Encounter 2015

IMG_6898Encounter this year was both very challenging and very rewarding. Encounter is a week long spiritual retreat for the high school here in Ukarumpa. When people have asked “How was Encounter?” my response has been intense. Intense worship…intense speakers…intense spiritual warfare…and intense fun. The speakers this year were David and Lynn Wake, an Australian couple who lived here in PNG back in 2008 and lost their eldest daughter to brain cancer. They had such a powerful story it was impossible not to be impacted by them. We were also able to baptize 3 of the kids, including one of our Soul Purpose band members! We were really excited to see these kids make a public commitment to the Lord. Sarah led a discussion group of 10th grade girls and Evan led his Senior guys in discussion. We felt like we were really able to get close to a lot more of the kids. Encounter was an intense time where God really showed himself and we really felt like we had been through war afterward. God won…and thats all that matters :)

Here’s some pictures from the week…

IMG_6455IMG_6472IMG_6534Leah and Alan provided fabulous talent show entertainment as MCsLeah and Alan provided fabulous talent show entertainment as MCs

IMG_6670Evan found his “long lost brother” Yohan….

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Check out this super funny “rules” video we made for Encounter!

Please pray for Encounter 2015!

PRAYER REQUEST!!

IMG_9506This Friday, September 18-Tuesday September 22 is the annual youth retreat called “Encounter”. Most of the high school kids that go to school here, both MKs and commercial kids will have the opportunity to attend. Evan and I are both sponsors this year and are really excited for what God has in store for each one of the kids that attends! Please be in prayer for:

- Each and every kid that comes, that they will encounter God in a real way that maybe they ever have before

- The student led bands that will lead, also our adult band (that Evan and I are in) on Sunday morning!

- The speakers who flew all the way from Australia to minister to these kids, the theme is “The Greatest of These…Faith, Hope, Love”

- The sponsors: for us to have energy, wisdom and strength and LOVE on these kids

Faces of Translation-Autoshop

Evan works at the Autoshop here in Ukarumpa. Check out this video to see what his everyday life looks like as well as hear from some of his coworkers about what its like to work at the Autoshop! Have skills in welding, automotive mechanics, or sales? We need you in Papua New Guinea!

Faces of translation – Autoshop from The PNG Experience on Vimeo.

Papa Arua’s Funeral

 

Papua New Guinea, Ukarumpa, Funeral Last week a man that had worked in our community for almost 40 years died unexpectedly. It was a great loss and many from the community people attended his funeral. They asked me to photograph it and so I did, even though I had never photographed a funeral before. It was definitely a cultural experience for me.

So what are PNG funeral customs? Arua had died at a hospital in Goroka, a few hours from here.  Then the day of the memorial service, a group went to Goroka to fetch the body.  A memorial service was planned for 2:30pm, and it started on time, but the body didn’t actually arrive until nearly 4:00.  People filled the time with giving testimonies of his life and how this godly man had impacted their life. The body showed up in an ambulance with the family and the police escorting them with wailing sirens. The trucks decorated with red streamers and followed by many of the friends and family in vans. At the service the gospel was shared, and in many it was much like a memorial service that we would have in the States. It was amazing to hear the impact that this man, Papa Arua, had on so many people and how many people he had led to Christ just by his example. He was a security assistant and so he was greatly known in the community for being a “peacemaker”.
After the service real haus krai began when the body was taken to the home and people stayed up all night literally crying over the body.  Papua New Guineans are not stoic in their greif – wailing is expected.
As the employer, our organization had an obligation to provide certain things – we bought the casket and paid for transportation of the body back to his home town several hours drive away from here.  There was a cultural expectation though that we couldn’t send the body back by itself.  It would look very bad if we didn’t also send thousands of kina worth of food gifts to his home village as a sort of thank-you for letting us “borrow” him for so many years.  There was a community collection and people donated towards this gift, and then a director went and bought gifts like oil, flour, sugar and rice to send back with the family to their village. The next morning a caravan of people drove about 7-8 hours into the Southern Highlands to his village where they will have another haus krai and then bury the body.
Please pray for this family and their loss, he leaves behind 4 children and his wife, Rose.

Evan’s 30th Birthday!

This week we celebrated Evan’s 30th birthday party which was a lot of fun! We had about 20 people come to a party where I made a cake (my first 3 layer cake!) and hung pictures of his childhood all around. Evan cooked burgers for everyone and we had a lot of fun, though we wished we could’ve celebrated with family and friends back home as well!

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2 Year Anniversary

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Two years ago today we were climbing in the car, after a crazy journey of selling pretty much everything we owned and packing everything that was left into 8 crates and weighing everything to the last pound. We each rode separately with our parents as we went to the airport and I can remember having my first panic attack-ever. What was I doing?? Why had God called us SO far away from my family?? I couldn’t breathe and pure terror flooded my thoughts. My parents, gracious as they were, assured me that this was God’s plan (which I’m sure they were also questioning it as well…but in that moment, thats what I needed to hear). And as we pulled into the parking lot at the airport we prayed. We asked God to take this fear away and to give us a safe journey. Then everything went into fast forward mode for me…we checked in, paid for our luggage had our tearful goodbyes, and just like that we were gone.

The first night arriving in PNG was one of the hardest nights of my life. Evan was sick with some sort of tropical disease, I had fallen in the rain and had a huge gash in my leg, it was hot and we were in a foreign place…a concrete room that smelled of mold with a single cot and a misquito net. Once again I asked God….WHAT WAS HE THINKING??

As I look back on these past two years I am simply amazed. Amazed how much we have both grown not just with each other but in our relationships with God. We have had many times when we cried because we wanted to go home…when all we wanted to do was see our family and friends…when we had the worst kind of culture shock…when we were sick with things that even the Doctors couldn’t explain…when we were discouraged by how difficult life was…when our friends left for crisis or furlough and we were left behind and it just plain hurt….when we were afraid at night…but God was there through it all. He protected us, comforted us, healed us, allowed family to come and visit us for some much needed encouragement and love that we so greatly missed…and then as if that wasn’t enough he showed us time and time again by providing distinct moments where we just KNEW okay, this is what we are here for. We learned to pray for even the simplest things like rain and a trip into town, because here sometimes those things are luxuries.

He brought us here thinking that we would do our jobs, but he has instead opened up so many more doors that we could ever have imagined…like working with and loving on the youth of Ukarumpa and showing Jesus films. The last few weeks I have been going through all of our pictures from our time here in a sort of reflection, and it is clear now why God brought us here for this time. We are so thankful for this opportunity that God has blessed us with.

Would you pray for us as we finish up our first term in PNG and return for furlough in December? There is so much to do as we must pack up our house so that renters can come in, and wrap up everything at work.

A picture taken by our friend Stephanie of our most recent jam session with the Youth Praise Band

A picture taken by our friend Stephanie of our most recent jam session with the Youth Praise Band

Light the Match to Literacy

Photo by Deloach“Light the Match to Literacy”

The speakers of the Awa language in Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea received a revision of the New Testament about 20 years ago. However, very few people could read it, and many unpurchased Bibles sat collecting dust and cobwebs. Many of the village women kept their NT in their bilum, carrying it with them to the garden, looking through it, desperately trying to read it. But no matter how much they tried, they couldn’t read. The Bibles eventually became a symbol of shame for them. They got together and put their books into a house, with plans to burn the house and Bibles, along with their shame, to the ground. But just as they struck the match to light the fire, it began to rain. It rained so hard that they began to think that this was a sign from God—God didn’t want them to burn the books!

Later, they expressed their interest in learning to read. This woman came and taught literacy classes using the Awa New Testament, since that was the only literature in Awa. As they learned to read, the people got excited and began to buy the Bibles that had been sitting and collecting dust. When they opened the books, they expected them to be worn and frayed with age, but God had protected them, and the pages were as good as new. Eventually the Bibles sold out because everyone was so excited about getting their own. Now everyone in the village has a New Testament in their bilum and knows how to read it.

Story told to me by Rebecca. woman, Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinean, laughing, smile, traditional dress, Ukarumpa, SIL-PNG Training Centre

A different kind of 4th of July

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Usually our 4th of Julys are spent with family or friends, blowing off fireworks in field or watching them at a big stadium with lots of people…and its HOT. Well this year our 4th was very different as we woke up with it being in the 40s (YEAH I KNOW…aren’t we supposed to be in the tropics or something!?) then I spent all day photographing a PNG Bible Translation Association Induction Ceremony. They celebrated the day with a ceremony in the morning with tons of traditional dancing, music and of course formalities, but then the afternoon was filled with a huge PNG FEAST and a “singsing”. What cooler way to celebrate the 4th?? After that we went to our friends house to celebrate a more traditional Ukarumpa 4th with burning/spinning steel wool, sparklers, BBQ and good friends. That felt a little more like home. Next year we will be back home again for the 4th and we’re beyond excited. But theres something about spending the 4th overseas that makes you really appreciate America…

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Evan lighting aceteline balloons, for a little “boom”IMG_4611IMG_4620

Graduation 2015 and Goodbyes

Graduation, UkarumpaEvan and I have had a great relationship with the seniors this year and are really sad to see them go. Last night was graduation and I just love how intimate the class is. Because they only have 21 they really take time to honor each student. Some of the kids asked Evan and our friend Leah Rigsby to lead worship for the night and they did an excellent job. The next few days are going to be gut-wrenching as we say goodbye to these kids as they scatter around the world. Ukarumpa is such a unique place, but one of the worst things about it is all of the goodbyes that we are constantly having to say. Please pray for us as we say goodbye and for the Class of 2015 as they leave Ukarumpa and start their lives as adults. Many of their parents will be coming back to continue their work here and so many of the kids will be all on their own. Pray that they will take everything they learned here and apply it and that they will continue to love and lean on God with all of their hearts.

Graduation2015_7Selfie stick during the Ceremony!

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 Also we made them a funny video about transition and R.A.F.T to leave with. Heres a screenshot of the greatness done by Leah Rigsby, Halbrooks and us.

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