Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Heading Out and Cleaning Up

Day 63: Students left for the village this morning and now that all is quiet on the POC front...

…it’s time to clean up the kitchen.  Here is the amazing crew of women we had the pleasure or serving with for the past eight weeks.  We’d have been lost without them…as well they know.  <smile>

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Packing Day

Day 62: The students begin their 4-week village stay tomorrow so it's time to pack cargo into the truck and sandwiches into bags.  (The sandwiches are for their first meal in the village.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Whirlwind Trip to Ukarumpa

Day 55/56:  The hospital in Madang had all the right doctors when we needed them, but not the supplies to make a cast for Claire’s foot—especially one that would stand up to the rigors of international travel!

So after consulting with a doctor at the clinic back in Ukarumpa, we decided it would be best to take her there for a cast.  Again…God worked out all the details.  The SIL aviation department was able to divert a flight to pick us up on Tuesday afternoon and take us back to Madang on Wednesday morning.

Claire was a bit embarrassed by all the drama of having to be carried and carted…but PNG is just not shall I say…a handicap accessible country.  Crutches and wheelchairs are rare commodities here.

Once we got to the clinic, the doctor took a couple more x-rays of Claire’s foot and checked for tendon or ligament damage.  Fortunately he didn’t discovered any injuries beyond what we already knew from the x-ray in Madang. Then he made Claire a fiberglass cast.  Claire got to choose the color.  Maybe this is so we don’t loose her in all the airports we’ll be traveling through in two weeks?


The doctor gave Claire a quick lesson on using crutches.  She was pretty nervous but we reassured her she’d be flying around on them in no time.



A wonderful friend had us over for dinner that night and arranged for Claire’s friends to come visit.  Claire had been really missing them while at POC so we thank God for meeting this need as well.  Might have even made the break all worthwhile.  OK, Claire says…”No, but still nice.”  <wink>


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Broken Bones

Day 53: While visiting the ocean this afternoon, Claire jumped into the shallow water from a concrete ledge and broke three bones in her foot. God in his wonderful providence arranged for a doctor to be at the scene of the accident who helped us get to the hospital. God also arranged for THE radiologist, THE orthopedic surgeon and THE senior doctor of the "emergency room" to be at the hospital on a Sunday afternoon right when we needed them. (You have to have lived in PNG to realize what a miracle that is.) We're praising God!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Independence Day

Day 41:  Today Papua New Guinea celebrates its 39th birthday.  The kitchen ladies had the day off so this is what I spent the day doing.  Fortunately, we did get to see some of the preparations over the weekend.  This elaborate house boat was in Madang harbor on Saturday.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bread-baking Class

Day 30: We had the first of three bread-baking classes today. Ten students each made a loaf of bread or a dozen rolls. (All without the use of any electrical appliances.) We didn't get photos of the finished products but they turned out great!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hauskuk Demo Day

Day 27 is Hauskuk Demo Day! We prepared various items for the students to practice cooking over a wood fire. No bonfires here! It's hot work but we had Mexican stew, greens, fried kaukau (sweet potato), battered onion rings, fry bread, and pancakes. They did great!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Day Off

Day 24: We took the day off today to do some shopping and then swimming at Jais Aben resort.  The weather wasn’t great for snorkeling, but Jon took each of the kids for a spin around the bay on a kayak.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Building a Hauskuk

Day 23:  The students started constructing their “hauskuks” (cook house) today.  Next week, they’ll begin using them to make their own meals on the weekends.




Isaiah works on his own creation.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Wasfamili Visit

(Photo above:  30 pots of stew and rice.)

Day 22:  Each of the student families is assigned a local “wasfamili” (watch family) who will introduce them to real life in rural PNG.  Tonight the students will meet their wasfamilis for the first time and share a meal of beef stew, rice, bread rolls and banana bread.  It’s a lot of work making food for over 130 people, but it’s also a lot of fun working together to make it happen.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What’s Cooking?

Day 17: Successfully cooked 2 hot meals for almost 50 people without the aid of the amazing Kitchen Ladies--four local women who do most of the cooking on week days. We had lots of other help but I was calling the shots and that makes me nervous! Power has been on and off today so that is an added challenge.


Apparently this is what Mommy’s cooking does to people, so Claire is doing some of her own using only local ingredients—namely coconut, discarded tea bags and the old tube of toothpaste she found in the bathroom cabinet.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Whole Family Pitches In

Day 10: Everyone hard at work in the kitchen. The students start arriving tomorrow!  (We soak vegetables to be eaten raw in bleach water.)


Friday, August 15, 2014

The Drum Oven

Day 9:  How do you bake bread, granola, pizza, etc. for 50 people at the Pacific Orientation Course in Papua New Guinea? With a wood fired drum oven.... 

At least it isn’t useless when the power goes out…or we run out of propane!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Taking Stock

Day 6: In between helping Isaiah assemble a pseudo-Lego set, we organized the pantries and freezers. Claire was a big help! Anyone know how many jars of tomato puree it takes to make spaghetti sauce for 60 people? I don't….

Sunday, August 10, 2014

PNG’s Natural Gatorade




Day 4: Play with the kids, drink a “kulau” (the water inside a green coconut), maybe fry up some banana chips and REST. It's going to be a busy week!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A New (But Temporary) Phase

On 6 August, our family left Ukarumpa to begin a temporary assignment at the Pacific Orientation Course in Madang, PNG.  You can read more about why we’re doing this here.  Any faithful followers of our blog will have realized that this move resulted in absolute silence on this blog for over a month.  <cricket chirps>

Life has been crazy—lots of new and different things to adjust to, and the learning curve has been very steep.  Our current role is so far out of our previous training and experience, we can only rely on God’s enabling.  And as always, he has not failed us!

I hope to post photos and brief descriptions of some of the events over the past few weeks in an effort to catch up.  And maybe…(emphasis on “maybe”) I’ll find a way to keep this blog current.

Day 1 at POC: Met the other staff and participated in the first team building session.

Jon safely maneuvered the Hilux and the Hino down and up the steep mountain road to POC.  (The photo is the view of the coastline from one of the hairpin curves near the top of the mountain.)

I prepared three meals for our family, figured out how to deal with rubbish and calmly managed incessant requests for snacks and swimming by two children. We’re a long way from the nearest grocer, but discovering that I can purchase basic grocery items from the "store" next door went a long way to thwarting the temptation to panic.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mumu of Memories

Over the years we have celebrated some significant milestones with the Kukumbu family.  One especially memorable occasion was when we both found out we were expecting babies after many years of prayer.  I was pregnant with Claire and they were adopting their daughter Judy.  It has been a joy to see the girls play and interact now ten years later.  This last feast was a chance for us to celebrate our friendship, pray together and say goodbye.

The methods of preparing a mumu and the types of food cooked vary from one area of the country to another.  As far as we know they all include cooking food in the ground.  Because the Kukumbus come from a language group in a different province, they said the didn’t add water to create steam like the local Gadsup usually do.

There is a lot of prep work that goes into a traditional mumu.  After all the vegetables and meat are prepared for cooking, rocks are heated in a fire and a hollow is made in the ground.  Then all the food, leaves (to seal in the heat) and rocks are layered in the hollow.  You can see the layers in the photos below as our hosts unveiled the feast.

On top was a layer of broccoli leaves that had dried out from the heat.  In the background you can just see the edge of their plentiful broccoli garden.


Next was the layer of heated rocks.  They were still too hot to touch even for work-hardened Papua New Guinean hands!


Next was layer banana and broccoli leaves.


Now we’re starting to see the first layer of food—chicken, sausages and greens.


The meat was cooked on a layer of special ferns that the Kukumbus use for flavoring.  And underneath the ferns was the final layer of kaukau (similar to sweet potato), potatoes and cooking bananas.


A feast such as this is best eaten with your hands while passing the salt.  Unfortunately for you that means our fingers were too busy to hold a camera.  You’ll just have to trust us that it was delicious and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  <smile>

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Making Books

DSC01357We recently had the privilege of helping support literacy among the Migabac people of PNG. Friends of ours were in the village working on the Migabac New Testament. They emailed us to ask if we could print and assemble some alphabet books and pictorial dictionaries for one of the local teachers. It was fun for our family to be able help in this small way. After the booklets were finished, we boxed them up with other supplies ready to be ferried on the helicopter when next it flew to our friends' village location.

Since we are not translators ourselves and stay mainly on the Centre, we have the opportunity to support and encourage translation teams. Sometimes we buy supplies or groceries for them while they are in the village, or provide meals during transitions to/from the village. We send them news by radio or e-mail and we definitely pray! Once in awhile "support teams" get to visit the village and help with construction projects, seminars or other activities. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement. Translators get some logistical assistance and the support teams get a clearer vision of translation process. That vision keeps us excited about Bible translation and seeing Papua New Guineans transformed by God's Word.

Photo 1

Photo #3 by S&D McEvoy

Thursday, June 26, 2014

From the Hangar to the Kitchen?

Photo 4Recently our director reminded the members of our branch that we have to be ready to stretch into roles that we didn’t necessarily train for or expect to do in order to facilitate the branch’s long-term success. It’s a common theme in the life of a missionary—we do a lot of things we never thought we’d do for the sake of Bible translation. And beginning in August, it will mean I move from working in the hangar to working in the kitchen.

Missy and I have been asked to act as Kitchen Managers during the Pacific Orientation Course (POC) that begins in mid August.  Without kitchen managers the course would have to be cancelled. Fifteen families are scheduled to attend the August POC where they will learn about PNG culture and the Tok Pisin language. Missy and I took a short version of it back in 1999 and then our whole family participated in the course in 2012.

Please pray for us as we get ready for this assignment.  We need to move to the POC facilities around August 8, and we’ll stay there until a few days before we leave PNG on October 15.  So during the next several weeks, we’ll be packing for our return to the US at the same time.

Photo: One of our responsibilities will be teaching the students to cook and bake over an open fire.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Aircraft & Airport Improvements

Photo 3

On occasion, Quest Aircraft Co. (the manufacturer of the aircraft we use in PNG) sends us instructions on how to improve the Kodiaks—ensuring that they serve Bible translation to their full potential. Recently I (Jon) installed an airframe kit on one of the Kodiaks that will strengthen and extend the life of the body of the aircraft. I had to take some of the tail section apart, strengthen specific parts with sheet metal, and reinstall the tail section when finished. The job went smoothly and the aircraft is back in the air serving Bible translation in PNG!

Photo 1

Our airplanes and helicopters fly hundreds of hours each year ferrying thousands of passengers around Papua New Guinea (PNG). But one thing our department has desired for a long time was an organized place to prepare flights and load passengers. Since February, I have had the privilege of overseeing the transformation of our facilities. Lots of concrete has been poured, a fuel system modified, and new flight line sheds were built to store supplies for the pilots and ground crew. Praise God, the new ramp extension is now helping our staff prepare for flights more smoothly and efficiently. The next phase of improvements involves remodeling the hangars and offices. First step: Lots of cleaning out and throwing away!

Photo 2

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sweet Success

As teacher, principal and half the school board, I get to determine when school is done for the year.  (Yes, I feel the power….)  This year our last day of school fell on 6 June.  Claire graduated from Grade 4 and Isaiah completed Grade 2.  And there was much rejoicing!


They each received a bundle of the much anticipated “You Did It” certificates to proudly display on the walls of their rooms.

Daddy took the day off to get some communication done…or so the story goes.  I’m sure the fact that we planned to celebrate with Magnum bars had nothing to do it.  Our deepest sympathies to all you North Americans who have never had opportunity to sample this decadent, frozen confection.  It’s been years since they made an appearance in our Centre’s store, but when they do, we all find reasons to celebrate!


Isaiah, however, chose the green, lime-ish flavored ice.  We’re debating whether or not to pursue counseling for him.  <wink>

Sunday, May 11, 2014

How to Build a Great Birthday…

DSC01133DSC01162photo 5 smallDSC01173

Happy 8th birthday to our Lego maniac—Isaiah!