding the constant orders by the Immigration & Citizenship Services Authority (ICSA) to deport two remaining American Lutheran missionaries from the country. 

They are a mother and her son; Julie and Anton Lutz (pictured below) who live and work out of the Immanuel Lutheran Hospital premises at Mambisanda, Wapenamanda District, Enga. 

Their spouse and father respectively was a medical doctor missionary late Steve Lutz who passed away after serving the country for over 20 years.

The latest letter dated 27 May 2017 is by the acting director for ICSA Solomon Kantha for Anton to leave the country within 14 days. His mother Julie was refused boarding a plane in Los Angeles to enter PNG in April 2016 after she ended her leave in the US by a direction from ICSA director late Rabura Mataio.

Their case started in September 2014 when the minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration and Wapenamanda MP Rimbink Pato issued a deportation order against five American Lutheran missionaries of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) of the USA who were serving in PNG. The reasons for the minister's order was that these missionaries were in the country without the "invitation and approval" of the host church, the Gutnius Lutheran Church Papua New Guinea. 

Therefore the minister, himself a prominent lawyer, cited the missionaries breached the Migration Act and were deemed as illegal aliens that must be removed from the country. He defended his actions on the media and through a paid advertorial. These were translated by Kantha's letter dated 8 December 2014 amplifying the same misdeeds.

I and several other laymen of the church took the ICSA, the minister and state to court for what we believed was a unconstitutional bluff. The court process costed us nearly K30,000.00 to successfully restrain the ICSA, minister, state from affecting their deportation order. Our reasons were that there was no breach of the Migration Act by the missionaries and they were in the country in compliance of all laws like any other foreigner serving this country and her people.

And these were selfless people who commit and dedicate their lives to the Lord to serve the small and disadvantaged people of this rugged country at their own cost. They are highly skilled and spirited people who choose at their own will to forgo the comforts of the American life to live, eat and work with us in some of terrifying and most dangerous circumstances.

These are missionaries who continue the historical line of missionaries who first came to Yaramanda village in 1948. The minister's father was an evangelist and he first tasted a tin meat and rice out of the mission. He went to school at Yaramanda and Pausa taught by missionary teachers and today enjoys the wealth and high profile as being a rich man and state minister.

The minister's reasons to cite that these missionaries had broken PNG laws is a fat lie. He used a series of allegation written by Rev David Piso, one of the two Head Bishops of the GLCPNG, in his letter of 22 July 2012. Based on these misleading advise ICSA director on his dated 23 October 2012 issued the deportation order to Anton leave the country in 7 days. The ICSA was misled to believe that these missionaries had employment contracts with the GLCPNG and Piso (or any Head Bishop for this matter) had authority to terminate or re-engage them as he sees fit.

The National Court in Mt Hagen on the 11th December 2014 found out that no laws were breached and that ICSA was politically directed to issue orders that were malicious and had no bearing on the Migration Act.

So the court decided that the minister and ICSA under the same law set up a Review Committee to hear the appeal of the missionaries while remaining in the country. The minister and ICSA failed to set up the review process until the latest order is issued by Kantha last week. This matter was raised by the governors of the NCD (Powes Pakop) and Enga (Sir Peter Ipatas) in parliament.

The Prime Minister then issued a direction to the minister to stop the deportation order and asked the Chief Secretary late Manasupe Zurenouc to allow for the review process to take place. His decision and direction appeared on the Post Courier on the 4th of December 2014. Mr. Zurenouc had not set up the review process to hear their appeals until his passing.

So what will the appeal hear? The appeal will find that the missionaries have had complied all the laws of this country to live and serve the Lord Jesus Christ in mission and ministry including the evangelism work in the Ipili, Hewa, Duna and the Sepik. The only reason the minister will offer is that he listened to David Piso because they are linked to the failed Lutheran University Project in Lae and for their political affiliations in Wapenamanda. The obvious facts that will appear is that "both cover each other's corrupt and failed leadership in the Lutheran Church in PNG".

We are kindly asking Mr. Kantha to check the case files and take heed of the court order and put in place the review process so that the missionaries are given their chance to appeal their deportation. In the meantime all missionaries be accorded the liberty to remain in the country and serve the people with services they offer without distruption. It is even wrong and a contempt of court to ban the entry of Julie or deport Anton. The director must allow her into the country to appeal her case and extend Anton's work permit.

And it is morally unjustifiable and inhuman for ICSA to ban a distinguished missionary who had passed months away in the US after giving half of his lifetime to the Lord's work in PNG. He is the late Dr. Terry Bourchard who translated and wrote the Ipili New Testament. His name was on the deportation list. This clearly shows how the ICSA director is poorly advised or rather officers had not carried out their investigations properly or matters bulldozed politically from the minister.

Finally, the leadership of the GLCPNG is under the National Court sanctioned mediation court. The actual mediation ended in September 2016 and delays were caused by David Piso for reasons like this case. Justice Kandakasi has had issued the Mediation Agreement in January 2017 and the Piso group delayed the signing with their usual lies and deception. The two parties agreed in mediation, among others, to leave the missionaries in peace in the interim until June 2018 when the synod (general meeting) will elect a new and single Head Bishop.

The MA in Part 3 (3.1) (f) reads:

"in the spirit of this Agreement and in line with the desire to amicably resolve all disputes and matters affecting the Church, Bishop David Piso and Honourable Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration and Member of Wapenamanda will take the appropriate steps to remove the travel and other restrictions placed against the Church's missionaries and render their services to the Church, it's membership and the people of PNG".

This point was agreed by both bishops David Piso and Nicodemus Aiyene, the two Head Bishops representing the two factions in the Gutnius Lutheran Church Papua New Guinea before mediator and judge Kandakasi J.

Note that these missionaries are not even employed by the GLCPNG but by Concordia Lutheran Professional Mission Services. CLPMS is an agency of the LCMS fully incorporated and accredited with the PNGIPA and are up to date with their compliance purposes meeting legal regulations and pay taxes to the state like all foreign companies. They are a similar entity operating in PNG like the GLCPNG.

Therefore no Head Bishop dictates what happens in the CLPMS but issues are discussed at the leader-to-leader level through their signed Protocol Documents between the two churches. The existing PD is signed with Bishop Nicodemus Aiyene (GLCPNG) and President Matthew Harrison (LCMS) and David Piso is not in the picture. So Piso and the minister are trying to rewrite a new PD through the use of the PNG Migration Act. That is why the MA settled the dispute to host a synod to elect one Head Bishop in June 2018.

The minister was met by several of our church members recently regarding this issue last and this week to tell him of these predicaments. He seems ardent and most likely he is lost somewhere in oblivion when he doesn't know how to solve his own problem. He thinks and insists the missionaries must still leave the country because they had breached laws and will return through the approval of David Piso. This is absurd and crazy!

Church is asked to pray for God to defuse this evil attack. We love our church and our country. We must give total respect and heart to our missionaries who lived among us since 1948. Unless a missionary breaks a law or abdicates the PD or strays from our interactive agreements of both churches they must be given every support to remain peacefully in our country and continue to serve the Lord.

This threat is an attack on all missionaries, former and current. It is a disrespectful attack on the LCMS who serves the Lord in 80 other countries including PNG in preaching His gospel. It is an attack on the members and pastors of the GLCPNG, His body.

 It is an attack on the state and people of PNG. It is a attack against the Lord Almighty who is head of His church. We will ask the Lord in prayers to protect His church in PNG and His missionaries. We must do all within our means to defuse this attack as the reasons given for this attack are baseless, flawed and politically motivated. So keep your patient and pray.

Julie (right) and Anton Lutz


  1. Nickson R Kaul14 June 2017 at 21:39

    Very sad turn of events. We are not removing illegal Asians taking over all our businesses and here we are trying to remove genuine missionaries..what a shame..

  2. Rex J. Gankarch14 June 2017 at 21:40

    Mr Rimbink Pato and Late Manasupe Zurenuoc are Lutheran Protestants themselves. They should know better. Bother men should go after the illegal ASIAN flooding the country.

  3. Robert Clive Jackway-Koomans14 June 2017 at 22:53

    The Lord lets infidels alone in their careless regard for his rules... see first Law of respect to God given to mankind in Gen-2... fail that LAW, Jesus said, and automatically break every other Law... They must repent and change ("Come out of Babylon... MY people") .... or continue to be ignored.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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