Sunday, April 1, 2012

Village Living

Greetings from the village of Segar, which is located 1,233 feet above sea level on the North Coast of Papua New Guinea in the province of Madang. (For those of you who are interested, you can see our exact location by going to the following GPS coordinates: -4.8907, 145.623783.) We are just beginning the the second week of our five-week village living experience. Our host family has made it possible for us to stay in a traditional village house that has three bedrooms and a sitting room (see the picture of our house below). Traditional homes in Papua New Guinea do not have much in the way of furniture, so we sleep on camping mats that we brought from the United States and eat either sitting on the floor or below our house where there are some benches.

Because we are in a remote village setting, we do not have access to running water or electricity. The spring for drinking water and the stream for washing dishes and bathing are both about a ten-minute walk away down a fairly steep slope. However, we are attempting to catch rain water to minimize the number of times we have to hike to get our water (or recruit local kids to help us). Any water that we don't collect from the rain we are filtering with a Sawyer water filter that Pastor Darrel Larson has generously provided for us through his affiliation with the nonprofit organization Give Clean Water. For light, we have a Coleman kerosene lantern as well as a battery powered lantern and flashlights. For meals, we either prepare our own food over an open fire or eat with our host family (or both).

Our host family is a young family of four. The father's name is Boney, and he is the pastor of the local Christian Mission Fellowship church. The mother's name is Kristen, and they have a young boy named Jedida and a young girl named Salome. They speak the Dimir language as their mother tongue, but they are also fluent in the national language of Tok Pisin. As our host family, they are expected to help us develop our Tok Pisin speaking abilities as well as teach us skills that will help us live in a remote village setting.

We have a local produce market about one kilometer away and a trade store nearby. (A trade store stocks the very basics of dry and canned food such as rice and canned fish and pork). The local health Aid Post is four kilometers away. And even though we don't have electricity, we do have a good signal for using our cell phone (we just have to figure out a way to charge it). We are located just off a dirt road that has the occasional PMV (Public Motor Vehicle) passing by. The PMV goes out to the main road (about five miles away), where there are other PMV's that go into the town of Madang.

Please pray for our health during the village living portion of the Pacific Orientation Course as it is harder to make sure that the food, water, and kids are clean. Please also pray for us to develop close relationships with our host family and the other families in our village. And ask God to help us be content and have joy no matter what our circumstances, especially through the more challenging times that we will face.

We will not have internet access again until the very end of April, so we will not be able to respond to any emails for the next four weeks. But please go ahead and send us messages. We love to hear from you, and we will respond as soon as we can when our village living phase is over.

Thank you for your continued prayers, they make a big difference! And thank you for your continued support. We could not do this without you!