Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Today (Monday) has been yet another saga in a rather interesting week. It all started last Wednesday afternoon. When Tiffany and I got home from church around 6pm, we discovered that our house had been broken into. We were missing a good number of high price electronic items including Tiffany's computer, MP3 player, and camera, a generator that I had purchased for the clinic, a full-size keyboard that I was babysitting for a missionary on furlough, my cell phone, and a large backpack. One of the national preachers was notified that evening and he gathered the men of the church and some other men with tracking know-how. They spent the night blocking the paths out of the village and searching the neighborhoods for evidence. By morning, they had discovered the culprits and some of the stolen items.

Now for some background information. There are two clans in our village of Kiari. One is KVK and is where the church and mission station are located. The other is Kensa. There is almost constant tension between the two clans. The majority of our church is from KVK, although we have a few families from Kensa. The Kensa group are quick to notice any perceived slights and feel strongly that we favor KVK. KVK feels that we are their missionaries and resent Kensa benefiting from our presence at all.

The thieves were all from Kensa. One of the thieves, probably the ringleader, was a former student at our Christian school. He was angry with us because he was expelled earlier this year. Another thief was a present student. This meant that they were familiar with our house and with our dog. Unfortunately, the whole incident just added fuel to the fire of the KVK versus Kensa battle. Even though all the stolen items were recovered, the village council (like a mayor) wanted to bring police from our province capital to thoroughly deal with the situation. Sounds good, but the council is from KVK and was hoping to get back at Kensa in this way. Confused yet? It's a bit mind-boggling.

Today, a girl came to the clinic with a broken arm. She is from Kensa and was accompanied by a number of her friends and relatives. When KVK realized what was going on, a number of them also showed up at the clinic shouting at the Kensa group and waving their bush knives. They basically thought it was pretty bald-faced of them to break into our home and then expect to get medical care from us. A fight probably would have erupted right in our yard, but Randy Smith, the senior missionary here, sent them all away while I splinted the girl's arm. There was some more shouting and such down in the village, but nothing too serious developed.

At any rate, we are completely safe. We ourselves were never in danger. There is always some danger to our possessions, but no one wishes to hurt us. The big prayer request in all of this is that the Lord will use it for His glory. We have no desire to see the KVK-Kensa dispute further strengthened because of this incident. We keep stressing that we are missionaries to all of Kiari, not one particular clan, but the clan mindset of the people makes it hard for them to understand that. Please also pray for the two teen boys who were involved in the robbery – Jeremiah and Jonathan. They have both made professions of faith in the past, but their present actions are certainly calling that into question. Please pray that the Lord will use this to draw them back to Himself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Work Permit

After many months of waiting, we received word on Monday that Elizabeth Ellinghausen's work permit has finally been approved. This should enable her to get her visa in a few weeks and perhaps reach PNG in time to start the 2nd quarter of school on February 8th.

We changed the school schedule a bit after Christmas break and now have 4th grade coming 5 days a week and the 1st and 2nd coming 4 days a week. This enables us to move a little faster through the school year (more of a normal speed), and also makes it a little easier on the students as we are not doubling up as much. It does mean that I am teaching more classes each day, but somehow we are getting done even earlier.

Please pray for some major decisions that we are considering right now. I don't feel free to share everything at this time but hope to be more explicit in the days ahead!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A New Year

It is officially 2010, as you well know. Due to time zone differences, the new year arrived here in PNG 15 hours before it got to the East Coast of the US. We didn't have any noisy celebrations or balls dropping though:-)

Seriously though, it was a fun-filled week with two different church Christmas parties. The first, on Tuesday, was just for church members and their families. There were around 50 people there (including children). We had a mumu where a pit is dug in the ground and filled with large stones. A fire is lit on top to heat the stones. When the stones are ready, the fire is removed, the stones are lined with banana leaves and the food is piled on top. Then the food is covered with more leaves, then dirt is shoveled over the top. Basically the food is steam cooked as in a very large pressure cooker. A couple hours later (longer if there is meat in the mumu), the dirt and leaves are carefully removed and the food taken out and distributed. While the mumu was cooking, there was informal volleyball games and a lot of visiting. After the mumu, Elena Smith, Tiffany, and I distributed Christmas cookies. Then, for the second (or third) course, we had a soup made of maggi (like ramen noodles), tuna, cabbage, and beans, served over rice. In the evening, the adults went into the Smiths' house and watched a Christian video while Tiffany and I took the kids to our house and let them see Winnie the Pooh. They don't understand most of the English but they laughed a lot at the pictures.

On Thursday was the part for the entire church and their families. We again had a mumu, bigger this time, and the volleyball games while it was cooking were organized with formal teams. In the evening we had a Bible quiz time, always a favorite. Then they made scones (like biscuits) and coffee. All in all, both parties were enjoyable times of fellowship.

The big praise for the week regards Megan, the teen girl who had gotten away from the Lord. She was in my Sunday school class on Sunday morning, but didn't seem to really want to chat when I approached her afterwards. She didn't stay for the morning service, but I saw her around after the afternoon service. Another girl came to me and told me that she wanted to see me. When I went to her, she said that she knew she had done wrong and that she was under a lot of conviction. She knows that she made a lot of public sin and wants to make a public confession to the church. She asked to meet with me and Brother Randy and Elena sometime this week. What a blessing to see the Lord working in her heart! We have seen several of the new, promising believers wander away, but she is the first to come back with a desire to make things right. I firmly believe that the Lord's conviction in her heart is a direct result of your prayers. Please continue to pray that she will have the courage to follow through on her decision.