Monday, February 16, 2015

Friends in (literal) Low Places

So we have a lot of friends in low places. Low, as in lower hemisphere. Papua New Guinea.

But we all come back to the Land of Abundance at some point for various reasons. And it is fun, but super weird when we can get together in cleanliness and comfort. Super weird, but super fun.

Our amazing friend, Layne, got married in California on Saturday and we were fortunate enough to be able to go. We wracked up a bunch of credit card points (buying things like plane tickets to and from PNG) over the last 4 years and decided to use them to see our friend on what was obvious to anyone lucky enough to witness this event, the happiest day of his life.

We just felt like we needed to be there for him. When you live the missionary life you are blessed to make deep connections and godly relationships, but those connections are usually for a brief period of time and then you find yourself separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles from those friend- many times for the rest of your lives. And when significant life events happen, you look around and realize all your friends are too global. 

Layne spent three years in Papua New Guinea serving other missionaries...serving us, and we just really wanted to be a part of something we knew he had been praying for, for a really long time.

Here are just a few pictures of Layne in Hewa. He was there so much doing multiple jobs for all of us that he even has a Hewa baby named after him....

Here is Layne setting up our solar/battery system. We would not have power without him!

Here he is covered in inches of sawdust from slabbing lumber in the middle of the jungle for our house.

This is actually for our co-workers house, but he was back again in the middle of the jungle, slabbing more lumbar.

Baby Layne, sitting in his Dad's lap along with my three.

And he was there for this moment. The moment when we were physically, emotionally, and financially spent. We had been in the jungle for 3 weeks trying to get our house up as fast as possible. Completely broke. Completely exhausted. And our two year old hurt her arm. We were looking at a $10,000 hurt arm. I actually think Layne took this picture.

(His witness to this event became even more significant to me later when we arrived at the medical clinic after our flight out, unwrapped her arm, and absolutely nothing was wrong with it. It was a horrifying relief. But, As Layne Is My Witness, the child was hurt.) *She was eventually diagnosed with nurse-maid's elbow.

So it was incredible to be a part of something so joyful together. Another significant and ubiquitous servant in Hewa is the third guy you see in this picture, Chad. Chad was there as much as Layne, and these two were a huge blessing to all of us. There are no words for how selfless and hard working they are (I am including that first handsome dude in this pic as well. Don't tell anyone, but he is my favorite. Wink wink)...

John Michael, Layne, and Chad

Yeah...these are the pics I have from the last time they were all three together...


John Michael


Oh the difference America makes! But I have to add a link to this video, just to show you that in spite of what is very hard and frustrating, they had great attitudes and a lot of fun...

On top of all that, we got to spend time with some other really great missionaries from PNG as well. It felt like a very strange, very clean, very dry, family reunion. In fact, I am pretty sure it was the first time any of them have seen me not covered in sweat.

But, by far the best moment was this one...seeing our dear friend and co-worker, the happiest he's ever been!

Congratulations, Layne and Jenna! Thanks for letting us be a part of your beautiful day!

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