Saturday, October 24, 2009

getting back into routine

It’s been a week and a half of getting back into routine. I took the rest of the week after returning from Cairns “off”. When I say “off”, I mean off from church work. Of course it was not a week off wifely and motherly duties, and neither did I want it to be. It was so good to be back together again, and good for us to slowly get back into normal routines again.

This past week has been a week of really getting back to normal, with me taking up women’s fellowship and the literacy class again. We also had Shiana’s birthday on Wednesday and her party today (Saturday). Last weekend was a weekend of major problems in Lae re water and power. The power was out for about 3 days straight and the water as well. Thankfully, for some reason, our area of town still had water (though I had commented a few times to Andrew that the water pressure was down). On Monday the girl’s school was cancelled as without water, washing of hands and toilets are a problem. Thankfully, by the next morning the water was back on so they could go back to school!

The cholera outbreak seems to have begun a second wave. An increase of cases has been reported over the last week. Apparently this is quite common with these kinds of diseases. After the first outbreak there is often a lull as more people become aware of the disease and follow precautions. However, after a while this lull causes complacency after which a second wave of the disease passes through. We pray that people will continue to follow the precautions!

On Friday the girls had a Variety Show at school. It came about because their Independence Day celebrations were cancelled about a month ago due to the cholera outbreak. However, as they had spent a lot of time practicing their pieces, the school decided to put on this Variety Show instead. Here are some pics:

Shiana all dressed up and waiting for her turn to perform

Shiana performing with her friends - they performed a few songs!

Kirilee performing some traditional dance

Kirilee shared the role of "mistress of ceremonies" along with some other girls. Here she is announcing some part of the program...

Shiana performing with her whole classed - she is dressed in Madang Province style traditional dress.

On Friday evening we had one of those real PNG experiences - no not the rural, village, kind of experience, but instead the urban experience. As it had recently been my birthday, and also Shiana’s birthday so we decided to go to a restaurant in a local hotel for dinner (or supper or whatever you want to call it!). Well I called nice and early to book a table. The restaurant was not open yet but the lady at the hotel desk assured me that they take bookings and pass them onto the restaurant when they opened, and she seemed like she knew what she was doing. So at 6:15 we headed out and were ready to take our place at the restaurant at 6:30….except…you guessed it – they did not have our name down and they were booked out. With lots of apologies they madly tried to figure a way for us to eat. They told us they could have a table but had to be done by 7:15….not a great deal of time when by now it was already 6:40!! So in the end, we had to decide, much to the disappointment of our girls, that we would have to do it some other time! However, we consoled them, telling them that instead we would go to a local takeaway shop and get something and go home with it. So we went to the drive through, but because the speaker/microphone thing was not working a worker was coming and taking our orders. Well, that was fine, so we ordered our meal, paid, waited about 20 minutes or so, then got to the window to pick up our order. Guess what? They were out of the things we had ordered, so they kindly asked if we wanted to order something else, or would we perhaps mind to take a signed receipt and get our order from another one of this take out shops. Well, no, we decided. A trip to another shop meant another heap of Lae potholes, with no guarantee of getting the food at the end, and…… ordering something else? Well that was just not worth another 20 minute wait! So we got our money back….and about an hour and a half after we left home we had tinned spaghetti on toast at home! It was a good time to remind our disappointed girls (and ourselves) that at least we could be grateful that our bellies could be filled and that we lacked nothing! We can all do with that reminder every now and then! … and we had a good laugh about it too!!!

Shiana’s party was today…

On her actual birthday (Wednesday) Shiana received this bike - and was she ever excited!

Shiana actually chose an easy birthday cake - a number 9 and I was so thankful!

Ashlyn enjoying the party - this is her new "fake" posing smile!

Playing a game with party friends

Opening presents - always fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What an awesome God!

…how awesome He is. If there is one thing that has been brought home to us over and over again during the last week is that God has got everything in His control. Let me explain.

A week ago today I visited a doctor in Lae and had a scan done. Sadly the scan confirmed what we expected, that our baby had died and also that it was necessary for me to undergo a D&C immediately. Given the condition of the medical system in PNG it is not advisable (if given a choice) to undergo any surgical procedure here. Andrew and I arrived home from the hospital and after frantic organization, within a bit over an hour we had my tickets booked to Australia, and Ashlyn and I were on our way to the airport (with Andrew dropping us off).

When I think back to that day….wow, what a stressful, terrible day. It was crazy. And yet, through all the emotions, through all the craziness, through all the worry, we felt the ever-present hand of our Heavenly Father. Soon Ashlyn and I were on the plane (Andrew even managed to get us on to an earlier plane at the Lae airport) and we were on our way. As we took off Ashlyn burst into tears – she finally realized that we were leaving Daddy and Kirilee and Shiana behind, and of course she sensed our anxiety and stress. As the flight continued on she calmed down and after a 2 hour wait in Moresby we flew on to Cairns where we were greeted at the airport by Matt and Claire Byl and children (yes, in all the craziness, I had managed to get hold of my sister, who got hold of their phone number, and I called Claire to tell her what was going on).

I wanted to go straight into emergency the next morning (Wednesday), but Andrew’s Mum was flying in on Wednesday afternoon (to be there with me and Ashlyn). Thankfully Claire offered to take me in. She was so wonderful and kind. They did so much for us! She first took me in and then took Ashlyn and her children to a nearby playground (“Muddy’s”) while I waited to be seen. The wait was not long and what a sense of peace overcame me as I was put under the wonderful medical care in Australia. What a blessing to have such good care. Immediately I was given a host of tests and the like. They were so thorough; they were so caring and kind – nurses, doctors and specialists alike! And while I was there I began bleeding heavily (the fear of this happening was the reason I left PNG in a hurry). As the day wore on and I was admitted into surgery for a D&C, I continued to feel such peace and thankfulness. Claire was there looking after Ashlyn, and she went to pick up Andrew’s Mum from the airport in the afternoon and took her and Ashlyn back to our unit at Treetops Lodge. Initially it appeared as if I would have to overnight in hospital because I could not get into theatre till later on, but suddenly a spot opened up and I was hurriedly made ready for theatre. God blessed the doctors, and soon I was recovering. My blood pressure was a bit too low, but after an extra bag of fluids I was doing much better.

As I laid there in the hospital, I had such a wonderful time to reflect on the Lord’s goodness. I felt such relief that all had gone so well. After the mad, stressful and emotional day before, it was so good to have time to be still and reflect. God is good! I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by how clearly His guiding Hand was made evident to us! He had everything so perfectly timed, He controlled everything so amazingly, He got me where I needed to be at the right time. Amazing! And as I reflected on this I could not help but feel peace with everything that had happened over the past couple of weeks. It made me realize that if God could orchestrate all events so amazingly well that everything just fell into place, then surely He knew what He was doing in taking our baby to Himself in Heaven. And that gave me such comfort and peace. At the same time it made me realize what a blessing the medical care is in Australia. When I had a previous miscarriage while we were still living in Australia, it was a very sad time, however, I never had the same stress regarding the medical side of the miscarriage. However, in PNG it is so different. When things happen, even something like a miscarriage, there is always the added stress of: what will we do if…??? However, although we hope to never have to go through this kind of thing again, I can honestly say that the experience has truly and profoundly reminded me again of the supreme providence of God! And that is a blessing!

Later that evening Matt and Claire came to pick me up again from hospital and brought me to Andrew’s Mum and Ashlyn at Treetops. Matt and Claire were so good and kind to us, truly a blessing from God! We stayed on in Cairns for a few more days (on doctor’s advice) and returned home yesterday. While still in Cairns we spent another day in the hospital (A&E) as I developed a fever and was feeling unwell and was told that if anything liked that happened we were to return to check for a secondary infection. This time Andrew’s Mum was there so she just entertained Ashlyn the whole time (hours!!). However, after a long day and a battery of tests, we were thankful to find out that it looked as if I just had a viral infection (picked up when my immunity was low!) Thankfully, though, by the next morning I was feeling a lot better and we even managed to do some shopping and go to church on Sunday with the new “Free Reformed” group gathering in Cairns. Also, we had a BBQ on our last night with Matt and Claire Byl and children as well as Matt Plug. Yesterday morning Mum and Ashlyn and I went off to the airport where we first spent a bit of time together, before I went through customs and Mum headed over to the domestic terminal. All our flights were on time and everything once again went so smoothly!

While we were in Cairns, Andrew and Kirilee and Shiana were up in Ukarumpa for our annual Reformed Ministries conference. Although it was hard for him being there with all the “complete” families, and me so far away, at the same time it meant that he did not have to do any cooking, etc, or get the girls ready for school on his own. So God had that all worked out too!

Sorry this is so long…..felt like I had a lot of catching up to do!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

dealing with some sadness

This blog has been quiet for a long time, I know. It's just that things have been going on and I haven't felt like sharing for a little while. Overall, we have many reasons to be thankful - Church work is going well, and on Friday Ian and Nadia and children could arrive back. It was wonderful to see the children playing happily again together as if they had never been apart.

However, as family we are dealing with some anxiety and worry at the moment. A few weeks back we were overjoyed to find out that we were expecting another baby. However a week or so ago it became clear that all was not well. On Monday we went to Ukarumpa (for work and dentist treatment) and while I was there I also visited the medical clinic and they did a scan. Unfortunately the scan showed that it appears that the baby has died already. However, it is a just being called a threatened miscarriage at this stage, called so because the machine is old and not very accurate so it is just slightly possible (and it has happened before) that the machine made a mistake... But as the days wear on the small glimmer of hope is fading as the miscarriage symptoms continue.

We rest assured, however, that God knows what He is doing, and, yes, we are still praying for a miracle, however unlikely that seems to be. But we are praying especially that we may find peace and accept this too from His hand.