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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PNG End-of-Year Trip - Day 10: "Shop Talk"

I decided to go into the corner of the lobby at our guest house for a short "quiet time."  After awhile, the converstion floating over to me from the other end of the room seeped into my consciousness.

It was familiar talk...different accents maybe, but very familiar.  A few young families were comparing notes of ministry, island living, what to do to prevent malaria, flying out to remote places, etc.  Canadians, Americans, Germans...all experiencing like-circumstances, all having similar goals.

Shop talk seems to breed comraderie.  What a privilege to be a comrade of this particular shop!

PNG End-of-Year Trip - Day 9: "Cleaning Out!"

Today was our second go at clearing the out-dated stuff from our office.  Whew!  It's been hot, dusty, mosquito-laden, heavy work.  Who knew in a few short years technology could make so many things obsolete!

We threw away all the Jesus Film movies and reels.  (It's now all digital.)  Film strip splicers, stamps that require ink pads (and the ink's all dried up), everything on cassette tape, personal notes from two directors ago, anything mold damaged, water damaged, bug damaged or rat damage,or just plain broken...all got chucked out.  You can see the floor now.  Some things that previously couldn't fit into the office have now been brought in.

Although we wiped down surfaces, it still needs a good clean...but now you can get around to clean it.  It's nice that we all did it together so that we all know what's there.  We feel a lot more organized.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

PNG End-of-Year Trip- Day 8: "Reading!"

A day off.  Yahoo!  This introvert is about peopled-out.

While Dan somehow listened to a ballgame over the internet, I listened a little, too...and then I read, and read, and read...until my eyes are blurry.  (Dan, of course worked on computer stuff.)  You'd never believe it, but I found a fiction book in the little library here, by an author that's been out of print for years.  I read her books in high school.  What a treat to find it here now.  (Yes, so the political situation is very dated...I just skim that part and get back to the action.)  I know I've read this book before as I recognize the title, but I remember nothing of the story.  (A new perk of being middle-aged!)

I feel like God has been looking out for me.   I feel glad to be cared about.


PNG End-Of-Year Trip - Day 7: "Celebration!"

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll just say a few things and leave you with several photos.  Mostly I want to say THANK YOU for all your prayers and support.  This was a very special celebration - full of thanks for all God did this year, as well as honour given to the late Eva Puipui, much loved mentor to these students.  Greg overheard two students say that this was the best event that they'd ever been to.
Lillian encouraging girls
Dan giving the challenge to "keep on"

Giving my devo
Silly group photo
Honouring graduates
Greg with disciple, Mark
Bats filled the trees around us

Friday, September 19, 2014

PNG End-of-Year Trip - Day 6: "Getting Ready!"

I've been asked to do a short devotional at our Student Life "Omega Celebration" tomorrow.  I found this verse (1 Chron. 28:20) in my devotional book:

This verse was written by David to his son Solomon.  David had the heart and vision to build a temple for the Lord, but knew God didn't want him to be the one to build it.  Although God gave instructions for the construction of the temple to David, He wanted Solomon to build it.

After David gave this task and advice to Solomon, he died soon after.

I thought this advice would also be good for the students to hear.  They've heard George and Eva Puipui's vision, received their training, and, now that George and Eva are gone, the students are still left with the task of reaching their campus (and their country) for Christ.  It seems God believes in passing the task forward...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

PNG End-of-Year Trip - Day 5: "The Usual!"

Another quiet day at the office!  Staff meeting, time in the word, discussing, deciding, sharing...doing the work.

After the staff meeting was suppose to be a board meeting, but only one board member showed up.  So...we'll try again tomorrow.

Hey, I think my rummy-headed tiredness is wearing off some.  I actually took a shower this morning and didn't try to shave my legs with the razor cover still on...AND...I didn't take a shower with my glasses on!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PNG End-of- Year trip - Day 4: "Tell Me a Story!"

Today has been a day of meetings and paperwork.  While talking with our staff is fun, the paperwork isn't so much.  The good thing about staying at the missionary guest home, however, is that not only do interesting people with interesting ministries come through the door, but they're people with stories.

I've found myself in the last two days hearing about an event in someone's life being alluded at the dinner table.  I've started piping up, saying, "Tell me the story!" What rich experiences and adventures people have had!  It seems this place would be a writer's paradise.

Just tonight I ate dinner with an 80-year-old woman everyone refers to as "Grandma."  She's lived all her life in PNG.  (I don't know where she originated from...possibly New Zealand.)  She raised her family here, buried her husband here, and she lives far out in the bush somewhere.  It seems she broke her hip, had to go to Australia, and now she's returning (with her daughter and a walker) back to the bush.  They mentioned at dinner (in an off-hand manner) that to get home involves a flight and at least a 4-hour canoe (motor boat) ride. !!!  I can't imagine!

After listening to our hostess interact with people around the table, I asked her what she was like as a little girl in school...for instance, did she like to chatter?  She laughed and said, "Can you tell?"  Then her husband started to say something and they both laughed and paused.  So, I said, "Tell the story!"  It seems her teacher was so exasperated with her chattering that he told her to "shut-up."  This was back in the day that teachers just did not say things like that.  So, our friend went to the open window and yelled out at the passers-by, "My teacher just said, 'shut-up!'"  She got in trouble.  (Dan, who was a bit of a prankster, himself, really liked that story!)

PNG End-of-Year Trip-Day 3: "Independence Day!"

Independence Day in PNG is quite amazing.  Everyone was celebrating which province they were from, yet also celebrating being from one nation.  We saw a shirt that said,  "Land of a thousand tribes, united as one nation, one country, one people, Papua New Guinea."

 The guys got up before the sun to climb a hill and chop down some trees in order to have the poles to make our Student Life stall at the celebration.  The one girl only got 3 hours sleep because she was cooking the food we were going to sell.

Dan had to call about 4 or 5 taxis before finding a driver that was working today.  We went by the office first to pick up all the books to sell at our stall, then ventured out into the crowd at the university.  

My goodness there was a lot of people, a lot of stalls, a lot of cultural dancers, and a lot of smoke from small campfires lit to cook food sold.  I was glad our food was pre-cooked and packaged because we sold it right next to the books.  We also gave away free children's evangelistic tracts (which the kids loved) and resulted in bringing adults over to our booth.

Dan was made cashier, and I quickly stepped back from the front lines after I found myself just wanting to give things away.  There was only a couple of chairs in our stall, but I got one because I'm "old."  (Hey, when you find a perk, go for it!)

What a place to people-watch!  I even saw a green parrot happily riding along on a young boy's shoulder...just as if he were a pirate or something.  Our students would be working at our stall, disappear for awhile, and return with their faces painted to the point that I had to do double-takes to make sure I knew who they were.

AND...we made a profit and have some cash to spent on our Student Life end-of-year event!

Monday, September 15, 2014

PNG End-of Year Trip- Day 2: "Looking For Buried Treasure!"

Well, call me optomistic, but since we had to clean out our PNG Campus Crusade for Christ office (which is a room under Eva's house), it doesn't hurt to keep a weathered eye open for an unexpected "find" to turn up.

It was the Puipui's philosophy to never throw anything away...Even broken projector's could be used for parts!  Needless to say, there's a lot to sort through.  One objective for tackling this project today, was to find prizes to give out at our end-of-year celebration on Saturday, and unneeded books or supplies to sell at the Independence Day celebration tomorrow.  (Student Life has a booth in which our students will sell sausages plus anything we find!)

The good news is that we found nice gifts...and as a bonus:  wrapping paper!  I had everything wrapped but one book when I ran out of the paper.  Then Lily called out, "I found more wrapping paper!  Christmas wrapping paper!"  Oh well, Christmas is coming and the book needed to be wrapped, so "Yahoo!"  We also found a lot of stuff to sell!

Also discovered today:  A PNG newspaper article featuring our co-worker in New Zealand, Don Roths!, photos of George and Eva's girls when they were small, about 5,000 extra copies of "God's Word for Today" daily devotional that are 4 years old (Dan was a little frustrated every time he found another box of them!), a couple of old briefcases that the staff guys cleaned up, and a locked petty cash box with no key...which, when shaken, rattles tantalizingly!

There's still a lot to go through in the office, but it was fun finding treasures and feeling a little more organized.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

PNG End-of Year Trip- Day 1: "Walking on the Clouds"

I've decided that when I stand up in a plane and I see clouds out the window, it's the closest I'll ever get to walking on air.  I don't feel like that when sitting...just when I'm on my feet.  I think this profound thought would never have occurred to me had I gotten a decent night's sleep.  (I'm identifying with that girl muppet with the band that says, "Fer sure!")

These trips to PNG always start at about 2:30 am with waking up to catch the airport shuttle at 3:30 am.   We fly Auckland to Brisbane, Australia, then on to Port Moresby.  By the time we get to the missionary guest house, it's 3:00pm PNG time (and 5:00pm Auckland time.)  What I could do fairly easily when I was twenty is a different story now.  Both Dan and I have been nodding off at odd times like a couple of old people.

In spite of the fact our brains are a little fluffy (cloud-like!), it was great meeting up with our 3 young staff.  As we look back on a rather hard year in which we lost Eva (within weeks of being diagosed with stage 4 cancer), God has not abandoned us...and in fact, He's done some truly wonderful things.  Those wonderful things are what we're planning to celebrate at our end-of-the-year Student Life Omega Celebration this next week-end.  So much to get ready for, so much to do while we happen to be in town...but the best is just being with these 3 precious people.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

PNG (After) Milne Bay Day 17: "The fight goes on!"

Spiritual warfare is going on all around us.  I really need to ramp up my prayer life in covering these precious students and staff here in PNG.  I felt impressed with that truth before I came here and I'm even more convinced now.

One of my favorite verses is:  "Little children...the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."  1John 4:4  I like it because it calls me a little child.  Little children are vulnerable.  So...when I feel vulnerable and overwhelmed, I can take heart and remember who is in me and with me.  God is big, even if I'm not.

Tomorrow we fly home, entrusting those involved in the PNG ministry into God's care, looking forward to seeing more of His goodness as they continue the fight!

PNG (After) Milne Bay Day 16: "Sharing!"

Mark, one of the students from our project, was so excited by how God used him in Milne Bay that he went home and shared the gospel with his whole family.  He's also been asked to speak at his church on Sunday!

Speaking of sharing...Dan is coughing right along beside me now.  "Ain't love grand?!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

PNG (After) Milne Bay Day 15: "Meeting people!"

While I had a day in bed (just me and my cough,) Dan was a busy little beaver!

One of the meetings he had was with our staff to evaluate the project.  While there are definately things that we can improve on for next year, we were still blown away with what God has done.  One of our favorite things was to see our students take faith steps to do things they had never done before!

Amidst all the other official meetings, I think the one Dan enjoyed most was an unexpected surprise.  Over breakfast, he was talking to a girl also staying at the Mapang, waiting for her flight back home to the States.  As they talked, Dan discovered this girl went to Penn State.  After talking some more, they discovered that her dad was a friend of Dan's from back in the day...and that their family friend was Dan's best man and the guy who sang at our wedding.  Who would the middle of Papua New Guinea...!

PNG (After) Milne Bay Day 14: "Back in Moresby!"

It's good to be back in Port Moresby...the familiar vs. the new.  I arrived back with a killer cough, so my bed and I have had sweet time together.  I only have to get up for the lovely meals they provide here.  

Tomorrow, Dan has scheduled several meetings, trying to take care of admin. stuff while we're here.  We'll see if a good night sleep will kick this cough, and then I can join in.

My souvenir from our time with our student project is my fan.  Although it's not new, I had all the students and staff sign it.  That fan has surpassed my metal bucket in my affections as a most needed piece of equipment to take on a trip.  I used that fan for keeping cool, for sitting on damp ground, to shoo flies away, as a clean surface to put my wet wash cloth...the list goes on.  


Sunday, June 15, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 13: "Last Things!"

Our last day in Milne Bay has been full of "last things."  We had our last church service here and said good-by to the church as a whole. (Part of the good-by was singing two songs up front...the first of which I didn't know the tried to fake the words!)

We had our last "team time," when,as a mission team, we got to debrief our time here, and had our final discussion on the book:  The Finishers, (in which we talked about serving God out of gratitude for His grace.)

In the evening, we had a farewell party with the youth group at the church.  Both the church youth leader and our own group directed games.  (And we came away with great, new ideas!)  We ended with a sideshow of our time here, and then good-bys were said.  Dan and I were presented with beautiful Milne Bay necklaces.  (Mine was presented to me by Angela...the lady with the umbrella!)

We took our final walk back to the SIL guest house.  (My feet are glad of this!)  Tomorrow we leave for Port Moresby at 4:30 am.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 12: "Going Deeper!"

Stove on lt., oven (with fire around back) on rt.
Girl's sleeping accomodation
Our trip overnight into a village, staying on a family's land, seeing the kitchen building, the oven, the living style, and the welcoming/giving hospitality... was fascinating.  It was interesting that the more unlike my own experience and culture we got, the more relaxed and comfortable our students became as they were enveloped into their homelike atmosphere.  So, while I stuck out like a sore thumb, I was so thankful our students and staff could have a break like this in the midst of our busy schedule.

Our bathtub!
Our host family had a nearby river to supply extra water to the home, and it was also used for bathing, dish washing, etc.  In fact, I was shown a leaf that they use as steel wool for cleaning pots.  (It's very rough and thick!)  

With good friends, Diane & Andrea
One of the funniest things I saw was all the boys trying to catch a chicken for our lunch.   Talk about free-range birds!  Those chickens definately knew it was not in their best interest to be caught! The meal they provided was not only fresh, but bountiful, as all the sidedishes were added.  Along with chicken, we were presented with cau cau, tapioca, taro, greens, coconut rice, noodles, cooked bananas, and tea.

Boys slept on this platform

Liquid refreshment!
Eva took several plants back with us so that she could plant her souvenirs in her own garden back in Port Moresby!  Some students also took plants to add to their own village gardens when they return home in a couple of days. (I guess collecting souvenirs is a world-wide practice!)

Friday, June 13, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 11: "Movies!"

I had never seen an outdoor Jesus Film showing before...and it's so cool!

We've done one showing in an open space between a transit house (which provides rooms for people passing through town, so it attracts people from all over the province,) and the sea.  We also did a showing in another village a couple of hours away from town.  In fact, it was for enough away that my white skin scared one young boy. (He initially didn't want to see the movie because of the "dim dim," but was persuaded by his parents.)

The screen is a round white fabric with sleeves along the edge, into which flexible poles are inserted (like the new tent poles...light.)  When the movie is shown on this screen, it can be viewed from either side.

On these warm nights, outside under the stars and moon, watching people watch a movie of Jesus is pretty special!  450 came to the showing by the sea, and 90 came to see the movie in the more remote village.  

After the film is shown, one of our students tells their story of how their personal walk with Jesus began, and another reviews the gospel again.  For some of our team, it's the first time they've spoken up front to a crowd of people.  Faith-stretching stuff!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 10: "Following the Umbrella!"

Church ladies waiting for the group to gather
Our team took some of the church people out sharing and distributing the Jesus Film DVDs this morning.  I was teamed up with two ladies:  Angela and Eileen.  Angela had not been to all our training, but was an older,very confident, take-charge type of person...with an umbrella, which acted as a parasol.  Eileen was slightly younger with a quiet, gentle personality.  (I wish there was a video photographer following us.  What an unusual team we made!)

Being a stranger here, I asked the other two ladies where we should go as we started out from the church.  Angela said, "To the barracks!" and off we went...quickly.  (She's a fast walker!)    On the way, we came to a house and Angela said, "We'll stop here first."  It seems she had ministered to the lady who lived there and knew she needed to gospel.  Angela told us to wait on the bench outside the house while she went inside to fetch her friend.  She returned with her friend and a plastic chair for me...and told me I was the one who would do the sharing.

So...I shared to gospel with Marianne.  When I'd ask a question as we went along, Marianne would just smile.  (Being an older foreign white lady can be a handicap.)  I'd look over at my partners, who would both begin speaking "language," explaining my question, then Marianne would nod.  It was worth the effort of plowing ahead this way, because Marianne is now my sister in Christ!  However, when Angela told Marianne to go into the house to see if her daughter would also come out and here the gospel, I told Eileen she could do the talking this time.

On our way again, up went the umbrella and we followed Angela through to another house she had in mind on the way to the barracks.  We took a short-cut between two houses, down a narrow, muddy, rocky hill.  (Eileen, following me, said in her soft voice, "Just go easy...I'll hold your hand."  On the narrow path was no room for hand-holding!)  After wading through a small stream (!) and up another hill, we came to the house Angela had in mind.

I let my partners both do the talking as we shared the gospel to the old mother and her grown daughter.  As I listened to Angela and Eileen both sharing (one to the mother and one to the daughter,) I was struck with how quiet their voices were.  I really felt like a big, loud American sitting there...but what a privileged American!  I was sitting in a village in Papua New Guinea, hearing two newly trained local ladies share the gospel, and witnessing God at work, bringing people to Himself.  Wow!

We never did make it to the barracks.

Eileen and Angela are behind me, at my shoulders.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 9: "Matthew & Mayhem!"

We're here with our teammate from New Zealand, Matthew, whom all our PNG staff and students love.  This is his last day here with the team, as he travels back to Auckland tomorrow...and what a last day!

In the morning we split into two teams to cover two different primary schools.  The goal: to read through a children's tract explaining the gospel to assemblies of students, then pass out the Jesus Film DVDs.  Dan and I went with one group,  Matthew went with the other.

Our group went pretty much as planned, except that instead of talking with an assembly, we went into 4 classrooms.  Since there was 8 of us, that meant 2 of us went to each classroom.  We had a delightful time...the children were excited to have us there.
Matthew's group was another story...nothing went to plan.  They thought they were speaking to one assembly, then the next hour, another assembly.  Upon arrival, because of miscommunication between the upper and lower primary schools, no one was expecting them right then.  Matthew's group waited 2 hours...then ministry mayhem (or in Matthew's case, "heaven") broke loose.  The principal wanted our team to speak to ALL the classrooms...and it's a huge school.  Bottom line:  the team, divided up, spoke to 4 classrooms at a time.  They ran from one classroom to another, with Matthew acting as a go-between (introducing teams and passing out supplies).  By the end of the morning, they had spoken in 16 classrooms and one of assembly.  (The assembly was 400 of the youngest kids.)  Because of God working through Matthew's group, 1000 kids heard the gospel.  (They thought they would speak to only 300.) 

Matthew's talk on God's "call."
In the afternoon, Matthew gave a talk to our whole project team on "finding God's call."  By the end of the day, two of our PNG students came up to Matthew and told him they felt God wanted them to become full-time missionaries. One  of those students was so excited that she couldn't eat dinner or stop smiling!

Elton (Staff) taking notes

   What a way for Matthew to end his time here!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 8: "Highschool!"

Today we all packed 50 DVDs of the Jesus Film and Knowing God Personally booklets in each of our bags and we all walked 20 minutes to a local high school.  500 of the 700 students came to hear about Student Life at UPNG, Diane's testimony, and an outline of the gospel.

We then distributed to every student a DVD and invited them to stay if they would like to hear how they could know God personally.

Each of our team members ended up talking with a group of about 10-15 students...except Dan, who zeroed in on a male teacher who was hanging aroundIt turned out the Fred taught math and science (like Dan did in Palau), and didn't know who Jesus is...very unusual in the islands.  Dan went through the gospel with him and he looks a little scared.  He said, "This is a big decision!"  Dan shared his own story about choosing to follow Christ.  At the end, Fred asked Jesus into his heart and is beginning his great adventure as God's child!  Yahoo!

Monday, June 9, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 7: "Veronica!"

After our church people had gathered for their training session, we paired them up with our student
Demonstrating with a kind lady
mission team members for an afternoon of sharing the gospel in the community.

I had two church ladies with me.  After demonstrating sharing the gospel with the first lady we met, I let the other ladies' have a turn.  The three of us approached Veronica.  

Veronica was selling cigarettes along the road.  She was sitting with two small children and her young sister, Rose.    Veronica was the picture of despair...limp posture, sad eyes, still a young woman, but without hope.  She was very willing to talk with us.  Her eyes filled with tears as we shared to gospel and she invited Christ into her heart.  We prayed with her and for her.  (It seems she's having difficulty with her husband.)  Her sister, Rose, also invited Jesus into her life.

Veronica's circumstances broke my heart...I wish I could change them for her.  I wish I could be around longer to make sure she keeps understanding the eternal hope and love that's now hers.  I have to rest on the truth that the Holy Spirit can now work in her life and change and heal Veronica from the inside out...and keep praying for her.  We left her with a copy of the Jesus Film DVD...and hopefully my two church ladies will visit with her some more!

PS  I met Margery (one of my church ladies and sharing partner) later, and she was beaming and bubbling over.  It seems she went home and shared with her friends and family, and was filled with joy at what God was doing.  Amazing!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 6: "The Troops Have Landed!"

Dan and I went attended church in order to give the announcement of the training our students provide during the week, while Greg went to meet the students and staff arriving at the airport.

We started singing at 9:30...and at 11:10, Greg and team joined us at church in time for more choir numbers and a sermon.  

Our training started that afternoon at 2:00.  At 2:00, two children and I were there, watching a man pack up sound equipment from the morning service.  The rest of our team filtered in, and by 2:30, about 6 church people came.  By 3:10, we decided to start with the 12 people that had shown up by then.  By the end of our time, 15 very excited people thanked us for coming and promised to show up the next day.

In the evening, when it was dark, we showed the Children's Jesus Film.  Our projector turned out to be faulty and the picture on the screen wasn't very clear, but the children didn't seem to mind.  Others on the team organized another projector to arrive on tomorrow's flight from Port Moresby, and will hopefully appear before tomorrow night screening of the full Jesus Fim.

(I'm tired now, but Dan says our trip isn't over yet.  TeeHee)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

PNG Milne Bay Day 5: "Going Shopping!"

Our goal today was to go to the fresh fruit and veg. market and the grocery store to buy supplies for the first two days of the students' missions project.  (Everyone arrives tomorrow!)

This is a big deal:  buying food for a group in another culture and in unfamiliar stores with unfamiliar brands.  As a girl, it's assumed I know what I'm doing.  Ha. We phoned Eva last night and asked for advice.  I had to asked her to explain what she was talking about a couple of times.  (We had a good giggle, and she knows I'm rather desperate that she gets here soon.  TeeHee)  Apparently "cou cou" is sweet potato. (Pronounced:  cow cow)

Ok.  Upon entering the market, I discover that I really don't know how to recognize what someone in PNG calls a sweet potato.  It's pouring with rain.  Most of the fruit and veg are under a roof...along with everyone who's trying to not get soaked.  As I'm squished up alongside a kind looking woman, I explain my situation and ask where the cou cou is located.  Sure enough, she points just outside the roof to several different kinds of sweet potato, in different piles.  Eva didn't say which variety to get.  Greg gives us his opinion, I give Dan and Greg the umbrella, and send them out to "hunt and gather" while I stayed under the roof, holding the bananas, onions, carrots, pineapple, etc. 

Loaded down with parcels and one umbrella, the three of us walk along to the kitchen outside where the students will be staying.  After finding someone to receive our food, we set off for the grocery store.

Dan patiently waiting outside store
  After filling two shopping carts, the real challenge began...finding a taxi.  A rainy day is a good day to be a taxi driver.  Busy, busy, busy.  Greg, very wisely, bought an umbrella for himself, and faced the daunting task of finding a ride for us.  Dan and I waited (along with a swarm of people) under the roof overhang just outside the store with our purchases.  After a time, a taxi approached with Greg inside!  Hurray!  We made our delivery to the kitchen and continued in the taxi to a cafe for a well deserved lunch!