Archive for October, 2011

Airstrip inspection

24 October 2011

Just wanted to thank you all for praying for the airstrip inspection and share the outcome. The inspectors want a little more work to be done before it is opened. The ridge the airstrip is built on has a curve in it, so since the airstrip takes up the whole thing, it too has a curve. The men felt it was too dangerous for a pilot who didn’t know the strip to try to land on and didn’t want the liability (for themselves or us) of opening it as it is. However, they offered an alternative of shortening the landing space and turning it at a slight angle so it can be straight. This will require a couple of days work on the dozer, which is unfortunately tied up indefinitely at the other GFA mission station here in PNG. So… again we wait. But waiting is good. The Lord has a good reason for letting it be this way and we are content though of course a bit disappointed. Thanks again for your prayers.

Elizabeth Owens

“God is the cause why things are not, as well as why they are. Nothing so high, that it is above His providence; nothing so low, that is beneath it; nothing so large, but is bounded by it; nothing so confused, but God can order it; nothing so bad, but He can draw good out of it; nothing so wisely plotted, but God can disappoint it.” -Richard Sibbs

Answers to prayer and a big prayer request

22 October 2011

The Lord has answered many of our (and your!) longstanding prayers in the last couple of weeks, and I wanted to share some of those answers with you so that you can rejoice with us and praise the Lord for what He has done.

Thank you for praying for our trip to town last week. The Lord blessed with safety and decent success in our shopping, for PNG anyway. 🙂 The school books came!!! We picked them up from the post office our first day in town and took them straight to the hangar, then almost forgot them in our hurry loading the chopper to come back (!), but thankfully Jeff noticed them at the last minute and we were able to switch out some less important things and get them on.

Many of you have been aware that our skid steer has been in many pieces for a long time, waiting on parts to come from America. They finally came, and this past Monday and Tuesday Mike Berbin and Matt Crain came from Aibai (the other GFA mission station here in PNG) and, working together with Jeff and Mr. E. and several New Guinean helpers, got it back together and running! They took it back to Aibai with them on Wednesday to finish up the work on the airstrip they’re building there.

And now for the big prayer request– speaking of finishing up airstrips, ours is ALMOST done, Lord willing!!!!!!! All that remains is the inspection, and that is scheduled for Monday morning at 8 am. That would be 6 pm on Sunday for most of you (EDT). Please pray that if everything is as it should be, the inspectors will pass it. The PNG air authorities don’t have enough inspectors to go around, so the inspection will be done by the chief pilots from NTMA (New Tribes Mission Aviation– with whom we usually charter all of our flights) and MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship).

Also this week, we started school! Our first day was Wednesday and our students are doing fantastic work. It is very comforting to have Mrs. E., with her 32 years of teaching experience and graduate degree in education, confirm so many of my theories and practices as a non-education-major teacher with only one year under my belt. 🙂 The Lord really did answer my prayer for wisdom beyond my experience! Thank you to those of you who prayed for that for me. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE LORD TO SEND MORE TEACHERS. We really need someone to be starting the paperwork process NOW (actually a couple of months ago!) because it will probably take about a year to get approval from the PNG government. I simply can’t do school by myself now that I’m married and living nearly an hour walk away– frankly I sometimes have doubts even about this year even with the Ellisons’ help! They will be leaving next fall and at that point if there’s no help for me we’ll quite possibly have to close the school. So please pray. I’m so glad it’s in the Lord’s hands and not mine and that, as I told myself and the similarly anxious parents in our beginning-of-the-year meeting, He can take much better care of it than we can!

Thinking backwards now, I know many of you were praying for the mumu (feast) we hosted at our house a couple of weeks ago. It went well and I think folks really caught the messages we were trying to emphasize. Jeff had an chance to speak a few words praising the Lord for His work in our lives and explaining the significance of my white dress, which I was wearing. (I made it like a traditional PNG meriblaus– ladies’ blouse/dress– but white, which is something they don’t do here for weddings.) Purity here is a pretty rare virtue. He also took the opportunity to explain (mainly for the benefit of the many unbelievers from the neighborhood who were present) why we’re here in the first place, and share the gospel. Please pray that the Lord would use this in the hearts and lives of those who heard. Also pray that the Lord would give us wisdom as we seek to honor Him as we live in the hauslain (like a neighborhood of the village) rather than up at the mission station as before. Particularly pray that He would give us time in the midst of crazy schedules to spend time with the people here and even put in some significant time on learning the tok ples (village language).

Well, this is definitely my longest post in a while– congratulations for making it all the way through! Thank you so much for your prayers.

Elizabeth Owens

Kaikai

1 October 2011

In America it is often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but I think that here in PNG that applies to women and children too. 🙂 I have been thinking a lot about food lately, not because I’m necessarily all that hungry but because my husband is. 🙂 (Just kidding– in reality, I think I’m hungry as often as he is if not more so!) Food takes up a good deal of my time and thus my thoughts, because everything has to be made from scratch. That’s a huge blessing, though… our
toasted-on-top-of-the-woodstove homemade bread at lunch today was worlds better than what most of you probably pulled out of your toaster this morning! However, my thoughts lately have been taken up with more than just the food that I prepare for our little table at home. I’ve been thinking of kaikai, which is Pidgin for food, but when Kiari people say “kaikai”, homemade toast is the furthest thing in the world from their minds. “Kaikai” to them is kaukau and kumu for the most part… potatoes and greens. And if it’s a special occasion, the essential ingredient is a pig– the bigger and fatter the better, because the fat is the best part. :S We are actually in the process of buying a large pig, and it all goes back to my very first sentence. Next Friday we plan to have a mumu. A “mumu” is a feast. The food is wrapped in leaves and put in a hole in the ground with hot stones, and then they pour water over it and cover it quickly with banana leaves and then dirt to hold the steam in. Then it cooks for a few hours and is pulled out, portioned out, and enjoyed immensely by everyone.

I really am convinced that food is the way to these people’s hearts. One really good way anyway. Around here, people are always giving each other food–Christians and non-Christians alike… though, shamefully, more often non-Christians! (That realization is one of the things that really got me thinking about kaikai.) You wouldn’t believe how many papayas and onions and avocados and bananas and bundles of kumu have been given to us. And mumus are a really big deal– everyone loves them, and people show up out of the woodwork to participate, at least in the eating part. 🙂 So, we are having a mumu, our main reason being to build relationships/friendships with people although our official excuse is that it’s a marit kaikai… marriage feast… to celebrate our marriage with our PNG friends. Please pray that the Lord would give us wisdom in finding ways to make this more than just a big kaikai, but also a real celebration of Christian marriage. There have been only two Christian weddings here… we’re only the third couple to marry as believers. We really want to use this opportunity to praise the Lord for His sweet, wonderful working in our lives and to emphasize marriage, as we did in our wedding, as a picture of Christ and His church.

Jeff and I are blessed with a very large garden lovingly planted for us by church ladies. Our desire is to use it to reach people’s hearts through their stomachs… to show love and build relationships that will prove fertile ground for the gospel. Not only do we want to give food to folks (taking it when we visit sick people, giving lunch to people working on some project or other for the mission, etc.) and feed it to them in our home, but I also hope to build relationships with ladies as I work with them and learn from them in our garden. Please pray that the Lord would bless.

Please forgive my rambling so this time and pray for rich fruit from this seemingly small but, I am convinced, very important part of our ministry in Kiari.

Elizabeth Owens