Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Witch Killing (WARNING-GRAPHIC)

The day before we arrived in Hewa a large family was evacuated to another village because two women and all the children were accused of being witches. One of the children was a five-year old nephew of the husband and father, though, and not the child of the accused mother. When I arrived in our village the next day, I was introduced to his actual mother. She is an older widowed lady and he was her last born child. She put him on a plane knowing she would never see her baby again. Naturally, I was really sad to hear this story, but the more time I spent with this sweet and very funny lady the angrier I got. Why? Why did she have to send her tiny child away? Because some dying person said his name (or at least something that sounded like his name)? Because some evil and violent people won't care that he is just a little boy, but will murder him out of their own fears and delusions? It is just so wrong. And I was just so angry.

Until...

A woman was killed a couple of days ago in a nearby village. She was one of the many marked as a witch in Hewa. We are shocked and devastated as it happened so fast and without warning for us to do anything to help her. Our co-workers tried earlier to convince her family to allow her to be evacuated to another village to protect her, but they refused. Her brother claimed that he could and would protect her if anyone tried to kill her.

But when a large group of armed men come in with guns and pretty much hold everyone up at gunpoint so they can chop your sister to pieces with axes and machetes there really is nothing you or anybody else can do about it.

These violent actions came from another village- another language group even- they are not Hewan. From what we understand, the Hewans who were visited and warned by the police about witch killings earlier in the year have held strongly to their commitments not to accuse or kill anyone as a witch, but the outside villages are another story. The police have already been contacted and are preparing to go in and see what they can do. Please pray for them. They have a very difficult task as their village is very remote and hard to get to and even when they get there the murderers can flee to the jungle and escape.

But now, I am no longer angry for my little widowed friend whose son was sent away. I am relieved for her. Because he is safe. She may not ever see or speak to him again, but she will hear of how his is growing up, going to school, learning to catch fish, and just simply living. Continuing to exist. She may live in grief, but she won't live in fear for his life. She may be lonely for him, but she won't ever know the horror of watching him be brutally murdered in front of her eyes.

So, I am no longer angry, but I am very VERY weary. We try so hard. We learn every name of every person accused. We prepare anytime there is sickness or death anywhere in Hewa territory. We evacuate, we call in the police, we raise awareness, we sell t-shirtsto raise money, and above all we pray.

And the raiders still come. Convinced. Consumed with this idea that an evil spirit possesses this woman and she has to be killed in order to protect themselves and those around them. Someone gets sick and dies, someone must be blamed. There has to be a reason, there has to be an answer. Because without a reason, without an action, then it will just keep happening. People will just keep dying and eventually their own day will come and it is just really hard for people to face that. So they have to DO something. But they have been blinded to the truth. They are perpetuating the very thing they are trying to stop. Their thinking has been shaped by generations of erroneous but wholeheartedly embraced teaching.

I know that the only real way to stop this horrific practice is through the truth of the Gospel. Through the Holy Spirit changing hearts and minds. But what if they just won't listen? What if their hearts are hard and their ears won't hear? Is it all for nothing? Will there ever be hope in Hewa?

The truth is, no matter how discouraged I get, I don't have to look very far to see that, yes, there his hope in Hewa. I can see Fato, who was once an axe-murderer himself, and is now the most gentle, sweet-spirited man I know. I can see it in Feyo who cries when he speaks of being forced to help kill his own cousin and who swears he will never be part of that evil practice again. I see it in Faimpat who said in his testimony of faith, "we kept killing women, and people just kept dying anyway, so I knew it wasn't the truth." I see it in every face in this village when they are willing to house marked witches to keep them safe before evacuation, and put their own lives in danger knowing that raiders could come at any time.

There is hope in Hewa. This tiny light in this very dark place. This little mustard seed planted under the towering ominous jungle canopy. But I know what God can do with this mustard seed. He can grow it. He may use the soil of trouble and the rain of suffering, but He will grow it.

It reminds me of James chapter one:

"…when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. SO LET IT GROW, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James 1: 2-4

Grow us all, Lord Jesus. Grow this community of Hewa believers. Grow new Hewa believers. Grow all the missionaries. Grow me, Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Rat Pee Diet


 Yes, we are alive in the tribe. Our email hasn't worked since we got here, so there has been no way for me to blog or write any of you back. We could receive email, and we truly appreciate everyone who has written us to check in, and we have sent multiple responses to all of you telling you how wonderful you are and how much we love you! But…you just haven't received them yet. You may never receive them- who knows. They may have been eaten by the invisible monster that plucks radio waves out of the sky and devours our data for breakfast.

 

But yesterday our email was fixed!! There was much rejoicing!!

 Anyway, so we made it in just fine. The flight in was good and I was only slightly terrified and not in full-blown panic attack mode, so that was a huge answer to prayer for all who were praying. Thank you!!!

 We came back in to a wonderfully clean house thanks to my coworkers and a lot of broken stuff thanks to the jungle. Our email, our radio, our generator, and then not soon after arrival, our front door knob (we were actually stuck in our house for a while). Also pigs and humans have been using the spring that brings water to our house as a toilet. So life has been interesting to say the least. Actually, it has just been pretty typical tribal life. I am covered in bug bites and have already had one skin infection.  So yeah…right back where we left off. We were definitely annoyed at all this stuff but not surprised. The jungle is just welcoming us back with an embrace in its giant arms that don't know their own strength. It tells us it loves us to death and then proceeds to slowly crush the life out of us. Sometimes I call it Lenny as a term of endearment and sometimes I imagine shooting it in the back of the head.

 But the one good thing that happened with all this negative is that I discovered an amazing new diet. When I was in the U.S. (um that was a month ago, people. ONE MONTH AGO I WAS IN AMERICA) and trying to lose all the weight I gained from large Sonic Dr. Peppers, I saw all kinds of ideas for diets and weight loss. Most were ineffective, but this one works I promise! So feel free to make up your own picture since I can't add one over email and pin it all you like. Are you ready to get skinny?  Ok Here goes:

 You leave your house for a long period of time, and make sure there is a way for rats to get in.

 Next, make sure they have access to your oven. They will live in it for a while like it's Barbie's dream house and pee all over it.

 Finally, move back into your house and every time you cook a delicious and fattening meal for your family you will have stood over that oven for an hour smelling rat pee and lose your appetite. You won't be able to even look at the food you cooked, much less eat it. It works wonders!!! I would add before and after pictures, but once again…I can't do that over email.

 There you go. A fast and easy way to loose weight with no exercise involved! You're welcome!

 

P.S. Could someone email me to let me know if this actually worked or not?

 

P.P.S Could someone also post it on my facebook, so that everyone knows we're alive?? Thanks! You guys are the best!! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Rat Pee Diet

Yes, we are alive in the tribe. Our email hasn’t worked since we got here, so there has been no way for me to blog or write any of you back. We can receive email, and we truly appreciate everyone who has written us to check in, and we have sent multiple responses to all of you telling you how wonderful you are and how much we love you! But…you just haven’t received them yet. You may never receive them- who knows. They may have been eaten by the invisible monster that plucks radio waves out of the sky and devours our data for breakfast.

 

I am sending this from my co-workers email address that is currently- as I am typing this- working.

 

Anyway, so we made it in just fine. The flight in was good and I was only slightly terrified and not in full-blown panic attack mode, so that was a huge answer to prayer for all who were praying. Thank you!!!

 

We came back in to a wonderfully clean house thanks to my coworkers and a lot of broken stuff thanks to the jungle. Our email, our radio, our generator, and then not soon after arrival, our front door knob (we were actually stuck in our house for a while). Also pigs and humans have been using the spring that brings water to our house as a toilet. So life has been interesting to say the least. Actually, it has just been pretty typical tribal life. I am covered in bug bites and have already had one skin infection.  So yeah…right back where we left off. We were definitely annoyed at all this stuff but not surprised. The jungle is just welcoming us back with an embrace in its giant arms that don’t know their own strength. It tells us it loves us to death and then proceeds to slowly crush the life out of us. Sometimes I call it Lenny as a term of endearment and sometimes I imagine shooting it in the back of the head.

 

But the one good thing that happened with all this negative is that I discovered an amazing new diet. When I was in the U.S. (um that was a month ago, people. ONE MONTH AGO I WAS IN AMERICA) and trying to lose all the weight I gained from large Sonic Dr. Peppers, I saw all kinds of ideas for diets and weight loss. Most were ineffective, but this one works I promise! So feel free to make up your own picture since I can’t add one over email and pin it all you like. Are you ready to get skinny?  Ok Here goes:

 

You leave your house for a long period of time, and make sure there is a way for rats to get in.

 

Next, make sure they have access to your oven. They will live in it for a while like it’s Barbie’s dream house and pee all over it.

 

Finally, move back into your house and every time you cook a delicious and fattening meal for your family you will have stood over that oven for an hour smelling rat pee and lose your appetite. You won’t be able to even look at the food you cooked, much less eat it. It works wonders!!! I would add before and after pictures, but once again…I can’t do that over email.

 

There you go. A fast and easy way to loose weight with no exercise involved! You’re welcome!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Second Term Me

We made it!!

Almost.

We have been on six planes and seven airports and made it all the way to Goroka, PNG.

Our six hour layover in LAX that ended at 2 am our time.

Getting ready to board our 6th plane in 5 days.
It was a loooonnnnngggg but very good trip. We even stopped in Australia to pet kangaroos and hold koala bears.



We spent a couple days buying supplies and reconnecting with missionary friends here on the base. We also spent some time reconnecting with a few enemies.

Ants
Everything was going really well. The flights were smooth with no delays, we got all our luggage, we even got an extra flight to bring in food supplies so we would have to starve our first 3 weeks in the tribe. And on that flight, a family with two women and five children that have been marked as witches and on the run for years, were safely evacuated to another tribe.

Then April 1st. Came and we just had to have our own little April Fools joke from Papua New Guinea herself. The whole family was loaded up and buckled in the little mission plane, and just as the pilot was climbing in, our flight coordinator came out to tell us that our co-oworker radioed in saying that our village was completely clouded over and we couldn't come in.



So we unloaded and waited for a better report.

It never came. From 6:45am to 12pm we waited. The weather only got worse in Hewa. It started raining and never stopped. So went back to the guesthouse to try again the next day. (Today. In just a few short hours after I post this)

Yes, we were a little disappointed, but very thankful that we got the news BEFORE we got in the air. And I have to say, that this is a great example of what a furlough can do for a person.

First term me would have been all upset and stressed out about it, but second term me just laughed felt like PNG was just welcoming us back saying, "I haven't changed at all while you were gone."

First term me would have gone down to tribal supply and pulled some clean clothes out of storage grumbling the whole time, but second term me just dug the dirty clothes from the previous day out of the bag we were carrying and made everyone put those back on. (All the girls- including me- only had one skirt and those had to be worn into Hewa, so I couldn't risk someone spilling a huge cup of milk or something on them- sorry to everyone here for our smell yesterday). 

First term me would have thought about all the things that could go wrong the next day if we didn't fly in and what we could do about it, but second term me was just really glad that everything was already done and now I am just "forced" to sit here with nothing to do. (please imagine my sheepish grin here. I don't take selfies because I can't figure out how NOT to have a double chin in them, so you have to use your imagination.)

Also, first term me would have individually crushed everyone of those ants with my fingers because it's personal.  But second term me just took a picture and let them do their thing.

So, there you go. A little break from the crazy can do a person A LOT of good.

We're going to try to fly into the tribe again today, and if email is working, hopefully my next post will come to you FROM HEWA!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

T-Shirts and Goodbyes

We are saying lots of goodbyes (yet again) and it is not fun. We leave in exactly one week to go back to PNG and while I am excited to go back- I am not excited to leave the people I love.

Many people have asked me if it is harder or easier to go this time and the answer is: Yes.

Is is harder to leave. But easier to go back. I know that makes no sense, but it's the truth.

It is much harder to leave my family after going three years without seeing them and only getting a few shorts months of hugs, and conversations, and smiles, and meals, and laughter before we leave for another three years. It is like giving one bite of prime cut steak to a starving person. It is perfect and heavenly, but simply not enough. They need more...I need more.

However, it is easier to go to PNG this time. We aren't traveling into the unknown. We are going home. Our house is there, our job is there, and our friends are there. Yes! We are going back to friends instead of total strangers- that makes a HUGE difference!

So now that you have the answer to that question, I have a question for you...

Who wants a t-shirt???

Look at my handsome husband!! He was not too thrilled about being my model as you can tell, but I think he could switch careers if he really needed to, don't you?



I know many of you have followed and prayed for our witch situation, so what could be better for a shirt that supports Hewa ministry?? I really wanted it to say "I love Innocent women and children who are wrongly accused of being possessed by evil spirits and causing sickness and death, and are therefore murdered" but that wouldn't fit on a t-shirt so this is what you got.

The selling of this t-shirt has two main purposes. I will list them below:

1. To make money to maintain our airstrip which we use to evacuate those accused women and children and get them to a safe location.
2. To raise awareness. When someone reads this shirt, and gives you that squinty-eyed head tilt then you can tell them all about the Hewa witch situation and help shed some light on a very dark practice. Hopefully, the more people that know about this tragedy the more people will fight to stop it.

So, if you would like one you can send $15 via paypal to john_george@ntm.org with the size you want and your address and we will ship it to you (shipping is included in that price unless you order a ton of shirts. A ton is very heavy and therefore very expensive to ship)Sorry, but we are no longer selling shirts. We will try to do this again on our next furlough. Thank you to everyone who bought one!!

The catch is that you have to do it QUICKLY because I am super lame and did this at the last minute and in case you missed it above- we leave in ONE WEEK. But it's worth it- I promise because my college friends Josh and Kelsey Dennis helped me get these done (Josh designed the whole thing) and they look AMAZING.