I was waiting outside Biwat settlement this morning, for a few church goers who were still coming up the hill. Soon they were piled into the car. As the back door was being pulled shut, I noticed an obviously drunk/drugged man carrying a stubby of beer and a shovel. I immediately decided that it was time to get out of there. As I turned the steering wheel the drunk man caught sight of the car and suddenly lifted his shovel towards the car window (where Kirilee was seated) and started lunging toward the car. Augustina, one of the ladies in the car, opened the door to start yelling at him to stop (the man lives nearby most of our member’s houses and so is well known to them), and I reacted by putting my foot down and turning the car as I did so. Thankfully, the man missed, though in my hurry to go poor Augustina almost fell out of the car.
Always gets your heart beating a bit faster, though! As we drove to church a story unfolded. This man was still drunk/drugged up from the day before. The day before he and his mates (rascals/criminals) violently held up some cars on the Bumbu bridge 1km or so up from our house (on the same road as our house is on, but going out of town). However, one of the cars was an unmarked Task Force car (the Task Force are the heavyweights in policing), and guns were pulled on them. This man ran away, while two of his mates were shot. One was shot in the stomach (his insides came out we were told – very matter-of-factly!) and the other was shot in the leg. Incidentally, the man that was shot in the stomach was apparently actually the man that about a year and a half ago stole Julie’s (the lady that helps us in the house a few times a week) bilum at knife point from right outside our compound. Thankfully the man we met this morning exchanged his weapons for a spade, though I would have hated to have seen the impact had his spade hit the window!
Further, we were told that the police will instruct the nurses not to care for the shot men too much, not to waste too much time and money on them. If they die it is just a few less criminals on the streets of Lae. Also, if they do die, the police will not let their families hold a traditional haus krai (house of crying) but will tell them to bury them and get on with their lives. If they choose to try and hold a haus krai the police will come and stop them forcibly.
As we were all driving around later on this afternoon and the girls were discussing the incident, Ashlyn suddenly pipes up: “My didn’t like that drunk man, my thought he was going to come and kill me.” Sometimes I just wonder what always goes on in that little mind of hers. Every now and then we get little snippets when she shares something like that. Growing up in PNG is like that I guess.
Just seeing that man this morning, so drunk and drugged and desperate, just makes one cringe. What a life of total sorrow and hopeless nothingness. What a difference the gospel could make in this man’s life! And yet, there are so many more in this world who live in the same hopeless nothingness, except they don’t necessarily know it because they have money, houses, cars and jobs to rely on and to receive satisfaction from. But to those who do not know Christ as their Saviour, whether rich or poor, whether healthy or sick, whether powerful or a nothing, the end result is the same. A life without Christ is not really life. It’s just that when we see such hopelessness clearly before us, the hopelessness becomes more obvious. However, we should all be seeking to reach all those around us, from all walks of life, to let them see what joy there is to be found in a life which is not one’s own, but belongs to a faithful, unchanging, all-powerful Saviour and which leads to a life of eternal joy and blessedness above all measure!
And then a few photos from an excursion last week Tuesday which Kirilee went on along with other grade 4/5 students at school. Andrew and I went along for a little while, though we left early as it went on past lunch time too. They visited a village (Situm village) about a 20 – 25 minute drive out of Lae. Then they visited the community school.
a very cool mushroom growing in the village with a "veil" around it! So intricately designed by our Creator!
Kirilee and some friends!
The TISOL school bus braving a river crossing - it got through no problems!