For those of you who have not heard, Rowen Eugene Halferty arrived at 10:53 p.m. on Wednesday evening, May 25. After a hard and long labor and delivery, Rowen made his entrance into this world. As parents we were so excited to welcome him along with our family and many friends! After two days in the hospital we brought Rowen home. The highs and lows of parenthood became very real that same night around midnight. While feeding, Rowen stopped breathing and had what we later found out to be a seizure. Rowen was rushed by ambulance to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. Baby Rowen was admitted into the NICU and we stayed one week there with him as they ran tests and monitored him closely to determine what had caused him to stop breathing and have these seizures. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and has been put on medicine to control the seizures. Through all of this God has been faithful to answer prayer for Rowen from people all around the world.
After the hardest two weeks of my life I am so thankful for this little guy. Motherhood is incredible. I literally went in to survival mode in the hospital; not thinking of myself but only of him. Nothing was harder than seeing him hooked up to all of those machines while he was in the hospital…even living in the jungles of Papua New Guinea! I’ve never held a baby who instantly calms when on my chest and just wants to cuddle and stare at me all day. I am just so thankful that he’s home in my arms this morning. Praising God for His divine interventions in our lives!
Through all of the past months of pregnancy and especially the past two weeks we have experienced God’s faithfulness through some very difficult times. Thank you for being so faithful to pray for us. We need your partnership and are very grateful you share in our journey with us. We ask that you continue to pray for us as we adjust to being parents of a newborn and learn more about God’s faithfulness through the difficult things of life as well as the incredible experiences.
We have been patiently waiting for baby Rowen to get here the past nine months and that time has finally arrived! Sarah has been having high blood pressure the past few weeks and has been on bed rest so the doctor wants to go ahead and induce her a couple weeks early. So Rowen should be here this Wednesday, May 25th! Please pray for a safe delivery, for her blood pressure to go down and for a healthy baby boy.
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!
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
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…
Evan lighting aceteline balloons, for a little “boom”
This term Evan is head coach of softball and he is LOVING it. He practices with the Middle School and High School boys every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and they are learning all about Softball from Evan and 4 other coaches as well. They also got the chance to play their first game last night against Aiyura Highschool, which is a Papua New Guinean High School in the valley. Our team won 6-1! They will have two more tournaments against New Tribes (Missionary School in Goroka) in the following weeks. Evan is having a blast coaching these kids.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to a women’s retreat that happened on our Centre. Missionary women as well as Papua New Guinean employees were invited and it was such an amazing time! We learned from one of my good friends, Chris, about Gideon and his sacrifice of pouring broth on a rock to God. God really spoke to me throughout this retreat about waiting on Him. Lately I have been feeling homesick, and restless and God clearly revealed to me that he wants me to wait on Him, wait on his timing. I loved getting to hang out with my PNG sisters and playing games and hearing their stories. One of my favorite ones was from Mama Dudu who works in our Aviation department. She leads a prayer group that meets once a months and stays up all. night. long. to pray for our community, the country, and the valley. They aren’t allowed to bring any personal prayer requests to the group. Then they go to work the next morning here on Centre. It was amazing seeing all those strong PNG women come up to the front and sing us a song and then we prayed over them. Wow. It reminded me of the early church in Acts that got together to pray. Such an amazing testimony to what God is doing here in PNG…
Me and my friend Katherine who works with me in the Director’s Office. She has a little boy named Aidan and is such a sweet woman. I love getting to see her every day and it was especially sweet to be able to hang out with her at this retreat!
My (Sarah’s) parents were able to come for three weeks this Christmas break!! It was so great having them here for the holidays. They were able to really experience what our lives are like here in PNG and it was great to see their reactions to things. We kept them busy by taking them to the local town, Kainantu, to go to the market. We also went to distribute Bibles to a remote village on top of a nearby mountain, as well as shared a traditional meal called a “Mumu” with a Papua New Guinean friend, Mama Carol and her family. One of the highlights for my Dad and Evan was getting to go to a Bible Dedication on Christmas Eve! But more on that later. One of the highlights for me was just being able to spend time with them and do my new “normal” life with them. My Dad got very experienced doing laundry and hanging it up every day (and taking them down quickly before it rains). My mom also got to cook a lot from scratch and do dishes, which takes up a lot of my time here…so I was SO thankful for that. After Christmas we all took a trip down to Madang on the coast and enjoyed the beach for a couple of days before my parents left. Funny story about going down to Madang-It was the bumpiest ride my parents had EVER experienced…5 hours of it and my mom was wearing her pedometer the whole time which calculated every bump…11,800 bumps later and we were in Madang! Ha. Thats PNG roads for ya.
It was really great having them here to experience PNG and live life with us for 3 weeks. I miss them so much, but I am glad that we got to spend that quality time with them. It will be hard to go back to normal life again! Here are a few pictures from their trip.
Weighing on the scale in order to get on their flight to Ukarumpa!
Our drive out to distribute Bibles
A traditional meal, or “Mumu” steamed under rocks in the ground
They loved their Tim Tams! A chocolate cookie thats especially good with a hot drink.
Mom and I making home made pizza.
We played lots of games!
Mom and her baking on Christmas…Dad couldn’t resist!
Christmas Day selfie!
On the trip down to Madang.
It was great to eat at restaurants and act like tourists!
This year we were able to have a great Thanksgiving meal with some of our UkaFamily. Evan smoked a large ham with a delicious Coca-Cola marinade…that was definitely the highlight of the night. And the pumpkin and cranberries my mom sent me in a package! We were really homesick this year as Evan’s family was able to all get together on Thanksgiving up in Iowa. It was hard not being there with them, but we were able to at least say hi to everyone even though the connection was really bad. Please pray for our homesickness to subside!! We are excited though, that Sarah’s parents will be here for Christmas. So at least we will have family here for one of the holidays! I think that is the hardest thing about being overseas is not being home for the holidays. Here are some pictures from our Thanksgiving meal here in Ukarumpa…