Tuesday, July 29, 2008

goodbyes

The day came for us to say goodbye. To use an old cliche (I don't know why because I am not one for cliches) - all good things come to an end! Yes, Mum and Dad left us today for Port Moresby, where they will spend one night before heading on to Cairns. It was truly wonderful to have them here. In some ways it seemed like they were here for a long time, and in others like they were hardly here at all. You may have noticed (or not!) that I did very little blogging while they were here. Our evenings were just filled often with conversation so that I did not sit behind the computer., except when I had to.

This past week Dad and Mum slept in Ian and Nadia’s house (they were away with their visitors), though they still spent a lot of time with us, and had all their evening meals with us. So Mum got a break from cooking, but she made up for it with helping me with housework.
Unfortunately Julie (our house help) has still not returned. She is still at her village recuperating. But she is getting better we are told (from her family members who periodically come to Lae), something we have been praying for and are very thankful for. I am missing her here too, that’s for sure, not just for her work (though that too!) but also for her company (even though she is rather quiet, she is pleasant to have around!). I can’t get over how hard it is to keep this house looking respectable without her ... have I ever mentioned how dirty this house gets? And before you say, “yeah right my house gets filthy too,” let me tell you that our entire downstairs is covered only by white (yes, white!!) tiles - and with our children constantly running in and out of the house on bare feet through either one of two things - mud or dust- you can just imagine what the floor looks like! Okay, enough complaining, no I am not really complaining, I am just reminding myself not to take for granted the wonderful help I have when Julie is in the house. She is wonderful and I appreciate her. It sure frees up my time a bit to do other things like preparing for the literacy class or the like, and it just helps to keep me sane! And it gives her a steady income, which many people in this country lack.

Anyway, back to the goodbye thing. I thought I would just post some more pictures in memory of our wonderful time with Dad and Mum (they come from Mum's camera). They told us they enjoyed their time here, and I think I believe them. They both showed a lot of interest in the work we do here, and also in the people we minister to as well. They received a number of bilums (bags "knitted" by the ladies here). As we left today they even got to see a small part of a cultural show, and Dad and Mum even went on a photo with a group of people dressed in traditional Chimbu dress. Not a bad way to finish off their visit with us!

The older two girls were at school when we went to the airport, but Ashlyn was with us. She did not really want to give Opa and Oma big hugs as they left. Didn't really sink in, I think, that they were actually going. But as they disappeared from sight, she turned to me calling their names and then came to me for a hug saying, "But, my (I) like Opa and Oma! But, my (I)like Opa and Oma!", as if to say that she was upset that they were gone. And it was a bit sad for all of us - always a bit of an anti-climax when visitors leave - but we are thankful for the time we had with them, including the work they helped us with (Dad with a lot of "handy-man" kind of stuff, and Mum with my housework!). We pray they have a safe trip back home!

Mum receiving a bilum from Julian

Shiana with Yoniche

Julian, Fina and Me

our abode

Shiana (and Jonathan pictured) went with Opa and Oma and Dad to Biwat fellowship night

Opa and Shiana with Judy (our "host" at Ukarumpa, and also a great friend from our POC training in Madang)


As per usual, Kirilee found a baby - when we visited our "old" village in Madang



In the same village - Shiana in her element

At the markets - anyone want to buy some vegies??

Monday, July 21, 2008

We are back!! This blog has been very quiet, but that is because we have been away for a week and a bit. We had the privilege to take a break along with my parents to explore some other areas of PNG, and just to have a breather. We went to Ukarumpa again in the highlands, where we stayed at the SIL guesthouse. We chose to have our lunch and evening meal cooked for us, so I had a wonderful break from cooking as well. The weather there is so much cooler, and it is just very peaceful and quiet there. We caught up with some friends too, so all in all it was a great place to stay.
After this we travelled to Madang where we stayed on the beach in a small cottage. Mum and Dad stayed in a small room next door. There is a small swimming beach and also a swimming pool. The weather was warm and perfect for swimming. Even Mum, who never swims, did lots of swimming – the water was just so inviting. The road to Madang was pretty rough and slow - lots of potholes (more like craters) and just generally unkept. Thankfully, however, the Lord showed us travelling mercies and we were kept free from harm or incident throughout all our travels.


In Madang we also took Dad and Mum to "our" village, the village where we spent 5 weeks during our training, living as much as possible like the locals, without power or running water, and in a bush house. It was wonderful to see the village people again, and I think Dad and Mum enjoyed the day too. We spent quite a bit of time just relaxing in Madang too!


Ashlyn just loved the pool




as did her big sister, Shiana


Kirilee found a baby to cuddle

See my parents were really there in "our" village

Andrew chatting with the Papa who looked after us during village living


Two wonderful shots Andrew took in the resort in Madang

The break was just really good for our family (life continues to be rather stressful with some ongoing issues...) Kirilee, especially,perked up so much after the break. A couple of weeks before we went for a break she was in the car with Nadia when they were involved in an attempted “hold – up” – they were faced with a man pointing a gun toward the car - because the roads are so rought often you can only drive rather slowly. (happens more often in this country – criminals with guns trying to make a quick dollar by holding someone up). The incident happened just up the road from our house. They managed to get away without stopping, and although initially Kirilee, too, was pretty shaken up, she seemed to be doing okay. However, she was still pretty pale to look at and rather quiet for a couple of weeks (and anyone that knows Kirilee knows that this is out of character.) She usually loves to talk and chat, and even with Dad and Mum here she was still pretty withdrawn. However, we are thankful to say that the break seemed to be good for her. Her cheeks are rosy again, and she is much more her old self again!

But breaks always come to an end! We came back to the life back here in Lae. It is good to be home but of course dramas seem to begin right away...we were only back for a few hours and a huge riot broke out in front of our compound and it involved rock throwing, bow and arrows, bush knives and even pistols. We read in the newspaper today that it was to do with some drunk men being refused a boat ride and then each group going back to their family/friends and coming back with reinforcements. Anyway it was pretty loud and violent and it was hard to keep the girls from going outside or upstairs to watch...just didn’t think they needed to see it! Eventually, the special police taskforce moved in and broke it up with gunshots and the like.
We are still having a great time with Dad and Mum. With Julie still sick (she has gone back to her village to recuperate) I am also appreciating the extra hands to help. Why our landlords ever thought to put white tiles all through our downstairs area, beats me! Sometimes I wonder why I bother to clean them at all. I can mop all day and they still look dirty a few minutes later!

Anyway, time to get this thing uploaded. Goodnight all and God bless you wherever you are in this big wide world.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

they are here...

Mum and Dad Vermeulen are here. They have actually been here since last Thursday...but in all the excitement I haven't blogged about it yet. However, they are really here!!


They arrived only half an hour late and we were so excited to welcome them into Lae and our home (have to say that as they faithfully read this blog!! -but I would have written that anyway). Dad has been busy fixing some of our electrical things (everything breaks down in this country so quickly!!), and other things are just not fixable. He fixed our toaster (yahoo!!) and he also managed to fix the photocopier (that is not ours personally, but belongs to Reformed Ministries). It has been playing up for ages now (had to stand near it and feed one paper at a time into it!). Dad pulled it apart and initially thought he would not be able to fix it, but then he played around a bit more and did it...and we didn't even have to buy a single part. Then he also networked our computers...so he has really been kept busy. Already the first full day they were here he helped Andrew out at Kamkumung repairing the pulpit. Andrew and Dad made it a lot stronger now too. It was pretty wobbly before, but now is pretty sturdy. Here's two pics of them working on it:



Mum, has also been busy...helping me in the house (I think she is realising how quickly things and our kids get so dirty here. Having white tiled floors in the living area sure don't help to keep things looking clean!). Actually, I am extra thankful for her help in the house as Julie is sick (I think with malaria). She still came to work on Monday, but after we came back from shopping she was shaking with the chills from a high fever. She wanted to go to the clinic but didn't have her card with her (it was somewhere else), and I was worried that if she just went home she would not bother going to the doctor (even though I gave her some extra money so she could afford to go). So instead I decided to give her some malaria medication I had in the house, with strict instructions on how to take it (I went over it again and again. The good thing is that it is a herbal based medication, so doctors will tell you to take it even if they are not sure if you have malaria, as it does no harm. Also, it would be much worse to take nothing if she does have malaria - and looking at her I think she did, but then I am not a doctor and they need blood slides anyway to confirm malaria). I thought at least this way she would take something for it, but I did tell her that if she got worse she still has to go to the doctor! We pray she may soon be restored to good health...

Anyway, it is lovely to have Dad and Mum around, and not just for the work they are doing. The girls have been playing lots of games with them too, and Ashlyn has warmed up to them too.

Andrew has been busy getting organised as on Thursday we hope to take a short trip away. Ian and Nadia's visitors (Tim and Elissa and children) hope to come stay in our house while we are away and then soon after we return, Ian and Nadia will take their visitors away for a short break and Dad and Mum can go into their house.

Anyway, that's about all for tonight. Here's just one more pic of our girls that Mum took outside a hotel here in Lae (shhhh...they were treating us for dinner....don't tell anyone!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Profession of Faith

Last Sunday was a special day here in Lae. Well, all Sundays are, but this one was extra special as we had 3 people from Biwat Profess their Faith and four children were baptised. Gami and Joel became members and their children Vanessa and Robert were baptised. We are so thankful for them. They are both very keen and are also both very well learned in the scriptures. They also have been blessed with many talents academically and are keen to use them to God's glory. Gami has been invaluable in helping me during the literacy course. Without her help I think I would sometimes be falling apart trying to help all the students at their own level.

Viviana also professed her faith. She is married to Elias but he, as yet, is not ready to become a member. Two of Viviana's children had previously been baptised but two had not, so they (Ditonia and Jonlyn) were baptised as well. Vivana is a lovely lady. She is illiterate - but we are working hard to change that. She faithfully attends the literacy course!
Below are some pics:

from left to right - Viviana, Gami (holding Robert) and Joel


Brother Rumanasen preparing something - sporting his injuries from the attack at Kamkumung



Receiving the blessing

Vanessa receiving the Sign and Seal of the Covenant

John Lanta handing out a Children's Bible to Viviana's children

Joel, Gami (holding Robert) singing a song they wrote which spoke of their desire to commit their life fully to the Lord. It was based on Joshua "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord."

About an hour ago (8pm) Andrew came back from Kamkumung settlement. He left with Ian and some of the Biwat members at about 4pm and they went firstly to just visit a few areas in Kamkumung to try and remind people that we are there to spread the gospel, not to make money. This was done in light of the recent violent break-in in Kamkumung, just to remind people who we are and to invite more to worship with us. After this they moved to another area in Kamkumung where a family line lives (related to Julie, our house help). A heap of people were there from the village too (they hope to worship with us on Sunday). Well, Ian and Andrew held a fellowship there with Andrew delivering a short message. There were many people there, and they were all very enthusiastic. They had even prepared a meal! A great outreach night! We pray that the Lord will use this evening and may bring more people to church to hear the Truth of the Gospel proclaimed! May hearts be changed via the proclomation of the Gospel here in PNG!

And just one last pic of Shiana trying to sneak up on her Dad in order to wrestle him to the ground. Of course she knows that the outcome is a foregone conclusion - but the important thing is the fun it leads too!