A quick update to let you know that we are doing well. A cold has been running through the station and our family seems to be through the worst of it. Daily rains have returned and our water tanks are once again full. The internet this month has not been working well, so I haven’t been able to blog much. Hopefully it’ll start working better again so I can catch up on blogging and emails!
It was startling to see when we first arrived. Drops of bright red are found all over the ground at the markets and in town. It comes from chewing betel nut. The bright red stains the user’s mouth and leaves red splotches on the ground from spit. It gives the person a high and a sense of euphoria. It also causes mouth and throat cancer. This article by the BBC describes the growing problem of betel nut use in Papua New Guinea. It’s not uncommon to see young kids with lips and teeth stained red from use. The soaring use along with limited medical care available means the incident of oral cancers will continue to increase. Please pray for the staff as we treat patients with this cancer and pray that as people find freedom in a relationship with Christ, that they will also be freed from the addiction to buai.
As we enter the middle of October we would like to say thank you to some special families we know. Nathan and I both grew up as pastor’s kids. We’ve seen the high and lows that come with being in the ministry. We’ve seen the sacrifices our parents have made and the faithfulness of God through it all. We’ve seen the difference church members make who are not only their pastor’s cheerleaders, but also their partners in ministry. We’ve seen the wounds that run deep when critics go a step too far. We’ve witnessed the joys when churches come together to support each other and see lives changed.
Besides being PKs, we have many friends who have pastored. I hesitate to list them, because my tired mommy brain is sure to forget someone, but I think it’s important for the Vavold family, Martin family, Brown family and Torgerson family to know how much we appreciate them. We pray for you all often and whether you are experiencing the mountain top of ministry or the valleys that come as well, know that your faithfulness has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for the work you are doing no matter where you are right now.
We’d also like to say a big thank you to the Johnson family who pastor our home church. It’s not an easy decision to move from the big city to a small town. It’s not easy having the full time job as pastors as well as another job to help pay the bills, but it has been exciting to see the spiritual growth. We are grateful for your willingness to follow God’s call.
We’d also like to thank my parents who are pastoring in Medford. I am grateful for the extra time we had to spend with you before moving here. I got to see your ministry through the eyes of an adult and appreciate the spiritual depth you both bring to teaching and worship. Thank you for your faithful example to following God’s leading in your lives.
During this month of October, and throughout the year, take the time to let your pastor know that you appreciate their dedication. Be their cheerleader and partner in ministry.
The weather here is amazing. It can feel a little humid sometimes coming from Oregon, but it doesn’t get overly hot since Kudjip sits over 5,000 feet above sea level. The flowers bloom all year long and if the afternoon gets warm, a breeze usually cools us off in the evening. There’s been a few cool mornings we’ve all searched to find the socks that were shoved to the back of the drawer with disuse.
After a very cold and icy winter in the States, I’ve enjoyed the steadiness of the weather here. With all the flowers blooming month after month, I didn’t really miss spring. And hearing about the heat waves back home, I was grateful for temperatures that don’t get much past the 80’s. So, I was surprised when reading Facebook posts about the coming of fall that I am missing this season.
I miss the cool air that gives a break from the heat of summer, but isn’t the biting cold of winter. I miss the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin spice. I miss pulling on a warm sweater to visit the pumpkin patch with the kids. I miss the leaves blanketing the back yard. And one day, when I was feeling homesick, I noticed that in our back yard is a tree that is changing colors and the colors are dropping to the ground. It is blooming with purple flowers and the petals are leaving a purple carpet on the ground with no need to rake them up. It was a small thing, but helped me remember that there will always be a push and pull with living overseas. There will be pieces of home that we miss while there are elements of life here that we could find no where else.
One of the exciting things the hospital is involved in is training PNG doctors. Some come for three month rotations, but we are also involved in a six year training program for doctors interested in working in rural areas. Dr. Scott Dooley shares his excitement in being involved in this training. And Dr. Erin Meier explains more about the program as Dr. Imelda is finishing her rural registry program and Vuia is considering joining us for the next six years in his training. It’s been a privilege to know Mel and Vuia and see their hearts for bringing medical care to the many people living in rural PNG.