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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Conference Day 10: "Pacific Games Are A'Comin'!"

Driving around town in Port Moresby, it's evident that the Pacific Games are going to be hosted here.  Stadiums, swimming pools, volleyball courts, etc., are all being constructed.  Billboards are up, flags are waving...

My favourite things are the statues at some of the roundabouts.  They are of various sports figures in action.  One statue is half a body swimming (as if the ground hides the rest of the body under water.)  Sorry, we didn't get a photo of that!

The games begin 4 July hopefully all the buildings being constructed will be completed!  Port Moresby will be an exciting place.  We met a guy staying here at the Mapang Guest House who is trying to be invited to act as a referee.  He is an American pastor who is more passionate about sports than anyone I've ever met!  (He's big into University of Oregon sports and referees various high school and other games.  I didn't tell him I attended Oregon State.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

PNG Easter Conference Day 9: "Gail!"

Gail Puipui, after returning to her highschool today, shared Christ (along side of the guy who attended the Easter conference with her) with her classmates.  When we saw her this afternoon she was flying high with joy and bubbling over with what God was teaching her and how He was using her.  The head girl (like a class president) had just prayed to receive Christ into her heart.

We went to Gail's highschool to deliver some sports jerseys sent from the USA.  Gail had gathered the Scripture Union club members to a place on campus to meet with us.  We told them about Student Life at the university and invited them to join us upon their graduation from high school.  Gail's friends were thrilled with the gift of the jerseys, and a couple of guys asked Roman (Gail's friend from the Easter conference) a question...and the next thing I knew he was explaining the gospel to them. 

George and Eva would have been so proud of their little girl.  I know I am.

Monday, April 6, 2015

PNG Easter Conference Day 8: "Brain Freeze!"

Today is a day off.  Good thing.  Yesterday, someone asked me what one of my grandbabies' name was and my mind went blank.  I could picture the baby, but my brain couldn't come up with a name to match.  I quickly called to Dan, got the name and my sanity back...but it's definately time to decompress!

While faithful Dan is working through conference evaluations, I've been sitting in a chair all day doing suduku, researching birthday presents (!), catching up on facebook, and talking about all my impressions of people and problems and insights from the conference.  (Dan is good at listening, too!)

I'm beginning to feel my equilibrium return.  Hopefully I can hang in there a couple of more days before returning to Auckland.  (Sometimes I wonder at God's insistence in using ME!  I'm trusting that He knows best.)

Speaking of "brain freeze," l now have corrections to the numbers attending the conference posted earlier:  Around 80 students came to the conference, around 67 were new to our ministry, and Gail brought 2 high school friends.  There.  I don't think I'll try reporting numbers again anytime soon.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

PNG Easter Conference Day 7: "Conference End!"

Happy Easter!  

Celebration time!  Certificates were given out to those who completed their two-day level of training. (There were four different levels going on throughout the conference.) Jesus Film DVDs were distributed to the people we met along the way to the park where we eat our lunch. "Items" were prepared and performed (kinda like X-Factor.)  Challenges were given, thank yous were said...and small chocolate Easter eggs were eaten!

Hopefully, though, the lasting result of the conference will be a new determination to focus on Jesus and to walk with Him.

Several students were interested in starting a discipleship group.  (We could sure use the help of those two girls from Australia who are waiting on their work visas.)

Materials are packed up, the church truck is loaded with boxes and instruments and students...and we bid another Easter Conference at the Grand Papua Hotel farewell.  (Where's my bed?)


PNG Easter Conference Day 6: "Sea of Orange!"

Today was our day of taking the students on the beach to share their faith.  This was SCARY stuff, especially for all those newbees who just learned how to share the Knowing God Personally booklet.  We've been talking about walking with God and taking steps of faith...But this was sort of a giant leap for most of the students.

Me sharing a devo to my fellow orange peeps!
Everyone was wearing their orange T-shirts.  (They look pretty good filled with real live human bodies...although slightly reminiscent of orange road cones or "high vis vests!")

When everyone returned after lunch and shared their experiences...

that's my favourite part!  God brought 87 new people into the kingdom today!  Students couldn't wait for a turn at the microphone to tell their stories!

Some new things happened this year in addition to new baby Christians being born...things that our staff may need to be work through when we do this next year.  Two students were given money, one student was given a mango, and one man heard the gospel while stealing a student's camera out of his bag.

Another new thing was the behavior of the police.  While three of the uni students I was with were going over the booklet with some girls about 12 years old, three policemen came by.  One looked slightly intoxicated and carried a stick which he waved around.  Another policeman reached into one of the young girl's string bag, pulled out her half drunk Coke bottle, undid the lid, sniffed it and put it back.  All this took place without a word spoken.  They moved on to an old man at a nearby tree, reached into his bag and pulled out betelnut, and sniffed his Coke bottle.  The guy with the stick wacked it on the tree by the old man a couple of times.  Our taxi driver said this behavior by the police is new in the last two years.  Sigh.

I think the image that will stay with me is one of an older lady, sitting under a tree.  While going through the booklet, it seemed she was reminded that God loved her.  She knew the truth of the gospel, but I think she forgot how much she was loved.  She didn't speak hardly a word, but there was a light in her eyes when we left.

Friday, April 3, 2015

PNG Easter Conference Day 5: "Firsts!"

The opening day of our conference is here!  96 students attended! (Last year we had 40.)  81 of those students were first-years (new to our ministry.) Gail Puipui (George and Eva's daughter) even attended with 3 friends from her highschool.

Those 1000 biscuits (cookies) we bought?  That was a serious underestimate.  (Those students were not shy in helping themselves!)  We're sending out a couple of people to buy some more cookies tonight because the stores will be closed on Easter.  We don't want to be caught short!

My first devotional talk went OK.  (I put the finishing touches on tomorrow's talk during the afternoon sessions.  Hopefully it looked like I was taking good notes.)

As usual during these conferences, everyone trooped down to the beach for lunch, where we met our caterer.  (She's the mom of one of our students.)  It's only about a 10 minute walk...downhill to the beach, uphill after lunch for the rest of the sessions.  I think it was my first time to eat slippery greens in coconut milk with my fingers.

Before going home, the students received their orange Student Life T-shirts.  Wow...were those shirts a hit! The students were asked to wear their new shirts tomorrow, but we didn't tell them that they'd be going witnessing on the beach.   (It will be the first time to share their faith for most of the students.)

PNG Easter Conference Day 4: One Thousand Biscuits!"

Final preparations for 100 students to descend upon the Grand Papua Hotel are happening.  We actually don't know how many students will attend this training conference, but since around 100 came to the opening Student Life event, that's what we're aiming for.  (The uni year started too late for us to have time for a pre-registration.)

Dan, Greg, and I loaded up a shopping cart with 1000 biscuits (cookies) for the morning tea break for the three days of the conference. Also on the list was wrapping paper for the thank you gifts for those outside our ministry who will help out, pens for signing the certificates for completing the course, etc.

I think we're about ready! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

PNG Easter Conference Day 3: "Oops!"

Do you ever wonder why things don't go smoothly?  I think maybe it's a safety-check for us to realize that "God is God...and we are not."  Anyway, here are some examples of some "safety-checks":

Dan's view from back of truck
Paul, an older man on our CCC PNG ministry board, offered to give us a ride in his truck to get all the music sound equipment and instruments to our new office so that the students could practice.  There were only two seats in the cab, but the sun was really beating down on the I suggested that Paul, Dan, and I all squish into the cab.  They humoured me.   The result was, there was a police check up the street a ways.  Paul pulled over and had Dan climb in the back.  It seems PNG is now serious about seat belts.  (However, they don't mind people riding in the open back of a truck.)  Unfortunately, the police saw our little manuver and Paul got a ticket.  I didn't know about the rule.  Those polite men (Dan and Paul) didn't tell me.  And yes, we did pay Paul back.  Oops.

Paul and Dan modelling our sunglasses "giveaway" for the conference
A couple of recent graduates who were going to teach some of our training seminars have pulled out.  Oops. This leaves holes that need to be filled by our team. 

I think that when I mess up or life gets complicated and I say, "I can't..." - God says, "Ah, at last.  She gets it.  She can't, but I can."  And then He makes beautiful things happen.

We worked again on T-shirts today...This time Dan took a photo!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

PNG Easter Conference - Day 2: T-Shirts!

While Dan and Greg were trying to get the venue sorted for our Easter conference, I was on the silkscreen printing T-shirts team!  (I hadn't done anything like that since university days.)  Elton, Isaac, and I spent all afternoon in the hot sun working like a well-oiled machine, if I do say so myself.  I put the board inside the shirt (so the paint wouldn't go through to the other side.) Elton squeegeed on the paint, Isaac hung the shirts up to dry on the longest clothes line I'd ever seen in my life.  These T-shirts will be given away at the conference, and worn for our day of witnessing on the beach.  Each shirt needs five different screens for the five colours (with drying time between each screen.)  We got three screens done, so only two more to go!  (I was sweating like a pig when we were done.  Fortunately for everyone, there are no photos!)