Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in PNG

The Christmas season always finds us longing for family and those holiday traditions we hold dear.  But looking back over the last few days, I don’t think our Christmas was that much different from previous years in the US (outside of the fact that our extended family wasn’t here).

We had lots of food….


…and snow.


We had a Christmas tree, gifts...


…and a nativity scene.


We made cookies…


…and even went “sledding”.


So what do you think?  Was our Christmas all that much different from yours?  <grin>

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Sock’s Tale

Once there was a new, brilliant white, short-cuffed, cotton, athletic sock hanging on a rack in a department store. He was a fine Sock, and quite proud of his sturdy construction, his seamless toe, and his promise to instantly whisk away perspiration. Not that he’d ever have to face that problem, because Sock knew he was destined for great things.

And he was right, for it wasn’t long before someone came to Sock’s rack and began searching through all the varieties that hung there. Sock hung almost trembling on his hook, trying hard to gleam his whitest. His efforts were soon rewarded when he heard, “Oh, this is exactly what I’m looking for,” and he was lifted off the rack. Sock mentally congratulated himself for having been white, short cuffed and made of cotton. Obviously, he was made the best of the best, and he was right.

Sock was taken home and placed in a drawer with many other socks. At first he was outraged that he was forced to mingle with the stained, stretched out, and (heaven help him) flimsy navy dress socks. What was his owner thinking to put such a fresh, clean specimen like himself with such a motley crew? He began to wonder how the other socks came to look as they did with holes in their toes and broken elastic in their cuffs. He promised himself to never become so complacent as to end up stretched out, stained and shapeless. He would stay pristine white and shapely no matter the odds.

And he was until the day his owner took him out of the drawer and pulled him on his foot for the very first time. Sock was so excited to finally fulfill his purpose, and prepared to shine his whitest for all to see. But his efforts were short-lived, for in a matter of moments, a big, dark boot was pulled on over the top him. The boot was smelly and close. It rubbed him at the ankle and toe, and completely covered Sock’s short cuff. All day long he suffered in the tight quarters of that boot. His perspiration-whisking abilities were sorely tested, but he rallied himself with thoughts that surely this was just a onetime experience. Maybe socks needed breaking in like shoes and the next time things would be easier. He was comforted and dreamt of the washing he’d receive at the end of the day.

But the washing didn’t come that day; nor did it come the next. When sock had finally been removed at the end of his first long day on the job, he had accidentally slipped under the bed and disappeared from view. For two days he sulked on the floor. He now bore large black stains on his underside. His cuff felt overstretched. He was worried about a spot on his heel that felt thinner, and he knew the smell that made the dust bunnies cower at the far end of the bed was his own. He complained to himself of his ill treatment, but was relieved that none of the other socks could see him in his current state.

Then one blessed day, he was rescued and dropped in a washing machine. He thought, “Finally all will come right and I’ll be my lovely white self again!” He was very happy until he realized that other dirty clothes were being tossed on top of him. “Agh”, he thought to himself, “Don’t they know they’re only supposed to wash me with like colors? What if that red shirt bleeds on me?” And suddenly he remembered that no one had applied stain remover to his underside! Now he would be gray forever.

And he was right. As days went on, Sock came to resemble all the other worn out, used up socks that dwelt in the drawer. He was so often worn inside the dirty black boot, that so soon his heel was thread bare. His elastic cuff began to sag, and his general appearance was gray and sorrowful. Sock chided himself for having foolishly thought he was something special and could keep himself new.

And he was right, but only partly right. For one day, Sock was pulled out of the drawer by very different hands. Small hands carried him away and pushed a nail through his cuff. “That’s going to leave a hole,” thought Sock to himself. But then it hardly mattered anymore really. Still, he couldn’t help but be curious as to what this new task would be, and hope within him stirred. That is, until he found himself hanging from the mantelpiece—out in the open for all to see. Sock was ashamed of his saggy middle and gray hew. This was not what he was meant for. Why did they humiliate him so? Sock hung limp and completely dejected.

004That night, however, Sock woke from his stupor of self pity to feel small boxes, wrapped chocolate and a candy cane shoved inside him. This was very strange. What could it mean? He waited, feeling odd with the lumpy items pushing awkwardly at him from inside. Then at first light, Sock heard a squeal and thudding feet in the hall. A young voice was shrieking, “Oh look at the sock! Look, look! Let’s see what’s inside!”

And little hands ripped Sock off the nail and hugged him close before eagerly digging through his contents. In wonder, Sock watched the pleasure each new item brought to the face of the small one. He wished he could stay there forever giving up new treasures for the impatient little hands. Never had he felt so useful and valuable. He was still gray and worn out, but it hadn’t mattered in the least. The gifts he had given had brought joy to the child. Sock never wanted to go back to that drawer, or worse, that black, dirty boot. Couldn’t he just stay here where he was loved and appreciated?

Apparently the small one had the same wish, for she was asking, “Daddy, can I keep this sock always and hang up again on the mantelpiece?” Sock held his breath and then heard Daddy’s reply. “Sorry, honey. You’ll have to find somewhere else to store your treasures. I need that sock.”

Sock was startled. He was needed? Sock realized that there were many other socks that could fill his role, but his owner didn’t want to let him go. He remembered the day he had been chosen, and his owner’s words, “This is exactly what I’m looking for.” He had been chosen, and that made all the difference. Out of all the hundreds of other socks on that rack, his owner had picked him. Sock suddenly realized that stains, holes and stretched out elastic could be worn like medals--proof that he had been chosen, and chosen again…and again.

And he was right!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hi-ho Moonpie!


One Saturday morning, the kids had the opportunity to ride the horses kept by Ukarumpa’s Pony Club.  Although one of our children just wanted to “learn how to take care of the horses…not ride them”, the other rode around the paddocks as many times as she was allowed.  Definitely a high point in her young life!  Maybe Aunt Sarah’s equestrian blood runs through our Claire’s veins as well.  But it hits me as funny that Papua New Guinea could be the place to find out.  Just another reason to call this “The Land of the Unexpected”!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Long Nights

I find the nights here in PNG oddly long.  Odd because it feels like summer, and we ought to have plenty of time after supper to walk the dog or play catch in the nearby field—like we do during the summer in northern Wisconsin.  I sometimes forget that all outdoor activities need to be completed before 6:00 PM, and that our evening meal usually takes place behind locked doors and drawn curtains.

Nighttime is so dark here.  In the USA, our days and nights blend together.  Street lights, security lights, road signs and store signs overpower the distant stars in most towns.  Cities never really sleep in America.  We buy groceries, medicine, milk shakes or even insurance policies at 2:30 AM if we so desire.  With 24-hour emergency rooms, towing companies, consumer hotlines and radio stations, we can almost pretend nighttime doesn’t exist.

And I am so newly transplanted from that land of 24/7 assurance, that I find myself a little anxious every evening.  “What if we run out of Children’s Tylenol? What if the water tank springs a leak?  What if I just have to have a sausage and mushroom pizza in the middle of the night?”  I don’t think I’ve ever indulged in a midnight pizza even when it was just a phone call away, but there is something in just knowing you could have it if you really “needed” it.

Here in Papua New Guinea it usually just waits till morning. 

When my daughter was 3, she broke her arm here in PNG.  The accident occurred just as the clinic was closing at 5:00 PM.  Of course, there is always a doctor or nurse on call and they graciously treated Claire as best they could.  The moody x-ray machine, however, revealed a break that our doctor said would require surgery and thus a medical evacuation to Australia.  But because it was dark, no airplane could fly my daughter and husband to that surgery until the following morning.  It was a very long night, and one I don’t wish to repeat.

So as evening sets in, I take comfort in Isaiah 60:19-20.  “No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.  Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down.  For the Lord will be your everlasting light.  Your days of mourning will come to an end.”  (NLT)  Darkness is so often used in a negative sense in the Bible, it’s no wonder the final triumph of light over darkness is a theme repeatedly found in Scripture.  (Micah 7:8, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, 1 John 1:5)

In ever-bright America, the urgency of this truth was lost on me.  Here in the darkness of a wet Papua New Guinean night, I catch a glimpse of the joy that dawns with that endless day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

It’s always most difficult to give thanks when everything you think you know about yourself is being challenged, but that also happens to be the time when a grateful attitude is most critical.  So this year, the Thanksgiving holiday reminder fell at perfect time for me.

023Thanksgiving is, of course, an American holiday and not observed in Papua New Guinea.  School is in session, the store and other departments are still open, and the planes still fly.  But because of the large American population living at this center, the celebration does happen—if not Thursday evening, then Saturday afternoon.  Often an American family will invite other families, American, Australia, Papua New Guinean, Korean, etc. to share in a traditional (or non-traditional) feast.

In realty, the idea of a thanksgiving feast is not solely American.  Papua New Guineans too observe momentous occasions with elaborate meals of chicken, sausages, cooking bananas, sweet potato, greens and pumpkins baked in pit in the ground.  My hausmeri (female house helper) told me today that the village across the river celebrated Thanksgiving in August.  There had been a large fight between two clans earlier in the year.  Most of the houses in the village were burned, but only 4 lives were lost.  The Christians in the village were grateful to God for protecting their church and their lives.

That kind of puts things into perspective doesn’t it?

A week has gone buy since my previous desperate post about the food situation here in Ukarumpa.  I am extremely thankful to be able to 015say that meal preparation is becoming easier.  I’m grateful for a wonderful evening with friends that included crafts, laughs, and roasted chicken!  I thank God for the family he has given me—children so eager for the next great adventure, and a husband who actively pursues God.  And I’m even grateful to God for stretching me in a greater likeness of himself.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What’s for Dinner?

Please forgive the tone of this post.  I’m writing in the midst of the struggle.  Although by faith I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, right now I’m having some difficulty seeing it.  <hopeful smile>

There is a bit of heaven here in this mission community—especially the way families eagerly sign up to cover the first three days worth of meals for new arrivals to Ukarumpa.  With all the unpacking, settling in and finding your way around the center, it’s very nice not to have to concern yourself with cooking.  But when you’ve arrived on a Friday and the store is closed till Monday, and McDonalds is just a mirage from another life, the “meal list” is pure necessity.

But now the honeymoon is over and I’m struggling to make three meals a day for this family.  This ought to be old hat by now.  I mean, I have lived in PNG for 5 years already.  And I really didn’t even take advantage of all the convenient and microwaveable foods available when we were in the States.  I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the changes that have taken place in the food department of PNG during the past three years.

Yes, I knew prices were high, but $15 for a chicken!  I haven’t even seen the prices for beef yet, because the store hasn’t had any since we arrived.  And what do we eat for breakfast when cereal is over $9 a box, eggs are $7/dozen and oatmeal can’t be found?  The answer is bananas and toast (if I remembered to make bread the day before.)

My whole day seems consumed by planning and preparing the next meal.  Jon tells me to keep it simple.  But what does that mean?  Carrot sticks aren’t even simple when you have to be at the market between 6:00 and 7:30 AM on Monday, Wednesday or Friday to buy them.  Wash them in a water and bleach solution.  Pare them without the aid of a decent vegetable peeler, and slice them with the equivalent of a butter knife.  (I’m serious…the house we’re living in did not have a single sharp knife—not even a dull, sharp knife.  I shudder to think what I’d be doing if I hadn’t brought my own from home!)

I wonder how long the kids will accept my suggestion of “have a banana” for a midday snack?

But I truly do thank God for the market where the local people sell their garden produce three mornings a week. I can find just about any type of vegetable there and many tropical fruits. Prices are pretty good—comparable to your home-town grocery store. So let us eat fresh veggies, and roasted veggies and minestrone soup, beans, and more beans, and for dessert…bananas.

The upside…maybe in three years I’ll be thinner and healthier.  Or maybe I’ll just resemble that banana.  <grin>

Monday, November 14, 2011

We Made It!

…and I don’t think the trip could have gone any smoother.  We made all our flight 072connections (as did all our baggage) without complications of ANY kind.  The kids found ways to entertain themselves during the flights and layovers, and really seemed to enjoy the journey.  We all found opportunities to rest and sleep—making it so much easier to think clearly, make good decisions and exercise patience.  God arranged a number of little “extra” blessings that have shown us His perfect love and provision:

  • Airline staff were very gracious and generous in their assessment of our “excess” baggage.
  • The trans-Pacific flight had fun kids’ meals for Claire and Isaiah even though we didn’t arrange for them.
  • That same flight was showing “Cars 2”—Isaiah’s current favorite movie.
  • We spent three fun and relaxing days in Cairns, Australia in a familiar place with friends we know from PNG.
  • 075We had air-conditioning for our one night in hot and dry Port Moresby, PNG.
  • We were able to fly in the Kodiak (for the first time) from Port Moresby to Ukarumpa.
  • Friends provided all our meals for our first 3 days in Ukarumpa.
  • Priscilla, a local friend who helped me with housework in the past, had been working for the previous renters of the house we’re living in.  It was wonderful to see her again, and her prior knowledge about this house is a big blessing as we adjust to life in PNG again.
  • We’ve been able to spend much of our first few days here with friends that have children Claire and Isaiah’s ages.  Some they remember from visits in the US, and some we haven’t seen in 3+ years.  Doesn’t seem to matter though, it hasn’t taken them long to enjoy playing together!

This list could go on and on and on…!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We’re On Our Way!

We’re sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting to board a 747 bound for New Zealand—leg #2 of our week-long journey to our new home in Ukarumpa, PNG.  How do I feel?

Sleepy—I was awake at 4:15 AM this morning…somewhat anxious I’d sleep through the alarm.

Bored—I rather that this 7-hour wait at the airport was spent getting closer to our destination.

Nervous—Lots of unknown out in front of us.  There always is, of course, but sometimes its easier to ignore when you’re safe in your own little “comfort zone”.

Sad—I watched the kids say good-bye to several close friends yesterday, and Grammy and Papa this morning.

Excited—so glad to finally start doing what we’ve been working toward for the past 21 months!

Grateful—for all the partners who “have our backs” as we step into another phase of this wild adventure.  And for a big, BIG God who is with us as we ride the wings of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea.  (Psalm 139:9)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saying Goodbye and Looking Ahead

(excerpt from our November 2011 newsletter)

As you can imagine, we’re pretty busy right now—shopping for those last few items to ship 002in our crate, filling out departure paperwork, finding new homes for items that we won’t need in PNG, and making post-departure arrangements for our van, mail, bills, etc.. The never-ending “to do list” can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in the family, so we need to constantly remind ourselves that no matter what, God is in control! And in the past two weeks we’ve had ample proof that “nothing is impossible with God.” —Luke 1:37 What an amazing God we serve!

Things we look forward to in PNG:

Jon—working on the Kodiaks and other aircraft alongside “old” friends.

Claire—playing with friends (new & old), taking care of the kitty that belongs with the house we’ll be renting.

Missy—reuniting with friends, and establishing a routine again.

005Isaiah—getting the surprises Mommy & Daddy packed in the crate (see photo on right), and seeing friends he made during our times at JAARS.

We will all miss lots of things about the US—family, freedom to travel, abundant and accessible stores to name a few. Saying goodbye won’t be easy, but remembering the people in PNG waiting to hear God’s Word in their heart language is what truly motivates us to return to PNG.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Airplanes and Paper Chains

We’ve got tickets!  Departure day is Nov. 5—only 27 days away!  We should arrive in Ukarumpa, PNG on Nov. 11, but in the meantime we’re busy packing up our crate of belongings to ship by sea freight.  Please keep us in your prayers. Stress levels are high right now as we try to think of EVERYTHING that needs to be done/bought/packed/shipped before we go!

The kids are very excited.  As soon as we announced that we had plane tickets, they both decided to begin sorting through their toys.  Ever since our decision to return to PNG in February 2010, we’ve told them that whatever fits 009in their plastic bin can go to PNG.  The rest needs to find another home here in the US.  It’s such a relief to see them handle that reality with a positive attitude.

And because Isaiah keeps asking if we’re leaving “the next day” or “the next day after the next day”, we encouraged them to make a paper chain to count down the days until we leave. (See photo on right.)  Now our mornings involve the excitement of ripping off another link.  To the kids, I’m sure, that chain represents an almost eternity until departure day.  But to this mom, the clock is ticking!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Heard and Answered

Praise God!  He has heard our prayers and answered!  Since my last posting, God has provided both the remaining $275 that we needed each month, and the $4000 we needed for traveling and shipping expenses.  We believe God has thrown open the door for us to leave for PNG soon.  We will continue to trust in his perfect provision despite the rising cost of living in Papua New Guinea.

Working on those travel arrangements now….

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  --Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

God’s Provision

(excerpt from our September 2011 newsletter)

Aug 13 2011 028Thank you for your prayers as Jon and the crew worked to get the Kodiak aircraft ready for service in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The modifications are now complete and the aircraft has been dedicated to the Lord for service in support of Bible translation. (See photo on right.)

On September 23rd, the Kodiak is scheduled to fly to Kansas where its ferry tanks will be installed. These special fuel tanks will sit inside the cabin and hold the extra fuel needed to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. When the installation of the tanks is complete, the aircraft will then be ready for the long journey to Papua New Guinea. Please pray that the aircraft and crew will encounter good weather, and that each leg of the trip will be uneventful and progress without delays.

The presence of these aircraft in PNG attests to the faithful provision of our God. All three Kodiaks are completely paid for through the gifts of people who share our burden for the Bibleless people of the world. We too hope to make that trans-global journey, and help see Papua New Guinea empowered by the written Word. We’re very close to our financial goals, and thank God for the team of partners he has already raised up.

We still need about $275 in monthly pledges, and estimate that we need an additional $4000 to cover airfare and shipping costs to PNG. When we have 100% of those launching funds, and our monthly financial partnership thermometer (on right) reaches 100%, we’ll be released to return to Papua New Guinea. But we can’t go without people like you who choose to become a vital part of this ministry! Will you prayerfully consider helping to complete our team of financial partners?  Please contact us if you have any questions on becoming a prayer or financial partner, or you can click here to get started.  Thank you!

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  --Matthew 6:33 NLT

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scenic Stop


We always enjoy stopping at the New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia.  I think this was the first time the kids enjoyed the view with us.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Safari

The Damon family gives an A+ to Hidden Valley Animal Adventures for an engaging and interactive “field trip”.  Go early when the animals are still enticed by the sound of your plastic feed cup, and you’ll be sure to get face to face with all kinds of unusual creatures (from the safety of your trolley, of course).  Then take the kids to the petting zoo to meet the smaller critters and a real, live zonkey.  Just a word of caution:  Don’t wear white—especially if the water buffalo are still in the mood for a snack.  Your nose will soon tell you, that isn’t just mud on his tail!


Friday, September 2, 2011

The Ol’ Homestead

One of the best parts of visiting New York, is spending time on the Damon family homestead.  The old 2-story farm house where Grandpa grew up is gone now. Just the grown-in remains of a basement still testify to its previous existence.  But the acres upon acres of hills and trees just beg to be explored.  Jon nurses many a fond memory of when his family used to camp out there for days on end.  Real camping—the kind where you build your own shelter, cook over an open fire, drink water from the spring and bathe in the pond.  (That is if you bother bathing at all….)

But now that Grandpa is getting up there in years <said with a big grin and the expectation of retribution>, his homemade camping shelter is getting a little more elaborate.  Plans for a 20’ x 20’ log cabin are underway, and we all got to help a little bit on its progress.  (Well, I think my only input was in the area of morale support.)  We didn’t get to see it finished, but if nothing more happens at least Grandpa will have the finest tent platform in all of Western NY.  <smile>


Sunday, August 28, 2011

I’ll Be a Donkey’s Owner…

“As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives.  Jesus sent two of them on ahead.  “Go into the village over there, “ he said  “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it.  Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”  --Matthew 21:1-3 NLT

I’ve seen various representations of this Scripture portion and most seem to portray this mysterious donkey owner as either a lackey or excessively naive.  I like Dr. Joel R Beeke’s description however.

“On the outskirt of the city, Jesus sends two disciples to a nearby village to fetch a female donkey and her colt.  The owner of these animals, although unknown to the disciples, is on close terms with Christ, believing in His mission.  Merely hearing ‘the Lord hath need of them’ (Matt. 21:3 KJV) is enough for the man to permit his animals to be led away.”  Tabletalk, September 2008.

While visiting the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte recently, I caught a glimpse of why Rev. Graham been called “the world’s best-loved evangelist”.  Few people today have had such opportunities to preach the Truth to presidents, kings, and world leaders--not to mention the millions upon millions of “common” men.  If God was still writing the book of Acts, I’ve little doubt Billy Graham’s name would show up frequently.

Which left me wondering….  Would my name appear anywhere?  Likely not, and to tell the truth, I’m not sure I’d want it too.  I can’t say I’m ready to accept all the trials and tribulations of Paul, or endure martyrdom like Peter and James.  I don’t think I’d even like the fame and public life of a preacher like Billy Graham.

But I do long for the day when I hear my Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  So if I was in the Bible, I’d like it to be like that anonymous donkey owner.  Not someone in the limelight, just someone close to Jesus that can be trusted to come through for him when given a task.  And in short…that’s why we keep plodding down this road that we hope will bring us to Papua New Guinea.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Prescription: Popsicles

Our son had surgery last week to remove an extra tooth growing in his upper gum.  If it hadn’t been causing trouble with its neighbors, I might have suggested we leave it in there just in case.  Isaiah might fall in that 30% of children that knock out, fracture or otherwise injure their hard-working chompers.  Always nice to have a spare, right?

Anyway, after the procedure, the surgeon sent him home with a prescription for a pain killer and lots of popsicles.  Fortunately, I was well prepared because our family consumes ice pops like a Ford Excursion guzzles petrol.  <That’s for you, Anthony>  And although, these frozen treats are great on a hot day, the store-bought kind consist mostly of sugar, food dyes and scary ingredients I don’t know how to pronounce.  Granted…I’m talking about the store-bought kind in my price range.

013So we started making our own, and found out that if you have a blender, they’re really fun to make and eat.  You can freeze the pops in special molds, small plastic cups and sticks, or even ice cube trays and toothpicks.  Here are some of our favorite experiments…

“You Can’t Eat Strawberries Without Bananas”

(must say with a Swedish accent)

  • 3 cups chopped strawberries
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons honey or raw agave nectar (to taste)

Blend strawberries and bananas together until smooth.  Add lemon juice and honey and blend for a few more seconds.  Pour into pop molds.


Peaches N’ Cream

  • 3 cups chopped, peeled peaches
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk

Blend ingredients until smooth and pour into pop molds.


Chocolate Banana

  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cups dark chocolate almond milk

Blend ingredients until smooth and pour into pop molds.


Mango Mint

  • 2 very ripe mangos chopped (or squished)
  • 4 chopped, peeled peaches or nectarines (use that disappointing fruit you bought on sale at the grocery store)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Blend ingredients until smooth and pour into pop molds.



  • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  • juice of 2-3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ice

Blend ingredients until smooth and pour into pop molds.

This last recipe is our family’s favorite and is based on Anni Daulter’s “Pure Sunshine” recipe in her book, Ice Pop Joy.  I just like the lime juice better than the lemon she suggests.  Anni has lots of other great popsicle recipes.  I highly recommend, “Happiness”, “Heavenly”, and “Blackberry Swirl”.  Oh, and “Peanut Butter & Chocolate Classic” and….

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tok Sori

During 2010, the Ukarumpa center (where we live in Papua New Guinea) and neighboring village were under significant criminal activity—house break-ins and invasions on an almost nightly basis. Of course, it was a very stressful time for the local people and our colleagues alike, but God was at work nonetheless.

Over Easter 2011, one of the village pastors conducted an evangelistic crusade. As a result, the criminals wanted to apologize to the director of our organization in PNG. The village pastors recognized, however, that the young men would still need to make a public apology to all the people who were impacted by their former criminal activities. Praise God that public apology took place on July 2, 2011.

imageOn that Saturday a number of our colleagues went to the neighboring village. The local pastors prayed and preached from God’s Word. The former criminals presented a drama that demonstrated how they had turned their lives over to Jesus, and they closed with a song that spoke of Jesus as being their only friend. Then each young man publicly apologized for his crimes and the hurt that he had caused. A few made a point to apologize directly to the owners of the houses they had broken into.

imageThe village community then gave a tremendous gift of garden food—their traditional demonstration of love. It took two vehicles to bring the gift back to Ukarumpa center where it was presented to all our colleagues during the Sunday morning meeting.

The worship service that morning overflowed with testimonies of how God was at work in their own hearts! Some of our colleagues recognized and repented of their lack of faith and belief inimage how God works through prayer. Some commented on a lack of balance between justice and grace and forgiveness by the missionaries at the Ukarumpa center.

But as the director stated in his report of the recent events in PNG—”We are all on a journey” of spiritual growth—those serving in PNG, the Papua New Guineans themselves, and even those here at home who support the work of Bible translation through gifts, prayers and encouragement. Our prayer is that this story of revival in PNG will be an encouragement to you as you make that journey.

*Adapted story and photos taken from a report by Tim Lithgow, director of SIL-PNG.  The pidgin term “tok sori” means repentance, or an apology—literally “talk sorry”.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cherishing the Ordinary

Thursday was just one of those days where I had to stop and thank God for making it ordinary.  Ordinary doesn’t happen often in our family.  We really don’t do normal around here much.  Probably because “here” changes so often.  Nothing very special happened yesterday….

In the morning Claire and Isaiah participated in the summer activities held for the missionary kids here at JAARS.  They meet with other kids to play games, do crafts, learn Bible verses and swim.  Now that Isaiah is riding a two-wheeler without training wheels, they go by bike.  I think that’s one of those “rites of passage” for a boy isn’t it?  Some pretty Big Stuff parked his bike in front of the activity building that morning!

007Jon also went very eagerly off to play work at the aviation hangar.  A spankin’ brand-new Kodiak airplane sits in its shade while “Mr. Project Coordinator” happily oversees its preparations for Papua New Guinea.  It’s even got that “new car” smell.  I know.  I checked.  And we know what that smell does to the male species—suddenly the whole world is a much brighter place.  <grin>

Mommy meanwhile enjoyed the quiet alone with the Bible and a cup of Scottish Breakfast Tea.  Time for reflection on a chapter in Matthew turned out to be very helpful when a friend called later to chat.  (I love it when God arranges real life application of something I just read in his Word.)

I washed dishes, wrote e-mails, and fetched children.  We all ate lunch together.  The kids and I played games.  I refereed bickering matches, picked up dirty laundry, looked for missing toys, helped Claire make chocolate chip cookies, and ate too many.  We apologized to the neighbor boy, washed four very dirty feet, watched PBS Kids, read bedtime stories and listened to the thunder.

At the end of the day, (after kissing two watermelon-scented foreheads goodnight), I determined to record this day and save it under “Days I Want to Cherish”.  It wasn’t perfect.  It wasn’t all fun, and it definitely wasn’t spectacular.  It was, however, blissfully ordinary and for that I find I’m very thankful.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

“You Would Never Make It”

Excerpt from our June 2011 newsletter

“Begin walking before first light, and walk hard all day long. Spend the night in a small village in the bush. Awake early to spend the second day walking up and down rough trails in the mountainous rainforest of Papua New Guinea. For an Onobasulu man in Walagu village, this is the only way to get to the nearest road. If he takes his family, it will take longer.

One such man looked Beverly Mosley in the eye and said, “You would never make it.” She smiled and answered, “That is right. That is why the JAARS airplane brings me and picks me up.”

The Onobasulu people are excited about working with Beverly to translate God’s Word into their language. But the only way she can get out to this remote village in the Southern Highlands Province is by mission aviation. She travels by plane with her work materials, food, and other personal supplies. “Believe me,” she says, “you would not want to try walking with your study Bible, or a stack of literacy materials, for a couple days through the rainforest.”*

The aircraft pictured above is one of two Kodiak aircraft that serves Bible translation programs like the one taking place among the Onobasulu people. The Kodiak’s specific design makes it very useful for mission work in rugged conditions.

You may remember that Jon helped install some modifications on the second Kodiak before it was ferried to PNG last October. Soon a third Kodiak will be arriving at JAARS to receive these same modifications. Jon has the opportunity to spend the next several weeks helping get this plane ready for Papua New Guinea. Working at JAARS is not our ministry assignment, but Jon will be helpful to both the JAARS and PNG aviation departments. This opportunity also provides Jon with some good experience working on the very aircraft he’ll be maintaining in PNG.

We’ve put thousands of miles on our van this past year visiting friends and churches to talk about our work with Wycliffe. God has given us a wonderful team of people who support us prayerfully and financially. We thank God for them every day. At the same time, we plead with God to complete our team. We had hoped to leave for Papua New Guinea by July, but we still need about $769 in monthly support. Our new goal is to leave by January and to reach this goal we need new opportunities to share about our ministry in the next months. Please pray that God will help us find these opportunities and bring in the needed support. That is our highest priority. In the meantime, we are grateful for the opportunity to support Bible translation by helping prepare this Kodiak aircraft for service in PNG.

*Photo and adapted story by Beverly Mosley. Reprinted with permission from

Monday, June 20, 2011

He Rides 2

For months, Isaiah has wanted to cruise the parking lots on 2-wheels like the big boys.  We’ve attempted to take the training wheels off his bike, but he couldn’t get past the fear factor.  Then today I noticed that Isaiah was balancing really well on the neighbor boy’s scooter.  He was even turning corners without putting his feet down.  Jon decided to help him try once more, and this time Isaiah held his balance on the first attempt.  Yeah!  That scooter was the perfect stepping stone to 2-wheel independence!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

S.S. Badger

103On our way from Wisconsin to Michigan, we took a short cut across Lake Michigan on a real steamship.  The S.S. Badger is the lone survivor among coal-fired steamships in the US, and is the largest carferry to ever cross Lake Michigan.  She makes the 60 mile trek from Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI in about 4 hours.

That means you have 4 hours to explore the decks, watch movies, color the wall in the playroom, tour the ship’s museum, eat snacks, play bingo or all of the above.  So…drive through Chicago traffic or sip coffee on the lower deck of the S.S. Badger?  Hmmm.…

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Last Day of School

Today Claire and Isaiah finished Grade 1 and Preschool respectively.  Our study theme for the year was “Exploring God’s World”.  We’re very proud of them for sticking to their studies despite all the traveling we’ve done this past year.081  Isaiah’s accomplishments include learning to recognize the numbers 1-10 and practicing the sounds of the alphabet.  Claire continues to improve in her reading and writing skills.  She can now read several Dr. Seuss books all on her own, and authored several short stories.  They both successfully memorized 36 Bible verses, and probably know more about US geography than most kids their age. <smile>  But if you ask them what their favorite class is, more than likely they’ll answer--“PE”!  (Physical Education)  Of course, that’s the one Daddy teaches….

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We Won’t Forget

We were proud to be able to accompany my grandparents to the Memorial Day parade.  My grandfather served on a Destroyer in the South Pacific during WWII.  My grandmother also trained as a nurse to serve with the WAVES.  It was very touching to see several people come up to them during the parade to thank them for their service.073072






They’ve shared some good stories with us about life during WWII and what it was like to serve on a navy ship with Kamikaze planes falling from the sky.  Hearing those tales makes us even more grateful for their loyalty to our country and God’s protection of their lives!  A big thank you to all our service men and women who face similar dangers everyday.  We won’t forget those who gave everything for our freedom.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spring Again…and Again

Spring came to North Carolina in early March and we enjoyed the blooming Dogwood, and spending as much time outside as possible.  The temperatures were just starting to reach into the summer-like 90s when we packed up the van to head north and prolong our Spring.

035Right now we’re spending four weeks on my grandparents’ farm in Wisconsin where temperatures are still brisk, and trees and flowers are just starting to bloom.  We’re grateful for the opportunity to visit with some of my extended family and make ourselves useful in the process.

The farm doesn’t keep animals anymore (other than a few timid barn cats), but there is always work to be done to keep the buildings and grounds shipshape—brush to cut, rocks to clear out, grass to mow….  The wide open spaces, and physical labor seem to agree with some of us in particular.  <smile>

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Proclaim His Greatness

Thank you for participating in this 15-day Prayer Challenge, and for joining us as we pray for the expansion of God’s Kingdom through Bible translation.  We trust that God has heard our prayers and is already acting in ways (seen or unseen) to the glory of his holy name.

We also hope the stories we’ve shared have refreshed your spiritual walk, and maybe opened your eyes to “mustard seeds” in your own life.  Too often we forget what God has done for us in the past and we get impatient when he doesn’t act the way we want him to now.  We can doubt God’s love for us even though He has shown himself faithful time and time again.  Remembering God’s past provision, however, can help us trust him for theMH900331626 future.  So let’s…

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.

     Let the whole world know what he has done.

Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.

     Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord.

     Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.

Remember the wonders he has performed,

     his miracles, and the rulings he has given,

you children of his servant Israel,

     you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.   --1 Chronicles 16:8-13 (NLT)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bedtime Stories

(Day 15 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

Usi, a mother of two, came to help me (Missy) with household chores on Friday mornings, but did not speak or understand much English. I needed to practice my Pidgin, and she needed cash to buy soap and kerosene, so the arrangement worked out well. I knew God had brought Usi into my life, but I was a bit nervous about this. I make friends here in the States very slowly. So how was I going to build a relationship with another woman that didn’t even speak the same language?

At first, I kind of dreaded Friday morning. It was always such a struggle to communicate more than the basic, “How are you? How is your family? Can you please help me hang up the laundry?” I wanted to show Usi that she was important to me, and not just for the work she did.

In PNG it is customary for house help to receive tea or coffee at 10:00 AM from their employer. So after praying about it, I decided to use that time to sit down with Usi and try talking about her home, garden etc. After the first couple of weeks, my limited vocabulary was exhausted and I could tell Usi was bored and uncomfortable. In desperation, I prayed to God for help, that I didn’t know how I was going to reach out to Usi with Christ’s love.

Later that week I talked with Ruth, our neighbor’s house help. Ruth spoke a little English and told me how she had recently learned to read the pidgin Bible. That gave me an idea and I asked Ruth if she would come for tea the following Friday and help me read a story from the Gospels.

So the next week after Ruth, Usi and I finished our tea and snack, I brought out my Pidgin New Testament and read the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Ruth followed along with me, correcting my pronunciation often, and Usi listened attentively.

The following week I did as I had done before and read the parable of the four soils. Only this time after I was finished reading, Usi started talking to Ruth in pidgin. I caught pieces of what she was saying and realized they were discussing the parable.

The next week I read about the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet, and again I realized that Usi was repeating the whole story back to Ruth and I in her own words, and Ruth was correcting her from time to time.

2 June 03 023By the fourth week, I was curious as to what Usi was doing, so I asked her, “Usi, would you like to read the parable this time?” Usi shook her head no and said, “I can’t read and my husband won’t allow me and my children to go to church. The only time I get to hear God’s Word is when you read from it on Friday mornings. Since my children can’t be here to listen, I’m repeating the stories so I can go back and tell them. They like for me to tell them stories about Jesus when they go to bed.”

Please pray:

  • That through Bible translation, the Kingdom of God would continue to permeate the areas of the world without God’s Word.
  • That God would prepare hearts to receive the seed of his Word.
  • That God would meet our financial need to his glory and the strengthening of our faith.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thank You, Debbie

(Day 14 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

Carolyn London, author of “The Littlest Airplane”, “Mr. Jeopardy”, “Mr. Bicycle”, and other children’s stories, sent this letter to a child who gave her allowance for missionary work.

Dear Debbie,

When your very good gift of 25 cents arrived the other day, Uncle Paul and I knew that a little girl who sends her whole allowance to the mission field wants something special done with her money. Of course, Uncle Paul and I always thank the Lord Jesus for the gifts He sends us, and we always ask Him to help us use them wisely.

Let me tell you what happened to your money. First of all, when you sent it to SIM and asked them to send it to "Uncle Paul and Aunt Carolyn" in Nigeria, the staff got busy. One person went to the bank and said, "Please see that this 25 cents is sent to Nigeria."

Someone else wrote a letter. This is what the letter said, even though it might not be the exact words:

Dear Treasurer of the Mission in Nigeria,

Debbie has given a very wonderful gift so that boys and girls can hear about Jesus. When her 25 cents has been transferred to Nigeria, please give it to Mr. & Mrs. London.

One day the Treasurer in Nigeria went to the bank and got your money. It doesn’t look like the money you sent. It has been changed to Nigerian money.

Uncle Paul went to the SIM bookshop. He bought some tracts that were written in Hausa, some in English, and some in Yoruba. Uncle Paul paid for the tracts with your money. Anyone who reads them will know how to believe in Jesus and be saved.

After we bought the tracts we went into town. Lots of boys and girls in Jos can read, so we knew we’d find some who wanted your tracts. Pretty soon we saw a little girl bringing water to her house. I asked her if she could read. “I read Yoruba,” she said. So she took one of your Yoruba papers.

A man stood in a shop nearby. When he saw we were giving out tracts, he ran out quickly and asked, “May I have one?” He accepted his tract in the polite African way of receiving a gift--with both hands. We tell the boys and girls that is the way they should receive God’s Gift--with both hands. They shouldn’t try to get God’s gift of eternal life with one hand and hold on to the world with the other.

In a few moments a little girl came. She was carrying a teapot on her head. Heads are very useful things. They are not only good to think with; they are also good to carry with. The little girl had been gone only a few seconds when some other children came by. One little girl carried her baby sister on her back. These boys and girls were very glad to have papers that told them about Jesus. They all took their papers home to read to their mommies and daddies.

So you see, Debbie, your gift is telling many people about the Lord Jesus.

We hope you will remember to pray for all the boys and girls in Nigeria.

Uncle Paul and Aunt Carolyn London

Story and clipart from SIM International’s website under “Resources & Downloads”.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Ever Book

(Day 13 of 15-day Prayer Challenge)

The small group of Maiadom people—726 in all—from Papua New Guinea had prayed for fifteen years for some mission organization to translate the Scriptures into their mother tongue.

As a vernacular translator trainee, Eka Andrew attended a workshop to enable him to create storybooks and eventually translate Scripture in his own Maiadom language. When his storybook was done, Karla Sligh, the language survey specialist who guided him through his project, asked Eka, “Do you realize that you just made the first book ever in your language?” At first he looked at the floor and simply grinned. Then, a wide smile spread across his face, as the full impact of her question struck him. Perhaps he could be part of the answer to his own villagers’ prayers. He shook his head and laughed to himself for the next five minutes.

p13221Emotion welling up inside her, Karla herself began to realize the implications of that moment. She and the workshop staff had just had a part in helping the Maiadom people expand their world.

Please pray:
  • That through Bible translation, the Kingdom of God would continue to permeate the areas of the world without God’s Word.
  • That God would prepare hearts to receive the seed of his Word.
  • That God would meet our financial need to his glory and the strengthening of our faith.