As I went down to the river to…play?

Yesterday (Wednesday) we embarked upon the
long-awaited hike to the river. It takes the typical group
about 1.5 hours to get there-one way-and each group that
goes through the program has only one opportunity to go. It
was a nice hike down there, but really it was more of a
walk-about. I can’t say I’ve hiked in much similar of a
situation, but the closest I can think of is hiking
anywhere along the northwest Pacific Ocean. But even on
those hikes people don’t typically walk through coffee
gardens or through grass that is as tall as your waist and
as sharp as a razor (for reals, most of us got cuts on our
legs). There was even one point that the grass was up over
our heads like a canopy for a while. I got some sweet
video footage that I’ll post once I am capable.

So we were led astray to the river; apparently we were
hiking to a new destination than previous groups have gone
and our leader turned off too soon. So it took us longer
than we thought to get there, but no complaints because it
was beautiful. We spent about 30 minutes actually playing
in the river. It was like the American River up near home,
but dirty and frigid. As we were hanging out some dark
clouds loomed overhead and the missionaries commented
about rain coming. Keep in mind that it has rained a total
of one time since we’ve been here, which is apparently
unusual. So we’re getting out of the river and ready to
hike back when the downpour starts.

This is wonderful because the entire trail is dirt and
mostly full of hills. Oh, and did I mention the part that
we are all soaking wet from the river anyway? And on top of
that, all the girls are in skirts. So we’re pretty much
getting started back as soon as we can…all 34 of us.
Somehow or another I ended up in the front of the group
with a national guide, two MK’s (ages 10 and 14), and 3
other students. We got way far ahead of the rest of the
group and decided to keep pressing on without them. The
trail was pretty slick and even the guys were slipping all
over the place. Additionally, there were parts of it where
the ground was about 6″ wide, with a cliff on one side and
a barbed-wire fence on the other. Safe, I know. I forgot
to mention that the national children love to follow us
wherever we go. In this case we had about a 1:1 ratio of
children with us. I was heading up the back of our group,
with Joerg (a student) in front of me and a village girl
named Wendi behind me. There was another village boy in
front of Joerg who kept looking behind and making sure
that I was okay. Eventually, the village boy (can’t
remember his name), who is all of about 9 years old, pulls
back behind Joerg without saying a word and digs out foot
holes in the mud with his bush knife for me. It was so
precious! Because of the noise of the rain the boy kept
turning back and yelling at me to “stepim here!” and
pointing with his machete at the freshly turned dirt. I
felt very loved and taken care of. As I was sharing the
experience with one of the missionaries upon arriving
back, I couldn’t help but think of how the Lord does that
for me in life. There are so many times where I am just
walking along–not in the best of situations, but
definitely not the worst–and God just clearly shows me
the steps I need to take towards safety in the midst of
potential hazard. Yes, He can take away the rain or
flatten the mountains. But He takes pleasure in me
following His instructions even more. And just as if I
were to not listen to the child, I would be a fool to
ignore the instructions of the Lord.

Our group will be in the air on their way to Singapore
exactly one week from right now. Once in Singapore they
will spend the night and fly to LA the next morning. I
will see them off to the airport and spend another 3 weeks
here in PNG. Two other girls are staying with me, and we
will watch the new group come in. There is about a week of
time between the two groups, and much of it will be spent
doing random jobs around the campus, going into town, and
just hanging out. As for me, today marks the 1/2 way point
of my time in PNG. I love it here and can’t wait to share
more experiences with you as I anticipate coming home.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “As I went down to the river to…play?

  1. beccaboone

    hey kate! love the title of the post! i can’t believe you’re at the 1/2 way mark! wow! i loved the analogy, too. perfect timing with that one, thanks. praying for ya and so glad to read an update. 😀

  2. Your Opa

    Dear Katey:

    We are looking forward to your homecoming also! Unfortunately, we will have to wait a bit to see you, as we shall still be in Germany.

    We arrive back in the good ol’ US of A on August 8. Until then, Doo Bug, stay dry, safe, and well fed! We love you granddaughter! Opa and Oma.

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