What has been the hardest things about being in PNG?
- Missing friends and family. It just does not get easier.
- Learning to negotiate a culture very different from our own. Having to think through the possible interpretation of every comment, implications of every action… And being humbled as we often get it wrong, even after thinking it through.
- Learning two new languages. Getting to a conversational level with Tok Pisin was not too hard. We still both need to practice a lot before we get to the point where we can communicate abstract, foreign concepts clearly and effortlessly. Learning nDo has both of us feeling old and not too clever. As a fully fledged language, it has a much bigger vocabulary and the grammar is very different from English.
- Seeing the darkness around us. There is not a place on earth not touched by sin – everywhere we’ve lived before, we’ve been touched by seeing lost souls. But here, the lostness feels almost raw. The evil is so exposed. The confusion as result of syncretism, so crippling. We are getting to know people with the desire to worship that God built into all of us, but with no knowledge of the only true and living God. The darkness saddens us. But we’ve read the end of the book! In the end, people from every tribe and nation will worship the King!
- The logistics involved in living in such a remote location. I laugh when I remember times when I forgot my list at home on a grocery run. Shopping is now called ‘Supply Runs’ and involve a big ugly spreadsheet, on which every desired item needs to be evaluated in terms of amount needed per week/month, availability, weight, and cost. Another aspect of remote living, is that when things that break, they are not easy, cheap or quick to replace.
What has been the best things about being in PNG?
- Seeing growth in our walk with the Lord, our marriage and our parenting. We have faced a long series of transitions in the last few years, which brought with it some unique challenges. We are very thankful that while we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, He is at work in us! We have come to rely on God even more. And He has sustained us every step of the way.
- Watching our kids mature, even when it wasn’t always easy for them. They are learning early on what it means to count the cost… Some of the lessons are just part of growing up, and most people could relate. Others are unique to having parents who are missionaries.
- Our team. God picked our teammates for us. And we are SO thankful that He picked the Canns and Amelia. (This also extends to the rest of the FV team.)
- Feeling like foreigners. Because it reminds us constantly of the fact that we are sojourners here on earth…
- Living in the most beautiful place in the world. From my front lawn, I can often see seven waterfalls, a flock of white cockatoos, the ocean, and plants with numerous different shades of green. All at the same time. If you don’t believe me, come and visit.
- Flying. The heli flight home is like sitting in a see-through bubble, looking down on the mountains and valleys of PNG. Beautiful!!
- The best thing according to Calista: Gardening! You can pretty much just throw flower seeds on the ground, and they’ll grow. Also, she says it is great that we know all our neighbours, their children, and their ‘stories’. In busy cities people don’t know their neighbours this well.
- Sebastian’s favorite things: Jude and Oliver. And that there are almost always village friends around who want to play lightsabers, ball or running games.
Growing to love the people of our village. During our time in Ukarumpa, we really missed our village friends, and it was such a blessing to be able to return home!