Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eat Your Words

Here are a few things we said would NEVER happen and now we're eating our words.
1. I now put sugar in my coffee. I was set against this. PNG is rubbing off on me....they love hot, sweet drinks....and so do I. I'm eating my words.
2. Andrew drinks caffeinated coffee. He used to adamently be against any form of caffeine and now he "kinda likes the 'pick-me-up". He's eating his words. (and I remind him daily, but drinking coffee together is wonderful)
3. Andrew said he thought Lost was silly. Why would anyone watch it?! Now we can't wait to rent the next DVD. Yup, he's eating his words.
4. I said that Bill would wear pull-ups the rest of his life for bedtime. He has now gone 3 weeks with staying dry and is wearing big boy gitchies for night. I'm eating my words....and I'm happy to do it.
5. I said that I'd never miss a Winkler parade or a Christmas with snow. Unfortunately I'm eating my words. I mean, those motor homes ROCK every year.
If you've ever 'eaten your words' you should make a post about it. Let's hear it! I eat my words so much I'm putting on a few pounds.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A PNG Christmas

The holiday season always gives me a hankering for crocodile meat. We had some delicious crocodile stirfry the other night. It tastes like......chicken.

Mama Opa's son found us this Christmas bush - I mean tree. We actually have Christmas lights that have 7 different settings. My favorite is the 'romantic setting'.....the lights gradually fade on and off. It's pretty sweet. Bill's fave is the 'vegas setting'.

Our tree is definitely unique this year - as will be our Christmas. It will be my first Christmas away from family and away from snow. It's like having a clean slate. What will be our new tradition? Not sure yet.....I've got one more day to think about it.

Here She Comes

She made it after a 2 day delay. Welcome Arlene! She is our first visitor.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Divine Appointment

One thing I had written down that I wanted during village living was to have divine app0intments with people. It was pretty crazy how the plug got pulled on the other village and we ended up where we did. So right from the beginning it felt like God was planning something....he wanted us in Sarang for a specific reason. Looking back, being in Sarang was one big divine appointment for us!

Our connection with our wasfamili was something orchestrated by the Lord. They were spirit filled Christians who really lived a life led by the Spirit. They had so many amazing stories of people being healed and delivered. We had some great times of prayer with them. My spirit really came alive while I was with them. The Lord used them in my life greatly and I felt renewed and encouraged when we left. I know that we will have a long lasting friendship with them. I'm waiting to see what the Lord will do....I know it's going to be big!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sarang Pikinini

POC is officially over and we are back in Ukarumpa. Living in Sarang village for 5 weeks was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I hardly even know where to start. Please check out my picasa album to see our village living pics.

For now I'll post an email I sent to my family and friends when we got home. Here you go!!

I had 2 wonderful sisters who almost always did my dishes for me. That was a big relief and a big help for me. The river where we bathed and did laundry and dishes was about a 10 minute walk away (longer for the men because their bathing place was further upstream). It was hard for me to lug all the stuff back and forth. They could carry everything no problem, often balancing a hug bucket of dishes on their head. One thing I had to get used to was bringing dishes or laundry with me when I went to bathe. We never bring dishes with us when we shower. :) I did Laundry about every other day. This was probably my least favorite chore to do. It took a long time! I liked it when the boys went shirtless or even naked - less laundry!!

One thing that surprised me was how often the village people bathed. It was often the topic of discussion. "Have you bathed?" or "are you going to bathe?" or "you should go bathe!". They were totally into it. At first I thought they just were wanting us to bathe all the time because we were white, but it was that way with everyone. After W & J went to sleep at night Drew and I (or I'd go with my sisters) would sometimes go shower at a tap by the beach. It was quite a long walk (15 minutes), but I'll never forget being on the beach at night...looking at the ocean with a sky full of stars. And besides I felt more comfortable bathing at night when it was dark. It was definitely something to get used to bathing in public! I got better at it and felt comfortable doing it by the end.

One of our biggest struggles in the village was how the kids interacted with w & J. We were often frusterated and annoyed....the kids were pretty aggressive...slapping and pinching the boys (this was affection) and constantly calling out there names over and over and over. W & J were overwhelmed a lot of the time and would often cry and try and run away. But there were other times where all of a sudden the boys would just go a few houses over and start playing with the other kids...just having a blast. It was hit or miss with them. Looking back I wish I would've stepped in more and told all the kids to just take it easy, leave them alone completely and let w & j come and play when they were ready. I have to remember that there were many great moments as well. The times that the boys did play with all the kids was really awesome and they did have fun and talk about it fondly.

Another battle was sores. We had some sandflies and mosquitoes. The boys would scratch their sores and then overnight they would turn into these painful, infected sores - all pussy. I think they were actually considered tropical ulcers. Literally their legs are covered in sores. I had quite a few too for a few days. Not fun! Hopefully being in this cooler, drier climate will help us heal up.

We were amazed at how much of our time was just spent 'living'. Andrew was the water boy. He went to fill up our jugs at that tap on the beach. It was a long way to walk and the jugs were very heavy to carry back, so often he'd just take a dug out canoe to the tap. William would often go with him. We used a lot of firewood because of the drum oven we took along. Andrew went out several times to cut firewood. What he wouldn't have done for a chainsaw!! He had to hack at a fallen log with a dull axe....and then the wood had to be carried back! Even bathing, laundry, dishes took a lot of extra wasn't just right was a little hike everytime. Life just takes time. Typically they eat twice a day. In the morning and then again at night. Cooking in the heat of the day is just way too hot (but we did it anyway). Running water is a wonderful thing! I'm very thankful for it.

Andrew got to be part of a few community meetings (I sat in too sometimes)and was even asked for his opinion and asked to give advice. Our waspapa seemed to really respect Andrew for his business mind. There are several land disputes going on right now (very common problem in png). The village men decided they needed to go find their land marks on top of the mountain. There was another village ontop of the mountain that thinks Sarang has gardens on their land and have actually gone in and ruined someone's garden to make a statement. So Andrew decided to go on this hike along with approx 80 men to find the land markers (3 of them). It was about a 7 hour hike all together (with a lot of stops to talk). At the top of the mountain the other village made an appearance along with some bows and arrows, spears, and even a gun. The Sarang group decided to turn around and find the second marker, but soon realized that the 'enemy' had blocked off the road. So they decided to bushwack....the younger men went first with their bushknives - wacking away making a path. Overall the day wasn't a success. They didn't find the land marks and Andrew got a bit of a scare! It just seemed like another day for waspapa and all the others. Land disputes are a part of life here.

As I mentioned in my last email we used our money to help our family buy cement for their trade store. So we had no money left and were running out of sugar and oil. One day while I was doing laundry and was praying about this and I suddenly thought, 'Hey! I should bake something and sell it on the side of the road.' I had seen lots of ladies do this. So the next day I baked a few dozen biscuits and sold them for .40 toa. I made enough to buy sugar, soap, and oil! Towards the end we ran out of money again. We had little food left. Andrew and I were praying that the Lord would provide for us somehow. We had no way of getting money. The day after I prayed this prayer one of the mamas in the village asked me to go with her to her garden. It was about a 45 min walk. Not too mountainous so it wasn't hard. While we were at the garden she started filling up a bilum of food for me. Then she gave me a rope of buai and said to me that this was MY buai and I needed to go sell it to a buai buyer. I smiled at her and told her she was my answer to prayer! That afternoon I took my rope of buai to the buyer and got 8 Kena...enough for the rest of our time there. Oh and by the way...I saw 2 snakes on my trip to the of them was extremely poisonous!

I'm proud to tell you that William speaks and understands tok pisin better than any other kid at POC. Seriously, I think he's better then the rest. This afternoon him and Jesse were speaking to each other in tok pisin...even Jesse is mixing english and tok pisin together. They were pretending to go to their gardens and William said something like this: "mi go long gaden bilong mi. mi go kisim kaikai bilong yu. mi kisim korn na kaukau na onions. mi go long dispela rot. yu laik sampela kaikai long gaden bilong mi?" And it's so cute because Jesse responds to him in his tok pisin. It's great! I hope they won't lose what they've learned. I'll have to be sure to speak it to them and get my hausmeri's to keep talking to them too.

One thing that gave me some purpose during village living was baking. I taught my sister how to make cookies and demonstrated to some other women how to make bread and banana cake. Our waspapa LOVED bread and would say, 'oh baby bilong mi, yu kilim mi long bret'. Once he bought me flour so that I would make him bread. I baked him 2 loaves of bread, cinnamon buns, and a tray of buns that day. He was a happy man. Wasmama would tease me that she wasn't leva bilong (sweetheart)Papa anymore, but I was! We taught them the saying, ' a way to a man's heart is through his stomach.'

We slept really well for the most part. The boys seemed to wake up in the night more often. We were so tired by the end of the day that we'd just cash out in a matter of minutes. I loved hearing the sound of the waves as I fell asleep. The roosters started crowing around 3:30 am, but we got used to that. Our family's pig was also noisy sometimes....the pig's name was naughty girl which we just got a kick out of.

Spiritual warfare is a big reality for Christians here. Papa has been spiritually attacked a few times to the point of death. People who don't appreciate his faith will put curses on him. There are witch doctors around who work their 'magic' and put curses on people. While we were there there was a group from another village who came down and tried to kill someone using witchcraft and curses. (we didn't see it, we just heard about it a few nights after it happened). There was one night I went to story with one of the mama's in the village. It was just her and me sitting in the dark. She started telling me about her brother who had died when he was 22 years old. The night he died he came to visit her in her room and he was glowing white and had white skin just like me. He visited with her for several hours and wanted to give her a huge bag of money. She didn't take the money...didn't want it. She told me that others from her family (that have died) come and visit her in her house and they glow too and have white skin just like me. They always try and give her money. Then she went on to talk about the tourists that come to their area. She said some of them are her relatives that have come back as whiteskins. She had seen her brother one time who had come back as a white tourist. Let me tell you my hair was standing on end and I had such a heavy feeling. The whole time she was talking it really felt like she thought I knew all of this or had some special knowledge because I'm white. This is a typical 'cargo cult' belief and is common in PNG. I felt like I had to get out of there! I told her I needed to go back to my house and drink some water. She walked me back to the house, then left. I went to sit down with Andrew and Papa and told them everything that Mama Kristine and just told me. I was shaky and scared out of my mind. Papa told me that I cannot be scared. I can't let the enemy laugh at me because I'm afraid. I can't let him win! I have Jesus living in me and he's more powerful then any 'die spirit'. There is a lot of crazy, evil stuff in this world, but we are more than conquerors! I felt kinda silly for being afraid. I have Jesus!

I am incredibly thankful for this experience. One of the things it did for us was it gave us a better understanding of the life of a translator. I have a better appreciation for the work they do and what they all go through to bring God's word to a people group. Another great thing that happened is that we are now pretty fluent in Tok Pisin. It is so crucial to speak in Tok Pisin in order to relate with the nationals and now we can!