Papua New Guinea's Manager of the Year Becomes a Missionary
George Puipui knew his supervisor would try to talk him out of the decision.
And sure enough, soon after George announced that he was leaving the Electricity Commission of Papua New Guinea, the general manager asked to meet with him.
"What is the budget of your new employer?" the manager asked, ready with options to try and persuade George to stay with the company.
George had been named Papua New Guinea's Manager of the Year in 1987, due in part to the way he had helped make electricity available to many of Papua New Guinea's 1,400 islands scattered around the South Pacific Ocean, just north of Australia.
This was no small feat in the country called "ethnically and linguistically the world's most complex nation" by Operation World, an international mission almanac. There are 816 languages spoken among just 5 million people.
George had accomplished so much during his time with the company, and no one understood why he would want to leave. But for George, the answer was simple. It was time.
George and his wife, Eva, had seen what God was doing in Papua New Guinea since their initial involvement with Campus Crusade for Christ. They received some training in evangelism and discipleship, and as George traveled with his job at the electric company, he would talk about Christ.
"Everywhere he went, he developed a ministry," says Norm Edney, former director of Campus Crusade in the South Pacific.
When a Campus Crusade music group from Singapore came to Papua New Guinea, George volunteered to handle the advertising.
He had some questions about posters and other promotional materials, so he met with Ray Torikok, head of the Electricity Commission's publications department.
George took time to explain how the group used music to tell others about Christ. Then George took 20 minutes to explain the gospel to him, using the Four Spiritual Laws booklet. Ray prayed with George and received Christ into his life.
"He was so happy," George remembers. "Tears were forming in his eyes, expressing his joy."
Ray had been a heavy drinker, so his wife, Elsie, didn't believe him when he told her he had become a Christian. But after a week, Elsie noticed a change in Ray's life. "What happened?" she asked. And Ray explained George's booklet to his wife. Elsie also prayed and invited Christ into her life.
The following week, the couple visited Elsie's relatives, and five of them received Christ. Ray and Elsie brought them to a training workshop George was holding the next weekend. One of the first things they learned was how to tell others about their faith.
Ray's story was just one of many that George thought about when he decided to leave the company and join the staff of Campus Crusade full time. So when the general manager asked George why he was leaving, George knew exactly what to say.
"It's not about money," George responded, and went on to explain that he was leaving his position to serve God with Campus Crusade. The general manager was impressed with George's conviction.
"George," the manager said, "I don't think I can compete with your new employer."
For George, there was never any competition. At 52, George is now the national director of Campus Crusade in Papua New Guinea. He uses his experience in leadership to direct his team of seven, reaching the islands with the hope of Christ.