Friday, June 18, 2010

preparations....

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of our last week in Lae for approximately 6 months - seems kind of unreal... There is a part of us wanting to leave and another part wanting to stay - but then that is not unusual.

When thinking about going to Australia we look forward to meeting with family and friends again, the freedom to walk around (especially for me, Natalie), the cleanness, the good infrastructure, the parks, the beach, the choices in the supermarkets, etc, etc. I think we also look forward to the change in pace and especially a break from the constant feeling of people depending on us (missionaries as a whole) over here (because of the great poverty here) and the feeling of responsibility that goes with it.

But then there are the goodbyes. We love the people we work with and it is hard to part even if "only" for 6 months. And I am not sure I am looking forward to the climate in Albany (their winter) after leaving our pretty constant heat over here....though, perhaps it will be nice not to smell like sweat all the time!

So what has been happening over the last week or so?.... well, though Andrew still has two services to lead this Sunday as well as a fellowship next week, my scheduled church "work" ended this week (giving me the last week to pack up and prepare for our "move"). On Tuesday we had a beautiful last Bible Study (well the last for me - the Bible study will resume again next month....) with the women. They, unbeknown to me, prepared a delicious lunch (Rice, coconuts, cooking bananas, sweet potato, sago and chicken). What a beautiful surprise! Actually, silly me, I kind of spoiled the surprise a bit because I was waiting at the gate when they came. They were supposed to sneak the food into Nadia's car (before we drove to Kamkumung), but because they were running later than usual (due to preparing food) I was just wondering where they were and went to the gate to see if I could see them! Ah, well, the surprise was still wonderful!

Then on Thursday I had my last literacy class. It was a graduation of sorts and also a special time. This time I surprised them by bringing some cake and also bringing a Bible or a devotional book (if they already had a bible) for each student (thanks still to donations from Australia for the literacy course). We pray that they may continue to work hard, even in our absence and that especially they will commit themselves more and more to Jesus Christ.

Here are some photos of the students holding their gifts:



....and trying a thumbs up!





And here are some photos of last week Saturday when we were officially able to open the water tank in the Biwat settlement, donated by members of our churches in Australia, and erected under the guidance of Ian's father when he was here recently:


... singing and worshiping before the official program started.... The man on the chair is the owner of the house which the tank is connected too and he was very instrumental in erecting the tank. He is the father of one of our members.


....Ian gave a short address to encourage all to seek the living water that can only be found in Jesus Christ. Andrew finished off the gathering with some more encouragement and prayer. After this we enjoyed a small meal together.


...and Kirilee holding little Louisa at the gathering.

And to finish off here is a picture of the kids with Ian and Nadia's two oldest. Boy these guys are all going to miss each other....



And lastly, we ask for your prayers for Tim and Francine Sikkema who have recently been called by Armadale to join us all in working here in Lae, PNG. May God bless them and direct them!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Second-last literacy class....

Today we had our second-last literacy class - one to go next week Thursday. What a journey it has been. I embarked on teaching reading and writing (in Tok Pisin) a couple of years ago. I began with one group of ladies and then this year began a new course with a new bunch of ladies/girls. Two of the ladies from the last course, who did not really get all the way there with the last course, did the new course with me too. We only had 25 or so mornings this year for the new course, so it was a very intense! Thankfully, this time I was working with mostly younger girls (rather than middle-aged ladies). They were just as illiterate as the older ladies to start with, but what a difference age makes! The young girls are just so much quicker to catch on and learn new concepts. Most of them have done really well.

Well, in 25 mornings you can't teach someone to read and write fluently, but you can give them all the ground work. And I am pleased to say that a number of them are reading really well (all things considered) - there was a couple of really bright girls in this bunch. This fact just makes me realise how far they could have gone had they had the opportunity to go to school. What a privilege a good education is, what a blessing to be able to go to school. A couple of times Kirilee, Shiana and Ashlyn have come along with me to literacy class, and this was a good lesson for them, especially the older two. Although Tok Pisin is not their first language, they realised how much easier it was for them to read than the girls I was teaching. This really brought home to them how blessed they have been to go to school right from when they were very young!

These girls/ladies really need another 6 months or so to consolidate what we have learned so far and to really continue on reading and especially writing (which takes a lot longer than reading to do well). Given that we hope to be leaving, however, for our 6 months furlough in Australia in a couple weeks, this will not be possible. However, next week, in our last class, I hope to spend time encouraging them to continue on with their reading and writing, and to give them some tips to continue to learn at home. I also plan to present them with their own Tok Pisin Bibles, so that they may be able to be blessed through reading God's Word (they can use it to practice their reading skills, and at the same time be encouraged through reading it).

I thought I would include some photos from this morning:


Everyone working hard on their writing!


...and again


It was just too much for poor Louisa (her mum, Alosinda, is doing the course with me)


Louisa is still struggling with some terrible sores on her head, especially because she continually scratches them open.


And there's Louisa's Mum - A smiling Alosinda!

Please pray that they all will continue to learn on their own, as motivation is sometimes hard when you are working on your own!

Please also continue to pray for Agnes. Praise God for a slow improvement in her health. However, please also continue to earnestly pray for her to regain full health. Just yesterday when we as family went to Kamkumung for Andrew's mid-week fellowship class, she was doing pretty poorly again. She was up and about, but had a very bad night and also a bad morning. It seems as if she has picked up some cold/flu on top of the Typhoid. She was really tired last night, in more ways than one. In actual fact she was just saying that she would rather die, as it was too much to just deal with the pain and tiredness all the time! So please also pray that she will also be spiritual encouraged and strengthened and so enabled to bear what God has placed on her path. This morning she was thankfully doing a bit better again, and thus was also in a happier mood. Her condition seems to go up and down.

Please also thank God for the safe return of Augustina, who had been trapped in Bulolo due to the terrible violence going on there. Thank God for protecting her life, also as she and her son had to run for their lives as the house they were staying in, along with hundreds of others, were deliberately burned to the ground.