Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Super Seven!

Jonathan celebrated his 7th birthday last week.
Some friends came over for a party.

Hours of fun was had on this thing!
(Thanks for leaving it behind, VanderHeide's!)

Karlyn and her friend figured they were safer
in their own little dinghy...away from the boys.

A couple months ago some 'rascals' as the criminals are called here, opened a part of the steel fence surrounding our compound and stole Jonathan's bike. Judging by the size of the footprints these 'criminals' weren't more than 10 years old. We aren't sure why the 7 security guards who are supposed to be patrolling the compound didn't notice this happening, but in the end we're glad they didn't because the punishments don't tend to fit the crimes around here. Too many are severely beaten or even killed--for stealing. Our bike wasn't worth that much. Still, Jono did shed some tears the morning he woke up and it was gone. It was a special one he was given while we were in Canada and he rode on it a lot. But in the end, it was just a bike and he managed without it. But he was still very excited to get this new one for his birthday.

Zooming up and down the compound again!
We praise God for keeping Jonathan safe and healthy this past year!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To the Hills

Last week we travelled to a town called Goroka, which is about 4 hours from Lae up into the Highlands of PNG. We visited some friends who used to live in Lae, but are now working at a missionary school and health clinic in Goroka at the 'New Tribes Mission' Compound. The weather was wonderfully cool there.

Jonathan and Karlyn enjoyed breakfast on the veranda
with Philemon and Joel.

Here is our multi-cultural boy:
Playing hockey like a good Canadian,
wearing an Australian cap,
and standing in front of the PNG Bird of Paradise!
(We picked up the hockey stick at the 'mission barrel'--
which was full of free stuff left over from other missionary families
who have moved back to their home countries.)

A tire swing is always lots of fun--and double the fun when it fits two!
We also had the opportunity to visit a village that was located 6 miles outside of Goroka town. It was the village of a woman (Julian) who has been part of our church for about 5 years. Our church leadership has been in contact with her family about possibly starting a church in their area. Another leader and his wife visited in January and since we were going to Goroka anyway, we also took the opportunity to visit there. The scenery was breathtaking as we left the main road and walked into the hills.

Here's Julian, her son Jojo and some other children
who led us into the village.
Although I am of average height, I always feel like a giant around most PNGeans!!

Could this be Narnia?!

Here is Ian chatting with two of Julian's brothers.

Here are Julian's parents.
Ian shared the Word from 1 Thessalonians 5 with them
and their children and grandchildren and others from the village.
We left them with some sermons and some "Tok I Tru" books (literally, true talk), the Heidelberg Catechism in pidgin. We also encouraged the group to send some leaders down to Lae to learn more about our church. No definite plans were made for the road forward and we wait on the Lord's direction and leading. As we sat and ate chicken, rice and greens, the rain started and by the time we were done eating it was raining hard and night had descended--we weren't prepared for either. With borrowed umbrellas and flashlight, bags full of garden produce they had gifted to us, and Julian's son and some others as our guides, we began the trek back to the main road--about a 1.5 km hike down a narrow winding path. The rain kept coming and coming....and the path got muddier and more slippery. I gave up trying to wear my flip-flops when they kept getting stuck in the mud and walked barefoot, letting the mud ooze through my toes. We were sopping wet by the time we got to the car, but our hearts were full after experiencing fellowship and wonderful hospitality in a little village in the hills of PNG.

The next morning we drove to another spot in the Highlands--the Wycliffe Bible Translators Centre called Ukarumpa, which we've written about before. Again, we visited with friends and enjoyed the cooler temperatures and time away from regular life in Lae.

There, a young American woman gave
Karlyn's hair a much-needed trim.
It was her first hair cut so she was quite proud!

Caleb also got his hair cut--this is the 'before' shot!
Till next time!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Her Story Continues

We've written about her before--a woman from our church who has been abused by her husband for years now. He became hard of hearing from a work-related accident, and since then he has regularly flown into a rage and taken it out on his wife. Once Ian and Andrew intervened just in time as he was coming at her with a machete and threatening to kill her. That was not the first time either.

About 2 months ago, she decided that she had had enough and left him. Since then, she's been sleeping with various friends in nearby settlements and only going back to the house to see their daughter when she knows he isn't there or already asleep. She will no longer endure the abuse and has met with a leader in the community to begin divorce proceedings. The leader wrote out her story as she told it to him and was her witness--living not far from her, it was not news to him. She then brought the papers to the courthouse only to be told that the judge who deals with divorces will not return until May. So the game of hide and seek has continued until one day last week he found her. Actually, they happened to meet on the road. He got angry with her and began to hit her and try to rip her clothes off. It was then that the police intervened! We couldn't believe it when she told us, but they actually stopped him from beating her. This is almost unheard of here--but they did and told him that he couldn't beat his wife 'in public'. The police then proceeded to beat him up quite badly. She said he saw "plenty stars" that day. They took him to the police station and later sent him home with a letter, which he was afraid to read himself. It told him that if he beat her again, he would be put in jail. We praise God for making this happen! He protected her and sent the police who were actually ready to do their jobs that day.

Still, she carries a heavy burden. She continues to live in hiding, which is physically and emotionally draining. She has faced criticism from some in her community for wanting a divorce. She says, let them talk. There are rumours she has been unfaithful to him (and therefore 'deserving' of the abuse); she insists she hasn't been and we have no reason not to believe her. We have encouraged her several times to spend some time in her village where she would be safe and with her extended family. At the same time, we have also cautioned her to think very carefully before getting a divorce. We have encouraged her to pray and wait on the Lord. When Ian and another elder from church met with her a few days ago, the elder pointed out to her that the police intervening the way they did was no accident. The Lord caused it to happen for a reason. Maybe He will use it to convict her husband of his sin and need for a Saviour.

That remains the prayer!