Know Things, New Things

culture shock

 – noun

the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

We were warned that we’d experience some degree of culture shock during our first weeks here in PNG. Thankfully, God blessed us with wonderful team mates who have made the transition so much easier! They often explain ‘little things’ that are helpful to know – like ‘a carton of eggs’ is a box with 9 dozen eggs, not one dozen! We often think of how much harder it must have been when the three families from GBC arrived…

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Learning Tok Pisin

“And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech”… Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth…” Genesis 11:6-9

After a few weeks of language learning, I still need to admit ‘Mi no save gut Tok Pisin’ (I do not know Tok Pisin well). But we are learning! God has blessed us with the most patient lady as language helper – Maria repeats herself multiple times, and answers the same questions repeatedly without so much as a sigh! So we are pressing ahead.

We are now at a point where we are trying not to speak English at all anymore with Maria or other nationals. But that means double checking a lot that we’ve been understood correctly (with any important conversations we check in English). And a simple question like ‘What is the word for rich?’ becomes ‘What is the name that you give a man or woman who has a lot of money?’. Add to that a lot of pauses while we search for the right word or phrase, and conversations take a bit longer than usual.

Why this emphasis on learning Tok Pisin and then nDo?

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One year


Our original plan was to arrive in PNG on 24 September 2017. It is now one year later.

We could speculate about all the reasons God had for not allowing us to be there yet. And I do often make a list in my mind of all the many blessings that have come from spending this year in South Africa instead. But in the end, it comes down to this…

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Our baby is officially seven. Crazy. He responded to a writing prompt just before his birthday: “If I was a punctuation mark, I would be… an exclamation mark! I would be loud! I would be tall! And be strong! And rule them all!”

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Double digits

Children are a blessing, a reward! We’ve been parents for 10 years now. Crazy. Our girl is sweet, silly and yet seriously thoughtful. We love that she can make up the strangest songs and stories, and also ask very deep theological questions.

Happy tenth birthday, Calista! May you continue to grow in your understanding of, and love for the Word of God. May Lord Jesus capture your heart, so that you will become a young lady after his own heart.


Square One


Our first applications for work permits to enter PNG, were submitted in March 2017. In August 2017, we were told that these applications were lost somewhere at the Department of Labour. We had a second application ready in country, so we sent these to our agent for resubmission. The last 8 months we have waited eagerly for news, but none has come. We have placed increasing pressure on our agent in PNG for feedback with the result that he was forced to admit that he never submitted our applications. We are back to step 1 in the work permit application process, but with reliable agents this time.

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‘Normal’ life

“No, we are still waiting.” Most of my conversations these days start with the question, “Have you heard anything about your papers?”  There has been some movement (another agency had one of their missionaries’ papers processed). But for now, we have a pretty ‘normal’ life here in South Africa.

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