Sunday, August 14, 2011

First two weeks in PNG

We have now been in PNG for two weeks and in some ways it is beginning to feel like home. Because we visited Lae briefly in August of last year, there were at least some familiar sights and faces to come back to. And now they are becoming more and more familiar to us.

We first spent a weekend in Port Moresby, visiting our colleagues at the Reformed Churches Bible College. It was a good time of getting (re)acquainted with some of the students there, as well as the families from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Being newcomers to PNG, and to mission work in PNG specifically, we really value the insight of people who have been in it much longer than we have.

Benefitting from the experience of others continued soon after we arrived in Lae. Our colleagues the Wildeboers have been very helpful in getting us settled. A few days after we arrived in Lae, we had visitors: Dr. and Mrs. de Visser. It's probably not very often that a missionary gets to have his mission professor present right at the beginning of his ministry. Their time here was very encouraging to us.

One thing we've really noticed here is that we can get by living here just speaking English. But we are also more and more aware that we don't just want to get by. To truly be effective in ministry here, we need to learn the local pidgin language, Tok Pisin. And so tomorrow we're off to do just that. We'll be taking SIL's Pacific Orientation Course (POC) in the Madang area for 14 weeks. That will include 5 weeks of living in a village, total immersion language learning. We're looking forward to it - but don't be surprised if you don't hear from us until we get back.

our house and wheels in Lae

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Down Under

We have spent most of the past two months in Western Australia. This is where our supporting churches are, and so it was very good to connect with them. Up to this point we had never met any of them (other than when Tim was in Australia at the age of 4, maybe, but that doesn't really count). Spending seven weeks in the Perth and Albany areas gave us many opportunities to get to know people and come to feel at home. We got to know people at church, at coffee socials, and in their homes. We also really enjoyed an opportunity to introduce ourselves and answer questions one evening at the Free Reformed Church of Bunbury.

We'll just mention a few highlights from our time in Australia:
  • A very warm welcome from Armadale Free Reformed Church on the day of my ordination.
  • Some time out for a holiday down the southwest coast.
  • Getting caught in a storm 1.5 km out into Geographe Bay on the Busselton Jetty.
  • Preaching in about eight congregations.
  • Becoming familiar with kangaroos.
  • Meeting old friends from Canada.
  • Experiencing the grand, majestic, terrifying ocean (which is quite different from Lake Ontario!) 
  • Being shocked at the price of coffee. And bananas.
  • Relaxing in Cairns for a few days before heading to PNG.
  • Watching everyone fall in love with our daughter.