Tuesday, December 22, 2009

With love from Lae

We wish you a blessed Christmas!
May our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace bring you much joy this Christmas!
He is the reason for the season!

Ian and Nadia
Jonathan, Karlyn and Caleb

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Port Moresby

Much to the delight of these two, our weekend in Moresby was a rainy one!

Here are the 3 students who graduated with a Certifcate in Reformed Studies from the Reformed Churches Bible College when we were in Port Moresby at the end of November. This certificate program is a 2 year course and offers such subjects as 'Through the Word'--a survey of the OT and NT, Children's Ministries, Worship, Doctrines and Creeds, Scripture Memorization, etc. It is open to anyone in the churches who would like to be better equipped to serve their local church, whether that be simply as a member, or an elder, or a Sunday school teacher, etc. The Bible College also offers a Diploma Program for those men who feel called to become pastors. There are two men currently in the program, and at least one or two who will enter the program in the next couple years.

Following the graduation weekend, while I was in Brisbane with Karlyn and Caleb, Ian and Jonathan, Wayne and kids, as well as the Versteeg's went to a nearby beach for an afternoon. Here they are eating rolled up pancakes, lovingly made by Auntie Rita.

On the Sunday, Wayne his daughter Sjaan, Ian and Jonathan went to a not so nearby village over some hills and through some mud, where Wayne preached (one of Ian's sermons, so maybe Ian could hear what his sermons 'really' sound like:)). Here is Jonathan and Sjaan and some of the children there. The last time we were in Beregoro was exactly 5 years ago, when we were visiting PNG for the first time. Jonathan was just 19 months old and we have a photo of him with the people very similar to this one. I should've found it and put it up too, but hey, then this blog wouldn't have gotten posted for another week or two probably!

Caleb and Madlyn, one of the students at the Bible College.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Karlyn and Caleb

"I love him so much", says Karlyn.

Finally caught that smile on camera! We are soon on our way again, this time heading to Port Moresby for a Board meeting of the Reformed Churches Bible College as well as the graduation. We are on the early flight to Moresby, meaning we will be picked up by the airport bus at 4:40am! Ouch! We're hoping it'll be a fair trade though--a few hours of sleep in exchange for actually getting on our flight on time. Almost every time we have flown Lae-Moresby flights, there has been some delay and we've waited at the airport for hours and hours. At some airports this wouldn't be too much of a problem, but at Lae Nadzab airport...well let's just say it's not the cleanest (ie. you don't really want to use the toilets); food choices are slim and there's not much of anything to amuse children for hours on end. The last few days we've heard all of the flights have been overbooked and there are people camping out at the airport waiting to get on a flight. More people than usual are heading to Moresby this week because the PNG Games start tomorrow. It is our prayer that things will go smoothly for us, and if we are delayed, that the Lord will give us all the patience we need to get through it.

Following our weekend in Moresby, I (Nadia) along with Karlyn and Caleb, will be flying on to Brisbane, Australia in order to obtain visas from the PNG Consulate for them. We'll be there for 4 nights and thankfully Cheronne VanderHeide and their baby Joseph will be joining us too, for the same reason. Ian and Jonathan will have some good father-son time together as they stay in Moresby a few extra days and then come back to Lae.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I’m reading a great book right now called The Most Important Place on Earth, What a Christian Home Looks Like and How to Build One, by Robert Wolgemuth. I appreciate the candid way that he writes; and the book is full of practical ideas on having a home and family life where God is praised. I just finished a chapter called, “Just for Laughs,” where he writes about the fact that when we become stressed by life’s demands, often the first thing we lose is our sense of humour. And this affects the whole family as everyone begins to feel the stress. Wolgemuth highlighted two things for us to remember: we need to be able to laugh at ourselves and to laugh with our kids. You know---be a little crazy sometimes!

Karlyn and Ashlyn have lots of laughs together.

"How can you expect me to be happy when you put me in this contraption??"

It seems a fitting reminder for us as we settle into PNG life again. If we don’t laugh, we could easily become frustrated. For example, when we drive on the roads, which we do everyday, of course, we need to laugh—out loud! We had hoped there would’ve been reason for a name change while we were gone, but alas Lae is still dubbed, “Pothole City”, and rightfully so. Many of the main roads are literally covered with deep potholes. As a result, at times we bounce around like that little ball inside a pin ball machine. The game continues as you play chicken with the cars in the other lane--they move over to avoid the craters on their side and you’re doing the same thing on your side! Honestly, you just have to laugh about it…but you have to show a little restraint while you’re driving.

Then there’s power black-outs and water shortages; difficult landlords; the heat; our sloooooow and inconsistent dial-up connection; and such things as perpetual promises for services “next week”, but next week never seems to come! Yes, many times we just have to shrug it off, find the humour in the situation, laugh and keep on going!

But there are other things here that are more difficult to laugh about, actually impossible. Like the story we heard from a member of our church of a woman being tortured and a man being stoned—both to death. It seemed their slavery to a cultural norm passed down from their foreparents wouldn’t let them. Then there is the abuse we know that is happening to women—wives, mothers and daughters—also in our church. Or, the sick people that become sicker on account of a poor and unreliable healthcare system. The list goes on. Things that make you cry more than laugh. These things remind us why we’re here and make us thankful that ultimately God is in control. We do continue to pray that He will change hearts and lives here and that peace and righteousness and hope will reign in ever increasing measure here in Lae and all throughout PNG.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It seems there is never a dull moment in this land of the unexpected. At least we haven’t had one since we arrived back in Lae on the 2nd of October. We unpacked some stuff, cleaned, organized, set up (all the while sweating) and then only 5 days later packed up again for our conference in the Highlands.

The conference attendees. (From the top, the Hagoorts, Versteegs, Doumas, W & C VanderHeides, us and A VanderHeide and girls. Natalie is missing as she needed to be in Cairns at the time.)

We thoroughly enjoyed being at the conference. We laughed, we cried, we prayed, we sang, we learned, and we planned with our fellow Reformed missionaries here in PNG. The focus of the conference was a course on dealing with conflict biblically based on the book, “The Peacemaker” by Ken Sande. We highly recommend this book/dvd series as it has so much benefit for all of the relationships in our lives—with our husbands/wives, children, extended family, colleagues, churches, etc. We also discussed the ongoing work that is happening in the churches in the Port Moresby area as well as here in Lae, and the Bible College in Moresby. Many plans and hopes and dreams were put forward and we pray for the Lord’s blessings over them all.

All the kids had great fun together! From left to right, Sjaan Vanderheide holding her brother, Joseph. Jonathan, Bryce Vanderheide, Shiana VanderHeide, Kirilee VanderHeide holding Caleb, Karlyn and Cameron VanderHeide.

We were home from the conference only two days and Karlyn began to complain of a ‘tummy ache’. This tummy ache soon turned into her not being able to keep even a sip of drink in without vomiting it out. “I don’t want to be sick anymore” she began to say, but her stomach just wouldn’t settle. And this is where we begin to get a little worried and distressed. Not only is it heart-wrenching to watch your child being sick, as any parent knows, but here in this climate there is great danger of dehydration happening fairly quickly. And to add to our stress, we weren’t sure where we would take her if she did need to see a doctor. That is always the dilemma…during the day, the suitable health care options are slim and at night, even slimmer. But we remembered hearing about a new private hospital that had just opened up the week before, so Ian drove there to check it out. He came back with some children’s oral rehydration solution and the news that there was a doctor on call if we did need to take her in that night. We were so relieved to know we had this option. We fed her the oral rehydration drink for that night—actually we bribed her with toea (PNG coins) as it’s a bit hard to get down! She seemed ok the next morning, but by afternoon the vomiting started again so we brought her to the new hospital.

She was immediately put on an IV drip because of dehydration. Unfortunately, her veins were a little collapsed and therefore difficult to reach. So after two unsuccessful attempts in the hands, (in the first attempt they thought they found a vein and began the IV, covered it up only to find out 15 minutes later that her hand was swelling like a little balloon,) the doctor was able to locate a small vein in her ankle. And so after much crying, a pool of tears and prayers, the needle went in. This all seemed eerily familiar to us as Jonathan suffered the same only a few months into this country back in 2005! Then it took 19 attempts to find a vein, here we were blessed after 3.

Being a new hospital we were given a clean private room where Karlyn attempted to sleep and so did Ian who was staying the night with her. It was a long night, especially as the IV drip caused quite a bit of pain to her little foot and ended falling out at 5 in the morning—clogging the entrance with blood. It was decided to keep it out from then on and she could then rest without any foot pain. She did have two pees and no vomiting or diarrhea during the night--we praised God for this blessing! And after a little food and drink she was released from the hospital but still complained of stomach cramps which lasted a few days. She was put on antibiotics which seemed to have cleared up the infection and she is basically back to her normal self. Here she is with Daddy, looking pretty happy and healthy, eh!?

Now that the crisis with Karlyn is over, we are dealing with a house that has been under repair. We’ve had workers in and out all week, usually 4 or 5 at a time—not that we’re complaining—but it’s just made things a little crazier. Two of our ceiling fans needed replacing. One of our showers was leaking down to our downstairs bathroom and leaving rust-coloured stains running down the walls. The bottom of the cupboard under our kitchen sink had rotted through and caved in (by termites?). Many of our window screens had holes in them and louvres needed repairing. And then today, when I was out taking someone to the hospital, the pest control people came. “Didn’t your landlord tell you? And is the house ready?”, they asked Ian as he was home trying to get some work done and take care of Karlyn and Caleb! (Jonathan was at school—-he goes 3 days a week.) So with the help of the pest control guys, he emptied all of the kitchen cupboards and closets, and pulled everything away from the walls and covered it all with sheets so they could spray. That’s what I came home to! We then had to be out of the house for 3 hours, which is how the above photo of Ian and Karlyn was taken. We went to a local hotel for a swim and some lunch. And then it was back home to clean and wash and organize once again—a huge job! We are trying to look on the bright side---having pest control done is a great way to clean out your cupboards and closets and dust behind bookshelves and desks, etc! And all of the cockroaches that may have been lurking around have all been dealt with, along with any termites, ants, and other little critters. (I’ve actually only seen 2 roaches in the house since we’ve been back, but for someone with a phobia, that’s enough!)

So it’s been a busy few weeks and we’re looking forward to settling down into some sort of routine and getting full into the ministry work again.

Here's Caleb with Kirilee VanderHeide, his no. 1 babysitter! All 3 of our kids love the VanderHeide girls who live right here with us in our compound.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Today we are in Lae, finally!

We've arrived. We are in Lae, today! After a month of transitioning from one home to another, one hotel to another, one plane to another, we praise God that we can finally say we are at home. To be sure, when we finally walked in the door of our house everything looked like it was when we left it, but it didn't really feel like it was ours. It felt more like we were borrowing someone's house still. Fourteen months away can create strange somewhat surreal feelings in your mind.

All the same, our co-workers made us feel like it was our 'home.' Natalie VanderHeide had prepared a great meal for us and we shared it around our table, with our chairs and in our kitchen. In just a few hours we did a lot of catching up with Andrew and Natalie, and our kids were right at home playing with their much loved play mates, Kirilee, Shiana and Ashlyn.

Then on Sunday we fellowshipped with our brothers and sisters in Lae. It was good to see them again. The congregation had a few new members and lost a few, but all said it was the same. We shook everyone's hand, said a lot of 'good to see you' in Pidgin and shed a few tears. It is often the case that when missionaries leave the nationals feel that they won't come back. They are deeply moved, it seems, when they do. It is a gift of God that we could worship together, be fed in their (second) language, Tok Pisin, and enjoy fellowship together. In the end, it felt as if the year away was compressed into but a few hours-that too was a little surreal.

Now here we are. At times there are those pangs of longing for what we enjoyed in Canada over the past year--family, friends, comforts and all that is familiar, but like turbulance on a plane the pangs come and go. We praise God that we can be here and we praise God that He is here with us--we sense His closeness.

Sorry there aren't any photos to compliment this little update. But picture this, if you will: green, very green, banana groves and lush vegetation, countless hundreds of people walking around, potholes, nice buildings and delapitated settlement homes, blue skys and blue ocean and brilliant sunshine. Or if you will, our children dressed in summer wear riding their bike and trike and enjoying their friends in our compound. Or, Caleb, our littlest man trying to make sense of all that has happened to him--unsettled on his own, but relaxed in our arms.

If that doesn't work, we promise next time to post a few photos.

Thanks again for all of your love and prayers and we continue to covet both!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Journey Back

Twelve days in transit and five different flights ranging from 5 to 7 hours each (how many hours of flying time?) and we are well on our way to PNG!

We began our trek back with a stopover in BC to visit with good friends--Nathan and Kim Boersema and their three kids. We also squeezed in a couple other visits with dear family/friends there. It was a wonderful, relaxing time for our family—just what we needed after weeks of organizing, packing, tying up loose ends, and saying goodbye, not to mention the rollercoaster of emotions that one goes through when leaving for an extended period of time.

Proud daddies with sons, Lucas and Caleb!

Junior Entrepreneurs at their Fruit Stand

Just to keep things exciting, we almost missed our flight from Vancouver to Honolulu (traffic jam on the way to the airport!). But the Lord was gracious and we just made it. And, more than that, the kids and I finally got to ride on one of those airport golf carts (they made Ian run to the gate). Jonathan was devastated to discover that he didn't have a window seat, (and was loudly making this known). A lovely couple from New Zealand offered their window seats to Ian and Jonathan.

Here we are. This photo cost us 5 bucks, which the owner of the birds told us after he took our photo, of course!

Our third stop along the way was the island of Guam. During the flight, Karlyn—our little legalist—questioned whether her dad should be moving around the cabin while the seatbelt sign was still on. He was a few seats back with Jonathan, but hearing Caleb cry he came to help out. As Ian was talking with me she pipes up: “dad, do you think the seatbelt sign is on for no reason?” There he stood—guilty—before an impartial judge! The rest of the flight went well as the kids were exhausted.

As we stepped out of the airport in Guam, the thick humid air instantly reminded us of Lae. We were definitely back in the tropics! Beautiful Guam (three hours East of the Philippines by plane) is also in the same time zone as PNG, so not only were we getting used to the heat and humidity, but also beginning to get over our jet lag.

We are now in Cairns, Northern Australia and we continue to slowly adjust to this time zone. No longer waking up at 3:30am in the morning! Now it’s more like 6:30am—still a little too early for one who is up in the night with a newborn, but hopefully we’ll continue to adjust!

Yesterday we enjoyed great fellowship with a group of people who have formed a ‘house’ congregation here in Mareeba which is on the highlands called the tablelands outside of Cairns. Matt and Claire Byl only moved here from WA a week ago and it was great to catch up with them and their girls too. Ian was able to lead worship and preach, and after our ‘cuppa’ (Australian for having a coffee) he shared some of our experiences these past few years and offered some food for thought on the three Cs of mission and evangelism—conviction, clarity and compassion. Afterwards we enjoyed a good hearty Australian lunch with most of the members and then headed back down to the coast through the Gilles pass—a 19 km windy trek through beautiful tropical and semi-tropical forests.

And in just a few days we’re flying on to Port Moresby (capital of PNG) for fellowship and meetings at the RCBC (Bible College) and then after more than a year we will reach LAE by Friday, the Lord willing. We are eager to continue to serve Christ there for as long as He wants us there.

We go waiting on Him. We are entering a cholera zone. They say some 100 people have already died of cholera and mostly from the Lae area. Please pray for the people of Lae and surrounding regions who are currently dealing with a cholera outbreak along with other forms of dysentery. Many are very sick, including some from our church. (For more details on this, you can go to our colleague’s blog at www.anvanderheide.blogspot.com).

Please also pray that we will all be able to resume our life and work in Lae without a lot of obstacles. We know Satan is tirelessly working to destroy whatever good has been accomplished in Lae as the Gospel of grace has gone out. We thank God that he is powerless, except for the latitude God grants him.

Finally, we look forward to updating our blog as often as we can so that we can keep sharing bits and pieces of our life and God’s work we’re involved with in Papua New Guinea.

Caleb-our chubby litle man.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Karlyn!!

Our big girl is 3!

Look at that frog cake! What a great cake, and delicious too. Thank you, Aunt Alice!

Here's the crowd who helped us celebrate!

We've been remembering her last birthday, which was celebrated in Hawaii on our way back here from Papua New Guinea! Kind of a fun place for a 2nd birthday!

At that time, we were facing so many unknowns--uncertainty about Ian's health, if and when we would be able to return to Papua New Guinea, how we, especially our kids, would adjust to this sudden and big change in their lives. And now here we are a year later. We've been richly blessed during our time here. We've even become a family of 5! And the Lord has blessed Ian's health enough that we are making plans to return to Papua New Guinea shortly. Big changes are upon us again, and the only thing that seemingly remains the same is the many unknowns we are facing once again. We don't know if Ian's health will continue to improve or if it will decline again in the tropical climate, and it will be quite a transition for our family, especially our kids, to adjust back to life in Papua New Guinea. It is easy to worry and to feel anxious, but we have to remember that in the midst of unknowns, there is One whom we do know, Who never changes, our Lord and Saviour. He is faithful, He is good and He loves us so much. And while we don't know His plans for us, we do know we're in His hands.

Friday, August 14, 2009


We've been home from the hospital since Sunday, but here are still a couple more photos from there. If you look closely at this one, you'll see that Caleb and his cousin Jayden are learning to count already...Jayden's holding up one finger and Caleb two (or is that the peace sign?!)

Uncle Peter and cousin Liam.

Here's our little man, looking so mature and wise already as he sits in his chair (which is actually way too big for him still).

Proud big brother!

With cousin Jayden before he returned to Holland.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Welcome to the World, Caleb

We can hardly believe it was just yesterday that our little man Caleb entered our lives. We praise God for His faithfulness and this gift to our family. Here are just a few of the people he's met so far in his short little life!

After talking about and to "baby Caleb" for months, Jonathan and Karlyn finally meet him for the first time!

A cuddle with Grandma.

Meeting Aunt Kathelien, who with Uncle Jonathan and cousin Jayden leave us to return to Holland tomorrow :(. But what a blessing that he did arrive while they were still here--an answer to prayer for us. God is good.

With friend Allie Buist.

With cousins Noah and Lucas.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Fun

We started off our summer celebrating the wedding of Ian's sister, Lydia and her husband Adam on June 12th. It was a beautiful day! A great time for the family to be together. Here's us!

And the siblings with the happy couple.

Then in July it was off to Killbear Park for a weekend of camping with the Wildeboers. Hours were spent at the beach and in the water, as well as hanging out at the campsite. We actually had a bear walk through our campsite in the middle of the day. Exciting! Most have to visit the "camp dump" for sightings like that, and here we had a close-up encounter. We soon heard, however, that the camp rangers had transported it further up north.

Then just this past week, we spent a few days at a cottage with my parents, as well as my brother and wife and son, who are visiting from Holland. Jonathan managed to get his share of water rides again!

Here's Ian with baby Jayden, my brother's son. Although looking a little unsure here, he really does love his Uncle Ian! Jonathan and Karlyn shower him with attention and love! Actually, we all do!

This summer has been a real blessing for us so far as we've caught up with many family and friends. And the best is yet to come...we are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of our newest family member--sometime within the next couple weeks...!

For those of you who are wondering, Ian's health continues to slowly and steadily improve and he is able to preach around more. We are hopeful that we'll be heading back to PNG in mid-September, God willing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Goings On Around Here

At first glance, you may think we had our baby already and here it is! But, no, this is Ian with his new little neice, Kate Maria Wildeboer, daughter of his brother Peter and wife Nicole. Ian had the privilege of baptizing her a few weeks ago, hence this photo of the two of them.

Here's Peter, Nicole, Mom and Dad Wildeboer, and big brother, Liam. Oh, and baby Kate too of course!

We travelled up to Ottawa the other weekend. For those of you who don't know, Ottawa is Canada's capital city and about a 5 hour drive from Hamilton. Ian's oldest brother Malcolm and his family live there. So our big reason for going there was to visit them and their 5 lovely daughters! But Ian was also asked to speak at a men's retreat for their church that weekend, which he thoroughly enjoyed doing.

While the men were "retreating", Cindy and I and the kids went to "Sally's pond", this wonderful idyllic getaway close to their home and enjoyed the sun and water. This is Karlyn with her "twin cousin", Olivia. Determined to catch minnows, with nets that looked more like basketball meshes!!

And Jonathan with a few of his cousins, all of whom made sure he was having great fun all weekend!

And here's our soccer star. Every Tuesday night, we now join the ranks of soccer parents and cheer our somewhat timid of a soccer player on! He's loving it, though!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Move

Getting ready for the Big Move...collecting boxes at the grocery store

Some dear friends lent us their truck, and even came back from their weekend camping excursion to help us move! Jonathan was somewhat enthralled with the truck!

Would you trust these two to move your stuff?!

The Moving Crew...thanks again, everyone! The huge truck wasn't nearly full...we don't own much, which seems to suit our somewhat nomadic lifestyle. And thankfully our family and friends don't mind lending us the things we need:)

The Place We Called Home

Not that I want to get too emotional about this, but we did really grow to love our quiet little spot in Dundas. But as of yesterday, it's no longer 'ours', and will soon be the home of Ian's sister, Lydia and her future husband, Adam. We are very happy for them as they get ready to begin their life together.

As for us, we've moved up, as they say, to the Hamilton mountain and are house-sitting for some good ol' Aussies who have gone to spend the next 3.5 months back home. Change never comes easily, and so it's a bit of an adjustment being in yet another new, and temporary, place. But I've been reminding myself of all the blessings of this place and the fact that this world is not our home, anyway!

Jonathan showed his anxiety about the move by having a bit of a hard time when we dropped him off at school the last couple weeks again. Once he's there, he loves it still though. He's also very excited about the fact that we have "pets" here--two fluttery finches. (Although we weren't told their names or where to find their food! Don't worry, we'll figure that out...) Karlyn was up in the night last night (our first night here) feeling "scared" and is having a hard time falling asleep now. All part of the transition. She told me today that she wanted to be back at our old house and that Aunt Lydia and Uncle Adam could move in here instead!

I think our most favourite part about the place in Dundas was the beautiful walking trail right beside our house. We walked it almost everyday and inevitably ended up at the park.

Blowing Dandelions

"I'm gonna miss this guy!"

Racing around and handing out tickets in the police car

Jonathan learned to fly down the trail on his bike with no training wheels

The backyard gate leading to the Plaza. Pretty convenient, especially for those 7am runs to the store when we ran out of milk!

We've discovered already that there are, of course, several parks here in our new neighbourhood and we just have to figure out which one is the closest. And the No Frills really isn't that far away, not to mention that we're now a 5 minute drive from Jonathan's school instead of 25. So we will be ok here...it'll just take a bit for it to feel like home.