Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pictures Speak Louder

It's a dull and dreary day here in Lae and that seems to suit our somewhat gloomy moods as we said goodbye to our co-workers last night! Andrew and Natalie and the girls left early this morning to begin their journey back to Western Australia for a 6 month furlough. We are happy that they will have a break from life here which can be stressful and draining; the opportunity to share the work with our supporters; and time to be with loved ones. Though it's still hard for those of us 'left behind'--as they would've also experienced when we left for our leave in August 2008.

Our kids spent a LOT of time with them, love them very much and will miss them greatly!
I'll let the pics speak for themselves:

It probably goes without saying, although we don't have pictures to prove it (!), that Ian and I will miss sharing the load with Andrew and Natalie too. Not only because there's always a lot of work to do, but also because it's been a blessing to discuss issues and make decisions together, challenge and sharpen one another, as well as pray together about the work and people we're involved with. But God knows exactly who and what we all need--we entrust ourselves to His care. It's amazing to remember that our ever-present God goes with them, but He also stays here with us. We praise Him for that.

PS-A & N and girls--we love you all! Still hard to believe you're actually gone. The compound just isn't the same without you...we'll email/skype soon:)

Grandpa is Home

It's been one of those weeks that it's been harder than usual to be away from our family in Canada. On June 19th, at the age of 92, my grandfather Marten VanderVelde passed away. It was hard to be so far away when my Grandma, parents and extended family gathered for the visitation and funeral. I would've especially liked to be there to give my Grandma a hug and grieve with her. But even though I have these longings, God is encouraging us with His perfect timing--that He gave us special times with Grandpa and Grandma when we were in Canada last year. That my mom and dad are still there in Canada during this time before they leave to visit us here next week! And most amazingly, that Grandpa's suffering and pain are over and he is, right now, in the presence of the Lord! That's incredible...and we look forward to joining him there, one day.

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." 2 Corinthians 5:1

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Harvest Remains Plentiful

We are thankful to the Lord that our sending churches in Western Australia have extended a call to Tim Sikkema, a pastor-to-be and his wife, Francine to join the work we're involved with here in Lae. Please hold them close in prayer during this time of processing the call and seeking the Lord's will.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall...
Humpty Dumpty had a great....

There was no need for the king's horses nor the king's men

just his daddy's arms to be together...again!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Augustina and Agnes

I can't imagine what it would be like to be woken in the early hours of the morning by the sound of drums and war cries, and knowing this meant you had to jump out of bed, leave your home and run for your life. No time to pack up or get the kids dressed--just run! This was what a woman from our church, Augustina, and many other Sepik people, experienced a few weeks ago in a town called Bulolo, about 100km from Lae. Their hearts must've been pounding in their ears right along with the drums as they fled from the warriors of the Buang tribe who were out to avenge the death of one of their own. Augustina and the rest of the Sepiks eventually took refuge in a PNG Foresty building, while the police intervened to try to settle things between the two tribes.

Bulolo has been home for these Sepik people for four generations. But any homes they had there were burned to the ground by the Buang tribe. Life as they knew it is no more. Their gardens were also ruined. As they fled, they left places of employment and their children left school in the middle of the year. Such upheaval.

We were worried about Augustina and did not know if she was dead or alive. But thankfully the Lord protected her and her son who was with her and brought them back to Lae about a week ago. The police escorted all the women and children here, while the men stayed behind. Possibly some of these families will choose to stay here permanently. Others, about 300 of them, have already been repatriated back to the Sepik province--many beginning the long journey "home" with tears in their eyes.

We are thankful that Augustina is back safe and sound! But we also do continue to pray for the displaced Sepik people and a peaceful resolution to the tribal feud.

And Agnes is doing much better too-another reason for thanksgiving to God! Every time we see her, she seems a bit stronger and more her 'old self'! (That is, passionate, outspoken, even a bit fiery at times!) Praise God for healing!