Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming our pastor and his wife, Ross and Lisa, from our home church 121 Community Church. It was so great to see them again after 2 1/2 years and to show them around Papua New Guinea. We had the chance to take them to a traditional PNG meal called a “mumu” at one of our friend’s villages. They came to one of the youth services where Evan and I lead worship as well as ate with some of our friends and heard their experiences. We also got the chance to go to town and market and even drive to Goroka where they bought some souvenirs and see some of the countryside. We had such a great time with them just being able to debrief about our time here and show them what its like to live and work here. We are so grateful that they took the time to come here and really understand what its like. Here are some pictures of their time here.
Encounter 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…
Check out this super funny “rules” video we made for Encounter!
This 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
In August Evan and I had the opportunity to attend the Anjam Revised Scripture and Audio Recording Dedication. We were excited because our village family from POC training was apart of this language group, and it was great to get to go back to Madang and see them! Check out this story I wrote about the day as well as the video.
The Anjam language group located close to Madang, Papua New Guinea had its revised Scripture and audio recording dedication on August 14, 2015. The first New Testament was dedicated in 2001 by Robert and Diane Rucker. The couple attended the second dedication with their two daughters, son-in-law and family friend Kris. The Anjam people were so excited to see them that they even built a brand new house painted bright yellow for them to stay in while they attended the dedication. As Robert and Diane’s family and Kris began to dress for the occasion, donning colorful leaves and red paint on their skin, laughter was heard in the air as the Ruckers remembered their work on the New Testament all those years ago. They first began the translation project in 1980 and began living in the village and learning the language. Then in 2001 they finished the New Testament and moved back to the U.S. with their family. Twelve years went by and they began to see that improvements could make the New Testament clearer and more precise, so they began to think about doing a revision. So in 2012 Robert came to the village with Kris for a couple of months and he worked with church leader Sobu Waga and others. At the dedication, Sobu urged his fellow Anjam speakers to step up and help him work on the Old Testament. He said, “This isn’t the end of the translation project! We still have to finish the Old Testament.” Many of the village men partnered with Sam Kenny of Faith Comes By Hearing to make an audio recording of the New Testament in the Anjam language. On dedication day Sam passed out “Proclaimers,” solar powered devices that contain the recorded New Testament, for free to many of the families with the promise that he would hear back about their use of these recorders. Sobu expressed his joy to have these audio recordings, “I was worried that many of the children who don’t yet know how to read won’t understand the full meaning of God’s Word. But now if their parents have these recorders they can hear the Word of God and know Him.” He said, “My stomach is happy that all of the Anjam people can now hear with their ears, look with their eyes and read the Word of God.”
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!
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.
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.