Many people here in Ukarumpa have not been to Alotau. This is the place of the new BOAT ministry that some friends of ours are managing.

I was asked if I could go a few days after returning from P.O.C. POC is a 4 hour drive from Ukarumpa or a 20 minute flight. Alotau is a two plane trip. One plane from here to Port Moresby then another to Alotau. Since I am going on a WORK related trip, our department is covering the cost of the flight.

The manager of the boat ministry is also acting as the regional center manager so he's overbooked. When you're overbooked and your computers aren't working, life seems that much more complicated. So as a support ministry, we (cts) are sending a representative (me) down to solve their computer problems.

It feels like a business trip like back in the States. I'll be leaving Kendal and the kids home for 10 days because while the work may only day 3-5 (after all I've brought up an entire hosting facility in 5) the flight schedules mandate I stay for 10.

So I'll be able to do more work than jsut the top priorities, which is a real blessing to me because I'll be able to work with people one on one AND assist with the VITAL program. (a translator training course)

It is really special whenever I can get more direct exposure to the translation process and apparently this experience is one that not many get to have. So I'm thankful to God for it, even though it means travelling again so soon after having jsut gotten home.

My plane leaves in 40 minutes.

Life in Ukarumpa.
I was all packed, and ready to go when my wife said "the phone isn't working".
I looked at the phone and realized it was off the hook in the other room. We hung it up and it instantly rang.

I have 1 hour to go before the flight and I have had 2 favors requested.
-since you're going to Alotau can you bring some things for them?

In fact, we also signed up as a support family for one of the couples in Alotau, which means that since they are more remote and we have more resources, that we arrange to send them things when they need them. (more batteries, radio parts, computer parts, whatever). So for ten days I have 3 "outfits" and the rest of my luggage is stuff for them and the kids as a help and encouragement. So fitting in another small thing isn't huge.. I

-we have friends leaving on the same flight as you, and their connection won't leave until tomorrow and they'll need cash to eat/sleep etc. Since finance can only let us draw X amount per day, can you draw X amount and I draw X amount and then I'll pay you back later?

OF COURSE WE CAN! WHY? BECAUSE my wife is so brilliant that she planned ahead for our personal cash needs and got our needed cash two days ago!

It's year end stock take, so in addition to the standard office closure of Saturday and Sunday, we also have monday/tues/weds closures....

WOW... in the course of 1 hour we were able to help 2 people out. I LOVE being in the position where we can be helpful.

For so long we've been learning, training, working, and basically learning the ropes, asking questions of others, and feeling generally like... mooches. Relying on the kindness and help of others.

But now, we've been here half a year, we're established, know more of the language, and have been able to help people quite a bit!

We take our roles as support much further than the work we do. It pours into our attitude, we want people to feel welcomed, supported, encouraged, and generally like we're the kind of family they can always come to when they need help or rest.

So today is a GREAT day because not only do we get to help people at Ukarumpa, but I get to go to Alotau and give some goodies to this family's 4 kids, give some encouragement and love, and practical technical help.

This is the kind of day we were made for!

God is so good to us, giving us this kind of opportunity time after time.
At POC we were able to be helpful to people as well because of where God had put us months previous. We were able to encourage people and comfort people, fix their computers, etc.

Please pray for Kendal and the kids alone for 10 days. We've been apart for ten days before but this time it's in a different country, and Kendal is the one staying. Pray for safety and health and sanity. (-;

Thank you all for reading and supporting us!


Village Living.... the EPIC SAGA

I wrote my “blog” down by hand since I did not have a computer with me during village living. I also only wrote snippets as I had time, so what you’re about to read will be a very long blog entry as I’ve put all the 6 days together in one post. Also, since it is more like a quilted fabric of thoughts and recollections of the day, the grammar is not always clear. Take it for what it is, and I hope you enjoy reading it. It’ll be a bit of a read. Also, soon I will post from Kendal’s journal, so you get her perspective as well.

(the way I enjoy is I goto the first picture, click on the down arrow, choose "view slideshow" then up at the top click on 640x480 change the time from 15 seconds to 3 seconds, and click "show more info"... then I can sit back and enjoy the photos)


Village Living

Day 1

We took 2 hiluxes and 4 families into the bush “kamba”. After unloading the others we took a 2.5 km trail in the 4x4 to the village named “Betelgut”. There we met our was mama and her daughter and granddaughter (1yr old) and her dad. We were told that our waspapa was in Lae for the week so I figured I was destined to not have one. He may show up later.

The house was up a short path, our temporary waspapa is a carpenter so the house was very nice. Strong. After we saw the newly finished liklik haus (outhouse) we storied a bit (talked) then put up the beds and mosquito nets and got water going through the filter. I was told “you fat” and that Sydney spoke better tok pisin than me or Calvin or Kendal. These types of comments are not rude in their culture, they simply are observations. This hurt Calvin’s feelings until I told him that he spoke better tok pisin than me. We seemed to click quickly with the family so that was good. The roof of our room is at 10’ but the door is at 6’ and I’ve hit my head 4 times thus far.

We’re isolated but it is really nice. I am finding I can communicate somewhat well although I’m not sure if that’s a tribute to my tok pisin or their ability to understand bad tok pisin. I still have much to learn. After a brief nap 10-15 boys came and played soccer. Watching the boys w/ Calvin was amazing. They would run all around him but stop near him and let him take his time kicking the ball because he was so much slower than them. Then in a feat of cross cultural communication, I taught them kickball! They loved it. 2 dads umpired and one dad was your typical little league dad, shouting and directing them in their tok ples (native language).

Stand in was-brother showed me a new house being built, it was 2 stories. Sydney is amazing! Everyone loved her from the 1^st minute. She’s fluent in tok pisin, plays with their pet snake, and right now is learning to shred coconut. It is simply awe inspiring to see her flourish. Calvin is right now trying to catch a chicken with his bare hands. He thinks a rope would help him, so he might get a vine. From time to time you see him chasing after it. For Dinner we’re having taro, kowkow, chicken, kumu and rice. Syd played hopscotch but her hair wasn’t curly enough to hold the piece of coconut shell on her head. Calvin played marbles and I learned to chop/split wood the PNG way. An old man came into the room and started talking. It was an awkward conversation because he was partially deaf. He had 4 sons, 1 daughter and 2 sons of his died to sickness. They tell us we will be seeing many funerals in the coming years as AIDS is quickly becoming a major health problem here (to rival Africa).

The liklik haus is a 4x4 room with a 12” hole in the ground. I put a toilet on top of it under advisement from staff at POC. I met wasmama’s husband. He’s a very talkative and hospitable guy. A carpenter, I really like him. He has many friends and built his house to host visitors. We had a good dinner and talked a lot. He gave me permission to do magic tricks tomorrow, I was concerned about this because of the country’s history with mysticism, but he was assured when I taught him the secret to the trick and realized it was all play. His prayer at mealtime was quiet and on one knee and well spoken. So far I’m really enjoying village living as is the rest of the family. They call SYD a PNG Meri. I think they want to keep her. Sydney carried firewood on her head today, and Calvin has been a little quiet, but he’s warming up.

Day 2

My air bed leaks. So I decided to hike the 2.5km to the PMV stop. We saw some other POCers there. The hike wasn’t too hard, very sweaty and hot. Calvin and I rode the pmv into town, THAT was an adventure. Then we bought 2 foam mattresses with all the cash I had on hand. I bought Calvin an ice-cream with the remaining coins because he was so good today! The new rode another pmv to Kamba and hiked back into our village. I never planned to ride a pmv or hike while in the village. I made up for the hike I missed when I was sick! On the way up one man asked my advice on how to be successful, and in tok pisin I replied to him that true success was knowing Christ. If he wanted true success he needed to read his Bible. I had only a little time to witness to him, but instead of answering his question of how to sell more effectively to whiteskins, I gave him that. Who knew I’d be witnessing on a the back of a flatbed truck in the middle of a jungle? God. It was a great adventure today, one I would have never attempted without the training of the previous 5 weeks at POC.

Papa talked about an adopted son in Australia learning the computer business from a friend of his who likes snakes and insects, I’ll have to ask more about this later.

Day 3

Slept from 8p-4a was tired. The family is large, 7 kids. 2 boys away w/work 1 daughter w/baby. Our wasparents are no who they were meant to be but it’s fine. Mama runs most of the show. Today waspapa stand-in wants to climb coconut trees and drink kulau (young coconut milk, very tasty. This is a good drink sort of like jungle Gatorade, it puts back in minerals and electrolytes You find a green coconut, then cut open the top 1/3 of it and drink the contents). He took me on a tour of betelgut, it’s large w/30 houses or so, very pretty because there is water all around. Yesterday I asked Sydney “what are you eating?” “kowkow and a lolli”. PNG MERI. Calvin has been practicing cutting bark w/a bush knife. Sydney has befriended Alma, I’ve done a few magic tricks. Sydney drank some bad creek water but didn’t get sick from it. She was called “blackskin” and we’re told she will soon know yet another language (tok ples) if she stays much longer. I hiked up with calvin to the kulau and it was very tasty. Grandpa stopped in twice today. The first time he wanted medicine and the 2^nd he wanted a bread. I spent some time with him documenting his family history (homework assignment). The kids have really taken to me and papa said it was good for a man to play with his children because too many order their kids around to do work and then their children never come until dinner when called. Today the boys really were interested in touching me. They compared hand sizes and foot sizes, tried to feel my toe inside the boot, wrapped their fingers around my calf… they were fascinated with my size and color. It takes a measure of patience to be pawed at, but I didn’t mind it too much. I read today from the Bible in tok pisin and they gathered around. We spent a lot of time laughing and talking with everyone. The kids enjoy coin tricks much more than any other kind. There was a mouse in our room last night, but we didn’t even bother getting out of bed. The dogs chased some stranger snooping around the village off. We played games with papa tonight, talked a while, did shadow puppets which he found very amusing and participated in. Tomorrow he will go on a BOMBOM (fishing). I wanted to go catch kundaum(shrimp) but mama decided it would be too dangerous for me. I insisted but she declined. I have been warned that these families will really watch out for us and make sure we’re safe but I had yet to be denied anything. I respected her wishes and didn’t go. But I asked her to teach me how they are caught and prepared and was wary of how they are preserved since we weren’t to eat them for 2 days.

I was shown how they dry them. Whiteskins refrigerate, they dry. The shrimp were cooked over a fire for 2 days… They use a spine from an old umbrella and attach it to a bamboo stick and spear the shrimp around 2am. I am anxious to give this family our parting gifts as they’ve been such gracious hosts. I told them so as well.

Day 4

It would have made a good story to go on the bombom but at least the story doesn’t end with me making a trip to the hospital as mama didn’t allow me to go. But what did transpire was a bit of a pickle for me. Papa asked mama to ask Kendal to ask me if they could borrow our coleman kerosene lantern. Now this lantern was lent to me by the POC director and I was told not to bother coming back without it. So I had to decide if I was going to give the impression that “stuff” was more important than a relationship because in PNG culture, you share everything. However, knowing that, I also know that should I share this coleman with him, he would see sharing it with his brother or friend as the same permission. This is exactly a text book case of cultural values being different. We studied this in ICC. I knew therefore, that if I lent this, it could end up in ANYONE’s hands. And it did. In fact it ended up in two of his close friends’ hands. And since mama didn’t let me go, I couldn’t watch it. Let’s face it, I was more likely to fall and break it than they were anyway. Well, that night Kendal and I prayed that the lantern would come back, and if it didn’t, it was worth the relationship building to buy a new one. I could not shame him in this way. I did notice however that he didn’t ask me directly, it went through the wives. It rained all night and into the morning, so I was somewhat relieved to have been banned from the trip. The coleman came back fine and they caught more than kundaum they caught maleo (eel) and fish. They told me it was snake but when I looked up “maleo” the dictionary said “eel”.

Papa and I talked again for a while. It seems to be the nightly tradition, we eat, and then we sit back and talk about anything. He talked more of his son in Australia. He talked about how his son failed a computer course and wanted to know how I might be able to help. He talked about opting to not finish his house and use the money to help his son graduate his course. Which he did, and has yet to send any money back. I sensed an air of sacrifice for his son and yet disturbance that his son doesn’t write or contribute money to the family. This made me think of the idea of compensation in their culture. Even a father who invests in his son (whom he pointed out repeatedly was adopted, and the only bearing I can think that has on the issue was that it was his oldest. He made a distinction between his FIRST BORN and his FIRST SON, the reason this is significant is because by adopting a son before having a son, his adopted son gets all the land rights, instead of his first BORN son. So perhaps the slight bitterness was that this boy who was in line to inherit all his land, was not contributing to the land, and yet the first born son was living here, working the land, working hard, giving back to the family. I’m unsure) There is a lot about the people and the place and the family that you can’t glean from 6 days. I get the feeling that if I were to stay months I might scratch the surface of all the elements that go into the social interaction.

Papa seems to have many friends all over the world, which shows me where his heart lies. I was walking today and saw a sketch in the dirt of a tall man with boots and shorts and I had to assume it was me. Someone in the village was drawing me… that brought on a chuckle. Papa doesn’t talk to his dad (grandpa) nor listen to him, so again there is that something underlying that as a guest, I’m not privy to.

Day 5

Last night I was shutdown. I could barely speak English. I don’t know why but I was hoping my brain was switching to tok pisin thinking. I didn’t do much but I had little energy. The bagman in the village (community leader) came to visit with me. Sydney taught the kids the “chicken dance”. I read some more of the Bible and gave a little magic lesson (God has the true power kids). We ate eel for dinner with rice and kuaka. Sydney ate the eel down to the bone. Calvin liked it too. They asked me to read/preach in church this morning as their pastor was at a conference. They asked about 5 minutes before church was to start. It went well, the church is about 3 feet taller than I am. Papa was proud to tell me he painted the lettering on the door and in fact he was a leader in the church. He led the service. He later showed me his son’s soccer trophies.

Tonight was a big night, we had a Bangka (big feast) and many people came. Waspapa made a traditional meal of “banana cake” which was really enjoyable to watch the process of. It isn’t a cake like we’d think of it, it wasn’t sweet. Watching the ceremony of the day and the preparation of the food with coconut leaves as rice baskets, really the description of it doesn’t fit the participation so I’ll save some typing and skip that. It was an enjoyable celebration where we were the unspoken guests of honor. The bigman later took me aside and asked what my intentions for being in their village was.

I answered in tok pisin and then in English to be sure he understood me

“I’m here to learn Tok Pisin and to learn what your life is like, what you are like. My job in this country is to fix computers to help with Bible translation, but it is a meaningless effort if I am not doing it with a love in my heart for the people of Papua New Guinea. So I am here to foster that love, and to gain the skills to make friends in this country.”

He was very pleased with my answer and then told me that he had several experienced with white men who come, learn the language, take pictures then sell the pictures for a profit and exploit his people. I had heard reports of this as well, and I’m not sure what is going on but others seem to complain about it. Every person there has a different impression when they see a whiteskin that is tainted by their previous experience. I feel though that we made good friends and I know we made a close connection in this time.

Day 6

Today we leave. We packed up and the kids gave our kids gifts, we gave gifts and received gifts. I entertained the kids with finger tricks, eye tricks, whatever I could think of. We had a great time with the old “spin your head on the baseball bat then run in a straight line” game. The kids and adults laughed as the dizzy kids would fall all over the place. Papa and mama both asked us to have Sydney write them and send pictures as she grew. Mama was tearful at saying goodbye to Sydney. Again I’m convinced we are here so our children can minister. (-;

Earlier papa took me to their matmat (cemetery) and I asked him about his family line. Apparently his grandfather was a peacemaker (like a policeman) and came to settle a large tribal fight. In so doing he was rewarded with land, and his family relocated to Betelgut. So their children, the ones I played with, were the first children FROM betelgut from his bloodline, until the kids were born they were more or less outsiders. He explained how the community functions, how they have committees for everything and how they are communicated to through the GARAMUT (like a gong) and what the different gongs mean.

Market Experience

Sagawa Market

I got there twice after a long hike and pmv ride with Calvin. 30 men on a flatbed truck, with a ton of cargo and bilums. People were shy about touching me but I told them “if we hit a bump, don’t fall off, grab my leg” they chuckled but at the next bump three men grabbed my leg to hold on. My calves are thicker than their necks. I am repeatedly surprised by the pictures that show our size difference.

Garden day

We (calvin me and waspapa) hiked to the coconut line about a mile away and rested in the shade and drank kulau. I asked if Calvin could learn to climb a tree and they taught him. They wrapped a loop of bark around his feet and showed him how to hop and pull and hang on. He made it about 5 feet up and then stopped as he says “I didn’t want to exhaust myself, but I could have gone all the way up.” Then we cut the kulau and brought it home by tying the husks and throwing the coconuts over our shoulders. The kids (mangis) threw some coconuts on big Limbu leaves (about the size of a wagon) and dragged them home. I cut my finger a bit on the coconut shell, when drinking but it was good and Kendal enjoyed sharing some back at the village as well.

Garden Visit –Kendal’s Journal

Sydney and I went to the garden with some of the women and children. The garden we visited was “longwe liklik” (not too far) and thankfully not too steep of a climb. The family has another garden that is on top of a big mountain, so to get there you must go way down and then way up again. I was thankful they didn’t take us to this garden. We walked to the garden and then worked together to weed a large part of it. I’m sure wasmama thought I was very slow, but I felt like I did a good job of contributing to the work. Sydney is definitely the star of our family. Wasmama kept saying over and over how she is a good PNG meri.

Learn A skill/teach a skill – Kendal

Today I taught some of the ladies how to make bread in a drum oven. The women said they wanted to learn this and I think they enjoyed learning. They seemed eager to help mix and make the bread. I decided now was the time to tell them that I would leave the drum oven that Chad made, when we go. It would be silly to teach this skill and then take away the tool needed to repeat the skill.

Mama taught me how to make (or at least start) a bilum. I enjoy this kind of work a lot, it was nice to learn this skill. At first I think Mama didn’t really want to teach me, but she did and I think we both enjoyed it very much.

Attending Church - Kendal

We attended the local church in the village. Just before going Chad was asked to read and share about a passage of Scripture. The service was rather short due to the fact that the pastor is gone at a conference. The service was a mixture of formal like the church near poc and informal because they had someone playing a guitar and leading some praise song. Since the pastor was gone our papa led the service. One thing that really stood out to me was the very serious and respectful way Papua New Guineans behave when it comes to speaking about and worshiping God.



We're back from POC training, and we'll be heading up to Ukarumpa tomorrow morning. We are saying our "see-ya-laters" to friends who will be here for another 8 weeks doing more in depth translation training.

For 1 week now we've been in a village, learning the behavior and culture of papua new guinea, and the language, and how to live in a village setting, and how life is for a translator.

I have many pages of blog to write, and I've handwritten every bit of it, as I didn't have a computer in the village.

It'll be several days until I can get it all online, however until then, know that we're safe, we're healthy and very pleased with the experience!



(we're all healthy again...)

The sleepover

What happened:
We were assigned to pack up and walk to the village for one night sleep over. We left at 5:30pm to arrive and setup our beds and mosquito nets in daylight and to locate the bathroom. The liklik haus or toilet, is a shack with a hole in the ground... no seat. I was anticipating this to be my biggest challenge but it wasn't.

We arrived at 5:45 or so, (a short walk) with our backpacks, and we waited to be invited inside. We weren't invited inside. We asked to come inside and they let us in. Then we asked where we would sleep, and they showed us, but told us that we would eat dinner there first which meant we couldn't set up our beds. There was a long period of no communication in which we didn't know what to do so we decided to try and talk. The family wasn't too talkative and there were no men there. After a bit, my wife informed me that they changed their mind about where we would eat and we could go ahead and set up our beds.

We setup 4 beds and 4 mosquito nets. It was a lot of string tying and finding creative places to tie to in this house. It wouldn't be fair to call the house a hut, it was a house, jsut not by any Western standards. The floor was wood, the walls were woven dry grass, and the roof was tin.

We ate a dinner of rice and conversation wasn't that active, but later I taught all the kids a game called "hands up" and they loved that. Dinner was over, and tea was served. The tea had a lot of milk in it, so I sipped it politely but then passed on my leftovers to my son which was culturally appropriate. We chatted for a bit and we turned in I think around 9pm, It was hard to be sure as there were no watches. Sleeping was easy for Calvin, he slept all night as soon as his head hit the pillow. Sydney had a rough night, and thusly so did the rest of us. The rest of the village didn't seem to go to sleep until around midnight... by my guess. I was glad I brought earplugs.

Thoughts on what happened:
While you're laying in bed not sleeping you have a lot of time to think. My devotions for the morning was from 2Cor where Paul discusses having been in prison, shipwrecked, stoned, and all his torments. I was laying in this house thinking "How can I even consider grumbling about anything! It's raining outside and I'm not wet!" The liklik haus I visited was covered in large and small spiders. I have no illogical fear of spiders, but that doesn't mean I like them nor do I like sticking my head in a web. So I took a palm branch and swept out the toilet room of all spiders, because they seem to like hanging out at right about my forehead level.

God gave me a great attitude about this experience and here is why. As I'm trying to fall asleep amongst screaming babies, roosters crowing, dogs barking, dishes clanging, people talking... I suddenly think to myself "why are my kids having so much fun in everything they are doing?" and I remembered when I was a kid I didn't want to miss anything, so I wouldn't try to fall asleep I'd try to stay up and hear everything I could. So that's what I did, I laid there trying to hear all the noises and soak in the sounds and before I knew it, I had fallen asleep.

How many people get to experience what we have? How many people can say they have done this? Can say they have used one of the famous "village outhouses"? How many people can say they slipped on the muddy trail to the bathroom and fell hard? How many can say they woke up, had coconut kinas and tea for breakfast, and were given a tour of a garden?

I'm astonished by the lifestyle of the people here. It is hard work. This woman who hosted us, she had cut all the trees in her garden down herself. It was bikpela wok tru.

I learned a new phrase "sutim cad". It means to shuffle cards. One game the adults and kids alike love is UNO so I was asking all kinds of questions, "what do you call it when I do this?" "dispela wok, em i sutim cad".
I asked them how they shuffle... mixim cad. I ask them a lot. They weren't incredibly talkative but the experience was rich none the less and I'm looking forward to next week when I can contrast one family to another.

We're here to learn the PNG lifestyle, to learn the translator's life, and one small sample isn't enough, during POC we'll get several samples, and so I'm looking forward to our first overnight with a different family as well.

All in all, God is so faithful. While we were going into yet another experience that would push us out of our comfort zone, God supplied us with the ability and the attitude required to not only survive it, but to make it a pleasant one. I can not fully explain how much I LOVE the way God works in our lives. I am not the man I am because of Him. I am not a grumbler because of His supply. I am enjoying an experience meant to push you hard and I'm finding that I am gaining confidence more and more that God has called our family here. I was fully sure of that from day 1, but God continually says to us "look, you are excelling in My work for you, My burden is easy."

My heart is overwhelmed during these times when God arrives and gives me something not from myself.


Our allocation.
Well, in 2 days we go into village living. This is 5 days alone (no other whiteskins around) in a village, cooking for ourselves, living in a village house, speaking only Tok Pisin. It is a final exam so to speak. We've been preparing to hike down to the bathing hole, hike down to the drinking water supply, cook, sleep, all without electricity, refrigeration, or transportation. We've seen pictures of where we are to stay, and what the bathroom we'll be using looks like. And we're ready. Today in our haus kuk, we cooked spaghetti, and macaroni n cheese, and bread, and rolls, and it was a good day, using a drum oven, a fire, a primus and lantern. Soon we'll be incommunicado, learning more about the culture and the language.

We've learned a lot and there are many small things to remember that makes each action you make something you think about. Don't step over food, don't ask to see bedrooms, don't ask why, keep your cooking pots VERY clean or they'll think you're a weak woman, don't slip in the mud, drink lots of water, cook using very little firewood, etc, etc.

As support staff, we're not only gaining an appreciation for the culture and the lifestyle of the people, but we're also gaining appreciation for translators who can live over half a year in the village at a time. 5 weeks have flown by, and as is the case with most challenges in life, the anticipation of the event is often more intimidating than the completion of the event. Which is why, as we go forward, we know already, that we can do it, and do it well.

We leave for the village in 30 hours or so. We're packing up now, between classes, we'll be hauling in kerosene lantern and primus, a few buckets of food, mosquito nets, and sunscreen. A few more items too. Our challenges will be purifying water, speaking in tok pisin, washing in a river (body and clothes) and more. We feel prepared and are excited to get there. Please pray for a good experience, that we're able to communicate and that we get a good flavor for the culture.



Today is the day I thought I'd never make it to. Today I have finished the hikes (minus the one i missed when I had Giardia)

Today was the hardest of all the hikes and I was warned months ago about this hike. I shored myself up with 3 liters of water, a headband, a hat, sunscreen, bug repellent, bandages in case someone got hurt, two pairs of socks, my hunting boots, and scripture verses.

The hike was straight down hill, the equivalent of 8 or so stories down. Then hike along the river and come back up the 8 stories straight up along ridges and cliffs and slippery ground.

At one point I looked down and saw water pouring from my body, two drips per second. I was amazed at how fast I was losing water. My headband rung out was several ounces. I was glad I had prepared with many times the amount of water I had taken before.

My attitude, the only thing I could control was good. During the moments when I thought my knees might give out, I would recite scripture in my head. I was thinking about how corny this was.... but some of the best things in life are corny, and now, having seen the true power in it, I no longer feel it a corny christian thing to do.

Today, and in POC I've seen practical evidence of God in me. When the scripture says, "greater is He that is in you" ... He is. When it says "in our weakness, HIS strength is made perfect" well.... it is.

I allowed myself in my weakness to go before God and seek His strength. I finished the hike because of His strength. If you think what I'm saying is a metaphor, or pretty language, it isn't. In a very real way God was with me on the hike and in a very real way, I was pulling from a well of ability that was not from myself.

I have been very nervous about the hikes since well before I arrived in country, POC was a thing for me to be afraid of.... but now, I have completed the hikes, the things which struck me as impossible. There is so much now that I have done that I never thought possible before. Language learning, sitting down with a man from a completely different world, sharing a meal and communicating... what a wonderful experience.

God has blessed me so much since the moment I said "God I can't be a missionary in PNG without you showing up in a huge way... it jsut isn't in the stuff I'm made of" and God has not let me down... Praise GOD...

Please pray, I've got a cold... which means I've been sick for over 3 weeks straight now, but Kendal has also been sick and has for one reason or another had to miss the hikes. Today she missed because Calvin was sick. For her, that's the biggest challenge. She came ready to tackle this camp, do everything. And I think the biggest challenge for her is the disappointment that she has missed 3 hikes now.

Pray for her encouragement. This time is challenging in different ways to different people. I felt an extreme sense of accomplishment today and I want that for my wife and children too.

Day 27 POC

We were informed on Friday that this Sunday we would have a "individual family worship" we could go to town for church, walk to a village church, stay on center and have church... whatever we chose.

So we came up with the idea to let our two kids run church. I thought "it'll be interesting, and it won't be too long." We had no idea when we presented them with the idea how much they would enjoy it!

That friday they began meeting together in secret and planning it. Then on Saturday they spent the day rehearsing it. Come Sunday morning we're awoken at 7am by my son in a button down collared shirt with his hair wetted and combed.

"is it time for church?"

We cooked breakfast first then headed over.

The kids ushered us into their location of choosing which was a grass hut (haus win) built over the side of the hill, a very nice location. They rang a bell of sorts, and there was a stump for the "preacher" to sit on.

My word of advice days before was "make this the kind of church you'll enjoy, so we know what you guys think church should be like."

Behind the stump was 4 books, and on the wall was an orange "program" written in kid handwriting.

The service lasted nearly one and a half hours as we sat on the floor of this hut.

Here is the Program:
1. singsing : sydney
First Pray
2. Story Buk Bibel : calvin
3. Bible : sydney
4. Hero tales : sydney
bathroom break
5. Pray: calvin
6. Bible: sydney
7. Buk Baibel: calvin
8. Pray : calvin

they had borrowed tok pisin worship books (four of them) from the school to hand out, and collect when the songs were over.
The first prayer was in tok pisin, my son led that. I was amazed.
then he read Genesis day 1-7 in tok pisin and my daughter read it in english afterwards

Then Sydney read a biography of Mary Slesser and told a few stories about this female missionary's life. She read about 10 large pages. (I asked later, so the perfect church for you is long... she replied ' i like long INTERESTING stuff like this'.)

Then we had a bathroom break as we'd been doing this for about 40 minutes now.
It was nice of them to consider that need.
Then my son prayed in English a prayer of thanks... a good one too!
And then they read for us Chronicles (the story of God giving Nathan the vision that David would be king).

During one moment I saw the beauty of the organization of this service in my daughter. She even planned at the end what my son in tok pisin should say
'Lotu i pinis, yupela go wokabout long haus bilong yu"
(church is over... go home)
I was amazed by it, by them, by their teamwork.

Another moment I almost was worked up to tears as I saw my son on the stump reading in Tok Pisin, the Baibel. If the only thing I ever do in life, is see my kids glorify God, that's more than I deserve. It's my aim as a parent and today we saw it, unfettered by our demands on them, or any other such bondage, they put together what I consider the best time of worship we've had in a few weeks, together as a family, taught by children. And until today I'd never heard of Mary Slesser so I can honestly say my children TAUGHT me today as well as led me into worship.

We never anticipated that God would bless us in this way, it was an off the cuff thought that I didn't think they'd run with, but they definitely ran with it, were excited about it, and spent 2 days on it. And they did a great job! I gotta figure God popped that idea into our heads so that He could bless us and bring the family together, which is an answer to a prayer we regularly have.