We don't use clothes dryers here. As often as it rains, the sun shines
hot and often. We hang our clothes out on a line. I'm sure you've
heard already about some ways this affects our culture. For example,
when it starts to rain, everyone running like mad to the line to get the
clothes off. Or having to wait for the sun to come out to hang your wet
clothes, etc.

One thing that happens to clothes on a line is that they fade. You can
sometimes see this clearly if you look inside the pocket of a shirt, or
on the underside.

Another thing that happens to nice, soft, cuddly towels, is that without
fabric softener or tumble drying, they stop being so soft and cuddly.

I used the towel in this picture to dry off, and it as I was doing so I
had this thought "I've somehow become accustomed enough to this
sandpaper like texture, that when I feel a new towel, I notice it very

(We got a few towels on furlough, which are the 'good towels', but it
wasn't my turn to use one.

I put it on the rack, threadbare, very stiff and rough to the touch, and
I looked at the tag at the bottom and hand to laugh at the irony.

"Opulence" yeah, maybe one day, a long time ago.


Lunch meet

Today I was sitting alone reading my book in a rare escape from the world moment. I was eating lunch alone at our local store when I heard a dirt bike pull up that had a familiar sound to it. I looked up, and saw a friend of mine. In my line of sight however I saw a young crippled Papua New Guinean man who also had a severe mental handicap.

I had seen this young man around before, limping to and from wherever it is he goes. Drooling on himself along the way, and sort of moaning out 'hello' to people in his way.

I had always admired the fact that this guy has kept himself alive in this culture, in this climate. He just keeps waking up each day and getting dressed, and walking to wherever he goes.

I found myself wondering at that moment 'how I could help this guy?' I

I wondered if maybe offering him a ride to someplace might help as he
limps along very slowly. But I didn't know if he would be able to tell
me, as his language ability is so impaired.

Something distracted me and I lost the train of thought and moved on.

Not long after my lunch was over and I decided to head back to work,
when a fleeting thought caught my attention 'hey, go into the store, and
hey, go into the store the back way.'

It was an odd thought, and I kinda was breaking the rules to do it. But
I used the excuse of using the bathroom along the way to make it feel
less like breaking any rules.

I didn't get too far into the store before feeling a tug on my jacket.
It was this young man of whom I was speaking earlier. He moaned out to
me something unintelligible and then pointed to some meat in the fridge.
It was an 8 kina (2 dollars) pack of lunch meat. He looked at me and
got out 'You buy for me'.

Oddly at this moment I can't recall if it was Tok Pisin or English.

I instantly said 'Yes.' I saw the coins in his hand, and assumed he
wanted help getting to the register, carrying it, etc. So I said 'Do
you have the 8 kina?'

He shook his head and replied 'You pay!'. As he did so more drool
escaped his lips and his eyes wandered.

I know that begging in our store is not permitted as it could cause a
big problem. So again I was faced with 'If I do this, how many rules am
I breaking?'

I decided to ask for cultural assistance. You really don't want to
encourage begging because you don't want to encourage a culture of
depending on missionaries for income. But I didn't feel this was
exactly that situation. I mean we've had people beg us for money
before, but never meat. And never like this. Mostly they just grunt and
put out their hands. This young man was telling me what he wanted and
assertively, how he wanted to get it.

I asked a nearby stranger from PNG his advice. And this is where the
entire exchange became so, out-of-the-ordinary that I considered it blog

The stranger smiled big at me, and friendly. This was our conversation:

Me: "Hi, sorry to bother you, do you know this man's name?" (indicating
the young man)
He turned to the young man and said "What is your name?" The young man
replied with his name.
Me: "he has just asked me to buy him some meat. This isn't normal PNG
behaviour (pasin), what do you think I should do?'
Him: "Has he asked you to buy something too expensive? Meat is costly,
maybe you don't have the money?"

At that point I was very impressed. This man didn't assume I was rich
because I was white, and at the same time, he was using words in such a
way that I could make that my 'excuse' instead of saying 'no'. He was
coaching me. He was giving me an out. At the same time he wasn't
shaming me. This man, this stranger was impressing me.

Him: "He is crippled, he doesn't know PNG behaviour. He only knows what
he needs."

I went to the counter and bought the meat for the young man, hoping that
I didn't in some way, create a ripple of problems throughout the store
by breaking rules, or throughout the culture by declaring open season on
begging. I was thinking 'others will object because of the precedent.'

And frankly, I would agree with those people. Normally.

And I say none of this to my own credit if anything it is to my own
shame, because it was only AFTERwards that I realized this was guidance
by the Holy Spirit.

I did it because:
-I had only 2 minutes before been thinking 'how can I help this kid.'

-I have always said I don't shy from direct confrontation, and this kid
was clearly telling me what he wanted from me.

-I sort of admired his self-preservation and assertiveness yet I know it
might scare and offend someone else, and so by doing it, I think maybe I
spared someone who might not react as well.

-I'm so rarely in the store, there is no way this will become a usual thing.

And later, I thought.. 'Hey God... I have no idea why that kid needed
meat. When I handed it to him, he didn't tear it open and ravish it.
It put it in his bag. Was he bringing it home to someone? He had coins
in his hand? Had he set out to buy food for someone only to realize he
didn't have enough? I don't know, but You do. And I think your Spirit
was guiding me to be there at that time to help him, and I'm ashamed
that I didn't realize it sooner, and I'm ashamed that I didn't decide
more quickly, but I'm thankful that you likely got me to the right end

It is such a small thing really. It was $2. So why on earth blog about it?

Well for two reasons:
1 - It was an unusual cultural experience for me.
2 - I firmly believe that if we cultivate our relationship with Christ,
we will be more sensitive to hearing what He is guiding us to do each
day. And that God is in charge, and able to compensate when we don't
exactly do what we were supposed to.

I'm hopeful all of that went in a way that glorifies God, and if it did
I'm thankful that He guided me into that place at that time. And I ask
for more such times as that.

The reason this is not boasting, is hopefully clear. It was 2 dollars.
That's it. It was nothing. Hardly worth mentioning. And yet it
stood out to me more than any other times when we've been more generous.
And I don't know why. Other than, I have this sense that God was in
the driver's seat during it.

And there is mystery, and there is encouragement and, it was odd.

So it made it on my blog in an attempt to give God some glory for it.


No explanation needed

Here is a testimonial shared at a recent dedication.  I really don't need to offer any additional explanation:
(this is a translation, she was speaking in Kandawo)

" "We were starving and we didn't know it. Now this audibible satisfies our hunger and tastes sweet. Now I'm waiting for the Lord to come back to get me. You've come with the audibible, at this exact time in my life. It is perfect for me. I have worries and heavies; my husband left me to work the garden and feed and clothe our two grade school children. But the audibible has given me so much peace. We saw ourselves as wild animals, pigs and dogs that die and are lost. But when you came and introduced this machine to us, it enlightened our minds from being like wild animals. It has taken us out of the destructive road we were on, and we have entered into its (new) road. It has been a game changer for me. I feel that it has met my deepest longing. The audibible said that if I humbled myself before the Lord, He would lift me up. So now I give things to God and I am at peace with this because God will raise me up." The next morning through tears, she pleaded with me, "You have to understand how very much this has completely changed me and my situation! This has changed everything for me."



When I was attending a Bible camp in high school, someone challenged us
to write a 'spiritual timeline'. Putting significant events in our
lives in order.

The visual of it had forever stayed with me.

Sometimes there were dips or valleys, other times there were peaks.

Most of the valleys were times when I wasn't as devoted to spending time
with God. (prayer, Bible reading, taking our relationship seriously).

Most of the peaks were times when I had been closer to God and He did
something awesome in my life.

One think I noticed along that timeline, is that God didn't change, but
I did.

I'm really not one for these common and cheesy christian phrases, like
"Trust in prayer, God is faithful!" but there is often truth in them (I
still don't like myself for saying them.)

A short while ago I watched the Kendrick brothers movie "The War Room".
If you are familiar with these films, they are usually well produced,
sometimes a little bit more smooth than edgy. (I am trying to avoid
saying they are cheesy. Well done, occasionally cheesy, but overall
some of the best 'christian' films ever made.)

This movie reminded me of that spiritual timeline. It reminded me that I
need to recommit myself to prayer. Life got a little busy, I wasn't
praying as earnestly as I had been accustomed to. And, not
surprisingly, life was getting a little overwhelming.

But after the prompting of the film, I got back into it again. Daily
spending time with God, on the weekends spending MORE very pointed
prayer time with God.

The end result is I started seeing immediate answer to prayer again and
started feeling more confident and happy.

Every valley, or dip on that timeline has been the same for me, the only
thing that ever pulls me out of one, is getting closer to my savior.
Every time I do, I think 'I'm such a fool for neglecting this
relationship, why did I let that happen?'

The enemy doesn't really need that much prompting to get us off track.
Life is busy, and it can very easily overwhelm us if we neglect the
delicate balance of being IN the world but not OF the world.