Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You're too late, Pete!

We are in Goroka. Its this whole other city in Papua New Guinea. It is actually cold here. OK, so not seriously cold, but it starts getting cool in the evening and by morning I have to put on socks. I have not worn socks in 3 months. It feels weird. There are a few other things that are different about this place. One is all the options in the stores. We stopped at a store in town and had to get food for the next 3 days before we went out to the base. I had to think quickly and was a little overwhelmed. The meat was sketchy, so I had to be creative to think about what meatless meals I could make for 3 days. I figured it out eventually but not before I bought a $15 box of Fruit Loops. And, no I am not exaggerating. I really wish I was. I know it is ridiculous and crazy, but I was seduced by the familiarity. It was a real box of Fruit Loops. Not Fruit Scoops, or Fruity Ring-O's, or some bizarro world version of the colorful tasty artificial goodness. Toucan Sam was staring me in the face and I could not resist that ginormous beak! We can't get a lot of cereal in Wewak, and what we can get is a little different. Like Rice Krispies are Rice Bubbles. They probably taste the same, but the Snickers Bars here taste weird and I am not about to fork out the $9 to see if Rice Bubbles are the same.

So the food is good and the weather is good, but there is one thing here that is haunting me. We were put under the care of a great couple named Pete and Joy. Pete is a Sepik guy to the core even though he lives here now. His dad opened the work in the Sepik region many many years ago. He was born in the Haus Sik (hospital) in Wewak...and he survived! Anyway, he told us that he was excited about all the new families moving to the Sepik and all the possible new tribal works that will be opening because of it. We then told him about a survey trip that some guys just took to a place that I can't pronounce (or spell) but when my husband correctly pronounced the name, Pete told us that he had actually done the initial survey in that tribe 10 years ago.

The most recent survey trip

When we told him that the people were excited and really wanted missionaries to come live with them, he told us that they felt the same way 10 years ago, but the mission was not able to support any works that far away at that time. It would take a considerable amount of money and man power to have a team that was so far away from a support base (it is still pretty far from our mission base and other tribal works, but if a team is well funded...meaning the each family or single is close to %100 of their recommended support level... it is do-able ). But then he told us about an old man in the village who looked at him and said, "You're too late, Pete." This guy knew that by the time the missionaries moved in, learned the language, and got to teach the Gospel, he probably would not be around anymore. That was 10 years ago. It is hard enough to think about one man for whom the "Good News" came too late, but now how many others have missed out because the resources to send missionaries were not there. What is harder to think about is the fact that where I come from there were (and are still) plenty of resources available to send any amount of missionaries anywhere in the world, but those resources are often used for other things. Things that are of this world. That moth and rust can destroy. Things that are seen. Things that are temporary. Rather than, not things... people, souls, created in God's image, that are eternal. It made me feel very sad and small, and made me hate that box of Fruit Loops. I mean that beak is ridiculously too big. If a real toucan had a beak that big, he wouldn't be able to hold his head up, much less fly. Stupid big-mouth bird!

**You can read more about that survey trip here

Friday, July 15, 2011


For the first time in over 2 months, I am homesick. Don't get me wrong. I have missed my friends and family terribly. I have longed to see them, but I have not longed to be in back in America. I am doing my best to convince my mom and sister that it is in fact, NOT too soon to come visit. But today, I am homesick for America...and I can't get Lee Greenwood out of my head. The reason for my newfound patriotism? Three words: Harry Freakin Potter. (I know this is stupid because Harry is British... just go with me on this one)

It is not just Harry Potter. I mean I am not that obsessed. It is that my hubby's birthday is coming up very soon, and for the past several years the only time we ever go to the movies is on each other's birthdays. And, it so happens that the Harry Potter movies usually always come out around JMGJ's birthday. This year is no different. So, I am a little bummed. Mostly, because we have this tradition and we cannot carry it on anymore. It is the end of an era. And now, I might actually have to think of a gift to buy my husband because I don't know of anything fun to do. On his actual birthday we will be flying to another city in PNG that I have never been to before and know nothing about, so planning anything is very difficult, but gifts are even more difficult. Gifts for him are a huge problem because

1. He is a man.
2. We have limited funds.

Just like every other man in the world, the things that I know he wants that he has not already purchased for himself are very very expensive. This is a universal truth about men. It comes with the testosterone. Women who marry guys for their money get a bad rap when actually they are really only thinking..."Great, this guy has lots of money! So, I will not have to stress every birthday, Christmas, Father's day, Valentines Day, Groundhog Day, etc. when he wants a gun, a boat, a motorcycle, a TV that rivals the Times Square JumboTron, a guitar signed by Eddie Vedder, a golden limousine ..." you get my point. Not that my husband is materialistic or anything. He is just a dude. And dudes dream big...that is also in their testosterone. He wants these things, but only in a "it would be fun, but not important enough to disregard my calling from God to give up all this junk so that other people can hear the Gospel kinda way". That is one of the many reasons that I love this dude, which makes me want really want to give him the stuff he only dreams about. Sigh. It is a vicious cycle. So, you see why Harry Potter is so important to me now. It is about way more than finally seeing He-who-must- not-be-named finally get-what-is-coming-to- him.

So, if anyone has any brilliant ideas about what we could do for a very awesome husband and father on his birthday- I would love to hear them. Just to give you an idea of who he is, so you can give great suggestions: He loves long walks on the beach (with a stick, so he can find and poke stuff), Dancing in the rain (when someone else is doing it so he can laugh at them), Pink shirts (on his daughters only), Vanilla caramel coffee (minus the vanilla and caramel), Lifetime movies (wait, no, that is JMGS), and Taylor Swift (no need for parentheses here this one is true).

Thanks in advance for your help!

P.S. For the record my husband wants everyone to know that he would not actually like a guitar signed by Eddie Vedder, and to stop projecting my "big dreams" on him. Ok, Ok, I get it! Truthfully, he would actually like a guitar signed by Glen Hansard...or Taylor Swift.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Romeo? Romeo?

Wherefore art thou Romeo? Or more appropriately...Man bilong me i stap we?? My hubby was supposed to be home today...but there was more work than they originally anticipated (or he just wanted one more complete day of not wiping anyone else's hind end) so he will return tomorrow. My neighbor's husband is also gone on this extended excursion into the bush, and apparently some creature has decided that in their absence there is spare room in our apartments and has decided to make himself at home. We have both heard EXTREMELY loud bumping and scratching in about the same place in our shared wall. It is probably just a rat or mouse, but it sounded like one of the worm creatures from the movie Tremors were about to break through the wall. We acted like the mature adult women that we are and ran screaming and ushering all our children out of our homes. Even though our husbands were gone and Kevin Bacon was no where to be found, we quickly found the men who are still on base and let them deal with it. I think all they did was throw some poison around, so the creature will just die up there and then our husbands can deal with the stink when they get home. But the horrible clawing sound is gone, so that is all I care about. All that drama aside...I am really ready for JMGJ to come home. I miss the dude. (which should be evidenced by the excessive blogging)

Normally this time every night we are hanging out in our room and watching Smallville. We don't get real TV here, so we are at the mercy of whatever anyone has on DVD. We found Smallville in the base library, so we started watching it at night as a way to just chill out. The show is pretty cheesy and predictable and we are convinced that soon they will HAVE to run out of ways to almost kill Lana Lang, but we enjoy making fun of it together and somehow the plot has drawn us in, so we are kind of addicted to it. In fact, I am sort of having withdrawals from not watching Lana Lang almost die every night, so last night I dreamed that she was almost eaten by a shark. The show is set in Kansas, so this is highly unlikely, but like I said before they are running out of ways, so we'll see if that dream was prophetic or not.

What a lovely indoor shark tank you have! I hope I don't accidentally get pushed in!

All that aside, I am really glad he got to go. He deserved a little break from all these women he is surrounded by and get some time with the men doing manly things. He likes to work with his hands and do manual labor, so I know he was happy to get the opportunity to help. He was helping some guys take apart a missionary family's house who has moved out of the tribe because the work there is almost finished. There is just one single lady left there finishing up the translation of the New Testament. And, yes, you should all be reading this with dropped jaws in awe of a single the jungle...translating the that a people group can have it in their mother tongue. And yes reading that should make you feel like a complete loser if you made some excuse not to teach that Sunday School class of seventh grade boys because you were afraid for your life. Anyway, it just makes me think about where we will be in 20 years. I hope we can be we will find ourselves in a similar position... having taken God's most important message to a people who have never heard...planted a church among them and seen it through to maturity with its own elders, leaders, and deacons. And translated (the majority of) the Bible into their language, so they can continue to grow and teach the generations that follow the until the return of Christ. That sounds like a dream come true. Like a miracle...a miracle that I hope I get to witness one day.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Coke Addict

I am addicted to Coke. Coca- Cola that is. The kind you drink- not the kind that a certain Orange Heiress thought was gum in her purse next to her chihuahua. Anyway, I have a serious problem. At home I drank caffeine free diet coke because I was nursing and didn't want my baby all jacked up on second hand sugar and stimulants. Here, there is no such thing. There is regular coke and diet coke, but they both taste a little different than they do in the US. I have gotten used to the regular coke, but the diet coke I just have to choke down in order to keep my rear end from growing down my legs. None of that really matters, though, because Coke here costs one US dollar a can. You heard me. It is freakin expensive and it breaks my heart. My wonderfully frugal husband can easily deny himself the joys of the Coke experience, but it is quite a challenge for me. In fact, I would probably not be able to resist at all except for the fact that I get "the look" from the previously mentioned wonderful husband. I am not being sarcastic about the "wonderful" part. I mean, it is wonderful for him to be concerned with feeding our children, and saving money so we can actually minister to the people we came here for. Anyway, I say all that to say this.

The Coke Nazi...I mean my wonderful husband has been gone since Friday. I know what all you wives are thinking..."I bet she hasn't shaved her legs in three days"...and you are correct, but I have also been downing about 2 cokes a day. It has been so nice to enjoy the refreshing and satisfying fizz of carbonated heaven without that "look". But don't worry, honey!! I am making up for the added expense by only eating popcorn and olives (and the occasional candy bar) and only feeding the kids Ramen noodles and the free bananas from the trees outside (which they love)! I haven't bought any meat (which is really expensive here) in 3 days, so I am actually SAVING you money! Now, if I could just get you to jump on board with this new diet of coke and popcorn we could really be getting somewhere! I am sensing "the look" as I type that, so I might as well give up now.

Although, I have enjoyed my happiness in a can, it doesn't really compete with happiness in my man..(ha ha, see what I did, there??) so we are all very ready for him to come home. The kids have decided to start waking up at the butt crack of dawn to check and see if Daddy some how miraculously appeared in the night. He is helping some other missionaries do some manual labor out in the bush and I know he is working his rear end off, but he has had a nice long break from wiping someone else's rear end off, and I am very tired of being the sole hiney wiper around here. I'm tired, very very tired. So, please come home, Daddy...

We need someone to clean the fish...

And scrape the coconuts...

And show us all the weird and scary things you pull out of the ocean...

And help wipe hineys... (I will spare you the picture of that one)

Come home to us!!! Puh- leeeeeze!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A different kind of education

I am such a loser. Sorry about my lack of blogs since I have moved to PNG. I mean I am actually here, getting pretty close to being a tribal wife and do not even write about it...sorry. I have been sort of pouty since I found out that there is a 99% chance that we will NOT have internet in the tribe. Yeah, you heard me. So when I actually am a tribal wife I will not be able to keep up the blog with said title. In all my pessimistic glory, I have just thought, "well, I'm gonna have to quit soon, anyway...poor me...thanks for noticin'" (please go back and read the previous quote using the voice of Eeyore as the author intended) Anyway, I am depressed about it, but there's nothing I can do, so I will just write while I can, and when I disappear into the jungle you all can just move on with your lives and find some other missionary wife who actually has internet, who can still blog, and who is funnier and better looking than me. I won't make you feel bad about it. Its not like this was a committed relationship or anything. Oh well.

Anyway, the point of this post is that we are now at MONTH NUMBER TWO and I thought I would share with you all the wonderful things that I have learned in two months of living in Papua New Guinea.

1. I can now distinguish between 3 different types of very similar looking poo: gecko, rat, and roach. I am pretty sure I could get a job in a very specific type of identification.

2. I have learned that I sweat more than the average woman...or man.

3. I have passed this gene along to my kids. Sorry girls! (you can't see the baby in this picture because she is in a puddle on the floor)

4. I have learned that you can make just about anything you want from scratch.

5. I have learned that I really don't want anything bad enough to make it from scratch.

6. I have learned that there are about 1,000,000 species of ants. And if you poison a large trail of ants on your wall, but get distracted and forget to clean them up, then a slightly larger species will be along soon to carry them off for you.

7. I have learned that this saves money on ant poison because the larger ants then die. I will NOT be leaving these ants there for even larger ants to come carry them off, though. I see this soon spiraling out of control and can picture a myself thinking I am in an earthquake only to look out my window and see a Godzilla sized ant coming up the road headed straight for my house.

8. I have learned that I actually like meri blouses. They are comfortable, cool, and I don't have to suck my stomach in when I wear them. Sue me.

9. I have also learned that I no longer care if my family is all accidentally matching. Cause when you are all wearing mumu's you are not sacrificing the integrity of your fashion choices anymore by having them match as well.

10. I have learned that "children's church" in Wewak, just means that the kids run around outside with no adult supervision. Being the paranoid mom that I am...I quickly became the adult supervision.

11.I have learned not to freak out about my kids' mysterious rashes. So before you freak out and take a picture, then make your husband label separate red mark's on the child's face, so as not to confuse the doctor...don't...they may just disappear over night.

12. I have learned that my kids do not share my fear of gross disgusting things in the ocean. (yes, that is Mae with a GIANT sea cucumber in her lap)

13. Or my fear of heights. (I have also learned that if I let my husband take my oldest daughter on a hike to a waterfall and say, "take care of my baby" to him that means "let her jump to her death from a 15 ft cliff into an icy creek)

The End.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Promised Pictures

Sorry it has taken me so long to add the previously mentioned pictures from my trip into the bush...but my stomach problems have taken a very ugly turn and I have had to stay very close to the bathroom. I am on some very strong antibiotics and am praying that they will work! I am tired of only talking about diarrhea all day long. (although, I was told that missionary moms only talk about diarrhea and fungus anyway, so maybe this makes me "official" now). JMG must be official too, since he was complaining to another missionary about how all the mold is wreaking havoc on his sinuses and to which the other missionary replied, "wait until you get fungus growing inside of you nose!" He has been putting neosporin up his nose with a Q-tip every night since. On top of all this Lu had a bug bite that got infected and her whole foot was swollen and we were dealing with that as well...oh and Mia had an ear infection...and Mae had sounds pretty bad, but we are very thankful that it is all minor things and nothing we have to get on a plane and pay big money to go see a doctor about. So, I say all that to say this...Here are you pictures...Enjoy!

Some village houses

Me and my neighbor about to get in the canoe

Kids playing in the wind behind the plane

View from the house we were cleaning

The local hang out

Kid climbing a coconut tree