The Questions

We are preparing to return to PNG, we're getting pretty good at saying goodbye. But before we go I thought I might take the chance to answer a lot of the questions people have been asking us. Before I do that, I would like to preface this blog entry with a thought. We love America. Yes there are things that upset any citizen, but as a whole we love this country, and our answers are not condemnations of American culture at all. It would be hard to condemn a lifestyle we lived, we live on breaks, we enjoy and one which houses all of you who support and partner with us. In our hearts, missionaries who move away and return hating their home country is very similar to folks dogs who like to bite the hand that feeds them. If it weren't for the freedoms enjoyed here, we wouldn't have people who have the ability to support us as you do, and we are thankful for that. (also, we really miss this place when we're gone).

Without further ado:

-What food did you miss the most / enjoy the most during your visit?
Kendal - Cheesecake factory
Chad - steak

-What did you think you'd miss but didn't?
Kendal - Starbucks
Chad - Frys Electronics

-What did you miss the most?
Kendal - People (family/friends)
Chad - People (family/friends)

-What has surprised you about returning?
Kendal - not a whole lot, was easy to pick up where we left off with relationships.
Chad - Large flatscreen tv's in HD, tons of info during football games.

-What was it like to go shopping?
Kendal - fun but overwhelming
Chad - I found it difficult to be confident that I was finding the best price.

-What has changed the most?
Kendal - kids growing up
Chad - nieces and nephews and young children of friends.

-Have you stayed in tune with the election coverage?
Kendal - no
Chad - yes, and was able to vote in the presidential, but was not as worked up about it as most folks seem to be due to lack of news coverage/immersion.

-What do you want to take back with you?
Kendal - how many people can I fit in my suitcase?
Chad - continued confidence that we're meant to be in PNG, and we are.

-What things do you have a hard time getting in PNG?
Kendal - craft supplies
Chad - hobby stuffs (rockets, cars, stuff that dads like to do with sons)

A summary of our 1 month here:
It started off with a wedding. We were able to come without using financial partner funds. It will end with the funeral of my great uncle. My daughter has fallen in love with High School Musical, my son has gained 8 lbs in pizza. The kids still all get together great, and seeing friends and family was fabulous. We've compressed a year's worth of living into a month and it's been very very busy. We're excited and rejuvinated to return to PNG and are sad to leave at the same time. Culturally not too much of a shock, although it does seem that we've been missing that overall pressure to be good consumers. The pressure to "buy now... save $$$" has been absent in our lives even though it seems an integral part of us, and we do occassionally feel like "consumer Americans" where we live because those around us know how to do without much better and put us to shame. It is all part of adapting to this new lifestyle. Stopping that voice in your head that says "I NEEED this." Still we're going home with a few things that should make Christmas special, and we've let the uncles and aunts and grandmas and grandpas spoil the kids because they don't get the chance to spoil their grandchildren very often. As a result, our kids have ocassionally forgotten their manners but not overly so, and I'm sure they'll re-integrate in PNG perfectly well. They seem to be pro's at that.

It's been a heavenly month. We're excited to return and hopefully use some of our new energy exciting our friends around us and sharing some of the enthusiasm we've received in being here.



Today we will be eating foods we haven't had in a long time. My brother's smoked turkey, my dad's ham, my sister's home made rolls, my mom's pumpkin pie, my grandma's dressing.

As I drove down the street and saw the fall colors and the leaves on the ground, and smelled familiar smells, I suddenly realized what we had left.

This last month has been a whirlwind. It began with a wedding. That took a lot of energy and was a lot of fun. Then we began a series of visitations and dinners, seeing friends and family. We threw in some shopping for items we need restocking on, or have missed, some christmas presents to take back.

Today seems to be the first day I've taken a moment to reflect on the month.
Our time here will end with a funeral as my great uncle passed away this week.

Thinking about what I'm thankful for has a much deeper meaning for me this year than it has in past years. Because this year was the first complete calendar year of my life when I lived completely dependent on God to provide everything.

My eyes water a bit when I think about leaving family and friends again. I may miss some of the food, but I won't miss much else other than the people.

We expected to miss a lot of things. Ice-cream, steak, malls... but in truth, the only thing that we truly miss was people. It was very nice to be here and see folks.

We are deeply honored the God would enable us through you to be a part of His plan to bring His name to Papua New Guinea.

We are deeply thankful for you who support us to be here, in prayer and in finance, knowing the difficulty this country has seen in recent times.

We are overwhelmingly aware that God doesn't need us to accomplish His work, but He chooses to let us be a part of it, so we get to see Him glorified through our actions.

What a good year this has been. It hasn't been an easy year, but it has been a good year, glory to God.

Have a good holiday season.


Eye Believe

about 1 month after arriving in PNG I scratched my new eyeglasses rather badly. Today I had an eye appointment with my regular eye doctor since we're home for a short break.

We do not have vision coverage because it didn't make sense for us to enroll yet, we will enroll before our furlough.

So I sit in the chair, the Doctor comes in, friendly guy, I've always liked him. He says to me, "What do you do?"

At this point I always have pause. Do I say, "missionary" "computers" "volunteer" ? What would best communicate to this man the way he is expecting. The missionary thing usually throws folks off and they aren't intending a 20 minute conversation, but at other times it creates opportunities to speak to people.

So I say "Well, I'm a missionary"
he brightens up "well God bless! I believe! Yes sir, this world needs spiritual healing. I admire anyone who puts other people before themselves. What can I do for you today. I have missionary friends."

He asks what I'm there for.

"Well I don't have vision insurance, I need to repair this scratch as affordable as possible, I'd rather have you do it and cost a tad more because I know you'll do it right."

well he examines me, then calls in his assistant
"Give Chad the missionary discount. I jsut made it up. the exam is normally $100.00 charge him $45. The lenses normally another $150, charge him $75.... and get them to him by Friday."

That's cheaper and less hassle than had I gotten it done in PNG.

Man, I tell you, it may seem silly, but that pause for me after "what do you do?" is still part of me adjusting to this lifestyle. I hesitate to startle people like that, but it seems to me that when I do, God steps in and says "see, that wasn't so hard, now I'll bless you."