It’s a Kid’s Life…in PNG?

With four kiddos in tow, we have been getting a lot of questions about what our kids will be doing while we are busy working in the clinic, flying planes and ministering to the people of PNG…

Have no fear, they are not merely along for the ride. Our kids have a very exciting few years ahead of them, and experiences which we hope and pray will shape them, challenge them, and help them understand that this world and the church is so much bigger than the lives they’ve led and experienced in the US.

For our kiddos, the biggest fear/question they had, was whether or not they would have any friends in PNG….

Ukarumpa, the place we will be living in the Eastern Highlands of PNG is essentially a 1 sq. mile compound made up of expats from around the world. The kids will attend either Ukarumpa Primary or Secondary school to receive an excellent K-12 American Standard education. They have school year round, and will forge deep friendships with their fellow Missionary Kid friends because they will share a common bond.

TCKs: Missionary Kids are also known as Third Culture Kids (TCK)s, This term came about because when a child goes on the mission field they never fully fit in with their host culture, but when they come back to the United States they don’t fully fit in with the American Culture either. They will be part of a third sub-culture. Only other missionary kids who have experienced this will truly get how it feels to live in the middle of two different worlds. One of the most difficult things for a missionary kid is when they have to go home on furlough and say goodbye to all their friends, and when their good friends go on furlough and leave them behind in Ukarumpa. MKs have to be excellent at adapting to change.

Activities…will your kids be able to play sports?

The next big question we’ve been getting is whether or not our children will be able to continue their sports/activities?

Ukarumpa has many activities that the kids can get plugged into. They have sports such as basketball, baseball, volleyball and track.

Band and Choir for our musically inclined children like Ariana our oldest…

And even barrel racing for the horse lovers!

There are plenty of ways for our children to cultivate their gifts and skills in Ukarumpa.


One of the saddest parts about leaving is that we will have to leave behind our beloved dog and cat. They are part of our family and it is so saddening to be leaving them behind. But our kids will have the opportunity to own some very interesting pets in PNG. When we were at Equip and the kids learned about PNG animals these were the pets they hope to bring home…

Ariana would like to have a cuscus for a pet…

A cuscus is a marsupial, similar in many ways to a possum. It primarily eats fruit, leaves and the occasional small bird. They are supposedly very sweet and shy and their fur is soft. They are commonly seen as household pets but do live in the wild in PNG.

Katrielle would like to own a pig…

And nope! The end.

Selah would prefer a Sugar Glider…

I’m with Selah, these little flying squirrels are super cute! and from what I understand, very affectionate.

We will have to wait and see what fun creatures come to live in the Zielinski household! But I can say, if Zion wants a snake for a pet, the answer will be emphatically NO!

Who needs a sandbox when you can play in the mud? (picture this…only no tarp, and just mud!)

In PNG it rains nearly every day, so mud is common place. This means more laundry for mom, but endless hours of muddy puddle fun, mud slides, building mud dams, you name it!

The Z Kids will be multilingual

One huge benefit from serving together as a family is the fact that the kids will be much faster at language learning than we are. They will be able to communicate, which will ultimately lead to better relationship building with the local Papua New Guineans. Plus they can help their mom get by in the market as I’m trying to shop for bananas!

So amid the difficulty of saying goodbye to family, friends and culture…the Z kids have much to look forward to as they step into their new lives in Papua New Guinea!

Just for fun…check out this PNG recipe! …Ariana will be learning to make this in the next few weeks…

If you want to try a fun traditional Papua New Guinean Dish check out this recipe for MUMU


  • 1 large Banana Leaf for cooking only not edible (I’m planning on using tin foil)
  • 2 bunches Kale
  • 2 Taro roots Peeled and cut up (may substitute a parsnip or cassava root)
  • 2 Green plantains peeled and cut up
  • 2 Sweet potatoes peeled and cut up
  • 2 lbs Chicken boneless skinless thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 lbs Pork belly cut into bite size pieces (may substitute pork shoulder)
  • 1 Pineapple cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 can Coconut milk
  • 2 Limes cut into wedges
  • 1 Tbsp Salt


  1. In a large aluminum pan Place a layer down of banana leaf.
  2. Next place a layer of Kale leaves
  3. Place the root vegetables and plantains, over the kale
  4. Next place the pork and chicken over the root vegetables
  5. Sprinkle the salt over the meat.
  6. Put the pineapple over the meat.
  7. Squeeze the lime quarters and throw them in as well after squeezing.
  8. Pour over the coconut milk
  9. Cover with the remaining kale and cover with the rest of the banana leaf.
  10. completely cover with a piece of aluminum foil.
  11. Place BBQ on high heat and let cook for about 1 hour. Open up to make sure that the meat is cooked through and root vegetables are tender.