The beauty of PNG …


POC is all that we expected, and yet for none of the reasons we expected.
The site, on top of Mount Nobnob, is amazing. You have to stop and absorb the view every time you walk from the haus slip (sleeping quarters) to the haus kuk (kitchen / dining area). Yet it has a dark side.

Prior to leaving for PNG, many friends questioned whether it was a safe place to live – obviously with the reports of violent people in mind.
The people couldn’t be nicer – it’s the environment that is out to kill you!
We have had numerous lectures on avoiding germs and disease carrying parasites, poisonous marine creatures, and creepy-crawlies that bite or sting. Even some of the plants can result in nasty looking blisters if you touch them.

Yet POC leaves you no choice but to put these issues in their right and proper place. The coastline is beautiful; the water warm and crystal clear; the bush fresh and full of life; and the local people welcoming and helpful. To succumb to fears of the bad would also limit our ability to experience all that is amazing about PNG.


We expected to find much beauty in PNG. What surprised us, will be no surprise to many who have served, or continue to serve here. The true beauty is in the people.

People like our To???????????????????????????????k Pisin tisa (teacher), who walks up the mountain every day to spend mornings with us. Tisa Bat patiently corrects our mistakes, and encourages us to keep trying, keep learning. He knows that it is only through wantok (common language) that real relationships can be built. Wantok is a core value of PNG culture, maintaining ties within the village, clan, and nation.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ              Romans 15:5-6

Please pray…
• for safety and good health during POC, for staff, students and families
• thanking God for the PNG Nationals that feed us, do our laundry, maintain the property, and find time to guide us in our language learning
• that we be able to grasp Tok Pisin, so as to relate to Nationals in meaningful ways


If there was one word that we have heard the past few days, it would be ‘waiting’. We have waited in airports for boarding calls, waited for take-off clearance, waited for the next flight. Even while enjoying a few days in Madang, there was a sense of ‘waiting’.

As we walked the streets, adjusting to the heat, the crowds, the sounds, and aromas, our minds were still on what lay ahead – POC, Ukarumpa and Lae.

But it wasn’t just us. In a way, the whole town seems to be waiting.

Street-stall vendors waiting for a buyer; labourers for their rest break; water taxis for the next load (or more than a load) of passengers; door security guards for someone to test their authority.

And always, there is the sense that they are waiting for something to happen.IMGP5196

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.                                                                                                                          Romans 8:19-21

Madang is no different from Townsville, or anywhere in Australia. The developed world simply masks the waiting with schedules, projects and timetables. We plan to work, to eat, to exercise. We even plan our leisure time months in advance.

That isn’t the PNG way. Here, they wait.

Please pray…

  • that we patiently wait for God to unfold all that He has in store for our next four months
  • that POC be a valuable learning experience for all – 30 students and 17 children
  • for good relationships during the next twelve weeks, as we ‘live in each other’s pockets’
  • for the PNG church, as they wait for God’s glory to be made known across their country


A fitting farewell …

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
    (James 5:13-14)

Our commissioCommissioningning last Sunday (August 3) was everything we had hoped it would be. It was not so much a tearful farewell, as a joyful send-off from our church family of the past nineteen years. Special thanks to those visiting friends who joined us on the day – a reminder of the way in which our concept of ‘church family’ has been redefined over the past eighteen months.

Keith – That said, it was the final ‘man-hugs’ with a couple of guys that brought a lump to my throat. They were among the first to welcome me to the church back in 1995, and have continued to both challenge and support me in word and deed ever since.

Elspeth – I expected that saying goodbye would be too much emotionally, and was surprised that I held everything together. Then about 3am the following morning, I woke up, and cried at the thought that it was all over – 19 years of learning, growing and serving.

Next weekend sees us dash to Sydney for a family wedding, and yet more farewells. Please pray for us in respecting the emotions involved. It is easy to be focussed on our excitement at serving, and miss the potential impact on relationships of being away for two years.

A fresh dozen…

Come and see what God has done:                                                                                                                                          He is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.                                                                                                       (Psalm 66:5)

Egg carton

Since our last blog in July, the Lord has moved an awesome outpouring of generosity. We have committed to the Pacific Orientation Course, with our initial costs covered in full by the advance financial support received so far. As to our ongoing position, we have pledges and gifts totalling 88% of our required support – so if you are able to commit $30 per month, contact us this week to be one of those dozen 1% supporters.

We can do nothing more than trust Him for the remaining 12% pledge as we prepare to fly from Cairns to PNG on August 14. Humility has become a way of life for us now. There is no other way to react other than to acknowledge that God is at work in all things. We continue to receive support from folk we have not even met – and are reminded constantly of the prayers of many paving the way.

Prayer points

  • Praise God for an amazing month! In our weakness He is strong.
  • We need to give time to what matters, namely relationships – with God; each other; family and friends as we say goodbye.
  • Uphold us in all the ‘little things’ – safe travel, remaining calm, managing to sleep.
  • Pray for the 20 people taking part in POC, and the leadership team. It will likely be a challenging time culturally, socially and spiritually.