Monthly Archives: July 2007

Hot Water Heaters

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Above: typical PNG sunset in the highlands

For those of us who have been overseas and experienced another culture, much to our liking, tend to miss it once we’re gone. I have experienced this–a lot–since being back from Papua New Guinea. I miss many things about the culture, but I won’t bore you with them. One thing I was thinking about this morning: Dad sent Tamsen & I to the dump to take the old hot water heater and some wood. My thought process as we were driving there was:

– there’s no dump in PNG

– there’s no need for a dump in PNG

– if we were disposing of this water heater in PNG, we would just bury it in the ground ourselves

– the national women would be able to carry this hot water heater the same distance we’re driving to the dump (they’re so strong!)

– the hot water heaters we had in PNG were all solar-powered

I miss PNG! I do not mean this to come across as me sounding discontent or unsatisfied with where the Lord has me this very moment. On the contrary, I am quite excited for the next phase of life. But at the same time, I am thankful for the time He gave me in Papua New Guinea and look forward to potential trips back there in the future. I am learning to be thankful for the places that the Lord has me in the moment.

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back to the land of prerecorded music and endless distractions

Hi all!!

I am really, truly sorry that it has been quite a while since I’ve last posted. My time in PNG has ceased for the moment and I am currently sitting at the bar in my parent’s kitchen writing to you.

Well, PNG was amazing. I haven’t quite figured out how to respond when people ask me the question, “How was your trip?” yet. So far I have come up with the following:

  • amazing
  • eye-opening
  • informative
  • I’m ready to go back already
  • wonderful
  • humbling
  • quite the experience
  • like nothing I’ve experienced before

I imagine that many of us could come up with similar responses after coming home from a 2-month mission trip in a foreign country. Nonetheless, they are all true and honoring to the Lord. He used the adventure in my life in quite unique and extraordinary ways, and I am excited to write future posts in which you will learn about them. For now I will continue to fight jet lag and go to sleep. Please feel free to ask questions as you think of them, for this provides insight as to what you’re interested in hearing. ūüôā

Below is a picture of me during one of the film shots for the new New Tribes promo movie (I’ll post more about that later). We were romping through the hills in a nearby village.

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Death Watch

I realize that this is kind-of a morbid title, but please bear with me. And mom: do not be alarmed, everyone is fine. My roommate has not been feeling well for a few days now. She’s been slightly conjested and tired of recent. We thought it was due to allergies and just recovering from a tight and busy schedule from the past 6 weeks, but last night we discovered differently. On Monday night she was running a slight fever of about 100 degrees ferenheit and had a restless sleep. We were supposed to go into town for a supply run and to pick up a new associate from Germany early the next morning. I woke up and my roommate was still sleeping, so I thought I would let her be. I left after saying goodbye and making sure she was supplied with ample water nearby. The day in town was restful and productive, though long. We expected to spend about half of the day there but ended up staying for about 11 hours total, due to the airplane delay. Our new German friend never came as all flights into Garoka had been cancelled. Fortunately, he came in safely this morning and I have yet to meet him! As you might imagine, Liz was very lonely when I arrived back home. She still wasn’t feeling well but was a little less depressed now that we were all back on campus and there were people for her to interact with. She was pretty weak after not really eating anything all day and sleeping most of it through. I made her a dinner of minestrone soup (out of a can; I’m not that domestic yet) and left her to sleep some more. We called the nurse at Lapilo (the missionary base about 30 minutes away) and informed her of the health situation. She took some notes and informed Liz that a few others were experiencing the same symptoms. We had just been at Lapilo on Monday, so Liz very well could have picked up something there.¬†The nurse¬†thought of the possibility of pneumonia or just a common cold. She instructed Liz to take some meds and rest, just to see how things were going to pan out in the morning. The fever was about the same and she took a few otc meds to help that situation. After watching a movie at someone else’e home I came back to go to sleep. I checked on Liz and she was fast asleep. Good. At about 1:30am this morning, Liz came into my room and woke me up in a very alarmed voice, “Kate, I’m scared.” She had just taken her temperature and it read 105.9 in one ear and 104.9 in the other. She felt freezing cold and rather anxious about what was going on. I asked her a few questions about what she was feeling in her body and what she thought she needed the most at the moment. Her simple reply was, “All I want to do is pray.” Duh. So we sat on the couch and prayed for the Lord to bring comfort and peace as the feelings of uncertaintly were overwhelming Liz. I didn’t say anything out loud, but I too was wondering what was going to happen. I called Janie, our go-to missionary on campus for health purposes, and Janie had me call the nurse immediately. At this point Liz just sat on the couch with her eyes closed looking like misery. The nurse had me take some vitals (thank you, mom, for being a nurse and educating us in the basics) and take her respitory count. The nurse asked me questions that I then proceeded to ask Liz and eventually Janie came to our house and talked to the nurse as well. In the end there was really little that we could do but pray for the fever to break. Since we are currently living in a third-world country, the hospital is not exactly somewhere one would go for first-response medical help. Besides the fact that the nearest hospital is about an hour away from the campus where we are located, there is probably more chance that one would contract a disease there rather than be healed of illness. So the emergency room that is so readily available back home is not even an option here. We were quickly jolted to the reality that our security blanket was not available. I followed the nurse’s instructions:

  • cold compress/sponge bath¬†until the fever lowers at least 2 degrees, but not to the point of giving her chills
  • 1000mg of tylenol immediately
  • 400mg of motrin in 2 hours (she had previously taken some)
  • tons of water

Liz and I had joked about being able to play “house” this week since we moved from the cabins into a real home. So now we joked about playing “doctor.” It was every little child’s dream. At one point we even remembered the Little House on the Prarie stories of how little Carrie was so ill and they thought she would die. Not that we really thought Liz would die at that moment, but it made for a lighter atmosphere. We joked about how I secretly always wanted to be Laura, and since Liz is the one with curly blonde hair and I have brown hair, she was Mary and I was Laura. Liz quickly fell back to sleep, probably due to exhaustion, as I continued to have a cold compress on her forehead and arms. I took her temp every 30 minutes and it was slowly lowering. Finally, after about 4 hours the fever was down to about 102 degrees and I fell asleep. I woke up at 8am this morning (about 3 hours later) and took her temperature. It was back to normal! Praise the Lord!! Liz slept until about noon and is now blowing her nose and taking time to read mail that family and friends have sent her. A whole list of movies is on the agenda, with plenty of rest and water. Continue to pray for her recovery, as we have only 2 weeks left here in PNG and want to make the best of our time! Pray, too, that I would continue to be healthy.¬†I have been asked to be excluded from interaction with the other missionaries for the day,¬†in case I am a carrier of whatever Liz has. As I was sitting by Liz in the dark last night, pressing cool cloths against her forehead and arms, I thought back to missionaries Brad Buser and Mike and Sandy Mikllavich. Brad told us a story in class once about how he was in the Sepic region of PNG with his wife and young son. His son was stuck ill, probably malaria, and had a fever that would not break. As they were hiking out of the jungle seeking the last resource of help for their little boy, Brad told us how he and his wife had to just commit their son’s life to the Lord. They knew not if the fever would break, but were very aware that it could kill him quickly. They prayed with every step they took, and the Lord’s grace reigned in the form of the fever breaking. The whole point of Brad telling us this story was to illustrate the seriousness of living in the tribe and daily being willing to give up everying–including your infant son–for the sake of others hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Likewise, Mike and Sandy shared a story with us about their daughter being ill from malaria. An air strip had not yet been built near their village and they knew that hiking out for 3 hours and then taking a 6-hour boat ride to the nearest medical clinic was not an option as their daughter was quickly becoming dehydrated and burning a fever. As I remember, they ended up injecting her with water time after time, and again, the Lord’s grace reigned in the form of a broken fever and physical healing. All this is to point everything back to the Lord. He is the author and giver of each of our lives, and that initial prayer that Liz and I prayed was to express our full dependence on Him for our lives. The so-called “risks” of tribal missions became a little more realistic to both of us last night, and we cannot be more thankful to the Lord for His provision. It was a neat experience, though very scary, to be fully dependent upon the Lord–in a very tangible way–for life itself. May we all come to the point of counting the cost of being a disciple of Christ, no matter what our capacity of serving Him looks like.

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Daily Happenings

As I am writing this it is Monday afternoon, and my roommate is taking a little afternoon siesta. It rained outside for a while after a cool morning. I am sitting in the loft upstairs in our house listening to Coldplay and writing to you. Liz and I slept in this morning until about 9am. I woke up and wandered outside while the coffee brewed. There are many nationals on campus today working: mowing the lawns, upkeeping the flower gardens, cleaning laundry and empty cabins. They are hard workers and it’s neat to be able to interact with the women here on campus. They are so interested in our lives, with us being from America and all! It’s kinda fascinating.

¬†After sitting down with the coffee to read Liz woke up and we started our planned breakfast of eggs and potatoes. Soon I got a phone call to help with some admin stuff for another staffer and I went over to the Keung’s home to insert data for Emerson. As I was at the Keung’s home I got a phone call from Dave Cross, the missionary in charge of much of the teachign that goes on during the program. He primairly does the chronological teaching, TERM, through his brother’s book, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. Dave wanted me to come up to their home and help him on a slide show presentation for another class once I was done with Emerson’s work. So I called Dave about 20 minutes later and went up to meet with him.

What he wanted input on was the importance of Bible training when considering an education for career mission/ministry work. There was a portion of a class that he had already taught to my program¬†and just asked me more about what different schools have to offer, what programs should be considered, and what foundational issues should be thought of in choosing a Bible education.¬†I can’t say that I had much to offer, but the converstaion was good. I love college!! Being at Master’s was an experience of a lifetime and I would do it all over again if I could. It was interesting talking through Bible education with Dave, who graduated from Bible school as well as seminary. He was a pastor before missionary, and I think he has a well-rounded perspective of education and what is necessary when going into ministry or missions. It was neat how the Lord used our time together, too, for me to realize what an exceptional education I received at Master’s and also different reasons why Dallas wants me to be in certain programs over the one I want to be in. It’s even more neat how the Lord worked it all together in His perfect timing.

After finishing up with Dave I headed back down to our house and Meaghan and Alicia were hanging out, making dessert for tonight’s “going away” party for the Simons. Alicia left shortly after I got back and the three of us girls just hung out talking about life and working on projects. The afternoon was pretty chill, and then we shared supper with the Gass family. We had some fun and good conversation over a lovely family meal. I am thankful for the missionaries here who have opened up their homes for us to have meals with them in.

¬†After the Gass’ we headed down to a “going away” party for the Simons. I put “going away” in quotes because they aren’t actually leaving PNG until mid-August after the final Interface program for this year. Simon and Simon are short-termers from Germany fulfilling the German government’s requirement for 1 year of service. They’re completely different men of the Lord, and we are all thankful to know them. It was really neat to be a part of things tonight, even though I only met the Simons about 2 months ago. It was like we were all one huge family. Oh wait. We are! All of the missionaries serving with Interface were present with their families as well as the three of us girls who are serving on hospitality.

Above: Liz, Simon S., Simon N. (aka Simple), me

I’ve been thinking a lot–even this past year–about Rachel Smith’s idea/workings for a Master’s Thesis. As far as my understanding goes, she is writing about being in fellowship and getting involved in community as a Christian when you know you are in a place short-term. This is geared for situations such as going away to college, or even working at a job for only a short amount of time. It’s easy to be apathetic about forming relationships and being involved in each other’s lives–the one-anohters–when you are only going to know them for a short amount of time. But is that biblical? It’s hard to think through because the Bible is clear on the issue: we are to be brothers and sisters in whatever capacity He calls us to be in. But sometimes you wonder if you’ll even make a difference in their lives due to the fact that you will only know them for 2 weeks. But surely, God gives that grace. How encouraging it is to know that I have brothers and sisters serving Him in the same country as my non-Christian family. Or that I can be praying for the MK’s that I have met here in PNG and know that prayer is probably the most effective means I have to minister to them. I may never see them again. But surely I will not be quick to forget the times we shared together. I pray that we will not grow apathetic to Biblical commands in relation to community and relationship in the short-term situations. I am thankful for the Simons and the friendship, though it has been short-lived in comparison, that we have all begun to cultivate.

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