Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wopapa Church

This is a Church in a village near where we live. The village name is Wopapa (sounds like wall paper). It is about a 2 hour walk to get there. About 15 minutes on my motorcycle.

Here are some facts about this church.  It was built in 1995.  There are about 215 adults and 300 children that attend.  Service is on Saturday from 9-12 am and then from 4-6.

The inside of the church. Wood plank pews and dirt floor.

The walls are made of woven bamboo and the roof is made of grass.

Our friend Opama, Dariasso and their 2 kids.  They live right next door to the church.  She is a deacon there and she is very busy helping people with needs.  They don't have a dedicated pastor so Opama sometimes teaches.

The village hired a man to bring his portable saw mill in and cut some lumber.  The plan is to eventually build a more permanent building.  They spent several weeks cutting lumber out in the middle of a forrest and then had 3 men sleep with the saw so it wouldn't be stolen.

Here are some of the kids from the village.  They really need to expand the church because there are so many people that attend.

This view is from the pulpit.  The rafter structure is very interesting.

You can see the building is starting to deteriorate.  There are holes in one side of the roof so one side is going to get wet when it rains.  It is interesting that in lots of church's in PNG the men sit on one side and the woman on the other.  I didn't ask who sits on the leaky side when it rains.

Here you can see daylight right through the roof.

Here are a few houses nearby the chuch.
Here is Dariaso having lunch with Jessica.  You can tell by her smile that she is very sweet woman.
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Toys in PNG

Someone once asked me what kids play with in PNG.  Thinking about the answer made me realize how much different PNG culture is.  
Kids almost always play outdoors.  It they are lucky somebody will have a soccer ball but often the make a ball by winding plastic grocery bags up.

Another common activity is to attach a small wheel to a stick and push it around.

These boys are playing in the river with bamboo sticks tied together.

Pushing an old car tire around with wooden stick is another activity

Games are played with a long cord made of tied together grocery bags.

Most of the kids we have seen seem to be pretty content with what they have.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Death of a criminal

Some of you may remember there was a really bad guy near our center about a year ago named Patrick Sirah.  According to this article he has been killed in a village across the river from where we live named Banana block also home to  baby Paul and Laura.  See our previous blog post.

A notorious gangster once feared in Kainantu is dead but his shooting death on Wednesday incited a full scale invasion of the Eastern Highlands gateway.
Eastern Highlands police chief Augustine Wampe named the dead criminal as Patrick Sirah who was wanted for armed robberies, rape, murder and other serious crimes including trying to shoot down a mission-owned light aircraft.
Mr Wampe said Sirah, 37, was shot at Banana Block in Kainantu by tribal enemies and his death sparked an invasion of the small town by his bandit mates.
They went on a riot in the town on Wednesday forcing schools, the hospital and all businesses to shut down operations and residents stayed indoors in fear of their lives.
Supt Wampe said police reinforcements were sent from Goroka to help the local police and a member of the local task force was shot and rushed to the Goroka Base Hospital.
Sirah reportedly sustained bullet wounds and was taken to a remote health clinic in Kainantu but died later.
Mr Wampe said a police patrol went into the area and retrieved his body and took it to the Goroka morgue.
The PPC said following Sirah’s death, a large group of men came into town yesterday and tried to loot shops but police intervened and dispersed the looters.
During the melee, a member of the Kainantu Task Force was shot and critically injured as police tried to repel the looters, many of whom were armed with guns and knives.
Mr Wampe said, the policeman’s assailants could be related to Sirah because the attack happened a day after he was killed in the gun fight.
Mr Wampe said staff of the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Ukarumpa helped evacuate the injured policeman by shuttling him in one of their light planes to Goroka and the medical staff at Goroka hospital conducted the emergency operation to save the policeman’s life.
The injured policeman, from West Sepik Province, is recovering but under intensive care.
.He is alleged to have killed raped, tortured and robbed countless victims across Kainantu and Aiyur
He is also alleged to have killed the wife of a senior provincial government officer in Goroka town last year.
In 2009, police launched a massive manhunt after Sirah’s gang murdered three people in Ukarumpa and set some houses on fire.
His gang was also alleged to have used high powered guns to shoot a small aeroplane in mid air while it was trying to land at Ukarumpa.
The bullets pierced the aircraft’s fuselage but the pilot landed the aeroplane safely and Sirah and his gang evaded a police dragnet by fleeing into the mountains.
This incident and many other countless felonies reportedly perpetrated by Sirah and his gang made them one of the most feared criminal gangs in the Eastern Highlands province Acting Deputy Police Commissioner and Chief of Operations Fred Yakasa condemned the attack on the policeman and vowed that police reinforcements would be sent into Kainantu to track down the rest of the gang.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Papua New Guinean women once tattooed every surface of their bodies, except their palms and soles. The process, accomplished with stones and leaves, is said to be very painful. If a young woman could undergo the tattooing in only two or three months, her bride price was very high, because she was strong. Today, some young women pursue different means of beautification.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prison visit

A while back myself and 3 other guys went to a jail that was about 1/2 hour drive away for prison ministry. It was quite an experience. One of my favorite movies is the Great Escape and the prison really reminded me of the prison camp from that movie.
About a month before our visit some men visited the prison and asked if anyone would like a Bible and about 100 men said yes. The purpose of our visit was to distribute the Bibles that had been collected and share the gospel with the prisoners. Close to a hundred men came to listen. We were at one end of a long cinder block room and the only exit was on the other side of the prisoners. We started out the meeting with prayer. At first I had my eyes closed but when I then I thought it might be a good idea to pray with my eyes open!
Some gave us letters to mail; we were their only hope of communicating with their families. The guards skimmed each letter to make sure there were no escape plans. Prison escapes are common in Papua New Guinea.

It was a great experience to cheer these men up for at least a couple of hours. They are in such a dismal place.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011


What it takes to free our family of malaria plus treat it if we get it anyways....
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Monday, July 4, 2011


Currently, we're in Orlando, Florida where Wycliffe Bible Translator's headquarters are located.  We are attending a re-entry training program here and staying in a Wycliffe apartment for a couple of weeks.

We are amazed at how many things have changed or that we have forgotten about.  Jessica, our youngest does not have very many memories of the USA.  Here are some of our conversations with her.

Laura: When we are in the US we will not have to hang our laundry outside to dry but put it in a machine to dry it.
Jessica: Why?
Laura:  Houses in the US have a machine that blows warm air around the house when we get cold.  They also have a machine that washes dishes for us.
Jessica: Weird!

In PNG our kids took turns doing dishes by hand and were pretty excited at how easy it is to do them here with the dishwasher.
Daniel doing dishes the hard way in PNG

When we first got here we went to a super Wal-Mart and just stood in the entrance looking around in amazement.  The choices of products was pretty overwhelming.  In all we spent about 4 hours that shopping trip.

The day after we arrived in the US Rachel turned 12 and got her ears pierced.  She could have had it done in PNG with a sac sac needle (sort of like a giant, skinny thorn) but we thought it would be best to wait and have it done here!
Rachel getting her ears pierced at Wal-mart

Rachel showing off her new earrings

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Trip home

Weighing in before our flight

We left PNG at 10 am on Sunday June 19th after being seen off by 3 families we are friends with.

They made a special flight of a Cessna 206 airplane that our family and our bags filled up completely. 
Loading into the little 206

Jessica has experienced motion sickness before and was convinced she was going to throw up so she held a barf bag up to her mouth almost the whole trip.  When the pilot was explaining all the safety precautions she would giggle nervously after each one.

Paul got to sit in the co-pilots seat and had a great view the whole trip.  We had to go up to 11,000 feet to avoid some bad weather and Rachel was having bad pain in her jaw so she had to wear an oxygen mask until we could go lower.

We could only fly for 1/2 hour without oxygen at this height

We spent the night at Port Moresby and then flew for 13 hours and arrived at the Hong Kong airport where we ate our first McDonalds meal.

We had a several hour layover there and then left for London.  We arrived at Heathrow airport and collected our 6 bags which were all packed to the 20 kg maximum and then realized that we were flying out of Gatwick and couldn't leave our bags at the airport to pick up later.  We found a place that would store our bags at one of the subway stations.  We arrived at the Kings Cross station where we were going to store our bags but didn't know how we were going to get our 6 bags and 6 carry-on bags from deep within the subway to the street level storage business.  Paul went to check it out and rode up several long escalators and was told that I would have to rent a trolley to get the bags from down below to up the street level and then realized then only took British coins.  I then had to find a place to exchange money and when I finally got the cart was told I couldn't take it down to the subway platform.  So I left the cart and got back to the platform where Laura and the kids had been waiting almost an hour.  By this time it was the height of rush hour and there were huge crowds of people.  We would take each of our bags a ways and then leave Daniel to guard them and then do this process over again several times before we finally got to the storage business.

The subway was loud, super crowded and stressful.  Laura had a bit of a breakdown after waiting for Paul for an hour with the luggage and the kids in one of the tubes - a low point.

We spent many hours riding the buses and subways looking at the sights.  We went and saw the Tower Bridge and the next day went to an incredible science museum.

After having so much trouble getting all our luggage through the subway system we decided to take 2 taxis to the airport.  We allowed 3 1/2 hours before our flight and soon realized that that it was not going to be enough time since going on the surface streets is much slower than the subway.  Jessica got car sick and projectile vomited all over herself, Laura and the inside of the taxi.  (Another low point) Unfortunately Jessica had a lot of scrambled eggs for breakfast.  When we got to the airport we rushed in to check in our bags and ran to the gate to catch our plane with only minutes to spare. As we went through security and Laura removed her jacket she realized she'd thrown away her barf covered shirt and didn't have much on!

After about 29 or 30 hours of flying time we arrived in Orlando and we've enjoyed sleep, swimming and a long visit to Walmart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Papua New Guinea is one of the least technologically advanced countries
in the world. Just a few years ago cell phone service became available
here. Suddenly there were people who have never had phone service in
their homes let alone electricity, now are able to have cell phones.
There are cell phone towers popping up all over PNG that are self
contained with a generator that runs 24/7.

One thing many people here have never been exposed to are scams. They
might receive a random text message like the one pictured here saying
they have won a prize. We have had several of our friends come to our
door excited and wanting help to claim this prize and we have to break
it to them that is not true.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dedication - Starting a fire

Part of the Agarabi Bible dedication we went to recently was a
demonstration on how the nationals used to start fires before the
western folks brought matches. The men used a bark rope to rub back and
forth against a log until the friction caused enough heat to start a
fire. It took less than 2 minutes from the time they started until they
actually had a fire going.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bible Dedication

Last Sunday we attended the dedication of the Agarabi New Testament.  This language group is the oldest translation project in Papua New Guinea.  It was started in 1959.  We are the support team for the American couple that helped do the translation.

It was about a 1 mile walk to the village where the dedication was. 

It started at about 11 and ended about 2.  There were singing groups and some men who did a drama to show how life was back before the missionaries came.

Here are some women seeing the Bible in the Agarabi language for the first time.

Our job was to coordinate transportation for over 200 expatriates to get to the village.

We were surprised when we found out that we were honored guests and were seated on the grandstand.  There were probably about 600 people in attendance.

Another responsibility we had was buying the food for all the guests.  I wondered how we were going to keep all this food fresh that we bought 2 days before the dedication, especially the 40 chickens.  Then it occurred to me that we just keep them alive until the morning of the dedication.