Friday, April 24, 2009


Well, we've had some minor excitement here this week. At church on Wednesday
afternoon (we meet at 4:15pm), they announced that it looked like there was
going to be a landslide and everyone living in our area should go home
quickly and not linger on the road. Apparently, a good bit of ground had
already broken loose from the mountain where our Christian school is
located, but the ground had come to a stop about halfway down the mountain.
Everyone expected it to come down the rest of the way at any time. We came
home without incident, but that night we had heavy rain that apparently
caused a landslide, or maybe mudslide would describe it better. More ground
came down both Thursday and Friday nights as the rain continued.

I first saw the results on Friday evening on the way to a church outreach
fellowship. There was a large mound of mud about 4-5 feet high, stretching
across the road for probably 20 feet. When I tried to cross it to continue
on my way, I sank in over my ankles in places. Right through the middle of
the mudslide was a small water that starts at the top of the mountain, goes
across the road and continues down the mountain. Apparently, this water has
been steadily weakening the ground, and it finally all came down. Besides
being across the road, the mudslide is also down the mountain, and the force
of it knocked over the fence of the garden of one of our church members.

I crossed it again on my way home from church prayer meeting this morning
(Saturday). There was more mud even than last night, but there were a number
of people out using shovels and their hands to attempt to dig a path through
it. Pretty crazy! Thankfully, no one has been hurt and there has been only
minor property damage (unless you count my very muddy legs and shoes:-)

The funny thing about it is that just the week in the missionary story I am
telling the school kids, there was a big landslide and a woman was killed.
Amazing how true the missionary stories can be to real life when you
actually live on the mission field:-)

Thanks so much for your continued prayers for our physical safety as we live
in this never boring land.

Monday, April 20, 2009


There isn't too much news to report from this past week. The first week of
school went remarkably well. Much better than we expected, considering that
we basically have one teacher teaching 3 different grades simultaneously.
Please continue praying that the Lord will send more teachers in time for
next school year.

The missionary clan has been struggling somewhat with sickness this week.
Our short term teacher had a combination respiratory and stomach bug, and
others are struggling with respiratory infections as well. The Lord has been
abundantly faithful though, and all the ministries have continued as

I was able to start language lessons this past week. I can already speak
Pidgin, the trade language for Papua New Guinea, but each village has their
own language as well. The language of Kiari is called Siar. It is not
written down, so it is a bit challenging to learn. It is important though,
because many people either do not speak Pidgin or do not speak it well
enough to communicate about either medical or spiritual concepts. A good
grasp of this language would definitely increase my effectiveness in this
ministry. I am meeting weekly with Megan, a 16 year old girl in our church.
She has been through 6th grade in school, which means that she can read and
write well and has a basic understanding of English. This is helpful because
Pidgin has a small vocabulary and sometimes it is easier to translate
directly from English to Siar rather than using Pidgin at all. Please pray
that my language lessons will be profitable and that I will find the time
each week to review what I have learned and prepare for the next lesson.

Thank you once again for your part in this ministry. Your prayers make all
the difference!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Well, the last quarter of this school year started yesterday, and it went better than any of us expected. Tiffany was able to get all the subjects in within the time allotted. I felt like I had no clue what I was doing and stumbled around a bit, but the kids didn't seem to mind, and we all got through okay. It looks like most days I will be going up to school around 11:30am, teaching spelling to 1st and 3rd grade, doing reading groups for the prep class, and then dealing with all the grading. On Tuesdays, I will go up early for Bible and teach the missionary story. (Yes, you teach missionary stories even when you're on the mission field. The idea would be to burden the kids for areas outside their own village, and of course it's a good way to present the gospel to the unsaved students as well. It's just that here the missionary story is a lot more like real life than it is in the States:-)
The Smith family made it home safely on Thursday. They were a bit weary after doing two 8 hour hikes within 4 days, but we were thrilled to have them back. The government has decided to pay people to do some road work, so people have been digging out the road to our village (now closed for 16 months). It's not completely open yet, but it is open enough that Brother Randy was able to come ahead of the rest, get the truck, then drive back and meet them, thus saving them about an hour of the walk. A definite blessing! Lord willing, the road will be completely open by the time we get a bulldozer here to build the airstrip. Then we will be able to more easily transport fuel in to keep the dozer running.
I guess that's all the breaking news for the week. Thanks so much for your continued prayers for the school. Please pray that the Lord will provide teachers for this fall if He would have us to keep the school open.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Personnel Changes

The news for the week is that Karen Marvin, one of our short term teachers unexpectedly had to return to the States. She and the Smiths took the 6-7 hour hike out yesterday with plans to fly out of the bush airstrip today. We and the people were of course sorry to see her go. We are just getting ready to start our final quarter of school, so that leaves one teacher doing all three grades (kindergarten, first, and third). We are all going to be helping her as much as possible. I will be spending about every afternoon at the school doing everything from reading groups to spelling tests to grading papers. Whatever I can do without being a teacher:-)
In another news, I had set of lacerations on Saturday afternoon. One was in a big toe and the other was a rather large cut to a head. It took about ten stitches to close the head wound. That man hasn't come back to clinic for a recheck. Apparently, he has been accused of adultery and is hiding for his life.
Please pray for a smooth adjustment for Tiffany, our remaining short term teacher, and an easy transition for our school kids as well.