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Monday, February 12, 2018

Feb. 2018 PNG Trip - "Dan's Dad Always Said..."

As we finish up our stay in PNG, it's always a rush to try and get everything accomplished before the airplane takes off for home.

Yesterday, we should have remembered what Dan's dad always said, "Just think of the next thing."  We were trying to think two steps ahead of where we were and arrived at the mall (which houses a post office, office supplies, grocery store, etc.) with our list of tasks and realized we forgot to bring our money (as well as driver's license and credit card.)  Oops.  We missed that step!  We had to retrace our steps, calm ourselves, and begin again.

Here we are, packing up, with one meeting to go before going to the airport.  It's always a crazy time of wondering if we did all God intended for us to do...Did we choose the right things to attend to?  That's when it's a comfort to remember Who is in charge.  We are just God's servants, doing the best we can.  We take great encouragement from the fact that so many people are praying.  As we leave, and the country of PNG gets smaller in the distance, our staff seem so vulnerable...until we remember Who it is that has their back.  This ministry stuff is definitely God's business, and if we hold on to that, then whatever happens will be gold, silver, and precious stones...not wood hay and stubble.  We just have to look to Him for our next (and each) step, one at a time.  





Thursday, February 8, 2018

Feb. 2018 PNG Trip - "View From the Middle!"

Here we are at the half-way point of our stay here in Port Moresby.  I've been having computer internet issues, so here's a summary of what's happened in our story so far:



We helped our 3 new staff girls celebrate completing their training in how to develop their ministry partner team (to find people to pray and finance their ministry on the campus.) Eroni from Fiji came to help with their training, so we were also on hand to hear his report and thank him for the wonderful job he did.  (Because Eroni is an islander himself, our girls felt quite comfortable learning from his training, advice, and encouragement. He had a great impact in their lives.)  Front row:  Elidah & Tanya (new staff), Diane (coach during the training), Beautlyn (new staff).  Back row:  Dan, Kaylynn, Eroni, Elton.

We've helped celebrated Elton's birthday!

Beautlyn, Elidah, and Tanya (new staff girls)
We've had good conversations with all our staff, both as a group and individually.  (Face-to-face communication is so needed and treasured when the majority of the time we communicate from two different countries.)  We are constantly grateful for the gifted and good-hearted staff God has entrusted to our care.

We got to observe the giving out of the first year gift-packs to the incoming new students at UPNG during the orientation week.  These gift-packs contain a Jesus Film DVD, a devotional book, a brochure about our ministry, and a survey card to see if they are interested in more information.  The interested students are contacted and invited to a party where they can choose to be in a small group bible study.  One father of a student picked up a gift pack for his daughter standing nearby.  He pulled out the survey card and gave it to her.  He offered his pen, but then filled out the card for her.  We'll find out if the daughter is as interested as her father when our students contact her!  

 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Feb. 2018 Adventure in PNG - Days 1-3: "Back in the Saddle Again!"

Here I am...back in our "home away from home."  The Mapang Missionary Guest House feels familiar and the the hosts are so welcoming.  I've only walked into the wrong room once!  (There are several rooms along a corridor, all of which we've stayed in at one time or another.  Automatic pilot is a dangerous setting for me around here.  Fortunately, the darkened room I burst into had a man  looking at his phone while listening to something through his earphones. Someone else was snoring away.  I quickly and quietly whisked the door shut, berating myself for not paying attention.  I think I got away undetected...at least no one confronted me the next morning.  Sheesh!)

Being with our staff is such a blessing.  It's reassuring to see them clinging to their faith, taking on responsibilities that take them out of their comfort zone, and bravely moving forward.  There are so many things that could derail them, but God has faithfully kept them, nurtured them, and is growing them to be beautiful men and women of God.

Part of our job is a lot like ironing.  Wrinkles appear, whether it be in relationships, paperwork, or finances, etc., and we attempt to smooth things out through prayer, and God's grace and truth.  I've come to the conclusion that only by God's grace and miraculous power can we be used to have any lasting effect.  This is very freeing because if I compare myself to the other missionaries staying at this guest house, I feel under-qualified and a bit lacking.  If I stick to looking at God, I do much better. 

 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

PNG May Visit - Days 9-10: "Awkward Moments!"

Getting gifts ready to present


The new university year has begun and our party to introduce the first year students to Student Life was last night.


It was a wonderful time of songs, games, testimony, vision...and a devotional talk by me.  Usually I just share what I'm learning in my own "quiet time" with God, but I was having trouble making a talk out of it this time.  I was a little nervous, so my hands were sweating.  It was hot and humid, so the rest of me was sweating as well.  I was wearing a PNG top and slacks, both made out of non-absorbent fabric...therefore, it did no good to wipe my moist hands on my clothes.  I was a little worried about dropping the microphone!  However, since God answers prayer and can do wonderful things, the devotional went as well as it could.

 
Another awkward moment came at the end of the evening when students introduced themselves and we shook hands or hugged.  I saw one girl approach who either "high-fived" or hugged people around me.  When she got to me, I lifted my hand for a "high-five," while she leaned in for a hug.  I almost hit her face by accident...but danger was averted, and a successful hug was achieved!  

What amazes me about ministry is that although a million things could go wrong and everything could easily fall apart...in the midst of it all, God can work. He's the One who holds all things together and changes lives.  And...He can use even the awkward!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

PNG May Visit - Days 7-8: "From the Sublime to the Ridiculous!"

The other day we had lunch with an alumni to both the university and our ministry.  This young woman is on our board here in PNG and helps us out with her musical and teaching skills when needed.  We met for lunch right outside the high-rise building where she works for the Red Cross.  My-oh-my!  We discovered the NICE part of Port Moresby.  
The sign in the background!



The high-rise building was on the waterfront, surrounded by a security fence.  Withing the fence was another tall building and several trendy eating establishments.  (We didn't notice until we were already inside that there was a dress code.  Flip-flop footwear wasn't allowed.  Oops!



Contrasting with that was our day yesterday.  It was the day to sort through our storage room at George Puipui's old house and move everything we wanted to another facility.

One of rat's 3 babies on red plastic
The first box Dan and I peeked in, I saw a shadow running around...Eek, a rat!  I jumped back and let Dan take care of the situation.  He tipped the box to rid it of the rat, but the rat run right towards me and bumped into my foot!  (Pause for a shudder!)

Needless to say, it was a dirty, sweaty day.  On top of that, the truck we hired (and paid for) didn't arrive to pick up the saved boxes.  After several phone calls, we discovered the truck was broken and wasn't coming.  Elton eventually found us another truck, and we finally got home.  
After sorting, our student crew helped with loading

A very different dress code was required.





 

Friday, May 5, 2017

PNG May visit - Days 5-6: "Taxi!"

We've reached the half-way point of our visit.  We've met up with folks, had office times, campus time...and today we ran errands!  Anyone from Port Moresby knows that errand running should be an Olympic event.  It takes a lot out of a person.

Our friend and most treasured taxi driver hasn't been available this trip, so we've branched out to some new ones.  My favorite so far is a mild-mannered, careful driver (the most cautious driver I've experienced) who is middle-aged.  This man has a son who selected his ringtone for him... the sound of a police siren.  It starts out softly, then gets louder and louder.  Every time this man's phone would ring (and a taxi driver's phone rings pretty often), I'd look over my shoulder, thinking we were being pulled over! 

The man we had drive us around today took us to about 8 different places all over the city.  One time neither he nor we knew how to get to where we were going, but we got there in the end.  He was nice enough, but probably my favorite guy's polar opposite in the caution department.  It's the end of a long day...but we met up with and got an evaluation from our former staff girl, paid money at the Fiji High Commission to help clear a visa issue with one of our staff, picked up a donation for the Fiji student conference from the travel bureau, went back to the High Commissioners office to get our change from the fee we paid earlier (They didn't have it before.), drove to a church where we hired a truck for tomorrow (We're finally removing the rest of the ministry things stored in our former director's house, now that the family has sold it.), went to a stationery shop...then back to the church were we left something.  Finally we went to the bank. 

The day is done.  It feel like either crying or watching a movie on my computer.  I choose...MOVIE!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

PNG May Visit - Days 3-4: "Success!"

Success in ministry is hard to measure.  There are so many intangible things, as well as circumstances that cause discouragement.  So much depends on simply walking with God with faith and joy...letting Him be my life. (Col. 3:4)

I wish encouragement was liquid in a bottle I could pour on our staff here.  With so many responsibilities and the red tape involved in getting anything done, the need is great. They are doing a wonderful job, and we are so thankful for them and are filled with admiration for what they've taken on...but in ministry, it's easy to be disheartened.  The evil one sees to that.  I want to protect our staff from that.

I guess this is an old and continual problem, because when Paul prayed for the churches, he frequently mentioned the need for encouragement.  Maybe that's why there always seems to be the temptation to give up and go back to something familiar...something the world can point to and say, "My, what a success that person is!"  I think that's why Peter went back to fishing after the crucifixion...until the resurrected Jesus had a little talk with him.

Following Paul's example, I guess prayer is a form of liquid encouragement.  One way of being successful myself is to keep praying for the hopeful hearts of our staff. (2 Thes. 2:16-17.)