The Grays

The Grays

John GrayTHE GRAY FAMILY have been used for the last 25 years in the land of PNG to carry the Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to bring the Good News of Christ’s Salvation to many. John Gray, the late Mary Green Gray and Ilava Gray, have had a great desire to develop the people of PNG for the Glory of the Lord. God has used so many circumstances within their lives to Honor Him and to promote the Gospel Message to all. Troubles, trials, sicknesses, death, adventures and so much more have been used to win not only the people of the Gulf Province, but the people of so many other Provinces too. And yes, God, through it all, has “Made A Way” for His Will to be performed within the lives of this missionary family. And too, there is so much more that needs to be done for the people of PNG. There are still so many who have not heard yet the clear message of Salvation. So many places still need a Gospel Witness to shine like a light in a dark place. Many more still need to be trained and so much development still needs to be seen. The workload is great, the pressures are tremendous and the laborers are so few! Pray that God would continue to supply the strength needed for the work that still needs to be done within the shores of this great country of Papua New Guinea.

Mary GrayBoth John and Mary Gray were saved at early ages growing up in separate places in the USA. Both had great burdens for the lands of the South Pacific even at young ages. Both felt the call to missions while in their teenage years knowing that God’s Will is never “multiple choice,” it is singular in its command. Meeting during the college years of life and being married soon after, they started out on an adventure to serve the Lord for their entire lives. Knowing by then that PNG was the place of service, they began deputation and then left for the field of PNG by February of 1987. There they lived in the capital city of Port Moresby and ministered for several years helping in many established churches as well as starting a Bible Institute. Seeing many of the students continue until graduation, they set their focus on a new region that was untouched by the Gospel. Trouble loomed though as John was attacked outside the capital city one day while on visitation. Nearly losing his sight as well as his life, God rescued him and gave great victory. After a short furlough to the US for surgery and therapy, they both returned to PNG and made their first survey trip together into the Gulf Province of PNG.

After several trips to the Gulf and much prayer, they decided to settle down in the capital of the Gulf Province, a small, sleepy town located in a large mangrove swamp surrounded by water, crabs and grey sand. The name of this unusual tiny and undeveloped place, Kerema!!! It is here that God birthed in the heart of these missionaries, the passion for the souls of PNG!!! It was 1990 and the many battles that would take place were not known at this time, but God’s Grace was felt and it sustained this couple through some of the rough waters of early missionary pioneer life. It was then that the Charity Baptist Ministries began and the Charity Baptist Church started and opened its doors and it was then that the souls of Gulf Province started to be won and men started to be trained to go out and begin churches and outreaches for the Lord. They saw numerous saved yet no one from Kerema; only those who were from other parts of the Province were getting saved. What a burden! To live in a place where no acceptance was felt, no one getting saved who was from Kerema and no help being given by the true indigenous people of the area? What a tremendous amount of weight to carry upon one’s shoulders. Then one day, God saved a man by the name of Aio! This man was the chief and clan leader of the largest clan of people in Kerema, known as the Mesaivo Clan! Once Aio trusted in Christ, everything changed for the Gray Family.

Ilava GrayJohn was adopted into the family and clan of Aio. He became a true Kerema Son. (Tairuma Turi) Once this adoption took place, Aio gave as an exchange his favorite grand daughter to the Gray Family. Thus, Ilava Shelley Gray became a part of the Gray Family in 1997. This precious and very timid 11 year old girl, opened the door to the Tairuma people and one by one, they started to be saved. What a great blessing it was to see all of this happen so very quickly. God heard and answered the prayers of his servants and an open door was there for the Grays to enter into.

Ilava's GraduationA few years later, one of the greatest ministries in Kerema opened up as well, The Charity Baptist Academy. Seeing the failure of the educational system in the Gulf through Ilava’s difficulties, the Grays felt the burden to begin this Educational Institution. God has blessed greatly with many souls being saved, many learning to read and write and many getting a Christian Education right in the Heart of Gulf! Now with over a decade of service to the people of Gulf, the school is opening up in other parts of the Province as well. CBA was the ministry Mary Gray put her heart into. God gave her a wonderful burden for the small boys and girls of Kerema town. God blessed the work of her hands and heart.

Mary GraySince the opening of the school and many other ministries, God brought upon Mary Gray several times of great discomfort. She suffered many physical troubles and went through many operations both in PNG and in Australia. Several years ago, numerous tumors were taken out and each time they showed that they were not malignant. This continued for many years until the day that they heard that word that so many people fear, cancer! It was a shock to the Gray Family that day as they gathered in the office and read the fax that they just received from pathology. It was truly their time to start LIVING BY FAITH and NOT BY SIGHT! For the next several years Mary suffered with many more operations and treatments of all kinds. Travels back and forth to Port Moresby and Australia were very common for this lady of great faith. A good report seemed to always be followed by a bad report. In all of this, Mary never wanted to go back to the US, she wanted to stay as close to the ministry as possible. God blessed greatly this dedication and faith in Our Lord.

Mary GrayChemotherapy and Radiation treatments caused Mary to move to Brisbane, Australia. There she was looked after greatly by the doctors and staff at Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital and also taken care of by her church, the Good Shepherd Baptist Church of Albany Creek. Her times in Kerema became less and less. She continued to help in the ministries by given advice and directions from afar. John and Ilava travelled often to see her and to stay with her and then would come back to Kerema in order to continue in the ministry. It was a time of darkness in the lives of the Gray Family. Many decisions now had to be made and many changes too had to take place.

Finally, God decided that she would no longer suffer upon this earth anymore! After 16 operations, a full year of radiation, over two years of chemotherapy, God, in His Wonderful Grace, on the 28th of March, 2011, took Mary E. Gray Home to be with Him! Her Suffering Is Now Over!!! Amen!

Ilava GrayJohn and Ilava continue in the work and in the ministry in the Gulf Province of PNG! God continues to give them souls for their labors and is still calling men into His ministry. The work still grows and is expanding ever so quickly. Yes, their road has been a rough one but God has given abundant Grace and Treasures in the Darkness!!!

Pray for the GRAY FAMILY as they continue to give their ALL to the people of the GULF!!!