Archive for August, 2010

First time to leave Kiari!

23 August 2010

Greetings from the village of Aibai! On Thursday I made the long, slow trip here from Kiari to visit the experienced missionary teachers here and observe their school. It has been such a HUGE blessing as I plan for teaching in Kiari on my own next year!!

I guess I should back up and tell about the week in order. It was a full one! Monday was our last day of school– no classes, but lots of fun activities: making thank-you cards for parents, practicing our closing program one last time, giving/receiving school awards for the fewest demerits, never late, top student in each class, encourager, helper, etc.; and cleaning the classroom. I also showed a missionary DVD, Kwassi of Togo. The kids loved it and it was so interesting to see it again, this time through their eyes.

Tuesday was our school program. Tiffany, the Smith kids, and I went up to the school and swept it out in the morning, but nobody else was there so we came back down and did things around the house until we started seeing people going up. Then I went on up and watched as the students’ parents got the mumu ready. The ladies sat around peeling kaukau (sweet potatoes) and taro and grating something else the name of which I can’t remember, and the men “cooked” the stones and killed and butchered the pig. After it was finally all in the ground cooking we waited a while longer while someone made the rice/Maggi soup, because nobody wanted to miss the program to tend to it. Then finally about 2:30 we went inside and had our program. The kids did a great job. They said their verses and sang their songs in English and Pidgin, completely from memory. The only thing they forgot was the middle verse of Jonah in Pidgin, and even though they realized it right away they did a great job of covering and not giggling. J Then Mr. Smith preached, and finally the scholarships were given for Christian Leadership, English, Math, and Most Improved. When that was all done we went down for the mumu. My piece of meat still had some bristles on it, but it was still yummy. The mumu finished up just in time for everyone to head out to one of the hauslains near the church for an evangelistic fellowship. One of the men visiting to work on the airstrip preached, and the folks enjoyed hearing a “new mouth.” Then came the hike home, and boy did our beds feel good that night!

Wednesday was a more leisurely day. It was really strange not to have school! I helped in the clinic a little, then ran errands for the guys who were fixing our generator. What a blessing to have it running smoothly again! In the afternoon I cut Tiffany’s hair for her, and she helped me make up our supply list. She will be leaving just a couple of days after we get these supplies, so it was a good time for me to learn the ropes. We ordered supplies for the next two months-hopefully I didn’t forget anything! Our church service was at 4:30, and when we got back I packed for Aibai.

Thursday morning we left Kiari about 6:30 am. Ten of us (the Smiths, two Rodgers, and I), plus everyone’s luggage, bounced along in the pickup truck for about an hour before we caught up with the Jeff on the dozer. He had left at 4 am-I’m really glad we didn’t have to leave then too! The dozer, along with the Rodgers brothers to operate it, was going to Aibai to work on their airstrip, giving Brother Randy and Jeff a welcome break from the stress of our airstrip project. The Smiths were taking immediate advantage of that by heading for Goroka for their annual week-long vacation, which has been being put off for quite a while, and Jeff is planning to build his house and finally have a real place to live after camping out in the old school storeroom for close to a year. Anyway, all that to say we followed the dozer till about noon, when we finally reached Nomane, the nearest village with an airstrip. Following the dozer meant that we just crawled along, but we were thankful for its presence because we came across a number of landslides which the dozer was able to easily clear away. A tree across the road was another matter-the dozer couldn’t budge it, and it took a good bit of cutting (our chainsaw was dull, so some of the local men came to help with axes) to finally free it so the dozer could pull it off the road. At Nomane a couple of planes came bringing supplies and taking the Smiths, and Brother Matt Crain came to pick up the Rodgers, the dozer, and me. We continued on our slow, dusty way to Aibai, finally arriving a little after 6 pm. It was a long trip, but honestly not that bad. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, and it was fun to spend time with the Smiths until Nomane and after that to chat with Brother Matt’s helpers who were riding in the back of the truck with me. We also had a pretty much continual train of children thronging after us, so it was fun to play with them and talk to them. “Whiteskin meris” are still quite the novelty here, it seems, especially when they make bilums just like PNG ladies!

As I said at the beginning, the time here in Aibai has been a tremendous blessing. The folks have been so welcoming and helpful. I just wish I had the brainpower to remember all of the great teaching ideas and the capacity to properly thank these missionary friends for their generosity with their time, ideas, and teaching resources. I’ve spent a good deal of time with Becky and Tara, the two teachers, both of whom have a lot of experience, and have been observing at school. On Wednesday I will teach 4th and 6th grades, and they’ll give me pointers after having seen me teach. It’s an education degree in a nutshell, and I’m so grateful to these kind ladies for all of their help. It’s been a blessing too to get to know some of the church folks. I must say, though, that I miss Kiari already and can’t wait to get back and start planning in earnest for our next school year.

This has been a long post, so I’ll close for now. Thanks so much for your prayers-please keep them up, particularly in regard to the decisions about our next school year. Also pray if you will that the Smiths would have a relaxing and refreshing vacation, and that we’d all have safe travels back to Kiari on the 31st. Thank the Lord with us for the many blessings He has sent.

One last note-here in Aibai I can receive phone calls, so if you’re up to international phone calls I’d love to hear from you! (011 675 7138 0913) That won’t work once I go back to Kiari because I leave my phone off (searching for a nonexistent signal kills the battery), but until then I should be able to answer unless I’m in school. We’re 14 hours ahead of the eastern US, so the easiest way to figure the time is to add 2 hrs. to your time and switch from am to pm.

Hope you have a great week!

Elizabeth

Another full week

15 August 2010

This week we finished school! Tomorrow all of the kids are coming to clean the school and practice their program one last time, and on Tuesday we’re having the end-of-the-year program and mumu. The students will sing and say their verses, and someone will preach. Awards will be given for different subjects, Christian leadership, etc. Please pray that the Lord would clearly use this program to lift up His name among our school families. Several parents/family members are unsaved.

I stayed busy making a couple of big meals for the missionary lain since all of the ladies were gone. The two youngest Smith girls helped me and we had fun. ☺ They also spent the night every night, so I enjoyed the company.

We have decided to have only two grades in school next year. Now the hard part—REALLY hard part—is deciding which grade to cut and telling them. Please pray for us. We’re really in need of the Lord’s direction. I will probably be going to Aibai (another GFA mission station) to observe their school and learn from their experienced teachers either this week or in a couple of weeks.

One big praise this week was rain!! Last night it poured, and we set out all kinds of containers to collect all the water we could. I don’t know how the rain tanks are, but I’m sure they’re way better than they were! For a while now we’d been down to about a foot in the bottom of the tanks, and it tasted earthy. We’ve been praying for this rain, so praise the Lord with us for His gracious provision!

Hope you have a great week!

Elizabeth

“O use me, Lord, use even me, Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where….” -Frances Ridley Havergal

To check email in Kiari, I carry my computer about a mile down the mountain to church and sit on the edge of an overlook where a fitful cell phone signal connects me to the outside world. ☺ Due to this limited connection, I have to limit the file size of my incoming mail. To ensure your message will reach me, please don’t send pictures or attachments. It’s also nice if you can change your mail format to “plain text” (which usually decreases the file size a good deal) and delete the text of previous messages. In other words, leave off all the “extras”—but do still write! ☺

New Friends

8 August 2010

This week we had school as usual. On Wednesday I taught all three grades because Tiffany was sick. That was fun. J More and more classes are being completed, and first grade finished up on Thursday. Lord willing we will finish second and fourth grades this week. Tiffany and Catherine will be gone to a ladies’ retreat at Kilau (one of the churches where some other GFA missionaries minister– about a five hour drive from here), so I’ll be teaching everything myself. I’m excited. J

Because of the Ladies’ Bung (gathering), I will be the only whiteskin meri (white woman) in Kiari for the week! We’re expecting a couple of men to come from America and help on the airstrip, and I’m excited about getting to help feed them all. It’s not much fun cooking just for myself, so I’ll enjoy this. I’m looking forward to the extra time with the Smith kids too!

This past Thursday Esther, one of our second graders, let me walk home with her to visit her aunt, Nensi (Nancy), who lives next door for the time being. Nensi is expecting and is on PNG version of “bedrest”, which just means she’s not able to go work in her garden. The time weighs heavily on her hands, and I’ve had lots of extra time on my hands too, so we were both excited to get together. When I arrived her husband Pita (Peter) was there too, and they were such a huge encouragement to me. They spent some time helping some missionaries in another part of PNG, and told me about some things they had learned. It was such a blessing to listen to their wise counsel and enjoy the good Christian fellowship.

Please pray especially over the next couple of weeks as the Smiths and I make decisions about the next school year. We really desire for the Lord to make our path clear. I can’t tell you how much I feel the need of your prayers in this regard.

Hope you have a great week!

Elizabeth

“O use me, Lord, use even me, Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where….” -Frances Ridley Havergal

A Full Week

1 August 2010

We had an unusual number of church activities this week. Sunday we had our normal services and choir practice, Tuesday was an evangelistic fellowship in the BRS hauslain, Wednesday was baptism and prayer meeting, Friday we had family night at church, and Saturday morning was our regular church leadership prayer meeting. The big event was baptism. It was an all-day affair, so school was canceled. I helped Catherine count pills at clinic for a while and then rode down to church with the Smiths. When we got there the ladies were busy preparing vegetables for the mumu (underground barbecue), and the men were killing a second goat. They’d already killed one goat and a pig. I pitched in and helped peel kaukau and carrots (sweet potatoes and something shaped like a beet but colored like a carrot). Some people were cooking rocks in a fire, and when they were hot they put leaves on top, then all the food. The animals were on top, and someone poured on water to make lots of steam. Then everybody rushed to cover it all up with leaves and somebody shoveled dirt on top to hold it all down and make an oven. We sat around for a while after that, and then it was time to hike down to the Kerebo river for the baptism. Seven people gave their testimonies and were baptized. Then we hiked back up, up, up to the church and after a while it was time to rausim the mumu. By this time it was about 3:30, so everybody grabbed a potato to munch on while they worked/waited. All the food was piled on leaves and carried over to the church kitchen house, and people inside divided it up for everyone. Our plates had rice on the bottom, then magi (ramen noodles), meat, taro, and tapiok. Yummy, yummy! ☺

I believe I mentioned last week that we hadn’t had a mission team report yet. Well, in the afternoon service brother Sailas (Silas) gave that report. Apparently it was a difficult trip. Another mission (Seventh Day Adventist?) has a strong hold on the people in that area, and many of them refused to let our team hold meetings. However, a few places they were able to hold meetings. It was encouraging to see how despite the disappointments of the trip, the team came back anxious to go out again and bear the good news of the Gospel, even in the face of persecution. Praise the Lord!! Please pray that we will be able to send out 2-3 more teams before the end of the year, and also pray for those who heard the gospel (both on the mission trip and at the baptism) to remember what they heard. May the Lord give them no rest until they find their rest in Him.

Thanks so much for praying! Hope you have a great week.

Elizabeth

“O use me, Lord, use even me, Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where….” -Frances Ridley Havergal