So…Papua New Guinea…Let’s talk about this…

Can you tell me what this phrase means in Tok Pisin??

kaikaim lewa bilong yu (lewa means liver, the liver is the emotional center in tok pisin, so any emotion pertains to the liver) So this literally translates, “bite liver of yours” and it means:

a) This belongs to you

b) Your hair is becoming

c)I’m completely devoted to you.

d) You need to get it together

(Email me if you want to know the answer!!

As we’ve been sharing with people our heart and passion for the people of Papua New Guinea, there have been a number of questions that keep being asked. The first being…

Question 1: “You’re moving to Papua New Guinea and you’ve NEVER been there before…aren’t you scared?”

Where in the world is PNG?? See the red circle just above Australia?

So to first answer that question…I have to be honest…there are many unknowns about packing up four children, saying goodbye to all we know and hold dear and moving into the jungle of Papua New Guinea to an entirely new culture and an entirely unknown set of circumstances.

Are we fearful? Not really…fear is the wrong operational term. We are excited about the opportunity to minister and bring the gospel forth, we are thrilled about the adventure, and yet we still have apprehensions about what to expect once we get there. When you feel called to go, the Lord gives you His peace, and that peace eases the fear of the unknown in a mighty way. We also can rest in knowing that ultimately He is the one in control over our circumstances

Question 2: The world’s a big place, how did you know you were called to Papua New Guinea?

For both Wojtek and Jen our calling started out general. We both loved the Lord and at an early age felt called out to serve Him in a full-term capacity. By our mid-teens we both knew that calling was global missions. Two years ago, the Lord gave us a tremendous burden for Bible translation and unreached people groups. This led us to Papua New Guinea. There are A LOT of Bibleless people groups in PNG. We didn’t know with certainty that we would end up in PNG but we felt very led that direction.

When Wojtek became a member with JAARS/Wycliffe in November, we were given four possible locations to serve. After praying about each location the Lord made it clear that for our family, our licenses/Visas as an pilot and a nurse, and just for the type of community we were seeking, PNG was the best fit for our family and giftedness.

Question 3: What will everyday life be like in Papua New Guinea?

Three days a week I,Jen, will probably be going shopping at the local “store” prior to heading in to her day at the clinic. The local market is open in the early morning and from what we understand is available Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. As you can see, I will be able to choose from an array of delicious produce, and I’m told they often have strawberries, which are not pictured. I will have to be extra prepared with my meal planning because if I forget an ingredient it’s not like it’ll still be open when I get off for the day.

Also, unlike here in the US, everything is prepared from scratch. So on Thanksgiving if I want to make a pumpkin pie, I must first buy the pumpkin, steam the pumpkin, make the crust from scratch and transform this lovely mess of squash and dough into a picturesque pumpkin pie…It may just be pie though, since I’m not certain I’ll be able to find a turkey! I’ve been told that it may be simpler and less expensive to purchase crocodile meat than poultry. I wonder how that will taste with mashed potatoes? There is a small shop as well that I can purchase American cereals and other imports for anywhere from $12-20 per box. I think most of our meats will be able to be purchased at that store as well. At that price I’m thinking we will NOT be eating cereal in PNG.

An Average Day…

The kids will head off to a day of learning in the K-12 American Standard School. Perhaps after school they will be playing in the school band, participating in soccer, or learning how to barrel race on the Ukarumpa horses? Not to mention, helping their mama keep up with the laundry and cooking!

Wojtek will head out to a day at the “office” where he will transport Bible Translators to the village, medivac the sick out, and wrangle with snakes in his spare time… When he’s not under snake attack he will be building relationships and brushing up on his Tok Pisin (the language we will be expected to learn)

And I-Jen, will head out for a day in the clinic to deal with malaria, dengue fever, chicken gunya and any other rare tropical diseases that may come my way. If I’m lucky I may also see the occasional prenatal visit, or wrap a burn or two since that seems to be my specialty! All the while praying for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with each of my patients.

After a long day at work and school we will return to our home. It will most likely look much like the one in the picture above. Eventually we will have the option to buy, but initially we will probably stay in a modular home like this and will rotate homes every 9-12 months as missionaries go on furlough and then return to Papua New Guinea. Pets are also shared in this manner….but stay tuned to hear what our children desire as their PNG pets!

There are still so many unknowns… like how do you prepare for holidays in PNG and still make it special for your kids? How can I pack/ship enough clothing and shoes for four years of growth? How can you keep an avid reader in books when you can only take two suitcases and then pay for shipping for the rest? How will you be prepared as a mother to return to Papua New Guinea and leave your oldest child for college? How do you you handle it when your children are sick with something rare and unknown?

These are the unknowns we think about and try to prepare for. These are the realities. But just as the Lord has given us peace when we needed it in preparing to move to the unknown, we know He will pave the way to sustain us through these future unknowns as well, because He always Was, Is and Will Be faithful.

Until the next time then! Stay tuned to catch the next post on more fun PNG facts…