The Call of Papua New Guinea

An aerial photograph from a drone showing the campus of Timothy Lutheran Seminary on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in Birip, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea. Drone piloted by LCMS Missionary Anton Lutz. LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford with drone piloting by LCMS Missionary Anton Lutz

On foot

The first mission station of the young Rev. Ronald Rall was a three-hour walk from a remote airstrip in the southeast Asian country of Papua New Guinea. Sent as an evangelistic missionary by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), Rall initially served among the 8,000 people speaking the language of Ipili.

Trekking up to seven hours each way, Rall visited the 25 congregations in the Ipili language area. Teaching evangelists, developing liturgy and music, and helping translate materials into the local language filled his days in the early 1970s.

Two years after arriving in Papua New Guinea, Rall married Mary Anne. Three of their children were born in Papua New Guinea. Ron began working with the Hewa people, served as regional advisor to two other language groups and opened the first one-year Bible school in the Gutnius Lutheran Church (GLC) to prepare young men to enter seminary. After living in the bush for eight years, Rall, his wife and their children returned to the U.S. due to a daughter’s health issue.

Back to the U.S.

Rall then completed additional studies at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and later served for five years with the LCMS Board of Foreign Missions. During that time the Ralls worshiped at Timothy Lutheran Church in St. Louis, where Rall assisted part time.

In 1988, Rall was called to become the pastor at Timothy, where he served until his retirement in 2018. But throughout the years his mission connections continued in Papua New Guinea and even expanded, leading him to teach and visit mission stations in several countries in West Africa.

Keeping connected

Since 2004, the Ralls have returned regularly to Papua New Guinea, spending four to five weeks each visit leading continuing education workshops for pastors and evangelists. The Ralls have traveled to almost every area of the church, teaching and preaching. “We have friends that we have known for many years,” shares Rall, “and it is always good to reconnect with them.”

The LCMS Office of International Mission (OIM) called Rall to teach theology part time at Timothy Lutheran Seminary in Birip. Located in the Highlands in the Enga Province, it’s considered one of the most remote places on earth. The couple has been spending four to six months a year in this area since 2018. Together they serve throughout all the circuits of the GLC, a church body founded by LCMS missionaries that now has over 500 congregations and 80,000 members.

The Rev. Dr. Ron Rall, LCMS missionary to Papua New Guinea, outlines his class to seminarians at Timothy Lutheran Seminary on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2018, in the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea. LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

Join us in thanking God for these missionary servants and their dedication to the people of Papua New Guinea. View the Ralls’ prayer card to connect with them and support this ministry.


LCMS Communications