Friday, July 24, 2009

more visitors and a break

Mum and Dad VanderHeide arrived safe and sound and two days later we were on our way for a short break. We spent time in Madang, where we visited "our" village - the village we spent 6 weeks in during our training almost 3 years ago. We visited them on Sunday and Andrew preached to an attentive audience!! After the service we shared a meal with them (we brought the chicken and rice!)

Then we spent a few days in Ukarumpa, where I also made a visit to the dentist there for a cracked tooth! We had a wonderful time (apart from the dentist visit). Check out the photos!

Kirilee at Jais Aben

...and again (I was trying out different poses on our camera)

Andrew and Ashlyn sharing special moments in the pool

...and again

Shiana just being Shiana.... only she can be...

...and finally posing with a smile!

One of the crabs Shiana caught at the beach...

...and holding a chicken in the village.

Mum and Dad commented on the glorious colours all about in PNG. Like this...

...and this....
and this....
local artwork...

the girls enjoying a cooling swim in the river at our village, when we visited on Sunday.

village house

Evidence that Mum and Dad actually came to the village, ate the food they were offered, sat on the floor to eat, went on bare feet (albeit for a very short time) and....actually enjoyed it.

gorgeous village baby

...and gorgeous village girl

happy all round!
Then this last photo needs an explanation with it, and it is not a very happy explanation. ON the photo below on the right hand side there is a boy with a dark shirt on with blue stripes on the sleeves. This photo was taken when Andrew and Rita were here and Andrew was building the sjoelbak table.
Last night we went into Biwat for fellowship night. As we walked in we were told that the venue for the fellowship had changed. Instead it would be held in a haus Krai (house of mourning). Apparently that boy (pictured) had been in Biwat staying with family for the school holidays, which is why he was in Lae and on the photo. He is a nephew of one of our church members (Viviana), and thus attended church with them while he was here. Well last week he went back home to Mount Hagen, and on Sunday morning a tragic accident claimed his life. He was just 12 years old. Apparently he had climbed onto the roof of a building (not a strong building, but a makeshift dwelling) to retrieve something. The roof, being brittle from the sun, caved in and he landed straight on his head on the concrete flooring below, which killed him instantly. What a sad story. His body is being brought into Biwat for a day before taking the long trip to the Sepik area to be buried in his parent's home village. It seems like these kind of accidents happen so often here in PNG. Thankfully Andrew was also able to share God's Word and the promises it contains with the wider family last night. Please join us in praying for the family who grieve this loss.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

what a time we had...but all good things come to an end...

Yes, they’re gone!! How very sad. I think we are in mourning now. Ashlyn woke up this morning, jumped out of bed, came running to me and burst into tears crying, “Is Jessica really going home today?” When I replied in the affirmative she promptly added, “But I don’t want them all to go.” I think that summarizes how we all felt. We had such a wonderful time and will miss them immensely. But life goes on as do the routines. Saying goodbyes is such a big part of being a missionary family, but, though you get used to it, it’s still not fun. But there is excitement to help us through… tomorrow, the Lord willing, we will be welcoming Andrew’s parents for 3 weeks. That’s sure to put some smiles back onto our faces!!

Anyway, this is a full blog of photos just so you can see how we spent some of our time with our visitors. Hope you enjoy them, as on dialup they took forever to download, but there was just so many good photos that I couldn’t reduce the number too much!!

THe whole crowd!

welcoming cousins - Rohan and Shiana

Kirilee and Sharelle

Ashlyn and Kayla

Catching up and sharing....

being spoilt with gifts!

Practicing a song in Kamkumung with Agnes

Rohan and Aidan making fishing guns

...and hunting for mice and grasshoppers and gheckos with Emmanuel

sharing cheesecake at home

...and pizza out

Posing for photos taken by "big" cousins

Visiting the local market

...Enjoying gorgeous babies!

Getting busy making a sjoelbak table while we ladies had Bible Study...

...and trying it out...

...while the girls try out some new beading techniques.

Getting ready for Bible fellowship and worship in Biwat...

...and heartily joining in.

...preparing a meal to share with the Kamkumung fellowship group on Wednesday night...

...and enjoying some rice stuck to the bottom of the pan -Monica and Jessica!

Holding a python at the Rainforest Habitat...

...Ashlyn wanted to take it home...

...and Shiana heartily agreed...

...but Kirilee and Sharelle were much more tentative.
For the record, I held it too BTW, but alas the photo did not do justice to my beauty (cough!! cough!!!....more like it did do justice to my face, but I did not like the truth it portrayed!!!)
I think that about sums it up...not everything we did, but lots of it! Busy but fun. We thought, so anyway, and Andrew and Rita and kids told us they enjoyed it too. And judging by their words and smiles and actions and interest, we are inclined to think that they really did!!
Now we look forward to a wonderful time with Andrew's parents too!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

we are having fun!!

It feels like ages, but it hasn’t been that long. It’s just that so much has happened and we have been busy (In a fun kind of way!!)! Also our phone line was down (since last Thursday night) and has only just been restored so we have had no email/internet contact with the outside world. Vandals destroyed the cable (they steal it actually) and then, well, Lae was out of new cable so they had to wait to get some cable from another centre (I only finally found this out after I don’t know how many frustrating phone calls from our mobile to the Telikom faults line!!) But now, after almost a week, it has been restored and we are thankful for that.
Actually, I personally, am so glad that it happened this week as Andrew and Rita are here, so we are getting our fill of family time and I have not been pining too much for email contact with the outside world. God’s timing is good, also in this.
So, yes, Andrew and Rita and children are here, and they (and we) have been having a wonderful time. There’s been so many new experiences for them, and we just love watching how the beautiful people here make them feel so welcome. They have been given so many bilums (home made sting/wool bags) and just showered with love.
Andrew made a sjoelbak (spelling???) for Kamkumung church (and one for us too!!) and we have spent quite a bit of time out there (fellowship, Bible study, literacy). Everyone has been coming along and joining in. The boys have been entertained by Ephraim and Emmanuel (boys who live at Kamkumung) and the girls have been doing beading with Monica and Alosinda, as well as Madlyn and Imelda (youth). It’s been really nice to see.
Last night we went into Biwat at night for fellowship. It was a good night, and I think that Andrew and Rita really appreciated it. However, it started of a bit “scary”. As we walked in (all of us together) we caught sight of an extremely drunk man, yelling loudly and swearing violently and waving his bush knife (and they are big!!!) crazily – hitting at trees and fences, etc. And suddenly Andrew and I looked at each other as we realized who it was. It just made us so, so sad. It was a man, one of our first contacts into Biwat, who used to come to church and who had high hopes of even going to the Bible College. He is such a gifted man, who the Lord has given man academic talents to, and to see him like this just made tears well into my eyes. One of the ladies, a member of our church, was walking behind him with her head down. I went to her and she was crying. She was just so upset, partly because of what this man had become (though he is drunk fairly regularly now) but also because they were all so excited to have a new family (Andrew and Rita) coming to visit them (they had decorated the worship area beautifully) and now this man was spoiling it and scaring all the kids. Though the children were all frightened, it was not too bad. They all did really well. Another lady took them all into her area and shielded them a bit until it all passed. Eventually someone managed to get his bush knife off him but he continued to yell and scream and swear violently for a while, until someone finally coaxed him away and calmed him down.
This backdrop, however, makes for such a powerful contrast to the preaching of God’s Word. What a place these people live in, and yet we can go in there and share the amazing Gospel with them. It was truly a beautiful night. To sing and clap and pray and worship, right there in the heart of all that darkness – what a blessing! Andrew and Rita said too how thankful they were to have gone into Biwat with us, despite facing the drunkenness. It’s just so in your face, but makes the gospel message all the more real and urgent! Actually as we left we met the “drunk” man who by this time was calm and was hanging his head in shame. Andrew shook hands with him and he apologized over and over again. It was really sad for us to see and we pray that you remember this man in your prayers too. What a wasted life – may God work a change in his heart and life!
Today we had another good day and we pray that the Lord will give us a few more good days of fellowship and sharing with our wonderful family.
Hopefully next time I will post some pictures!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

1 more sleep

Only one more sleep!!! And then, DV, our visitors arrive. We are very excited...
Throughout our excitement, though, we have been dealing with some sickness here! On Monday I started feeling sick with low fevers and a sore throat, which by evening turned into fairly high fevers and vomiting as well. Kirilee had a sore on her knee which was blowing up and looking terribly infected, despite our putting antibiotic ointment on it, and she was also starting to feel unwell! So Tuesday morning I decided to go to the doctor and get her and me checked out together. I was diagnosed with a throat infection (thankfully the malaria slide came back negative!!!) and Kirilee with a badly infected sore. Her sore was cleaned up and she was given some antibiotics and I was given antibiotics too. We paid and were ready to leave when Kirilee suddenly moaned, “mummy” and fainted into my arms. Thankfully we were not out on the street!! So she got laid on the bed and fanned until she was feeling well enough and then we walked to the car, her leaning on my arm. She must have looked pretty white still as I could hear everyone commenting as we walked by, “em sik ya!” (She’s sick!!)
Anyway, we got home, we both took some medicine and laid down. My fevers started going down over the next few hours after taking the medicine but my stomach got worse and worse. I had cramps and more vomiting and I felt so ill – for a while I felt so bad that when I heard the phone ring I was convinced that the surgery was calling back telling me they had read my blood slide wrong, and I actually had malaria. Even yesterday, although my symptoms of fever and sore throat had thankfully subsided, and I managed to work, I was constantly overcome by nausea and still almost vomited a number of times. Last night I woke up again with terrible nausea, stomach cramps and awful heart burn. I decided to go online (at 3 am!!) and check out the antibiotic (erythromycin) I had been prescribed. I came across this website .
Ah, people that described how I was feeling! I decided there and then to take myself of the medication. And let this be a warning to all of you....don’t take this medication unless you absolutely have to. At least ask your doctor about it!! It may make you feel terrible. Last night, when I was lying in pain and feeling so sick again, I was actually wondering what terrible disease I had and worried about how I was going to get it diagnosed here in PNG!! And then it dawned on me that perhaps I was reacting to the medication!! I am going to see how I go, and if my infection symptoms come back I will go and get another antibiotic. But, now I am thankful to say, that at the moment without having taken the drug since last night, my stomach is much more settled and I am feeling a lot better. Kirilee is still limping a bit, and the sore is still red and swollen, but just this morning we think the swelling on the knee is finally going down and she was feeling well enough for a play date with a friend from school who called this morning!
Bring on the visitors!!!!