It was in the mid-80’s that both Cathy Fondse (at that time in her mid 20’s) and her parents, John and Coby Fondse (in their mid 50’s) accepted the call to minister among unreached tribes. Cathy’s parents went ahead to Papua New Guinea to become support missionaries at the field headquarters of New Tribes Mission. Cathy followed two years later after training to become a registered nurse. She spent her first year working as a support missionary at the headquarters. Then at the beginning of her second year in PNG she went into the Wusuraambya tribe where she first learned the trade language, Melanesian Tok Pisin, and then began studying the Wusuraambya tribal language, one of 850 tribal languages in PNG.
On his own pursuit to discover God’s plan for his life, Andrew visited Cathy’s parents in PNG in 1990, and during that visit, built an office in Wusuraambya for Cathy. It was there that the Lord put it on Andrew’s heart to be a part of this important ministry. During a second visit to PNG in January 1991 Andrew confirmed that he would be returning to Canada to train for tribal ministry and then would return to PNG. Also during that second visit Andrew and Cathy announced their engagement to be married in November that year.
Andrew and Cathy returned to Wusuraambya, PNG in 1994, married and with two young children. Once fluent in the tribal language the following years were busy with finding a written form of the language acceptable to the Wusuraambya people, creating a literacy course to help them read and write, writing Bible lessons for teaching the firm foundations of the Gospel starting with Creation, and most importantly, translating the Scripture on which those lessons were based. As a registered nurse both in Canada and PNG, Cathy has also often been the only doctor whom people could call upon for medical emergencies. And as the only resident “plumber, electrician, computer and radio technician,mechanic, etc.,” Andrew is often called upon to teach the people basic skills or fix their equipment.
Today approximately 65% of the New Testament, along with Old Testament books or portions, are available in the Wusuraambya language. The Firm Foundations course for unbelievers has been taught annually since 2005. The believers also have Bible study books for Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians , and Philippians. They also have a literacy course involving 6 primers and 15 readers.
Of the approximately 200 Wusuraambya believers, about 100 meet together in the local church, many now live and work in towns or plantations, and some have gone to be with the Lord in recent years.