Friday, December 18, 2009

Bike ride to Lone Tree

Last Sunday a group of us decided to go out for a ride.  It is rainy season so that mean that almost every afternoon it rains.  We decided to go for it and we beat the rain.

We rode up to a place called Lone Tree.  Years ago there was only one lone pine tree but now there are many.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Laura and Michael came back Friday from Cairns, Australia. In case you
didn't hear Michael had been having seizures at night and they went to have
some testing done. We were very relieved to learn that the tests showed
that Michael does not have a brain tumor. We're still waiting for the EEG
results and more info from the doctor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rainy season

Where we are from there are at least 4 seasons. Here in PNG there are two
seasons, dry and rainy. It rains here a lot year round but there are more
downpours in rainy season. Most days it will start out being sunny then
about 3:00 in the afternoon the clouds come in and it rains, sometimes
harder than we could ever have imagined.

We are definitely in rainy season now as you can see from the pictures.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Homemade arrow

Our friend Kasona stopped by the other day and showed us an arrow head he
was working on. I asked him what the indented section was and he told me it
was so that when he shoots a pig the arrow will not fall out.

Apparently there are wild pigs in the area and he and the men in his village
hunt them. Sometimes they will light a field of grass on fire and then have
several men with bow and arrows and spears waiting on one end to shoot the
pigs as they come out to get away from the fire.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Friday a husband/wife translation team returned to the mission center from
their last visit to the village where they've been working. They came to
Ukarumpa in 1956 when there were only a few people here. The husband joked
that when they arrived in '56 1/2 the missionaries came to greet them and
the other guy was busy.

School and work came to a halt Friday morning as many men, women, and
children from the center gathered for a surprise ceremony to honor them.
This couple have dedicated 53 years of their lives to bring the Bible to
people who don't have it in their language.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Clinic van driver

The clinic here at the mission center has a nurse and doctor that are on
call during the off hours. Men volunteer to take the clinic van home and be
on call during the night. Paul volunteered to be the driver this week. If
there is an emergency the nurse will call him on the radio and he will pick
up the nurse and drive her to the clinic, stay there as a security guard and
drive her home.

This is day 3 and so far no emergency calls.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A visit with friends

This morning two PNG friends stopped by to visit. They brought us kau kau (sort of like potatoes), cabbage and passion fruit.  We offered hot tea and popcorn.  We sat on the back porch and admired the kittens.  (The grandma cat of the kittens that were born a couple of weeks ago had 4 kittens night before last!)


It’s interesting to compare notes on American life versus PNG life.  My Tok Pisin language skills are limited so every once in a while I act something out that I don’t know how to express – they get a good laugh out of that. 


Today we talked about childbirth.  I was explaining how the husband is typically in the room encouraging the mom.  They said they tell the men to get away.  I told them about pain medicine such as epidurals.  They said they just tell the woman to bite her teeth and deal with it.  God gave women pain and He’ll take it back.  In other words it won’t last forever.  One of the ladies said that sometimes the roof practically comes down with the yelling. 


Paul joined us after a while and we got to talking about how in America people often let their animals  stay in their houses, wash them, brush them… there’s even a special hospital for animals.  You should have seen the looks on their faces.  It really sounded silly telling these things to PNG ladies.   For us it’s normal but sitting here in this context it sounded ridiculous! 


We feel like we’re on a different planet sometimes.  At a glance life in the center can seem somewhat similar to America:  regular houses, a store, school, clinic, post office, etc. and yet there are unseen pressures and immense cultural differences.  Some of the Papua New Guineans in this area are followers of Jesus.  I’m really looking forward to getting to know these brothers and sisters in Christ  on a deeper level in heaven where the language and cultural differences won’t hinder deep fellowship.


One thing that will be different this year is Thanksgiving.  The kids have school and everyone works as usual.  For a second I wondered what was up with that but my brain adjusted to the fact that Thanksgiving is an American holiday.    We have a lot to be thankful for – most of all the gift of eternal life that Jesus has given us.  I took a nap this afternoon and dreamt that Jesus was washing my laundry.  That might sound a little sacrilegious or strange but in fact Jesus has washed my “dirty laundry”,  getting rid of every stain and washing me clean!


Monday, November 16, 2009


It rains a lot here and when it rains, it pours.  Along with the rains is often a exciting display of thunder and lightning.  This afternoon it was raining hard, pounding on the tin roof but we didn’t hear it – we’re so used to it.  Suddenly there was a flash outside and then immediately after the biggest boom I’ve ever heard in my life.  Lightning had struck our friends’ tree about 100 yards away.  Their boys were playing in the back yard, under cover.  The husband felt the electricity go through his computer.  They put a note on the intranet board here at the center thanking God that their children were safe. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cultural Dancing

Today there was a cultural dancing show put on here at the mission center.
Paul, Daniel and Rachel went and saw some amazing singing from 4 different
provinces. The dancers were students that are here for training as literacy
workers. I knew most of them from the computer class I helped with back in
February and it
was fun to see them perform.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Strange discovery

A man from a nearby village brought this stone in the other day that his friend had found while digging for gold.  It is about the size of a basketball and solid stone.  There are carvings of bow and arrows, stone axes, drums and a snake in a tree.  It has words engraved on it that say “Tanbu lon I still”  meaning don’t steal. 


Nobody knows what it is for or who carved it since not many people have tools that could carve these things in such a dense stone.  Weird…..

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Back in August we heard that a single retired man was coming to PNG to help in CTS (Communications and Technical Services), the department I work in.  We volunteered to meet him at the airport and show him all the things he needed to know about living in Ukarumpa. 


I was shocked when he told me he had just turned 80; he's very fit and walks everywhere he goes.  He came to fix radios which is great since there are not a lot of people with this skill anymore.  Many translators rely on their radio when they are out in a remote village as their only way to communicate with people on center; pilots, doctors, etc.  Two or three times a week the translators answer roll call on their radios so we can know they're alive and well. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paul's new hat

A couple of months ago there was a PNG family that was here working on their Bible translation for a few months.  They have 4 kids that didn’t have anything to do all day so we fixed up some old bikes and let them ride and jump on our trampoline.  They would usually be in our yard or riding around for 4 to 6  hours a day.


The wife, Jessica, knit me a hat and the kids brought flowers to say thank you. 

Monday, October 26, 2009


Friday our friend Andrew ( graduated from high school. This is a huge accomplishment for someone in PNG partly because the families must pay large school fees.

Aiyura High School is about a 5 minute drive from where we live. It is grade 11 & 12 and there are about 600 students attending.

There were hundreds of family and friends there to watch the ceremony. The program said the ceremony would start at 11:00 and end at 1:30. It actually started at 1:00 and went until 4:30. That’s “PNG time” - something I haven’t gotten used to. Some of the students chose to wear shirt and tie and others dressed in traditional grass skirts and face paint.

Here is one of the dorm rooms.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Bananas are thought to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea.  We have about 17 trees in our yard; they will only bear fruit once, then die.  We have banana muffins, cake, smoothies, plain, frozen…


Our yard man owes us money and in addition to paying us back in kina (the local currency) he’s been paying us back in banana bunches and by planting small banana trees in the yard.  He walks two hours to get here for his day’s work so it’s no small feat to get here with a huge banana bunch on his shoulder.   



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Praying for rain

A while back Laura called me at work and said the water wasn’t working. Our tank gotten low enough so that the pump had lost its prime. We switched to creek water and prayed for rain. Being from Seattle I never thought I’d find myself praying for rain.

PNG has 2 seasons: rainy and dry. The dry season is coming to an end; yesterday we had a huge rain storm and our tank is back full again. Now we can shower in warm rain water instead of brown creek water!

Paul priming the water pump

We get our hot water from the sun.

This is our rainwater tank

Friday, October 9, 2009


Ukarumpa has a pony club for people interested in horses.  There are about 16 horses on the center right now owned by individual members.  Sometimes two people buy a horse together so they each own ½ a horse!  Not far from where we live there is a huge pasture area for the horses as well as paddocks for classes, jumps, etc.  Groups frequently take the horses out for rides in the hills or down to the river. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Trip to the dentist

They have a really good dentist here.  He is quite busy between all the missionaries and the people from the surrounding villages.  He does everything from cleaning teeth, root canals, extracting teeth, and braces.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Machine to wash dishes

Michael and I (Paul) were washing dishes the other night and he said “they should invent a machine that does this for you”.  I think he forgot what a dishwasher is. 


There are a lot of differences here in just day to day living.  We wash all our dishes by hand.  If it has been a cloudy day we make a fire in the fireplace which has pipes that heat up the water.  We don’t have a clothes dryer so we hang our laundry on the line and sometimes rush out to take it in when it starts raining. 


While life here is harder we truly feel blessed and love it here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


We’ve just returned from our first family vacation in PNG. The truck we’ve been using for several months died the day before we were due to leave. We are soooo glad that it didn’t die on the way to Lae, our vacation destination. Lae is one of the two largest cities in Papua New Guinea. It’s a 3 ½ hours drive from Ukarumpa and the drive is…how should I say it …interesting! Lae has the nickname pot hole city.

We had a great time shopping; there were a couple of stores that almost made us feel like we were in the US. It was H-O-double T hot but the mission guest house had a pool and the kids swam for hours. There were several families there from Ukarumpa including one of Rachel’s best friends. They played life guard rescue and took turns flailing around in the water – quite entertaining.

There have been many deaths in PNG due to cholera and there is a newly set up cholera treatment center in Lae. We had the wonderful treat of eating out a few times and we were careful to not drink water or uncooked vegetables. Paul read about a pizza place and we asked a friend about it. He said “Well… it’s right across from the cholera treatment center…I wouldn’t eat there!

Our travel was uneventful and we are so thankful for a safe trip and some time away as a family.

If you get this by email you can go to our blog to see the slide show with lots of pictures.

Looking at homemade clothes at the market

Enjoying a supper after a swim in the pool

Some of the potholes

Women selling peanuts at the market

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kodiak Arrival

The Kodiak arrived safely in Ukarumpa Friday.  The whole center shut down and many went to watch it land.