Home Sweet Home

Village house in Lossu
Village house in Lossu

We have finally made it. After years of preparation studying at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) we are no located in the village of Lossu, NIP, PNG. The language that is spoken here is Notsi. In the coming months Gertrude and I will begin to learn this language. This will allow me to work towards helping the translators with exegetical support. This is a picture of the house we will be staying in. It is quite different from the house we stayed in while in Simbini. There is a full kitchen with stove, refrigerator, washing machine and sink with running water. There is even a 12v fan that runs from our solar power. We are so thankful that we have been blessed with such a wonderful place. When we first arrived we were given opportunity to get the place setup. In a few days we will start our language learning in earnest.

Another blessing as we are here is that we have cell phone access. This allows me to be able to connect to the internet to upload and download my email. We are always thankful to hear from you, but please don’t send forwarded emails to us with pretty pictures.

Farewell Celebration

Traditional dance done by teenage girls in the village
Traditional dance done by teenage girls in the village

When we first arrived at Simbini the five weeks seemed late it would last forever. Now that the time was nearly finished we were surprised how quickly the time past. What was even more surprising how close we have become to the people in such a short time. We had gifts to give to them to thank them for their generosity and kindness towards us. Anything we gave them could hardly express our appreciation to them for all they had done. The one man who took care of us in the village was the translator for the New Testament for his language group here. Over time he had become discouraged and has not worked on it for a number of years. As a result of our time there he so desires to get back to work on the translation. Pray that he would get the help he needs not only to get the work started again, but to be able to finish it and the people will use it. In a way to honor us as we were leaving they had a big celebration. There was a group that came from church to sing a few songs for us which was followed by a few touching speeches. They highlight was the dance that the young ladies performed. They have worked on it for over a week every evening. It was a memorable experience. We hope to be able to visit them again in the not to distant future. We are grateful for the time that we were able to have with them.

Visit with Old Friends

Gertrude's Village cooking class
Gertrude’s Village cooking class

As our time was coming to a close at Simbini, I so wanted to visit the village where Gertrude did village living when she first came to Papua New Guinea over 20 years ago just 15km (about 6 miles) north of where we were in Simbini. We were not sure about how transportation would work for us to get there, but we were able to hire someone to take us there in his pickup truck. They gave us such a warm welcome. The family that Gertrude stayed with made us both feel right at home. It was the first time for them to see her since she had left. Since we could only stay a couple of hours with them, they were able to make plans for us to come back and spend the day with them. On our second visit Gertrude was busy backing with the ladies, different kinds of breads and cakes. I sat back and visited with the men there. I surprised myself how well I was doing with Tok Pisin.

Palm Sunday Service

Palm Sunday Service starting on the beach
Palm Sunday Service starting on the beach

During our time in Madang we celebrated Palm Sunday. As people gathered together they brought palm branches with them. It was amazing to see the many different things the people had woven from the Palm leaves for decoration. The service started on the beach with some songs and prayers. We then proceeded to the church for the service. The service was in Tok Pisin and at that point I could only follow some of what was said. On Friday Gertrude and I participated in the Good Friday observance of the Stations of the Cross. There were 14 stations each depicting different events that took place on Good Friday as a way of remembering what Christ has done for us. The different stations were setup at different peoples’ home from the church. We walked about a mile to get to the starting point and it ended at the church which was after walking an additional 3 miles or more. Easter Sunday morning I preached a message at church about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Gospel of John in Tok Pisin. It was not one of my better messages. I read it the best I could as I stumbled along, but people came to me afterwards thanking me for the word that I shared.

the Water Falls

Kevin & Gertrude in the river
Kevin & Gertrude in the river

The three pictures are from a short hike we took today to a water falls. The water was so cool and refreshing. The last week we have been busy preparing for village living. We will spend 5 weeks in a village with a Papua New Guinean family. They have prepared a hut for us to stay in during this time. We will be out of touch with during this time, since there is not electricity. There will be limited cell phone coverage. I will need to walk to a particular location to get a signal. Please remember us in pray during this time from March 27 until April 30. This will provide me a greater opportunity to improve with Tok Pisin (the national trade language).

Gertrude enjoying the water
Gertrude enjoying the water

After our village living time we will have another week here before we finish here. It will be a few days following will be Gertrude’s birthday, May 7. It would be great for a number of people to send her a birthday card. Mail getting to us has been very slow almost month so you will need to send a card right away for her to get it in time. Our mailing address is SIL-POC, P.O. Box 872, Madang, PAPUA NEW GUINEA. This will only be good till May 1, 2009.

Kevin enjoying the water
Kevin enjoying the water

No I am not sliding down, I have found a great place to sit on the rocks to let the water wash by me.

I am not sure when I will be able to upload the next up date. It has been a good way to keep people posted about what is happening. I hope to be able to do more of this in the future. Shalom!

Our time adjusting to PNG

Gertrude in our house-cook
Gertrude in our house-cook

The last few weekends we have been getting some experience with simpler living. A couple of weeks after we arrived here we put up an outdoor kitchen (haus kuk) pictured to the right. Over the weekend we (or should I say Gertrude) has been preparing meals over an open fire.

Kevin preparing post
Kevin preparing post

It has not been too easy to get a fire going as much of the wood is not dry. Once the fire is started then the challenge is to keep it going to be able to finish cooking. Our Papua New Guinean family has come to visit with us during weekend. They have helped us with getting some things setup in our haus kuk and with some cooking. We have been enjoying to get to know them better (see below). Last week we stayed the night in their home. They made us feel very welcomed.

Tomorrow (March 4) we will be going on another of many hikes. This will be an all day hike. We will leave about 8:30 in the morning and take our time to reach our destination about noon. Everyone will be hiking together including the children so getting there will be slow which will be fine. On the way back we will break up into four different groups and the pace will be faster. We will be part of the slower group.

Kevin's Tok Pisin Class
Kevin’s Tok Pisin Class

Today marked the end of my Tok Pisin language class. I still have much to learn, but much of it will be learning to use what I have learned. On Monday I shared my testimony in Tok Pisin. I did not have the time to do all the preparation work for it. I would have avoided some of my grammatical errors if I was able to go over it with Gertrude. Today I did a skid with the other two couples in my class in Tok Pisin. We had great fun with that.

We have very limited internet access as we are at POC. I am trying to download my email each time I’m in town. I am trying to update our website every Tuesday evening as my schedule allows. We do have a cell phone, the country code is 675, and our number is 710-92-317. I am not sure what you will need to dial first for making an international call, it is either 001 or 011.

Valentine’s Day

Kevin & Gertrude on Valentine's Day
Kevin & Gertrude on Valentine’s Day

It has been so good to be here in Papua New Guinea. As you can see from the picture we are still as happy as ever as we are preparing to serve the Lord together here. The evening this picture was taken we were celebrating Valentine’s Day. We were presented with a special candle light dessert that evening.

In some ways the pace of life for us is much slower than it has been for many years. We are not busy traveling around the country visiting family and friends or speaking at churches or conferences. We are living a simpler life as we expected coming to the Pacific Orientation Course.