Tuesday, March 20, 2018


February 26th there was a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Papua New Guinea about 200 miles east of where we live in Ukarumpa.  There were over 544,000 people affected and over 100 confirmed deaths and the true numbers may never be known because the area is so remote. There have been about 200 aftershocks 4.0 or above, many of those over 6.0. Numerous homes were destroyed, rivers have been blocked by landslides, and water supplies have been contaminated.

Major damage to roads

Lots of landslides

We live about 200 miles directly east of the epicenter.  Picture from The Australian

One of the many landslides

Satellite picture of a river before

Satellite picture of the same river after.  Landslides have dammed the river.

Our organization is partnering with several other organizations to provide aid. 
Go to MAF US website: https://www.maf.org/donate#ways-to-give
Click on “Where should your gift go?”
Choose the Disaster Response fund.
Enter the amount you would like to give.
Click on the “additional options”  and write a comment that it is for PNG earthquake relief.  Then it will get directed to MAF PNG for flights and supply deliveries.

Pray for needs to be met and that God will use this opportunity for good in the lives of the people devastated by the earthquake.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Part of Paul's role as Senior Manager of Regional Centers is visiting the staff at each center to become familiar with the operations and support the manager. Last week Paul went to Kokopo, on East New Britain Island (part of PNG) and...(drumroll please) I (Laura) GOT TO GO ALONG!!! 

This trip was part work/part fun for Paul and 100% very much needed vacation for me.  

The Kokopo regional center is a hub of translation work. A number of teams rely heavily on the center for a place to stay in transit to and from the village, logistical support, and a place to hold translation workshops. The manager showed Paul the ins and outs of the center. Paul bought ice cream for the staff and we enjoyed getting to know them a bit while we shared a cool treat in the sweltering heat.

I had lots of time to rest and read and eat good food. The most memorable part of the trip was a day of adventure - climbing Mt. Tavurvur, a volcano that destroyed Rabaul in '94 and crawling through pitch black Japanese bunkers.

We arrived at Mt. Tavurvur at 8am in hopes to climb and descend before the day went from hot to super hot. We hired 2 guides and started across the hot, black pumice. My capri pants felt like they were cooking. The landscape was foreign and barren with patches of sugarcane sprouting up here and there. The climb was harder than I expected because the rocks and pebbles shifted with each step. Often one of the guides held my hand to keep me from falling. (I kept the guide from falling twice but we didn't talk about that). We have never sweated so much! In some spots we passed active steam vents blasting hot air at us. The ocean water at the base was literally boiling in some spots. At the top we saw steam rising up and big patches of yellow sulphur. Tavurvur had erupted again in 2014. We asked the guides how much warning they had that it was going to blow and they said "none" : o

After that amazing experience Paul, who has read tons about WWII, and I got to tour war bunkers. The first was Yamamoto's bunker. There was Japanese writing on the wall. Then we stopped at a village that had a sign advertising war tunnels. Paul and I set off into the jungle with a group of villagers. After several minutes I started to wonder just how far this place was! When we made it to the entrance I saw the only way in was to crawl on our hands and knees. I thought no way am I going in there. Paul crawled in and a boy with a dim flash light led the way. I decided to brave it after all and crawled in. The song "The Things We Do for Love" started playing in my mind. After a bit we could stand and we were lead through a network of tunnels.  We were told there are hundreds in the area. 

The Japanese used these tunnels to hide their troops and supplies.  We also went to a village where there had been a hospital in caves carved out of limestone by POW and Papua New Guinean slave labor. It felt mysterious to be in these caverns that held so much history.

After all that, drenched in sweat and covered with dirt, we went to a resort, Ropopo, and jumped in the ocean! It was wonderful to eat out and relax in bamboo lounge chairs. 

The day we left our flight was delayed, delayed again, and again. After 7 hours in the little airport we made it to Port Moresby but had missed our connecting flight to Goroka so the airline put us up in a very nice hotel. We came back very refreshed and I'm in a better mental state after our getaway - so thankful!

Panorama view from the top of the volcano
At the summit
Rabaul after it's destruction in '94 

Our guides

Steam vent

The steep descent

Don't worry it's not a giant cow pie

Some of the water in the bay is actually boiling

Japanese ww2 airplane wreckage

Admiral Yamamoto's Bunker

Japanese Tank

Entrance to one of the hundreds of tunnels

Inside one of the bunkers

Entrance to one of the tunnels

Enjoying a refreshing green coconut 

Entrance to the underground hospital

Bats nest

Paul with a live Japanese shell

The beach at Ropopo restort

Paul feeling relaxed

Japanese torpedo

Anti-aircraft shell

B-17 wreckage


Rambutan Fruit

Kickapoo Joy Juice

Galip nuts on banana leaves

Monday, September 12, 2016

Urat New Testament Dedication

On July 30 Rachel and I were blessed to attend the Urat New Testament dedication! The celebration took place
in Musungwik village. A group of traditional dancers led a procession through the village to the meeting area, where a grandstand had been constructed for the many dignitaries that attended.  Five women, each representing a different church denomination, carried the Urat New Testaments in traditional baskets on their backs.

During one of the many speeches given during the four-hour ceremony, a guest shared with the crowd that nearly 300 other languages in Papua New  Guinea are still waiting for Bible translation. As we traveled home the next day, our truck stopped at a roadside village to allow the passengers to stretch their legs.  We chatted with a few of the people who lived there, and told them where we had been.  A man said to us, with longing, “I wish that someone would come and help us to translate the Bible into our language.  Can you send someone?”

See this blog for a great article and videos about the dedication

Sunday, February 14, 2016


I just noticed that my last post was about the severe drought we had here in PNG.  Since then we have moved into rainy season and have been having some flooding problems due to large amounts of rain.  I am filling in as Security Operations Manager for a few months and part of that role is reporting any dangerous situations any of the centre residents might encounter.  The other day I posted warnings for flooded roads on the way to Lae.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Here in Papua New Guinea we are experiencing a major drought.  The last one this bad was back in 1997.  It has been said it is due to El NiƱo.  At our house we have a 9000 liter tank and a small header tank on the top of our roof.  Normally we collect rain water off our roof and it fills the big tank. We run a pump once a day to fill the small one on the roof and we have gravity fed water the rest of the day. We also have water coming to our house that is pumped from a river/creek (RAM) that is not drinkable.   A few months ago we ran out of water in our tank and had to filter RAM water which plugged our filter frequently.  We were thanking God that this last week we have had 2 major rains that have filled our tank half full.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

You know you're a missionary when...

Steps to get a document notarized:

Rent a vehicle to drive to the airport in Goroka
Drive 2 hours to Goroka
Wait several hours due to a delayed flight
Board flight then disembark due to warning lights
Wait several hours to find out your afternoon flight has been cancelled
Ask another mission if you can sleep at their guest house
Get a ride to the airport at 5 AM to get in line
Wait several hours due to a delayed flight
Fly to Port Moresby, go to the Embassy and get your document notarized
Fly back to Goroka the same day
Rent a vehicle to be picked up in Goroka
Submit the document
Discover the document was rejected due to an error but you've already sent the original with someone flying to the US
Receive an extension
Thank the good Lord that the guy from the Embassy is coming to Ukarumpa!
Get another notarized copy.
Attempt to upload the document but read that it is not possible.
Send the 2nd copy with someone flying to the US
Get a call from the US letting you know that the document has not been received and you have 2 1/2 hours to get it turned in
Get a fax number, ask your US church secretary if she'll fax it, email the scanned copy
Call to ask if it has been received and realize that you won't know if it was received for 24-36 hours
Success! Receive an email that the document was indeed received in time.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

PNG Independence Day

Papua New Guinea recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their independence.  A group of 5 of us rode bikes for 4 hours ended up at lake Yonki where they were having a celebration. Groups from different villages were dressed up in traditional outfits and singing and dancing. 

The level of lake Yonki is very low due to the drought

Cooked fish for sale

Note the tall head dress on the woman on the left.  It is made of grass
All I had to do is pull out my camera and people would pose

The shore of lake Yonki

These woman ask me if I would take a picture of them