It’s hard to believe as I sit here now writing this that we are coming up on 10 months of being here in Papua New Guinea. In some ways it seems like just yesterday we were saying our goodbyes to friends and family back home, but in other ways it seems like we’ve been here in PNG forever. Now you could take that to mean that time is going by really slowly here and that it’s tough to make it through each day, but that’s not exactly what I mean. While some days are hard (I remember plenty of those days back in Vermont too!), it feels like we’ve been here forever because this feels like home. As we come up on our first Thanksgiving here in PNG, I’ve been thinking about so many things that I’m thankful for.
What are we thankful for? For God’s faithfulness as He made the way possible for us to come here in January. For our adjustment as a family to life in PNG. For how we have been able to see God’s hand at work here building His church. For the elders that God has raised up to lead churches here and the wisdom that they have. For a church close to the center here that we can worship with each Sunday and be fed from God’s Word in Tok Pisin. For the continuing prayers and support of family and friends. For the work that God has given us while we wait on Him for the future village He would have us serve in. For the progress we’ve been able to make in our language learning while taking on a full-time workload (Paul is officially checked out and Ellen is not too far behind). For the beauty of God’s creation here in PNG and the many ways we’ve been able to see that: by foot, car, boat, plane, helicopter, and swimming. For the example of those who have gone before us living life by faith and awesome coworkers. For the challenges that God brings into our lives to refine our faith.
What are we up to?
We have been helping with the orientation program (e2) for three families that came to PNG in July. Those families are now moving on to other parts of their orientation before they eventually, Lord willing, end up as part of a church planting team serving in a village in PNG. The time went by quickly and it’s exciting to see the families moving on for their next steps. We’ve also been helping with different jobs on center which have included the boys and I coating plywood with polyurethane so it’s ready to go into a missionary’s bush house and then driving it 3 hours up the road.
Over the next couple of months, we’ll be getting ready for the next e2 orientation program that starts in January, doing some maintenance jobs around the center, going to doctors and dentist appointments (we’re thankful for the support of the missionary doctors), homeschooling, and continuing in language and culture study. In January, we’ll be starting the new orientation program here as well as orienting some new center managers for this center. We are also starting some initial team talks with others that we hope to work with in a tribal church plant location!
You are all a big part of this ministry. We are SO thankful for your support of us along this journey.
- Pray for wisdom as we continue praying for direction in our work here in PNG and as we start some preliminary team talks. We are super excited about this, but we need to wait for firmer plans before we start announcing ANYTHING… thank you for your patience.
- Pray that we would be a blessing as we help coordinate the next orientation class; organizing the schedule, speakers, field trips, etc.
- Pray that Ellen would finish learning the trade language as soon as possible so she has less of a work load.
Christmas caroling with the Swenson Kids…
…because it is never too early for Christmas caroling:) Try to figure out what we are saying!!!