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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pacific Propulsion Aussie Project - Day 17 "Meeting great people at the airport"

Today, in 3 different airports, I met some very special people - listed below in chronological order, not in order of importance :-) 

3: PNG Missionaries in Port Moresby
Before going to the airport this morning at 11:30, Elton, Lillian and Greg and I met together to go over anything they wanted to talk about.  After I checked in, we walked over to the domestic terminal to get something to eat (the food outlets at the International terminal were closed due to renovations).  It was a good time together.  I enjoy being with them so much - and watching God use them thrills my heart!
Elton, Greg, & Lillian outside the Port Moresby airport.
2: Danika & Emily in Brisbane
I had 1:45 between flights in Brisbane.  My plan was to run off the plane when I got there, zip through Immigration (I had a visa through July 2015), and visit Danika and meet Emily, the 2 girls who are coming to PNG for a year in March.  BUT, I didn't realize that my visa was tied to my old passport and my new passport had no visa linked to it.  So... I had to settle for talking to them on the phone with them above me looking down through the glass. 
Emily and Danika, in the Brisbane Airport! 
But it was a great conversation for about 30 minutes (even though my neck got stiff).  We talked about their visas, how the PNG missionaries are doing, what's happening there in the next 4 weeks, etc.   I asked Emily how long she's had a leaning towards Papua New Guinea, and she said since she was little.  We talked about the many things that God was doing in different people's lives as He was leading them to come - it was so exciting that I almost missed my flight (they had to call "Daniel Mills" twice on the loud speakers).  The next time I see them will be in Port Moresby!

1: Kaylynn in Auckland
And of course, Kaylynn, my lovely wife who left the house 15 minutes after midnight and risked getting lost as she drove herself to the Auckland airport (through road construction and a detour) to pick me up.  She's a gem - I think I'll keep her!  :-)
My best friend whom I haven't seen in 17 days!
Thanks so much for praying for this time in PNG.  I am blown away by all that God is doing, and I count it a privilege to be close enough to watch.  He is good, and He loves those in Papua New Guinea way more than any of us!

[The next post will be on the 15th of March when I return to Papua New Guinea].

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pacific Propulsion Aussie Project - Day 16 "In with the new and out with the old"

Like yesterday, Elton, Greg, Lillian and I went to the bank again (same bank) - this time for 3 hours (instead of 2 yesterday) and they still haven't added Elton & Lillian as signatories.  It seems that they can't add new ones until they destroy the old paper application with the former signatories - but they can't find it.  The bank person was wonderful and kept looking while we stood there... but he never found it.  He was going to keep looking this afternoon, but when he left for lunch, we thought we should also (I didn't take a picture :-/).  Please pray that he finds it - right now there are only 2 of us who can do payments: Jasmine creates (she's a volunteer), and I approve.

In with the NEW:
But after Lunch, we took the bus towards our new office, stopping first at a local shop to pick up some cleaning supplies.  We want to start putting things in their places.
The first thing to set up are the speakers for background music :-)
Last week, we had found all the materials in the old office (scattered all around) and brought them to the new office.  Today, we unpacked, and dusted them off and began sorting them by type.  
L-R Greg, Lillian & Elton - Materials & books all over the place!
The missionaries had never seen some of the materials before and were asking me what situations would be best for each one.  They started to get excited as they understood each material and saw how they could use to build the students in their faith.
Lillian discovering "new" materials to use! 
I had underestimated how important this new office would be for our missionaries.  Finally they had a place of their own where they could pray & plan together, keep all their resources so that they could see them and use them, meet students, and have a quiet place to talk to people on the phone.  It was very exciting to see them clean the desks & shelves and set it up the way they wanted. Someone asked them when they would be using it (or be there) and Lillian said something like "we'll be here every morning around 9 to pray and plan the day", and both Elton & Greg agreed.  I'm excited to see how this office will help them focus and take ownership of the ministry in PNG!
Elton stacking the Knowing God personally booklets away.
On Saturday all the students who were involved in Pacific Propulsion are getting together at the office to review their notes and choose what they want to apply in the next 2 weeks.  Hopefully there will be room for them to sit :-)

Out with the OLD:
I left the new office to go to the old one later that afternoon - to clean up the trash that we left last week when we moved (it is Evodia's house).  There was about 1/3 cubic metre of papers (or a 7 foot tower if stacked in one column) - I sifted through them all to pull out what might be meaningful for Evodia & Gail (Eva's daughters) and I burned the rest of it behind the house.  It was a big fire - very hot - I singed many a hair :-(  It was like I was laying to rest all the old correspondence and receipts and miscellaneous papers from previous decades. We are moving on... and this gave me a sense of closure (even though we are still storing things in there, we definitely have moved out).  [Sorry, but I didn't take any pictures :-( ] 

Tomorrow I leave - it's been a great trip - I have been seeing God work in and through people like I have never seen before - THANKS FOR PRAYING!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pacific Propulsion Aussie Project - Day 15 "4 July 2013 - A glimpse into God's orchestration!"

Today we went to the bank to add Lillian & Elton to our account (we've been trying to get this through since August).  We spent 2 hours and we have to go back again tomorrow - so it's not very exciting to write about.  Instead, I'll write about: July 2013

I went to Australia with 2 of our PNG missionaries, Lillian & Jasmine.  They were part of a showcase of the 4 parts of the world where Campus Crusade for Christ, Australia were involved (we were the new comers).  On the main mission night, the 2 girls spoke for about 10 minutes and at the end of the evening we had coffee for anyone who wanted to visit with us.  On 4 July 2013, I wrote in my blog, "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" (you can find the post by date to the right).  There were 5 students that came up to us that night and said that while Lillian & Jasmine were speaking, they felt God calling them to come to PNG.  I was excited, but skeptical that any of them would actually show up (good intentions don't always become reality).  These are the 5 (I took a picture so I could pray for them).
L-R:  Brendon,  Nathan,  Dewey,  Shei,  Heidi

Well, last February, during our first Pacific Propulsion project, I discovered that 3 of these students in the photo (Nathan, Shei & Heidi) were with the group that came (see my post on 3 Feb 2014, even though I didn't know how many were coming).  Well, I was very excited - 3 out of 5 was good, I thought.

But God was showing me that He still does call and that He is in control and that He is working in PNG.  A couple of days ago, I looked at this photo again, and to my surprise, I saw that Brendon and Dewey from that photo were on this year's Pacific Propulsion team!!  What a shock - ALL 5 students who said that they felt God was calling them here, actually came: 5 out of 5!  Both Brendon and Dewey wanted to come last year, but couldn't make it.  I admire their commitment!
Dewey & Brendon after I showed them the picture I took in Jul-13
Thank you Brendon & Dewey for coming!

Thanks for praying, God is working!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pacific Propulsion Aussie Project - Day 14 "Farewell Aussies (boo hoo)"

Today was the day everyone was dreading.  So many sad people.  But that's what happens when we develop such strong love for each other and then have to part.

We hired a smaller bus (and cheaper) that took the Aussies (all 9 of them) and Elton to the airport.  The bus came back for us (it's only a few miles away) while they checked in.  We all had a great time with them, telling stories and taking pictures until it was time for them to go through Immigration.
L-R: (some random lady), Stephen, Elton, Linson & Jasmine
When we got to the Immigration, where he had to part, it was hard to leave.  We ended up "clogging up" the area in front chatting for a long while, postponing the inevitable.  But we did form a large 19-person circle and prayed for about 10 minutes - it was very good!  And we did one last (actual last) "Bananas of the universe unite" :-)
Doing the Banana Dance one last time (we had lots of strange looks)
They went into Immigration and we watched them as they left.
Our final goodbye :-(
After leaving the airport, the missionaries & the students were lamenting as we walked up to bus stop.  As we passed a pillar, Linson grabbed it and said something like "I miss them so much".
Linson doesn't want to leave the Aussies
Once back at the guest house, I met for a couple hours with the PNGers to talk about the past 2 weeks and to plan the next 4 weeks until Uni starts, including the First-Year Student Orientation in 2 weeks, which we are heavily involved in (this year we are in the program and get to speak to the students in the large lecture hall!)
Filling out a debrief questionnaire
Debrief - I think Elton was between these 2 pictures
We quit after lunchtime because we were all so tired (and their brains are full).  I fell asleep in my room shortly after lunch while typing some things in the computer.  It's been a great yet exhausting 2 weeks.  Tomorrow morning early, we go to Westpac Bank to start to sort out some of our banking problems!  I have a lot of things to accomplish, please pray that we'll get everything done in the next 2 days (I leave on day 17). Thanks so much for praying!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pacific Propulsion Aussie Project - Day 13 "A Perfect Day!"

Well, it was as perfect as hoped.  The PNG missionaries and staff had been planning this for a long time and a lot of effort has gone into today (Lillian didn't sleep last night).

The day started off at 7:30 when the bus came to drive us around to pick up the food from various friends & family who cooked for us (we hired the bus for all day and it was like our giant taxi).  Eva's sister cooked some of the Mumu, traditional food cooked in the ground. Gail (Eva's daughter) now lives with them and they allowed Gail to spend the day with us - it was great to have her around again!
Elton receiving the mumu from Eva's sister.
After we got back to our guest house, everyone was waiting for us to take them to church (we were late).  I ran in and changed my clothes, and when I came out, the bus was driving off - I chased it with my arms flailing all around (no, I don't have a picture of this part of the story).  They finally stopped for me and we all went off to Lillian's church.  

The 2 Aussie leaders were able to share some very encouraging thoughts from their hearts on their time here!  It was a great church and I'd like to go back next time (and it's not because of the hotdogs).
Erin & Dave sharing how PNG has impacted their lives.
Gail (Eva's daughter) and Stephen eating "morning tea" hotdogs!
After a quick snack & a change of cloths, all 19 of us took off again in our taxi/bus for Adventure park - to a wonderful pavilion under some trees between 2 lakes!  Our first event was coconut opening and drinking.  We had forgotten a knife, so Elton cracked open several using his elbow (an amazing trick)... until he cut himself.  But I still needed one - so I chewed the end off with my teeth and dug a hole through one of the 3 small plugs in the top - it was fun to remember how to do that!
Ice cold coconuts - nothing better than this!
We had a great time of heart-filled sharing and giving thanks to everybody for what we appreciated about them...

...and then it was time to eat lunch/dinner (about 2:30 pm) - We had Mumu (meat/potatoes/banana roasted in the ground), Aigir ("Stone soup" from Eva's region with greens in it), and Bariva (soft slabs of sago flour mixed and boiled with banana - absolutely wonderful stuff!).  It all was very nice - definitely one of the best Mumus that I have ever had!
Two Mumus, Aigir, and Bariva - A great feast!
Then there was lots of rugby, hugs, laughing, hugs, dancing, gifts, and more hugs!  A grand afternoon.  
Great Rugby time!

The PNG gang did 2 dances, one allowed all of us to join in (hence no picture)

Lots of hugging!!

The PNGers gave personalized gifts to each Aussie!
More hugging...

...and lots of photos!
We finally left at 5:30, to get back to our guest house before sunset (6 pm).
And one last "Bananas in the Universe Unite!"
For the past 12 days, we've seen many changed hearts and changed lives - it's very thrilling to my own heart!! Thanks so much for praying!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pacific Propulsion Aussie Project - Day 12 - "Happy Valentine's Day... and Men's/Women's Time"

Happy Valentine's Day!  This is not celebrated much here, except when the Aussies are here.  Last year the guys had trouble finding something to give the girls, so when we were in Fiji in January, Elton found some candles.  He had me look for red ribbon & chocolate in New Zealand, and the guys yesterday found some flowers.  So, at dinner all the guys lined up and proceeded down the hall into the dinning room where the girls were waiting.  
The guys lined up ready to surprise the girls
They composed and sang a song that mentioned each girl.  The girl's were quite surprised! It was also Vicky's birthday, so we sang a rousing "Happy Birthday" for her :-)

The candles & flowers, and  Vicky behind them
Before this, in the afternoon, we all went to the mall (Vision City) and had lunch together.  
Eating lunch together
After lunch, the ladies went one way and the guys went another to do guy/girl things and talk guy/girl talk - it also gave us time to buy the Valentine's Day flowers.  We went to Nature Park and found a good place to sit and chat.  It was a very good time!  We talked about what a godly man really looks like and about servant leadership (contrary to the world's definition of a leader).
A great time for the men at Nature Park

It's better to "walk" with a rugby ball!
On the bus ride home, a couple guys got to share Christ, or start to share Christ with fellow passengers.  Dave shared with a man who was drunk - He told him that God loved him, and the guy said, "but I'm a drunk" - then Dave said, "Yes, God loves drunks" :-)
David sharing Christ with his drunk friend

It was a great day.  Tomorrow is our final day and the PNGers have a big party planned for all afternoon.  Thanks for praying!!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pacific Propulsion Aussie Project - Day 11 "Fun Day"

Happy Friday the 13th!!  Today was our fun day.  The Aussies leave in 3 days (boo hoo) and the PNGers wanted to give them a great outing.  Elton & I made the arrangements on Monday (Day 9), but only were able to secure the bus yesterday.  It was a good bus, for a good price.  Usually I'm wondering if the bus will come on time (we planned to leave at 10:00), but at 7:30 this morning, Elton came running in my room saying that the bus has arrived already (they wanted money to buy petrol)!

We all boarded the bus and we first went to the National Museum.  
Elton & Lillian boarding the bus

It was very fascinating with lots of tools, pots, boats, and model houses from the past hundreds of years.  We had a great tour guide who explained everything for us.  There were also hundreds of totem poles and strange carvings that different people groups had carved to appease the spirits and to illustrate their desire to find God.  We were not allowed to take pictures inside, so here are some outside photos.
On stage in an amphitheater

A very old plane (or what's left of it)!

Naomi & Beautlyn (UPNG students)
We then went to over to the Parliament (on the same grounds).  We had a tour guide who would take us around, but we had to wait for Parliament to finish their session.  While we waited, we enjoyed the grounds as you can see:

Naomi being interviewed in front of the Parliament building

A wild selfie
The Parliament was gorgeous!  It had high ceilings and marble walls.  We walked up the steps and went into the chamber and sat in the balcony in soft chairs reserved for dignitaries.  Our guide told us of the current government and how they had passed a resolution for the country saying that PNG's foundation is based in God and the Bible.  The guide said that the since the coming of missionaries (for the past 120 years or so from all around, including Fiji), the people have turned from their ways of animism and worship of spirits, to Christianity.  This September (40th independence), they are replacing great totem pole in the grand hall of Parliament with a new pillar stating that the country of Papua New Guinea is now founded upon God and His Word (scripture).  Even though spirit worship and spell casting etc is still very common, the government is taking their stance on God.  This is very exciting! Here is a picture of the change coming (click on it to see more clearly):

After Parliament, we went to Bamana War cemetery (for those who died along the Kokoda trail in World War 2).  It was very impressive, over 3,800 young men gave their lives defending the Islands and the world from Japanese forces.  I was particularly amazed to see so many unmarked graves.
500+ unmarked graves

viewing from the memorial on the hill

Another selfie... with Greg photo bombing!
After all these adventures, we were thirsty... so we stopped and had a Bu party (an energy drink similar to Red Bull).  
Hey, what's that Coke doing in there???
Thanks so much for praying for these students as they are MAWLed to become strong student leaders!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pacific Propulsion Aussie Project - Day 10 "On campuses"

All of us went on campus today... actually 2 campuses.  We all left right after lunch, and most of our students & missionaries went to UPNG (University of PNG) to share their faith with students who had arrived to uni early (the uni year has been delayed this year by 4 weeks).  They spent 4 hours there and were able to share the Gospel with 39 students, of which 8 prayed and received Christ!  
Everybody is excited to go on campus & help bring people into God's kingdom!!

I never made it to UPNG, however. Five of us instead went to Gail Puipui's (Eva's daughter) secondary school.  Gail was so excited to see us!!
Elton with Gail and her friend when we first arrived.
She's in her final year and is heavily involved in the Christian group on her campus; she's also discipling a few girls.  She, and her friends, have been encouraging the other students to also share their faith with their friends and to try to disciple others.  

She invited us to come and to tell the group about Student Life and what we do on campus.  We've given her materials in the past, and so today was a chance to "give" her some uni students (and more Knowing God Personally booklets).  We only had 18 minutes before the bell rang (which we weren't expecting), so we didn't get to say much - but what we said was very good.  There were more than 50 students (they were hoping for 30).
Elton & Jasmine led them in the Banana Dance!

Naomi (SL President this year) shared about Student Life.

Please pray for Gail.  It's hard without her Mum. She used to share everything that happened at school with her.  She's living with her uncle now and told me that "it's slowly working out".  Also, she's ready for Student Life, and wants to start it at her school, but that's a huge task.  Please pray for wisdom, patience, courage and peace as she steps out with God.  
 Gail (left) receiving materials from Naomi
After we left, Gail posted this on her Facebook: "Elton Matavia thank you so much for yesterday afternoon with Dan Mills and the Aussie team..Can't wait to see what God is going to do this year both at UPNG and Gordon  #‎Blessed‬ ‪ #‎Excited‬"