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Thursday, October 22, 2015

PNG End of the Year-Day 11: "Straddling the Countries!"

As we pack up and prepare to fly home...and as we prepare for the last-minute meetings lined up until we get on the plane, I feel like we have a leg in one country while attempting to step into the next. We still have things left undone here that we will try to do from New Zealand. 

Last night we had our farewell dinner with our little staff team.  Lillian couldn't make it because she just found out she has malaria and typhoid.  (Because of the drought here, I guess the water quality is becoming compromised in some places.)  We brought her chicken and a case of bottled water on the way home.  I was so glad to see her standing at her gate when we dropped off the stuff.  I was grateful to God for the medicine He provided   that enabled her to be standing there.  (Malaria and typhoid are not things I normally deal with in New Zealand and sound a bit scary to me.)  Bottom line?  I got my hug from Lily, and I saw God was in the process of healing her!

Let the record show:  We believe all three PNG banks are now on line!  (This is after 2 1/2 years of attempts!)  Although one bank is still untested, this has been a major step!

We still need to see 2 miraculous solutions:  storage for the extra office supplies stored in George Puipui's house as the family is in the process of selling the house; and housing for our staff between when the university year ends and before they go to Fiji next year for training.  We'll be working on finding God's solutions to these needs from New Zealand.

Thank you to all who have prayed for us!  Blessings upon you!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

PNG End of Year Celebration-Day 10: "Can You See the Stars?"

Staying at a place like a missionary guest house is a pretty humbling experience.  We meet all sorts of people doing some amazing things.  For instance, we had dinner with a couple who are involved in church-planting in the southern area of the Fly River just across the border from West Papua (Indonesia.)  It's a pretty isolated, hard area to work. Papua New Guinea is going through a drought at the moment and that particular area is really dry right now.  The couple have just returned from their furlough and are wondering if they'll have any drinking water when they get there.  The wife was telling me that she was teaching once in their village about creation.  She found out that the islanders there were afraid to look at the stars.  They believed something terrible would happen if they did.  Can you imagine?  "The heavens are telling the glory of God."  I'm glad God put that couple just where He did so that the people can now get a glimpse His glory!

I also get to hear stories about my husband who helps people when I'm not around.  Last trip he helped out this same woman who was having booking issues with the rooms here.  Her husband thanked Dan yesterday for coming to the rescue of his stranded wife.  (I'm married to a knight in shining armor!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

PNG End of the Year Celebration-Day 9: "Coxwain!"

It was only for the space of 3 minutes, but I saw Coxwain today!  He dropped by the Mapang Missionary Guest House.  How good it was to see this old friend from the Solomon Islands.  He was there when Laurie was just born.  He was there when she went into heart failure.  He was the one singing hymns with Dan during their devotion time together.  He's the one that had a contest with Dan about who saw the newest car on the road, evidenced by the license-plate number.  He was the one who supervised Norm Edney's emergency air-lift rescue after his bike accident.  He was in our house in New Zealand when he first told our CCC staff family about a special girl in his life:  Doreen.

Coxwain is now working with the Jesus Film project and travels all around.  He's on his way to Goroko, PNG as I write this.  His son, Norm, is 11 years old already.  

Christian family makes the world a smaller, much more appealing place!

Monday, October 19, 2015

PNG End of Year Celebration-Day 8: "More Pics!"

Here are some more photos of our celebration day!

Dan's challenge to hear God's voice this summer
A ministry partner & board members
I gave a devotion
2015 and 2016 student leaders


Sunday, October 18, 2015

PNG End of Year Celebration-Day 7: "Omega Celebration!"

What a day...from set up to clean up!  A day like this takes a lot out of a person, but there was so much to celebrate.  In spite of struggles and set-backs throughout the year, God changed lives.  Many came into the kingdom, many learned what it meant to step out in faith, and many discovered the joy of being with other like-minded students who want to follow God.  Some learned that even after mistakes, there's forgiveness.  The Christian life is certainly an adventure...full of excitement, scary bits, hard times, and triumph.  I wonder what next year will hold.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

PNG End of Year Celebration-Day 6: "My friend, Kindle!"

Waiting.  It's not an easy job for me, but required here in Papua New Guinea.  Waiting for a taxi, waiting for people to arrive, waiting for Dan to finish his work so that we can travel together to the next place, waiting, waiting waiting.  My culture is clock oriented, this culture is not. 

Today Dan gathered once again all the necessary information for applying for online banking for ...are you ready for it?...the 4th time. This involved waiting for Lillian to bring her passport picture, then waiting for Elton to bring his passport picture, then waiting for a board member to come and sign some pictures. At this point I begged off and let Dan wait in line at the bank on his own. Our application keeps getting lost somehow.  Each time we apply we are assured that THIS time the bank will make it happen.  We'll see.

I've found that with a Kindle in my bag, waiting is not such a hard job.  (I won't tell how many books I've read so far this trip because it's embarrassing.)  I'm so grateful to whoever invented the thing.  It's small, portable, and gives me access to many stories which entertain me while I wait.

Friday, October 16, 2015

PNG End of Year Celebration-Day 5: "Not What We Expect!"

Life doesn’t always look like we thought it would.

Lillian’s evangelistic talk is a good example.  As part of her new staff training, she was to prepare and give an evangelistic talk, covering her own testimony, the gospel, and offering to pray with those interested in receiving Christ.  Lillian invited the girls she was discipling and those her girls were discipling to attend the talk, each bringing a non-Christian friend with them.  All was set.  Then at the last minute the talk had to be rescheduled.  By being given at this later date, I was able to attend...but none of the non-Christian friends.  At the last minute, Lillian had to adapt her talk to girls who already were Christians and who already knew her, yet still covering the points needed in order to complete her training.

It was not what Lillian had envisioned.   

It reminded me of Mary laying baby Jesus in a feeding trough.  I’ll bet it was not what she had envisioned when she was praising God in Luke 1: 46-55.  But God had.  The manger was the clue the angel gave to the shepherds to find Jesus.  The heavenly host were glorifying God because of Jesus coming...and lying in a manger.  There was no heavenly, “Oops!”  Mary had done nothing wrong.  In fact, I reckon she was being creative in making a baby bed out of a manger.  A humble feeding trough turned out to be the baby bed for the Bread of Life.

After her talk I sent Lillian this text message: “The love and light of Jesus was shining out of your eyes.  You spoke from the heart, which is contagious.  If I was one of your girls, I’d want to be just like you!”

Thursday, October 15, 2015

PNG End of Year Celebration- Day 4: "Stories!"

While I was waiting with a bunch of Student Life girls for Lillian’s evangelistic talk to begin, Andrea asked if I had any stories for them.

I was racking my brain thinking of a quick story to tell, and I thought of 1 ½ -year-old Isla.  So I told how she loved her children’s book about the Lost Sheep parable.  I told them that when her mom got to the middle of the book, just before the page with the scary bear, Isla held up her finger and said, “Wait!” (just like her mom does to her sometimes), and when the page was turned she started crying because the bear was scary.  Yet in spite of all that, she took the book to bed with her and held it while she took her nap.

In trying to make conversation with the people here at the guest house last night at dinner, it was a little hard to get talk flowing until we started telling stories about culture.  We told reverse culture change for our children when Nathan and Julie were 4 and 2 years old:  After moving to Guam (which is fairly “American” compared to Palau where we had been living) we went to open a bank account.  We looked around for our kids at one point and found them rolling around on the ground.  (They had never seen wall-to-wall carpeting before.)  Water fountains, they called “waterfalls,” the escalator was thrilling, the bathtub (they had only experienced showers) they insisted be filled with cold water (like a swimming pool.)

We also talked about taking islanders to a sheep farm in New Zealand.  (We thought since the Bible has a lot of sheep stories and there are

At this point, the farmer glanced over and looked a little ashen-faced.  The Tongan also looked a little pale because he thought he’d killed the sheep because the sheep just hung still and limp, while the pigs he usually picked up would wriggle.  (The sheep probably would have looked a little scared as well if we could have seen under all that wool.)  Everything turned out happily ever after, however...but I bet that sheep farmer never asks a Tongan on stage again.

Conclusion: It’s always good to have a story in your back pocket.  (And it’s also good that your kids are not always around to be embarrassed by the same old stories time and again!)

no sheep in the islands, that this would be a good idea.)  The sheep farmer had a platform on which he was about to demonstrate shearing a sheep.  He asked for a volunteer from the audience and picked our Tongan friend.  He asked our friend to bring him a sheep from the pen on the stage, then turned to the audience and continued to talk (thinking all the while that our friend would have trouble with this task.)  What the farmer might not have been aware of is that Tongans roast whole pigs every Sunday.  Our friend approached to sheep as he would a pig.  He simply reached in, grabbed the sheep by the hind legs and held him up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

PNG End of Year Celebration-Day 3: "Missions?"

We were talking with a missionary at the guest house about how perceptions of missions have changed over the generations.  He said that as his job is with linguistics, it's interesting which words Christians use when thinking about doing Christian work.  He said the generation before us talked of "sacrifice."  Our generation talks of "commitment."  The new generation talks of "passion."  Because passion runs out, it doesn't take a person as far as commitment.  Because commitment has boundaries, it doesn't take a person as far as sacrifice.

Conclusion:  I may be a wimp to my parents generation, but I'm a fanatic to my children.

I also learned about a poll taken at an Urbana missions conference of the new generation about what they see as the length of a short-term mission.  Answer:  1-2 weeks.  The length of a long-term mission: about 6-9 months.

 Times and perceptions are changing.  Technology makes time seem to rush by quickly.  But in the whirlwind, there's the Rock to hold onto that doesn't change.  (Yahoo!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

PNG End of year celebration-Day 2: "Clear Sailing?"

The good thing about leading office devotions is that you learn more about what you learned before, because you say it out loud.  Even if nobody else thinks the lesson is significant, I feel so enriched.

The story of Elizabeth and Zachariah in Luke 1 has really captured my attention.  Because Elizabeth couldn’t have children, she was shamed by society.  Even though this couple did everything right, society would say God wasn’t pleased with them because He didn’t bless them with children.

I wonder what they thought.  Did they think God didn’t love them or approve of them?  The fact was that God considered them righteous.  Hundreds of years before, He knew He’d bless them with baby John (the Baptist.)  (Mal. 3:1) This couple faithfully walked with God all their lives, but didn’t experience a baby until they were old.

In naming the baby John, they went against the approval of society and family.  People assumed the baby would be named after the father.  They didn’t accept Elizabeth’s declaration of the name John, so they went to Zachariah.  He wrote down the name John...then miraculously was able to speak again.

Because this couple did what they knew in their hearts God wanted them to do, everyone around them was amazed and able to see God had a special purpose for this baby.  Just as people were wondering what that purpose was, the Holy Spirit gave the baby’s dad words of prophesy that told the people what that purpose was to be.  If the parents had caved into the approval of friends and family, no one would be prepared for the significant ministry of this new baby boy.

Somehow I fall into the thinking that if I do everything right, I’ll have “clear sailing” in life.  God will make circumstances fall into place that will make everything EASY.  However, as I read the Bible, I can’t find easy circumstances anywhere.  Every person I read about has obstacles to overcome.  It seems that in the midst of life’s struggles...the battles and the victories, that’s where God’s glory shines.

The lie: Because God loves me I’ll have “clear sailing” in life.

The truth: Because God loves me, I’ll never be alone in hard circumstances, and His plan for me is has always been for my good since the beginning of time.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

PNG End of Year Celebration Day 1: "Getting Here!"

Yes.  Once again I find myself on a plane to Papua New Guinea, this time to hear from the staff and students what God has done this year.

When sitting on the plane, I enter the no-man's land of being between two worlds.  I leave behind family, church, friends, weekly commitments...and my house and pets to the care of our housesitter.   I think ahead to the world I'm about to enter and I wonder if I packed what was necessary for all possible situations.  (Probably not!)  Because we leave at 3:15 am, and all thinking tends to be fuzzy anyway, it's a good time to read a book and just exist in a suspended state for a while.  That's when life threw a new item my way.  The flight attendant brought a snack and a eating utensil I've never seen before!  I'd heard of a spork (a cross between a spoon and a fork,) but this...what could it be:  a spife? a knoon?  And  who designed this thing that a person has to hold the blade of a knife in order to use a spoon?  Such big thoughts for a sleepy brain.

All will be well in the morning, right God?