Sweltering heat, potholes galore, smiling and welcoming faces, roads covered with people walking, green lush vegetation, and familiar sights and sounds all served to remind us that we were back home!
...but we almost didn’t make it... When Andrew called last Thursday (while we were still in Cairns) to confirm everything for our flights (making sure there were no delays, etc) he got the surprising reply that we had cancelled our flights. When he told them that we had done no such thing, he was told that obviously our travel agent in PNG had cancelled our flights. Anyway, the point was that regardless of whose fault it was we were no longer booked to fly out of Cairns and back to Lae. The lady in Cairns contacted Lae and was basically given the run-around being told they were prepared to do nothing about it. Anyway the lady in Cairns spent 5-6 hours sorting it all out and managed to somehow reinstate our tickets and get us on the flights. We were so thankful for that! Guess the Lord was slowly preparing us for getting back into the way things work in PNG.
...and then we almost did not make our connecting flight from Moresby to Lae. The Air Niugini flight from Cairns was delayed by over an hour due to some technical problems, so by the time we arrived in Moresby we had to rush our way (as much as possible) through customs and then rush to the other terminal, and as we walked into the departure area we basically boarded immediately. Phew!!! It was nice, however, to not be delayed and arrive in Lae on time!
Our house was so full of dust that when we walked in the girls came back yelling that their feet were completely black with dust from just walking inside. And so they were. So before any unpacking was done we had to sweep and mop all the floors (no carpet here!). And then that night and the next day were basically spent unpacking and reorganising the house, while Andrew also did a lot of running around for paying bills, etc,
Sunday was a beautiful day – so special to be back with our brothers and sisters in Christ here! They welcomed us with beautiful smiles and hugs and it soon felt as if we had never been away - the kids walking around, the dogs wandering in, the dripping sweat and the brother reading the sermon wearing thongs (not the American/Canadian thongs BTW – the Australian kind!). And we were so thankful to see and hear that things went really well in our absence – there is even a bunch of new people from the Kamkumung area who have been coming regularly! A humble reminder that God is in control and he is able to do anything without any help from us!
And today we are back to getting into the swing of things. People coming and going, errands to run, children to school, and trying to get our heads around what we need to start organising for the coming weeks and months.