Saturday, October 25, 2008

we went away again....

ATTENTION, ATTENTION - this blog is excessively long - be warned - you may need to get a cup of coffee first!!!!

It’s been a while….
Well, that’s because I decided the last minute to go with Andrew (and Stephen who flew in from Moresby) to Ukarumpa this past week. They were going up for a conference/workshop on Dealing with Conflict Biblically, and I was going to stay home because the girls had school. However, I ended up talking to the teachers and they gave the girls a heap of work to do, so we all went along…
The SIL Guesthouse in Ukarumpa
goofing around outside the guesthouse
And this time we called some people in Ukarumpa to check on the bridge situation before we left – trying to avoid getting stranded this time. Well, we were told that, although the bridge was still out, it had not rained a lot so the river was crossable. So we arrived there safely – Praise God.
I spent the mornings, anyway, helping the girls with their work (while Andrew was at the workshop) , although Shiana was done rather quickly. Kirilee had to do a short project which included taking some photos…so of course she took heaps of them – I will post some in this blog.
One of Kirilee's photos which I thought was pretty good!
Then we got to visit with some of our friends in some of the evenings which was also lovely. While we were there one of our friend’s children (a girl a bit older than Ashlyn) had to be medi-vac(ed) out of the country, as she had fallen and broken her arm. It was not just a straight break, but a delicate one. The little girl (Kassia) and her Dad were flown on one of the SIL planes to Cairns where Kassia underwent surgery on her arm. What a dramatic day for them all, but also a day where they stood in awe of how God had guided all events. They just caught the SIL flight direct to Cairns. A half hour later, and it would have flown already, thus delaying their flight to Cairns. We had dinner with Kassia’s Mum (Johanna) and her baby that night as the accident happened on the day we had planned to eat with them, and since she already had the meal cooked, she decided we should still come.
We were really amazed to see how much love and support they receive from their community (Ukarumpa, for those that do not know, is a community in the highlands of PNG which is the SIL base in PNG, where a lot of ex-pats live together to support Bible translation work in PNG, e.g, with a school, store, Computer center, etc, etc.), and in some ways I had to curb my jealousy… Don’t get me wrong – we have lots of support from our churches back home with prayer, finance, communication…but distance makes that practical kind of help a bit harder!! Especially with Ian and Nadia gone, we more fervently pray that we may be spared any major illness or accident or emergency, as it would definitely be harder to deal with, without extra support. Anyway, it was wonderful that in their situation this family received so much help, and we pray they will continue to receive God’s blessings, also in Kassia’s recovery.
Little Kassia, two days before her accident
On Tuesday, 21st, we could celebrate Shiana’s birthday! We brought some presents with us for her, so of course that was exciting…The managers at the guesthouse put a candle in her cake (dessert) at night so we could all sing Happy Birthday to her.
Opening presents!!
The managers (a slightly elderly – 60’s – couple) there at the moment are only short-term, but they were so nice and cared for us so well (must be their Canadian heritage!!!)– they were a perfect couple for the job. They kept saying it was so good to have our children around, as it made them feel like their grandchildren were nearby. He gave us some small wooden tongs (which he made himself), perfect for getting toast out of a toaster, without the danger of electrocuting oneself. It’s a really nifty thing and it was really sweet of him to give that to us!


visiting friends and catching up!!

It was so nice to enjoy the cooler weather of the highlands - we actually did not sweat while we were there. It was nice to be able to walk around outside, to sit outside, and not get really hot. And there was a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle set up at the guesthouse which had been started before we arrived. I got stuck into that one - what fun!! It has been forever since I have done a puzzle, and it reminded me of how much I love doing them!!
While in Ukarumpa we got to go to their store – they get in a really cheap American brand for some food items, so we stocked up: Marshmallows, cereal, applesauce, tin fruit, taco seasoning, ranch dressing (acquired a taste for that one while we lived in Canada, and it’s great to have it again!!), and even some Hershey’s chocolate which was going cheap. It was fun and exciting to do this, as some of those things we do not buy in Lae as they are either not available or too expensive. Then on the last morning I went to the market in Ukarumpa to stock up on vegetables and fruit before heading home (since there was space in the car anyway). Now, Lae does have a market, but Ukarumpa market is just cleaner, more secure, the vegetables are cheaper and fresher and they have real strawberries (that’s right, real red, juicy – okay some were a little mushy – strawberries), and we had real strawberries and cream (okay, not fresh cream, but long life cream which still tasted pretty good) tonight for dessert. Funny how food can be so comforting!!
And yes, we did make it back home safely. We were a bit worried that if it rained heavily while we were in Ukarumpa, we may have been stranded there until the river came back down. But God was good, and He held of the rains, so that the river was safe to cross on the way back too, and He brought us safely back here too.
some cars crossing the river in front of us!
And I have just sat down from ironing a pile so high that I am about ready to sleep….but, despite all those things which always make you busy when you come home from time away, it is always wonderful to be back home again! Besides, the ginger ale/beer which I bottled just before we left for Ukarumpa worked, and according to my family ( not me, I don’t like the stuff), tastes great! IT is a recipe I received from a friend (who is from Switzerland), and it does not use yeast, and yet the ale/beer goes really fizzy – how’s that?! …and I was so happy because I have tried many other recipes, and although it was always finished, no one really loved it. Maybe I finally have a winner!
And here's a pic from last night (Shiana was begging to take some photos) - I babysat some children while their parents had a meeting with Andrew and Stephen re the Reformed Bible College...
Ashlyn and Robert

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