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!