Capturing VBS 2014!

VBS, Children, Papua New Guinea, ChurchDramas, puppets, clowns, songs, games and stories all captivated the attention of the Aiyura Valley children that attended Vacation Bible School (VBS) in mid-January. This was the first time the annual event was conducted in more than one location. With identical programs held simultaneously at two different churches, children from a wider section of the valley had the opportunity to attend. While many, many children came at least once, each location averaged about 210 participants a day.

The groups were aware of God’s help in many ways throughout the week. One example was answered prayer about the rain. “God gave us a miracle when He made the rain go away just as we were about to start,” testified VBS teacher Darlene Clark. Since the program was conducted outside on the church lawn, having dry weather was essential. Darlene recalled, “I told everyone to look up at the sky and ask Jesus to please make the rain go somewhere else. Since there was not a large enough place to meet indoors, we really desired for God to answer our prayers…and He did!”

The leaders focused on teaching the kids the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis. The daily stories about Joseph’s life also included a personal application, encouraging the children to honor God like he did. The lessons were reinforced through songs and games that related to the message. The excitement of the children was obvious as they participated in each event with enthusiasm. The last day of VBS was especially moving as many children indicated their desire to be like Joseph and give their hearts and lives to God.

This year was a milestone for the VBS program in that it was the first time the majority of the teachers were Papua New Guinean, and the first time it was held at two valley churches. Many of the Papua New Guinean teachers said they learned a lot this year and they all grew in their ability to work with groups of lively youngsters. They were thankful for the opportunity to get out into the community to teach the children.

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SingSings in the Village-Wacky Wednesday

Singsing, Papua New Guinea, children, Rai Coast, Village

A Singsing is a traditional Papua New Guinean celebration. They are done when there is an event to celebrate, like Independence Day or Christmas. While we were in village living we were blessed to be apart of three different Singsings. Everyone who participates gets all dressed up in bright colors, that include different types of leaves, grass skirts, all different kinds of shells and face paint. Each community has their own unique way of doing it. It almost always involves the beating of a “kundu” or a drum made from a lizard skin, as well as singing and dancing. We had a blast getting to participate in them! They dressed us all up and painted our skin. The picture above is of the Singsing that the local elementary school performed for us. It was so beautiful because the school was right next to the beach and the kids really did sing their hearts out. The other two Singsings were done by our village family for us as we left. We got to participate in these, and then at the end we fed all of the participants tea and popcorn (they loved this!) Here are some photos from our Singsings during village living.

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Climbing Trees-Wacky Wednesday



Kids in Papua New Guinea have great talents. They are expected to get all of the coconuts and betelnut from the palm trees. How do they do that? Well they just climb right up, throw the coconuts to the ground and slide right back down! Its pretty crazy to watch. Kids as young as 4 will learn to climb the trees. It’s pretty wacky!

3 Day PMV Hike

We just got back from our 3 day PMV hike. A PMV is a public motor vehicle, usually a 15 passenger van, bus, truck, or even a dump truck! that takes people from one place to another. The trick is, there isn’t a schedule to show when they stop, and you never know where they stop. Everyone in PNG uses them to ride from place to place so it was a great learning experience. 

Evan and I went with a guide, Papa Ganig, who is a bit of a “big man” in the community. Everyone knows him.

The first day we caught a PMV down the mountain on a 5 ton truck, where everyone but us and the driver sat in the back. Most of the rides we were asked to sit in the front because we are “whiteskins” and they want to make sure we are safe. We definitely appreciated that on these bumpy roads! After we got into town Papa Gagnig told us it would only be 30 minutes before the next PMV came. 6 hours later, it finally came! So we did a lot of sitting and talking with the people. We made lots of friends. One of the highlights of the trip was what happened next. Once we got to our first village we were greeted by all of the children in the village throwing flowers and singing songs. They led us singing through the whole village until we got to our house. Our house was so nice! It was new and had pretty decorations all around. It has 4 bedrooms and even a dining room with a table and chairs (Most village houses don’t have any furniture). The outhouse was brand new and they even built a covered picnic table to eat at. After we arrived in the village we went washing in the river and then went to eat. They made a ton of food for us. Things like cooking bananas, rice, sweet potatoes, and chicken soaked in coconut milk. It was delicious! Once it got dark they asked us to preach to them in Tok Pisin by the light of the fire. Ha! So I selected a passage in Matthew about the children coming to Jesus. Then all of the children sang some worship songs in Tok Pisin. It was such a great moment, even when it started to rain.

The next day we woke up and they fixed us a big breakfast before we took off for the next village. After breakfast we walked about 30 minutes to the main road where the PMV would pick us up. We waited about 1 1/2 hour and then we rode to the next village. At the next village we were greeted with a shower of flowers that the family threw at the PMV. Then we had the whole day to talk and get to know them. Around noon Evan began getting a migraine just from the heat and the mental power of talking so much in Tok Pisin. So they graciously allowed us to go take a nap in the house on the hill that we were staying with. After we got up we hiked to the place where they washed. It was far! I can’t believe that they walk that far every day to wash. Once we got there the water was very stagnant, but I jumped in anyway. It was nice and cool. The men and women washed in separate places, and I kept my clothes on because as always I had an audience of children watching me :). After we got back from washing we spent the evening talking, eating, playing darts, playing guitar and singing with them. We had a lot of fun.

We woke up the next day to lots of rain. We left the village about 8am and walked about 45 minutes to the main road. We caught a PMV ride in the rain with a rickety old PMV that Evan had to hold the door closed as we drove. Ha! It also had so many cracks in the windshield we could hardly see out of it. Luckily we made it into town with our host Papa, and two other girls from the family leading the way. We stood in the rain waiting for the final PMV for about 2 hours before we heard that it broke down and wasn’t running for the day. So Papa Gagnig led us to a PMV that was a lot like a bus that took us down the highway to our last ride. As we got out of the bus, we saw one of our trucks pull up! Hallelujah! Matt (the maintenance director) picked us up at the bottom of the mountain and we jumped in the back of the truck and road the rest of the way in the rain standing up in the back of the truck because it was already quite full of people.

Wow! We had such a great experience. We feel like we learned so much about getting around in this country and made lots of friends. Here are some pictures from our experience. I also have some video, but I will post that later.


 Our PMV down the mountain


 Sitting at the park in town for 6 hours waiting for our PMV.

Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_06Evan with our guide, Papa Gagnig and our host PapaPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCThis woman was selling chickens at the market.
Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_14PMVHike_15Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCA market outside of town. Logging is a very big industry here.Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCThe first village we went to, we had so much fun! We stayed in a huge house and the whole village sang to us as we walked in. They made us feel so welcome.Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_26Papa Gagnig on the steps to our very nice village house. Cement steps are very rare here!
Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POC

 Packages of betel nut, a nut the Papua New Guineans chew here that is like caffeine that turns their mouths red.

db799c5a6bd0e1c7944c9015f7193e05304215a1e8723d436c8799050ea0314cOur PMV ride to our 2nd village.
Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POC

The house we stayed in our 2nd village.

Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POC

Hanging out with the family in the “haus wind” or the dining room.

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Our 2nd village host family, and their dog.


All of the windows in this PMV were out, so what did they do? Just put some duct tape on it!1f78b195df741c07d6bfa265257e14dd534d8a41c9bf8ed1a490754d394511d7

One of the last PMV rides, where Evan had to hold the door closed as it was raining. It also had zipties tied to the windshield wipers for “decoration”

Kamba {POC}


Yesterday Evan got to go on a hike to the village, Kamba. It was a 16km (roughly 10 mile) hike with a stop in the village Kamba for lunch. Because my ankle is still bothering me I got to ride up the mountain to meet them for lunch at the village. What a drive! The road was almost non-existent in some spots which made for a very bumpy ride. The hike was also very difficult, with lots of straight ups and straight downs. They even crossed a river at one point that was about ankle deep. We had a good time in the village of Kamba, relaxing and eating lunch. Evan and I have made it a point to go talk with the locals and learn more language. So I went to talk with the women and Evan went to talk with the men. It was a great experience and I feel much more accomplished just from that little interaction that I was able to have a full conversation with them. Here are some pictures from the day.

Kamba_07The group before they took off for the hike


Once I met Evan in Kamba, he was enjoying a refreshing drink from a coconut


The village of Kamba


Evan with our guide Robert

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All of the ladies hanging out in an old PMV truck bed.


My favorite shot from the day.


First Full Day {PNG}

Papua New Guinea, child, village

This evening ends our first full day in Papua New Guinea. What an amazing place! We are just amazed by the beauty of this country. We started the day by waking up at 6:00am, in full humidity, under a mosquito net. Then we both had our first ever bucket showers with thank goodness! HOT water. Then we headed to breakfast in the dining hall with all of the people taking the course. There are 20 families here, with all sorts of different mission agencies and from all different countries like Finland, Australia, Brazil and Switzerland (and the US). Then we took a short walk around the center with a missionary who has been here for 37 years! She and her husband are currently working to finish the Old Testament in the village nearby. We have met so many wonderful people here and are making fast friends. One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to take a walk with our new Australian friends to a nearby village. They are much more skilled in Tok Pisin and were talking with the people and making friends. It was so cool! We are having a great time and learning a lot already. Tomorrow starts our first full day of classes.

Everyone hanging out in the courtyard dorm area

Everyone hanging out in the courtyard dorm area

Our room off the courtyard.

Our room off the courtyard.


Our room at POC

Our room at POC



Our view from POC

Our view from POC


A beautiful Papua New Guinean woman that is chewing betel nut which dyes your mouth red.

A beautiful Papua New Guinean woman that is chewing betel nut which dyes your mouth red.



Papua New Guinea, children, village

Evan playing with the Papua New Guinean children.


Papua New Guinea, children, villagePapua New Guinea, children, village