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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 12 and beyond: "A Discovery!"

A last-minute meeting before heading to the airport, and then we were winging our way home.

Did you know that you can sing without being heard on board a jet?  I don't know if it's just true for people with my alto vocal range, but I've tested it out.  Amidst the background sound of the engine, I sang softly...undetected even by my husband sitting next to me.  Of course it's important not to move your lips in case someone glances over.  The secret is to have your mouth slightly open.  Although words may not be distinctly recognizable, the tune is there.

Go ahead...try it sometime.  You know you want to!

Thanks to all those who have prayed for this trip.  We depend on those prayers!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 11: "A Small World!"

You just never know who you'll meet at this guest house.

We had lunch with a couple and their 4-year-old twins, Jenny Beth and Jacob.  Not only were the twins interesting little people, but their parents know Jeff and Jane Pelz from our church in New Zealand.  Amazing.

Yesterday, we met a man named Nathan Miles.  We commented that his name was close to our son's name.  He said that it used to be a very uncommon name.  (He's about our age.)   Now, when he hears someone say, "Nathan," he always assumes it's him.  

After talking with him a while, he asked if we knew the Ashleys when we were in the Solomons.  We said, yes, and that Philip was one of our Nathan's best friends.  It turns out that Nathan Miles is Philip Ashley's step-father-in-law.  He told us that Philip and his wife are both studying medicine in Kentucky.  Amazing.

Who knows who will come through the door of this guest house next!

(One more sleep until a plane ride!) 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 10: "Celebration!"

Dan with girls that went on the Hisiu project

Dan challenging grads
Today was the Omega Celebration of the UPNG student life group.  Yesterday was there last day of classes, next week is study leave, and the next is final exams.  So today, we celebrated what God has done this year, said good-bye to the graduating students, and hello to the leaders for next year.

Dan & Eva signing certificates for grads
After the official, serious part, it was time for the mumu (luau) and games.  Thought you'd enjoy some pics. 
putting up volleyball net

Jasmine with disciples


PNG (Sept.) Day 9: "What the...?"

Hey, I though this was a 10-day trip!  Now I realise that it's 12 days.  How'd that happen?

This hasn't been such a triumphant day.  I had just determined in my QT that I need to work on choosing joy.  It's a choice.  Choosing joy means I don't doubt God's ability or His love for me.  Joy is the natural response when my view of God is correct.  Otherwise, I let circumstances choose whether I'll be joyful or not.  So the last couple of problem choosing correctly.

BUT - today went all catywampus...and so did my joy.  I guess dashed hopes and plans really have an ability to make me loose sight of who God is. So once again, I slowly turn my head from circumstances, to my God.  I acknowlege how big God is, and how much He loves me and those I care about...and whose ministry this really is:  His, not mine.  Joy is beginning to trickle, but boy to I have some growing to do is this area!

Friday, September 20, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 8: "Useful!"

An interesting phenomena of being a missionary wife is that you don't always have a job description, especially on a mission trip.  It doesn't mean that the wife isn't useful or needed at times, but it means there aren't always clear-cut tasks to perform or goals to achieve within her skillset.  The result is that often I feel like extra baggage and at loose ends when on a trip with Dan.  (He's the one that mentors the person doing the accounting and the staff trying to understand the reporting system, the business end of directing the ministry here.  He also is directly responsible for the people under him, helping them with their goals and personal growth.)  While I stand by and offer any insight and encouragement (which, I have to say, IS my skillset), it's all in a general, unspecific cloud of being a support.  I know this role is important, and that God doesn't waste people when He puts them somewhere...It's just that I feel a little at a loss to assist when Dan has a long list of jobs to accomplish that I am out of my depth to be of help.

That's why it's so fun when something does come along that is more in line with my finalizing the design of a student life brochure to be given out on Saturday, for the coming project in February. We gave some ideas to Greg (our PNG staff guy who is very artistic,) and he gave us back an attractive prototype of the brochure.  We just did the production work of alignment, consistant font...that sort of thing.  (I made suggestions, Dan did the computer part.)  FUN!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 7: "A Break -Through!"

You know the feeling when an "ah-ha!" moment comes?... The relief and joy when someone finally puts their finger on something that will really help?  That moment came today as we met with a couple of our staff.

We found out that, more than a place of their own to live, what the team really needs is a base on or near the campus.  Because none of the young staff live on their own, they have no group place, easily accessible, that they can call their own space...a space where they would have a key...a private place to share vision, to make phone pray together...a professional office...not to hide in, but to use as a base of operation...a place to begin their day before going out to their real "office", the UPNG campus. 

Now that we hear their frustration, their need...we can begin to work on the problem.  (Or rather, we can trust God together that He will provide for that need...and we can actively look for His answer.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 6: "Meetings, Meetings, Meetings!"

Staff meeting...Doesn't sound exciting, but it was wonderful sitting together with our staff team discussing the needs of our movement and upcoming events;  everyone contributing...everyone working together...everyone knowing how much we rely on God...It's a delight.

Board meeting - OK, this one didn't excite me so much with all the business details to discuss with the board members.  Who the cheque signers are isn't a thrill for me to know.  HOWEVER, we did hear some feedback from the village outreach we did with the students.  The church people in the village are following up 30 new believers from our visit there!  Yahoo!

Adding to the interesting people we've met here:  A church group of young people from Australia are heading the highlands of PNG today.  One young guy is a graphic designer and did all the illustrating for the computer game  It's a free game, so you can try it!  Another young guy from the group is originally from Portland, OR, went to OSU, and was active in Student Life.  Amazing!

PNG (Sept.) Day 5: "Happy PNG Independence Day!"

We decided to go on campus at UPNG to see the dancers from the different provinces and maybe see some of the students involved in our ministry.

Can you find Dan?
It turned out to be a very hot, dusty, colourful day.  The crowds were thick, and the smell of woodsmoke was ever present (from BBQs used to cook the chicken and sausages for sale.)  Many people wore traditional costumes and headdresses and body paint from there province.

It was too hard to see through the crowd onto the field where the performances were going on, but we saw some groups up close and personal as they practiced by the food stalls.

It was interesting and and dusty and tiring...and good to see some of the students we've gotten to know.

Where's Kaylynn?

Monday, September 16, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 4: "Just Another First!"

Dan forgot to bring enough of one kind of his pain medicine for his damaged nerve.  Uh oh!  The pills he ran out of are the kind you have to ease on and off slowly...not quit abruptly.  Challenging situation:  Sunday, when most stores close down in PNG, and a holiday weekend, and no pill for tonight.

After trying several phone numbers in the telephone book, we found a private hospital that had a related drug to the one Dan was missing...he had taken that particular one before.  However, he wasn't sure of the amount he should we went to the hospital, filled out a patient card, and waited to see a doctor.

I felt a little conspicuous.  There we were, two big white people, who seemed in fine health, waiting with at least 3-4 PNG families with very sick babies and small children. I felt like we should let all the sick people go ahead of was a long wait as it was.  But, I knew our turn to see the doctor would be very quick (just asking how a dosage for a particular medicine), so we simply took our turn.

Both Dan and I thought, separately, that we wished we could take some pictures so you could see what this experience was like, but ruled it out as "tacky."  The interesting thing about the doctor was that he had no computer or books or anything...just a small desk in a small room.  The other interesting thing was a compelling painted portrait of a PNG woman hanging on the wall in the waiting area.  (I have no idea who she is in relation to the hospital, but I'd be interested to find out.  I bet there's a story around that painting somewhere.)

When we got home, I felt like crying.  There was no reason because  Dan got his medicine and we were treated with kindness...  but it's sad to see hurting people...and stressful to be in a hospital in another culture.  However, the end of the story is that God is good.  He provided for Dan's need, we were helped by several kind people, and I saw a beautiful painting.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 3: "The Prodigal Suitcase Returns!"

Since this is a holiday weekend, it seemed urgent to find out about the missing suitcase.  We tried phoning several different numbers in PNG without getting through to anyone, then finally phoned the airline in Australia.  Australia said the suitcase flew to PNG the day after we did. (Yahoo!...Nobody claimed it by mistake or took it from the conveyor belt.)

After meeting with a lovely graduating student who is considering applying to work with our ministry, Eva took us to the airport to investigate our missing suitcase.  There was no one at the airline desk at the international we walked to the domestic terminal.  After making some inquiries, we found out our suitcase was at the international terminal...and they offered to get it for us.  Never had a suitcase looked almost like a family member before!  I was so glad to see it!  Eva, her daughter Gail, Dan and I went out and ate a "fatted" chicken in celebration!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

PNG (Sept.) Day 2: "Life at the Guest House!"

We're back at our home-away-from-home.  The great thing about staying at a missionary guest house is that your concept about the family of God grows.

I've met a young single girl from Spain who is studying anthropology (specifically the bureaucracy of Melanesia...) and who needs to find housing for one year in Port Moresby.  I wonder if her search will help us find housing for our own single staff women here?

I've also met two women my age.  One woman, from Germany, is a missionary in Indonesia and is on her way home to see her daughter get married.  The other woman is from Finland and she helps translate scriptures here into one of the many languages spoken in Papua New Guinea.

We met with our staff in the common living area here for a short meeting before lunch.  It's good to see them again!  We began making plans together for the next week as well as for the beginning of the next university year in Feb., when some folks from the Australia ministry will join us for a couple of weeks.

Who would ever think a girl like me would ever be here... in this very special house in Papua New Guinea, rubbing shoulders with these very interesting, and beloved children of the King.  What an honour!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

PNG (Sept) Day 1 - The Land of the Unexpected

Papua New Guinea is called the "land of the unexpected", and today we discovered it anew!

My respect for the apostle Paul and his missionary journeys has increased since starting out on my own 10-day missionary trip.  How can I possibly compare my mission trip to his? 

I was thinking about this as Dan and I were once again winging our way to Papua New Guinea...sitting on cushioned seat with headrests...having a drink served to me...walking to the loo at the back of the plane that had a flush toilet, was relatively clean, and I was able to wash my hands with running hot water and lightly fragranced, foamy soap.  Granted, I only got a couple of hours of sleep, as we had to catch the shuttle to the airport at 3 a.m....But I'm not sure Paul would have been impressed.

Then there was the matter of my lost suitcase.  Never lost a suitcase before in all the times I've flown.  Would Paul have felt sympathetic?  (After all it was the suitcase with the chocolate bars for our friends here that went missing.)  Probably not.  I remember when he was blessed to escape a hostile crowd with the clothes on his back.  Even though I, too, only have the clothes on my back, at least people around me are friendly and helpful...and I have a credit card.  Eva was nice and took us to a small local store to pick up essentials.

But, even though I feel like a tired wuss... God loves me just as He loved Paul. Now there's a thought to lay my head down on and rest there!

[Note from Dan: Kaylynn has done great considering we're going on 21 hours now.

Before Eva took Kaylynn clothes shopping, we visitied a conference centre where we should be able to have our summer project of university students from Australia come to help our UPNG students learn how to disciple.  One of our main goals this trip is to set up this project for February next year and to "recruit" 15-20 UPNG students to commit to come to Port Moresby 1-2 weeks early to work with and learn from these Australian students.

Tomorrow we meet with the staff in the morning, and I hope to go to campus in the afternoon and see the students!]

Monday, July 8, 2013

Australia Day 7: See you in September...

Today was our last day here at Mt Tamborine in Queensland. It's been a great time - I am exhausted and ready to fall asleep at any moment, but it was definitely worth it!

>> We have a definite summer project coming from Student Life Australia to PNG in February to help our students discover how to build close relationships with their disciples and how to develop their disciples into multiplying disciples.

>> We developed many friendships and connections with staff (missionaries) and students in Australia that we can continue to develop.

>> I connected with both Jasmine and Lily (our PNG staff) better than I ever had before and discovered things about them that I never knew. We laughed many times together.

>> We (Lily, Jasmine, and I) analysed our ministry in PNG and discovered several things that we should have been doing or can do better, and have thought of planned steps to take to improve ourselves.

We're excited for our future and hope to take several steps in the 2nd half of this year that will help us to start next year (2014) off strong - preparing our students to be ready for the Australian project coming right before UPNG starts in February.

Thanks so much for praying for our time this week - it was very exciting.

I'm at the airport ready to board my flight home (NZ), and Jasmine & Lily will leave for PNG tomorrow morning.

I'm including a few photos of Jasmine, Lily, and Jasmine & Danika (who is planning to join us full time in PNG in 2015).

Our next post on this blog will be in September when Kaylynn & I head back to PNG. Thanks so much for praying!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Australia Day 6: Learning to build spiritual movements

We finished our 2 final breakfast "meetings" today - we did well, but I think that students are tired of input and we didn't have any significant conversations. I helped Jasmine set up our table in one dining hall and then went to the other dining hall to eat with Lily (I ate breakfast with Jasmine yesterday).   Lily and I had a great time talking honestly about the ministry and potential new staff. She's a lot like me in stubborn personality (perseverance) and I always enjoy talking with her.

In the morning session, we talked about how love for God is the most important thing in our lives (according to God), and how love for the world & love for God are incompatible. There are things in us & around us that fight for our heart.  And there are costs & rewards in both directions: either eternal costs with temporary rewards (looking to relationships or possessions for happiness) or temporary costs with eternal rewards (giving up things to gain Christ). Excellent stuff - so refreshing!

Jasmine, Lily, and I all are taking Movement Building together in this second round of training, and it's excellent! We even used up some of our limited free time to evaluate our UPNG ministry in light of what we're learning (only for 30 minutes - I'm not too much of a slave driver :-) ). We discovered that we are not being as purposeful as we could be as we help develop each student to be able to train others to train others to be used by God. This is helping us so much to be more focused as we disciple students at UPNG. Here's a photo of our group (Jasmine's in the foreground with maroon sweater & Lily on left with gray hood - it was COLD).

At dinner, I met with Mike (on left) & John (on right). Mike is our PNG - Australia liaison, and John agreed to lead a project of students to PNG in February next year to work with our students to help them understand how to disciple like Jesus did. I am so excited - a real partnership - a true answer to prayer - and this has evolved in the past 4 days! I am very excited (I think I said that already).

As I write this I have music pulsing through my body as hundreds of young people are dancing in the large hall. No, I wasn't brave enough to join them, but Jasmine & Lily did a few times (they are on either side of the zebra). It's fun :-)

This has been an amazing week - thanks for praying! :-) We leave tomorrow afternoon and I see my beloved at midnight :-)

Australia Day 5 (2 to go): Day of outreach

This morning we did our 2nd of 3 breakfasts, and it was a bit hard. We're very tired and it was hard for the ladies to get up early again and set up their tables - and I think the other students are dragging a bit too, because fewer people came over to either of our tables to talk.

Jasmine spoke up front this morning and did very well - I was so proud of her.  She was sharing from her heart and looked out at all the students (& not her notes) for the last minute. God touched my heart as I heard heard her speak to me this morning.  It's so exciting to see God use her in this way. (Here's a photo - it's a bit blurry, but that's as close as I could get without distracting everyone - I'd like to show the video, but it's hard to upload it).

The main speaker this morning was excellent - my 2nd highlight of the conference :-)  He shared from 2 Cor 9 about our freedom to give up our rights to be used by God to everyone I meet every day.

This afternoon we had our outreach adventure - I went with a student named Sarah. She was new at witnessing which actually helped to urge me on to take more initiative at the first!  We all bused (5 busses) to the Gold Coast (1 hour) and went house to house for about 2 1/2 hours with surveys.  They only gave us 2 Knowing God Personally booklets (KGPs) for the 2 of us (in PNG we start with 20 for each person), but we weren't even able to use one today - it was too hard to transition into the Gospel :-( . We went to 27 houses, 10 were not home, 10 people were not willing to answer any questions, and we had good conversations with the other 6 people. We skipped one house because they were backing out of their driveway and smacked their mirror on the garage door frame - as they evaluated their insurance claim, we concluded that it wasn't a good time to talk to them (but as we passed them up to go to the next house, my gaze connected with the lady's gaze and I can't get the image of her face out of my mind - maybe we should have talked to her). We enjoyed our time, but I wish I could have talked to more people.

When Jasmine and Lily returned (we all had gone out with different partners), I asked them how it went: Jasmine said it went okay, but Lily said "it went terrible". Lily knocked on the first (or second) door and as she was introducing themselves, the lady slammed the door on them! Lily said, "I said to myself, 'I want to go back to PNG'" - she wouldn't knock on any more doors :-( .

The final results for all 400 of us were something like about 15 people heard the full Gospel, and 1 prayed and received Christ into her life (a Kiwi lady). This is very different than the 112 who prayed and received Christ in Hisiu on 20 June from 35 of us (in 5 hours)! This helped the girls to see how incredible is their opportunity in PNG!

On the drive back up the mountain, we went through a small town (North Tamborine), and I counted 17 houses & shops with Christmas lights shining & blinking! One shop had a sign that said "Merry Christmas". It was nice to see them in the dark (it's the peak of winter here & it gets dark at 5 pm), instead of normally in the summer daylight at Christmas time.

Sorry, only 1 photo today :-\ Thanks so much for praying!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Australia Day 4: Breakfast with champions

Early this morning, 25 minutes before the 1st person in camp ate breakfast, we set up one table in the main dining hall (for Jasmine) and one table in the 2nd smaller dining hall (for Lily).  We set them up with a slide show running, lots of information, pictures, and PNG coffee in a plunger (French press). The girls were there from 7:20 to almost 9, and several students came up and ate with them or came up after they ate to talk. We have 2 sign-up sheets: a summer project sheet from Student Life Australia, and a sign-up sheet from us to receive PNG email updates & prayer requests. Both sheets are filling up quite well, especially the latter - I'm excited! We'll be doing these breakfasts for the next 2 days as well. I'm including a couple photos of our displays & beautiful hostesses :-).

Until I got my hands on these 2 coffee plungers, I was drinking several cups of tea every day to warm myself up.  [Don't tell anyone because I have a small reputation of being a non-tea drinker :-)]   Jasmine likes Earl Grey, and it's not bad - but I liked the herbal ones & chamomile better.   Believe it or not the tea that I'm holding in this photo is orange (not raspberry).  But now that I can make my own coffee, and especially with PNG coffee, I'm "sad" to say that the tea is now getting neglected a little - though I had orange tea again tonight for dinner :-)

Yesterday & today we have optional seminars of all different topics. Yesterday I attended "Personal finance & budgeting" and I think I might have learned something. It was a very good class, but not aimed at my demographic - I think I was the only one there (of about 40) that had any hint of any gray in their hair... and I do have a bit of a hint :-\ Today's seminar that I attended was "Adventures in sharing your faith". I chose this because it so hard for me to transition into the Gospel when I'm talking with someone in New Zealand. This was excellent - the highlight of my time here! We learned how to ask certain questions to talk about spiritual things. I'm so excited - I just pray that I'll try them out :-)

Tomorrow morning in the main session (after another set of breakfast conversations), Jasmine will share how Student Life has helped her in her life. She has written up what she wants to say, and I have given some suggestions. I know she'll do fine, but please pray for her anyway for confidence & joy as she speaks to this huge crowd (about 9:20 am PNG time) - thanks!

I'm going to bed earlier tonight as I've been getting 6 - 6½ hours of sleep each night for the past couple days - and I'm feeling a bit tired - understated as Kiwis do :-) Thanks for praying - God is always good!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Australia Day 3: International night!

I'm starting this blog (for Friday) sitting outside in the dark as the sun is beginning to pop up - and the noises all around me are wild.  Actually they're probably music because they're coming from birds - but not any birds that I've ever heard before.  There are about a half dozen squawking wildly in one tree for 15 seconds (they actually sound like monkeys), then a flock in another tree a bit further away will respond.  One came close to me but it wasn't light enough to see what he looks like.  The trees are eucalyptus, so maybe the birds are "kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree laughing merrily as can be" - I am in Australia after all. It's fun though - there are heaps of other birds as well - it's like a dawn party :-)  Oh my, a big one just flapped past me (like small turkey size) - this is actually quite exciting!  I'm including a photo of what I'm looking at (after the sun has come up a bit, but it doesn't show the cold). [Note: I found out later that they were Kookaburra, this afternoon one sat down right next to me - see photo]

The reason I'm outside is that there are 8 of us on our 2 bedroom accommodation, and I get up early to make sure I get use of the 1 shower. One guy is sleeping in the lounge (living room) because of snoring, and I don't want to disturb him.   I now know why they said to being ear plugs - it's not for the noisy students outside before midnight :-)

Last night was the first of 8 hour-long session of ministry trainings for the students - all in small groups of 8-10.  Lily & Jasmine went to different rooms, but both rooms had 2 groups (one in each corner).  Jasmine ended up choosing the wrong group (& learned good things anyway), but Lily chose the right group. When we asked her how she knew which group to go to, she replied, "I just stood there looking lost and someone came up to me, looked at the code on my name tag and showed me which group" - that's a good skill to have: knowing how to look lost :-)

Tonight Jasmine & Lily gave their presentation to 400+ people - they girls did great, I'm so proud of them - Lily shared a story & our need in Tok Pisin (pidgin), and Jasmine interpreted into English. We were praying that God will call many staff & students to come help us in PNG (& that they all will hear & obey His call) - we had 15-17 people come by and at least 7 of them say that they're coming in Feb (we decided to move the project to Feb instead of Easter time - thanks for praying!). It was a late, hence why I'm posting this the next morning :-) Thanks for praying!

Australia Day 2: Greetings to the students!

The camp here is gorgeous - lots of trees! And usually when in the "wilderness", there's little or no cell phone coverage - but we do have it here sporadically & in spots (it took me a long time to get yesterday's post posted).

I had a good breakfast impromptu meeting with Jonathan who was going to lead the project to PNG last Easter before it was cancelled.  We talked about how the biggest need that we have in PNG is not evangelism (we find at least 50% of the people who are explained the Gospel, put their faith in Jesus for salvation) - our biggest need is manpower & experience to help us disciple the new believers - to help us & our students to go deep & become good disciplers.

We also talked about the possibility of moving their project to PNG next year from Easter time to 5-19 February 2014. This would give them more time in PNG and give our ministry a bigger boost in our discipleship at the beginning of the University year. Please pray for wisdom as we need to decide this within the next 24 hours.

This afternoon before all the students arrived, Norm Edney walked the 3 of us to the edge of the mountain - what a nice view we had!  (see photo)

Tonight Jasmine & Lily were introduced to the large group of students. I told them that I would take their picture, but they insisted that I stand with them when they introduced PNG - hence the reason why the photo is a bit askew :-)

The girls are doing their first presentation tomorrow evening and when I left them tonight they were working hard on it. :-)

God is ALWAYS good!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Australia Day 1: 300 more are coming tomorrow!

I flew to Brisbane this morning (Wednesday) and caught the bus this afternoon to Mt. Tamborine where the Student Life Australia mid-year conference will start tomorrow. I caught up with Norm Edney, who we worked together in the Solomon Islands in the 90's, and talked about our families and island friends for the full 1 ½ hour winding bus ride up the mountain (see photo of the 2 of us on the bus).  We're also sharing a room (with a few other guys) - it's sooooo good to see him again!

Jasmine & Lily, two of our PNG staff also flew in to Brisbane this afternoon, and a friend (Danika) picked them up and brought them to Mt Tamborine after dinner. Danika came to PNG for our Easter conference last year (2012) and has since felt called by God to return to PNG - she joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, Australia and she is planning to come in 2015. (See photo of these 3 ladies).

Student Life Australia has invited us here to talk to as many students & staff (called Missionaries here) and encourage them to come help our ministry in PNG for 1 week to 2 years at a time.  Student Life Australia has also brought in others from Japan, the Middle East, & West Asia for the same reasons. I think it's very admirable for them to do this - they sincerely want their students & missionaries to venture overseas!

Tonight I sat in the meeting for all the missionaries who work with university students, and I took this picture (below) just to show you how many there are here in Australia - this thrills me - some day we'll have this many in PNG!

Lily & Jasmine & I will meet tomorrow to talk about their role in the conference - what they will say and to make a strategy. :-)   Please pray that we will know what God wants us to say and who He wants us to talk to.  Thanks!

About 300 students from all across Australia will come tomorrow and the conference will begin! And we will see God working!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

PNG Mission Project Day 16: Returning home - The eagle has landed!

My 16th & final day on this trip was last Wednesday (it's now Sunday).  It was an amazing 16 days - and it seems much longer than that when I think through all that happened.  I caught a cold toward the end of my time there, and it's hard to kick (this is why it's taken me 4 days to write this).

Eva took me to the airport & Elton met us there - it was a good relax time together.  I had 2 flights to Auckland and the layover was in Brisbane Australia.

When I got to Brisbane, everyone had to put all their stuff through the scanners to get to the transit lounge.  As I got to the front of the line, I remembered that I still had an almost full bottle of water (400 ml,  13 oz)... and they don't like water.  So I chugged the whole bottle in one go (I really wanted to keep the bottle). As soon as I finished, I looked up and saw that the security man had been watching me, and he than said to me, "nice one"!  At least I impressed someone :-)

Here are some of my highlights that I haven't written about before:

After spending Monday at UPNG, I called for a taxi and headed toward UPNG's front gate.  As I was walking, I turned and saw Stanley, who I had been meeting with, walking along side me to the taxi.

Here are a few of the texts that I received from those who were on the project with us as I was leaving PNG: "Hi Dan, it was really nice of you to drop by the uni for us to chat yesterday - I really enjoyed your company too.  and I'm also praying and trusting that the Lord will show me His plan & purpose for me (Jeremiah 29:11) Have a safe trip back to NZ!  Best regards to Kaylynn too!"  "We are also sad
that you are leaving, but we are excited to see you and Kaylynn come September!  Looking forward to it!"

One thing that I loved was the ocean.  I loved "Wave Bashing" where we pretend that we're stronger than the wave and try not to let it knock us over.  Several of the men would say to me, "let's go wave bashing!"  I also loved floating in the waves, on my back, with my feet toward the waves sticking out of the water - the waves (if they weren't crashing on me) would lift up my feet then my body as I floated up over the wave.  Several of the students tried it with me and we had many great talks together out on the water in the afternoon!  [I also loved that I didn't get fried by the sun like in NZ].

Here are some pictures... and a video of our welcome to Hisiu (notice that they have formed a circle around us as they led us into the church compound where we stayed - also, this is the same dance that they taught us on our last day and we danced it for a couple hours - it took us that long to get it right, and it was also lots of fun!):
Elton shares the Gospel with some men from Hisiu.
I am ready to leave PNG - it's been an amazing trip!

Not quite Oreos :-)

Elton pretends that he is ringing the church bell!
The church has a bell that they ring twice for each event - a warning bell and a start bell.  We had to have this bell rung to get people to come to the training.  Only designated people were allowed to ring this bell.
Some creature made many little sand balls when he dug his hole.