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
Please be in prayer for an upcoming event called “Crave” planned by the High School kids at UISSC. This event will be a worship night on March 1st from 4pm-10:30pm where we will have 4 bands playing (2 soul purpose bands and then an acoustic set from yours truly and a full band that we will put together for another set) 3 speakers, and lots of discussion and encouragement time. Pray for the youth (7-12th grade) to get ON FIRE for Christ at this event and worship without abandon. Pray for adult sponsors to help out. Pray for the kids that are organizing this event and that God would give them the time and that things would come together smoothly. Pray for the speakers to speak truth into these kids lives, and pray for our bands as we lead.
So if you guys are up for it we would love for you to be praying DURING this time or the night before. During this time would be 1am-8am (your time) March 1st. If you can do it, that would be AWESOME! Thank you!
Our Soul Purpose Youth Band leading last week…
Recently Evan and I have been asking ourselves, why are we so tired and stressed? Well multiple reasons have caused this and I want to let you in on some things to pray for. First of all, some families that are good friends of ours have left in just a very short time for tragic reasons, without getting to say goodbye. Please pray for these families as they deal with the things that happened in their lives and that God would protect them. And then also pray for us and our community as we also figure out how to process these tragedies. To check out one of the families most recent prayer requests click here-> Leedahls.
Secondly, in response to recent, escalating criminal activity directed at the SIL community in Ukarumpa, the Branch Administration has decided to proactively implement a series of self-imposed restrictive measures aimed at reducing crime. Since Friday, the 10th of October, the Market on centre has been closed. This action is designed to bring peer pressure on those responsible for recent crimes through the villages in which they reside. It is hoped that these same communities will benefit in equal measure from the cessation of criminal activity to which they too are exposed. Please pray for all members of the Aiyura valley who are affected. Also pray for the victims and the perpetrators of these crimes. Pray for the community’s resolve to follow through with this course of action. (official statement)
Another thing that I would ask that you pray for would be that we are not meeting our budget goals. We need another $400 in monthly giving to get back on track. Please be praying for partners to come along side of us and fill in those gaps. Thank you!!
Praise God! Progress has been made! Evan and I really thought that this process would take about 6 months for us to even see signs of a bridge coming into place. But to our surprise there has been so much work put into it already and it is looking good! We are really thanking God for this miracle.
Meanwhile, while the bridge has been out we have found other ways of getting food and people across….
Continue to pray! We are not “out of the woods” yet!
[Official Report] About 7am this morning (6 Aug 2014) a commercial fuel tanker attempted to cross the Kingston Bridge traveling from Kainantu towards the Aiyura Valley. While the truck was on the bridge the bridge collapsed under the load. Both the bridge and the truck fell into the river below. Reports are that the driver is okay, but we have no further information on his condition. The bridge is not passable by vehicle.
Please pray for the situation with the Kainantu bridge. It is our only link to the world outside our valley. Any supplies we need have to come over it and we use it to get to other places in the country. Pray that a new bridge is installed soon, and for the people effected (it is a huge water source for many, and now it is contaminated by the fuel truck that went in when it collapsed). Also pray for short term ways we can problem solve by getting things to and from Ukarumpa by road..
Growing up an MK I was taught all my life about prayer. But I guess after living in the States for a while, I forgot the simplest things that you need to pray for. Like sun and rain. These seemingly insignificant things are huge over here as most of the population gets their food from gardening. We have been experiencing a rather cold season here in the tropics…and by cold I mean COLD. We will put sweatshirts, jeans, socks and blankets on at night and are still freezing. The weather during the days and nights here currently resembles Seattle if you have ever been there, you know what I’m talking about. So naturally dark, cloudy, misty days = no sun. Which means a number of uncomfortable things for us, like wet laundry all the time (because we dry it in the sun) and cold showers (because our water heater gets hot from our solar panels, which need SUN). Now I’m fine with the wet laundry…I can make due. But cold showers, when its cold outside, is just plain HARD. So as I was taking my daily cold shower I was brought to mind that I needed to pray about this. The Bible says a lot about prayer…
Psalm 107:28-30 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Check out this picture our friend Matthew recently posted that completely describes what I’ve been talking about:
Clear-er day vs. Cloudy/Misty day
Would you pray with us for some sun? We desperately need some right now to lighten our moods and dry our laundry. It may sound simple, but life here a much more simple.
Next week Evan and I head for Saidor with some of our good friends the Jagts. They Jagts are working as liasons for a group of 6 translation teams down on the coastal town of Saidor (near where we had POC training, Madang). These 6 translation teams are unique because they are all Papua New Guineans working towards the goal of seeing their languages have a Bible. It is a cool story and I am so happy to be filming it (and that Evan gets to come along too!). Stay tuned for the final product! Please be praying for our trip, as we have to take an SIL Flight (tiny airplane) and then either hike or take a 4 wheeler up to the village we will be staying at, Umbaldi. Pray for no technical difficulties with my equipment and that we will get all of the footage that the Lord wants us to get. Also be praying for the Saidor area as we heard that they are in a food shortage because they are having trouble with their only food sources, their gardens. I am excited to see what God has in store for this trip, and what he is doing in the Gwahatike (Gwa-ha-tee-ka) area.
We are in the Kainantu area, and we will be flying to Saidor, the red dot on the map.
Heres another story about the Saidor area.
Hey Blog Followers-we need major prayer right now for rain. Evan installed our new water tank last weekend and after the week before of nonstop rain, we were sure that we would get it filled up quickly. But no such luck-with hardly any rain this week, Evan and I are struggling just to get enough drinking water. Please pray that it will rain buckets and fill up our 1000 gallon tank!
Also be praying for the funds to pay for the water tank. As it is our only form of drinking water we desperately needed one after moving into this house and so we were forced to purchase one that we do not have the money for. Click HERE to give towards our water tank.
Thank you for praying for us and following this blog!
Well as some of you know I sprained my ankle a couple of days ago going down a mountain on one of the hikes. It was quite an ordeal as we were in the middle of the jungle and I had to be rescued out to get to the nearest road.
I slipped on a bunch of gravel like stones going down the mountain and literally had to crawl on my hands and knees to get back up to even ground. As soon as we got back up there was a house that was not quite finished so I rested on that until we figured out what to do. One of the directors of POC was hiking with us so she used her phone to call her husband to figure out what to do because we were at least a couple of kilometers from a place where the truck could get me out. So our hiking leader, Russ, walked out of the bush to find help. He came back with a couple of Papua New Guinean guys who work at POC and lots of village children who followed them in. They were so curious! They followed us the entire way wanting to get in on the action. So a few more guys from the center came and we had a whole crew of men trying to figure out how to get me out. 6 men. A little excessive, I thought…but I soon realized why. The trail back was very steep and at one point we had to cross a creek. One of the men even fell in! I thought I would be next but they were able to keep me up and got to a semi-flat spot. The kids joined around us as the men devised another plan to take me safely up the mountain short cut (which was vertical) to a village where the truck was waiting. They decided that their previous idea, a hammock tied to bamboo was not going to work on this incline so gathered rice bags and cut holes in them to make a stretcher with bamboo poles. Oh wow. I was a little scared as to how that was going to work, but I did what they said a got onto it. They picked me up and took me up the incline, at one point they almost tipped me over because of the steepness of the hill and the smallness of the path (really only small enough for one small man to cross, one foot at a time). But I kept watching the palm trees above me and praying that God would get me out! It took us about 2 hours to get me out of the jungle, but it happened! And God is amazing for giving those men the strength to do it! I was so happy to see that truck.
My ankle is very swollen and I have to get around on crutches now. But how many people have a story like that?! I am so thankful to be okay and it is slowly healing. Please pray that I will have a quick recovery and not be discouraged about missing out on things. Here are some pictures of the event! Happy Wacky Wednesday!
The initial fall down the mountain.
The first rescue contraption. A hammock tied to a bamboo pole.
Crossing the stream.
All of the kids gathered around to watch. Haha…
Stretcher #2 made from rice bags and bamboo.
Taking the “shortcut” up to the village.
This weekend we were able to meet our first Papua New Guineans! It was such a cool experience even though it was brief. We were sitting at the bus stop in Cairns and we had missed our bus. So we were sitting there enjoying the weather and waiting when we began to see a bunch of what we thought were Papua New Guineans walking down the road around us. They were all wearing what looked like soccer uniforms. So Evan being Evan asked them, “What is that that you are wearing? What is the Master’s that you are participating in?” They laughed and said Hi, and that they were in what they called “Touch Footy”. “Touch Footy, what is that”, We asked. They looked rather puzzled until one of them piped up with “Rugby!” They all smiled. “Well did you win?” I asked. “Yes!” They exclaimed and we all cheered. It was a great first impression and they walked off in enjoyment.
We leave for Papua New Guinea tomorrow at 12pm (which will be Sunday your time, at 9pm) Please be in prayer for us in the following ways:
-that our flights are on time and safe
-we will have no problems with our baggage i.e. weight or showing up
-that the people supposed to meet us and help us will show up on time
-that customs will not be expensive (or they will overlook us!)
-we will get a good nights rest tonight and tomorrow night in our new environment
Thank you for your prayers, we are a little nervous to go into PNG but we are excited!