It was difficult to settle on just one emotion in the final stages of preparing for Village Living. The excitement of a ‘Survivor PNG’ style experience was combined with mixed feelings towards the reality of what lay ahead. Over the previous seven weeks, we had times of illness, or days of carrying niggling injuries following bush hikes. We had known the frustrations of cooking familiar meals in very unfamiliar conditions.
Yet we also enjoyed time with our PNG national host family, language teachers, and centre staff, and our ability to relax and build relationships grew along with our Tok Pisin language skills. Four weeks in the village provided much more time for interaction.
Simply managing daily life involved us in teacher-student conversations, as our hosts taught us where to source drinking water (five minute walk away); how to restore blackened pots to gleaming silver (rubbing with a particular leaf); and when not to wash clothes (after heavy rain, with the river running brown and full). Life was not always easy, yet we clearly see God preparing us for the challenges we are likely to face in encouraging the translation project teams, and working through tasks with the Regional Centre’s PNG national staff.
“[May God] equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.” Hebrews 13:21
p.s. Now back at POC, we miss the little pigs snuffling outside our house, letting out the occasional squeal. It was calming to sit, with a cup of coffee, watching them forage for grubs.
Please pray …
• thanking God for His equipping us to serve… all believers, in every possible way
• that the relationships formed in the village would be to His glory, and a blessing to us
Our total communication blackout has come to an end! We are back in the world of internet, email, and mobile phones.
Early October saw all the POC students pack up our supplies in preparation for four weeks of village living, and it soon became a question of who would have the biggest pile of stuff!
It was a shock to see how much we considered ‘essential’ for surviving in the village – many of us felt convicted of our Western approach to life. What would the villagers think when we turned up with all this ‘cargo’? Would our relationship start off by highlighting our differences?
We had no need to fear, as the welcome from our host wasfemili (watch family) and other villagers was warm and full of anticipation – the children were particularly intrigued by the strange waitskin (any non-PNG person).
The intent of the village living stage was to become familiar with building relationships with nationals, founded on sharing daily life, learning skills and growing in appreciation of their culture – all while communicating in Tok Pisin. Adding a degree of difficulty, was the need to cart water from a spring, cook on an open fire, wash in the river – pots, clothes and ourselves – and maintain our supplies without the convenience of cold storage.
The real challenge, though, is to be real – to genuinely be seeking to have a Christ inspired love for the people we continue to live amongst and serve here in PNG.
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”
1 Thessalonians 2:8
We will share a few village living stories next week…
Please pray …
• thanking God for sustaining students through occasional illness during village living
• that the lessons learned will be valuable for our future service in PNG
• for our transition to the next stage of orientation in Ukarumpa, establishing connections within all areas related to our regional management role