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.