Monday, May 26, 2008

a highs and lows weekend

Let me start with the highs...

We had a wonderful visit with Uncle Hans and Aunty Margaret! They arrived on Friday as the volunteers left. On Friday night they treated us along with the Wildeboers to dinner at a local hotel. Then on Saturday they ate dinner at our house and on Sunday night we had a BBQ together at the Wildeboers. We took them around a little bit on Saturday afternoon, just to some of the "touristy" places in Lae, and this morning before they flew out we all went to a local coffee shop together. Check out the photos below as proof they were actually here!

The two pictures above are at the Lae War Memorial

At the coffee shop waiting patiently for our refreshments!

Ashlyn and I went along with Andrew for the drive to the airport this morning to say our goodbyes. It was great having family over in Lae. And they really came on one of those weekends! It was a stressful weekend, due to the ongoing problems in one of our churches. Saturday morning (and into the early afternoon) was taken up with meetings and then on Sunday we hurried home from church (at about 1/1:30pm) for Andrew and Ian to have a quick lunch before rushing off twenty minutes later for another meeting which lasted till about 5:45 pm or so. Meeting Marathons and very stressful meetings at that.

Consequently there has been many nauseous stomachs and headaches in the families here on the mission field. As the stresses go on the waves of nausea and sleeplessness come and go. But was know our sleepless and ever watchful Lord is in control and even though sometimes the stress and problems seem to pervade all the work here, we do see evidence of God's goodness around us too.

Stress, however, was not the only thing causing sleeplessness on Saturday night. All night our neighbours over the fence were make noises, dragging something along the concrete floor outside. We could not figure out what they were doing, all we knew was that it was waking us up continually. Then suddenly at about 4 am a loud wailing began. I looked out the window and could just see the feet of someone they were moving to the ground, obviously who had just died. The wailing continued until daylight and into the next day, ending our sleep for the night. And last night we managed to drown out the wailing (it was way quieter last night) by shutting the windows and turning the fan up, but then at about 3am we were awakened by loud clanging and banging. We looked out the window again and saw that men were walking around the house loudly banging objects, obviously scaring away evil spirits. That went on into dawn of this morning! And then tonight they have a huge bunch of people gathered around singing praise and worship songs. Such a contrast to last night, but so common here. There is often such a mix of religious traditions. Many believe in the Power of God, but at the same time will practice more traditional rituals "just to make sure" that the evil spirits are truly kept at bay. We hope tonight will be more restful...but these haus krais (house cry) sometimes go on for some time. As long as it is subdued crying (as it is often during the day) it is not really disturbing us, and we are really enjoying the hearty singing tonight!

Anyway, I think that's about it from out here. Good night all.

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