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Back in America!

We’ve been in the U.S. almost a week, and I want to share how our trip went.  In traditional Ukarumpa fashion, a group of our friends came to the airport to see us off, despite the early 7:30 departure time!  We have good friends!  Some even brought donuts and banana cake for breakfast.  We had a mostly happy time hanging out before we had to board the plane.  It suddenly felt sad when they gave us the 5 minute warning that we had to board the plane and as we hugged everyone goodbye or “see you later” as I prefer to think.  We are very thankful for these friends God gave us in PNG and will miss all of them!Friends AiyuraGirlsSONY DSC

It was very foggy when we first arrived at the airport.Fog

By the time we boarded the 10 seater Kodiak, it had cleared up.  Connor was very afraid to get back on one of these planes, but it went much better than expected.  Last time we flew one he screamed and clenched onto Josh’s hand much of the trip, but it was a bumpy ride.  This time he was able to have a pair of headphones and he was able to listen to the co-pilot (another pilot catching a ride home) talk to him a little about the flight.  He started out very afraid, then cracked a little smile, then eventually fell asleep.  When we landed he was able to tell the pilot he did a really good job of flying the plane so hopefully he won’t be so scared next time! He loves big planes so he had no trouble with all the other planes.Boarding Plane

We passed through the capital city of Port Morseby, and were able to have coffee with friends we made back at POC.  They’re going finish (going to their home country and not returning to PNG) this year so this may have been a real goodbye, but maybe we’ll get to New Zealand some day!HaagortsPt Morseby

Brisbane, AustraliaBrisbane Brisbane

Brisbane

FijiFijiFiji

Los Angeles, CA where we were happy to be able to meet up with a friend from Ukarumpa!  She had been in the U.S. on a short visit and was heading back to Ukarumpa.  We were able to visit with her for about an hour which was a nice surprise!

First sights of America!

First sights of America!

LAblog

Charlotte, NC where I took no pictures.  The kids did great on all 6 flights!  They actually slept on some of them (Connor did the best), but I don’t think Josh & I did.  We all enjoyed some movies on the 2 longer flights, and then Connor would take off his headphones and announce he was going to sleep and then sleep for hours!  By the time we had to board out last flight I was done.    I really just felt like crawling in bed!  I was so tired and couldn’t get comfortable enough to take a nap.  The kids were very excited, even during the very last flight so their excitement was enough for all of us.

We finally arrived in Newark, NJ where we were greeted by family.  It was a wonderful surprise to be greeted by my uncle and grandmother.  My 87 year-old grandmother drove from Hazlet to Newark so that my uncle could drive us his van and have a ride with Gram home.  I hope I’m still driving around and as active as she is when I’m in my 80’s.  We’ve been so blessed by people offering what we need during this furlough- like this van, an apartment, beds, baby items, clothes and even a toaster as ours died before we left.

Newark

My mother wanted us to go to lunch on the way to their house.  I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it, but decided to go with the flow since she seemed so certain it was a good idea.  When we arrived, we were greeted by Josh’s parents, sister & sons that had driven down from MA; cousins from NC (that happened to be visiting NJ), my sister and another friend from NJ.  The kids were off the wall crazy to be reunited with their cousins again, and Josh & I were able to stay awake through lunch.  It was nice to see so many family members on our first day back.

 

 

 

A big long hug for Binnie

A big long hug for Binnie

All of the Kitchen Cousins

All of the Kitchen Cousins

Lunch at my parent's favourite restaurant with family & friends

Lunch at my parent’s favourite restaurant with family & friends

We’ve been enjoying our first few days in America, and I’ll have to do another post to update you on that.  We’ve been busy visiting with friends & family and eating many of the foods we’ve missed.

 

Ogea New Testament Bible Dedication

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We leave Ukarumpa in 3 days so we’re busy finishing all the little last minute things involved in packing up our house and preparing it for a new family. We’ve said goodbye to the dog we were caring for, Velvet, and hopefully we’ll get Lily to realise she has a new home (poor missionary pets!).  We’re almost ready to go!

Before we go I wanted to share photos from someone else that recently attended the Ogea New Testament bible dedication in Madang. This is what brought us to PNG… to get God’s word translated so that all could know him so it’s exciting to see another tok ples (language group) get scripture in their own language!

 

Photo Friday- 4th of July

Happy 4th of July from Papua New Guinea!  This will be our last Photo Friday from Papua New Guinea (for now at least).  We celebrated our second 4th of July in PNG similar to our first.  We ate dinner with other Americans on center, enjoyed spending time with friends and watching PNG fireworks (steel wool on fire twirled around on a hanger).  SwingsFamily Photo Faces PaintedBlog6 FoodWe said goodbye to Velvet and Lily this week.  Well, we tried to say to say goodbye to Lily.  She didn’t want anything to do with leaving our house so we’ll try to bring her again tomorrow.  We’re hoping when she sees Velvet there she’ll be more happy.  Even though we only had Velvet one year and knew she wasn’t our dog, it was sad to say goodbye.  Velvet LilyWe got donuts from market one last time which was helpful as we’ve eaten or given away almost all of our food.  We move into the guest house on center our last 2 nights here so we can clean out our house for the family moving in.

DonutsJosh and Makenna took a ride out to a nearby village, and Makenna enjoyed a “mud slide” as she called it.blog2 mudslide

Photo Friday #33

Connor does not have a rash.  This is what he looks like after devouring all the blackberries we bought at market.Blackberry

Someone brings us strawberries to buy every week.  Strawberries must be very plentiful right now so he asked if we’d like to buy more.  Makenna’s current favourite thing is strawberry smoothies so we got them all and we’ll freeze what isn’t eaten today.  They’re not sprayed with preservatives here so they don’t stay nice after a day or two.StrawberryA family on center hosts a coffee shop at their house some Saturday mornings.  Josh & Makenna had been once on a date, but Connor and I had never been so we went as a family last Saturday.  Trying to enjoy everything we can in Ukarumpa before we leave.

LedCafe

Makenna was excited to see sugar cane at market today and our friend, Ibako, helped her cut it.Sugar2Sugar

The kids have been enjoying time with their friends over this school break.  They have so many friends that they will miss!Morgan&Kenna

The kids have enjoyed some bike riding this week.  Sadly, both of them still have training wheels on their bikes!  I blame it on the fact that we don’t take them out riding enough.  They can’t ride with training wheels on our very rocky roads so we have to pull them or drive them over to a basketball court for them to ride.  We hope to find bikes for them in America and finally teach them how to ride a bike!

Bikes

 

 

 

Photo Friday #32

We only have 2 more Fridays in PNG (after today)!

Josh preached at the English service in church last week, and a friend got a picture.  People on center usually take turns preaching, and occasionally people visit and preach which is always a treat!  He’ll be preaching again this week in the Tok Pisin service.

Josh Preaching

Here’s my almost 19 week baby bump.  I thought I’d also show you some of the crazy shirts I wear in Ukarumpa.  This was a thrift store find.  Deciding which clothes I’ll bring back to America has been easy.  Almost all of my clothes will stay in PNG or have been given away.  I hardly have anything that would really be appropriate (fashionable) in America and now that I’m pregnant I have even less!Bump18wks

Makenna had fun looking at craft items at market to see if there’s anything she’d love to take back to America.  We’ve had a few cold damp days this week.Market Crafts

Remember when I said I look forward to having a dryer?  This is a big reason why.  Josh did 3 loads of laundry last night.  Today is chilly and rainy with no sun in sight so this is how we had to hang the laundry.  It most likely will not dry and we’ll have to put it back out again tomorrow.Laundry

Makenna & Connor will really miss having a cat and dog.  When we first brought Lily home I thought I’d have to find her a new home because she and Velvet weren’t getting along.  Now look at them!  Velvet’s family returned from an extended furlough last week so they’ll take her before we leave.  We were happy to find out they’re willing to care for Lily too!  They returned with quintuplets that are almost 2 years old so it’s a good thing that our kids have trained Lily to be very tolerant and love cuddles.

Velvet & Lily

We’ve been happy to have crocodile back in our store (it’s one of the cheapest meats available).  We haven’t seen it for many months.  This week we ate crocodile stir-fry.  It really doesn’t taste like much and you can generally use it as you would chicken.  It can be tough so we like to marinate it first.

Croc Stirfry

Father’s Day On the Field

I have to admit that on the day we left for Papua New Guinea, as I drove our family to the airport with my father we cried our eyes out. Leaving for three years and not knowing how much we would be able to communicate was one of the hardest parts of leaving. I had been thinking a lot about Jesus’ teaching in Mark 10:29-30a “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time.” I felt that, in a way, I was leaving my father and I couldn’t see how I could get more.

Now, as I look back over our first year and a half in Papua New Guinea, I can see how the Lord has provided. In one sense, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it might be. I’ve been able to Skype with my father and talk to him on the phone a few times. I’ve even spent a week with him on one of my trips to the US. But in another sense, the Lord has blessed me with new fathers.

Father1During our time at the Pacific Orientation Course (POC), sometimes called jungle camp, we were connected with a local ‘was famili’ to help us adjust to our new surroundings. Interestingly enough, our was famili was made up of a single mother and her adopted children. After a few visits with our new family, our was mama’s brother, Yag, started hanging around and told me that he felt God leading him to teach me everything he could in the time we would have together. He became my first PNG father, teaching me to hunt, make a bow and arrow and other things about living in the bush.

During the second half of POC we lived in a village with a second was famili for five weeks. My new was papa, Fritz, was actually a few years younger than me, but we finished building a house together and he taught me to spear fish. His father, Joakim, also decided to be a father to me, and spent even more time with me than Fritz. He took me into the bush with him, and would bring his friends over to our house at night to talk to us for as long as I could keep my eyes open. The last time I saw Joakim he cried when I left.

Father2 Father3
Was Papa Fritz Making a mat with Joakim

Later, I got the chance to spend a week in a village for an audio Bible dedication and evangelistic crusade. On the second day, I was sitting in a ‘haus wind’ with a group of men when the oldest man announced that he was now my papa and I was his son. This was quite a surprise to me, since it was not prearranged by anyone. He told me about being an early Christian in his village and how difficult it was. He stayed pretty close by all week, ready to help with anything that I needed, or tell me about the history of his people. That Sunday, I was asked to preach, and as I was brought to the front of the “church” to preach, he jumped up and walked me to the front.

Father4.1 P1060867 Father4.2
Hanging in the haus wind Pointing to objects Going up to preach

While I could never replace my real father, I thank my heavenly Father for all of the fathers that he has given me. On this Father’s Day, I want to take time to thank my real father for always being there for me (we will see you soon) and my new fathers, who will never see this on the internet. Happy Father’s Day!
Father

Photo Friday #31

I skipped Photo Friday last week because I actually had a week when I didn’t take a single picture!  I have a few from this week and I’m posting some from weeks prior.

Here’s another one from the Jr./Sr. Banquet.  I thought I’d show you just how much work the community puts into this event.  They built a shipwreck to fit into the Treasure Island theme!  Some beautiful painting was done all throughout the teen center as well.Banquet

Here’s one from the Greek course Josh recently helped teach.  He has really enjoyed being able to help out at our Training Center and hopes to continue teaching when we return.  I should’ve taken a picture when we had 3 of his interns at our house yesterday.  They came to pick up their new computers and learn a little bit about how to use them.  I set up e-mail addresses for 2 of them for the first time so they might need a little more help figuring out how to use e-mail and their computers.GreekClass

Here are some more photos from Josh’s trip to Alotau.KidsWatching Lady with Bag

 

Van

We received a package this week. Josh’s parents mailed it through JAARS back in February before any of us knew we’d be leaving to have a baby. That’s how long it takes shipments to arrive!  We’ll have to bring it all back with us in suitcases to the U.S. or store it here.  Still, the kids enjoyed receiving some new things.  I actually packed all of our toiletries and then realised I was going to run out of some things so I was happy to receive the lotion and body wash and not have to unpack a box!  Blog2

Binnie (Grandma) made the kids new dress-up outfits which they are very excited about!  Here’s our fireman.Tough Fireman Fireman hat off Fireman

We also received a new game that’s been great to play with the kids as I’m trying to stay off my feet.  Before we had children, Josh and I didn’t have many games.  My extended family loves to play games and Connor must’ve inherited it that from them because he also enjoys it.  He loves to win too!

game

We had a bilum made for Connor before we leave. He went to the store and picked the colours he wanted and he’s happy to finally have his own highlands-style bilum.Bilum

I was happy to learn that I could get ultrasounds in Ukarumpa, but they don’t print a nice little picture like you get in the U.S.  So, I finally remembered to take a photo last time I went.  Sorry it’s not better, but here’s a glimpse at baby K!

PackageAnd here’s my 17+ week baby bump.Baby Bump

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