We currently live at a New Tribes Center that is near a town in the mountains, also called the Highlands (e.g. we don’t live out in a tribe YET!) This center is made up of a dozen or so houses with several other ex-pat missionary families living here. The people who live here are mostly performing different duties to support all the church planting efforts that are spread out throughout rural areas in “the bush.” For example, a couple here runs the print shop that prints literacy materials for teaching people to read and write in their own language or Bible materials used in the chronological bible teaching. There are people here who pick up the bush missionaries from the airport because most of them have to be flown in by small plane or helicopter and fix them meals when they are at the center for breaks/vacation or if they’re here to visit our doctor (who lives at another Center about 10 minutes away from the one we’re at now!) or get help with homeschooling, etc. There are also some empty houses that house church planters who haven’t moved in to a tribe yet live in, like us! Here is a picture of the Center we live at from instagram and be sure to follow us on instagram for more photos.
The center is stunningly gorgeous surrounded by rain trees, banana, guava, and avocado trees. And we love our fellow missionary neighbors as well as the village is just a 2 minute walk away where we can meet and hang out with our PNG citizen friends! The weather is also quite nice–we are on the equator but about 5,000 feet elevation. So during the day is can get warm up to 80 degrees or so but as soon as the sun sets at 6:30pm, it gets chilly like 60’s or sometimes 50’s in dry season. We are currently in rainy season so it rains almost every afternoon and/or evening which we really like.
So we are staying here temporarily until we have a team and a location to move into. This is a complicated and sometimes long process. We don’t yet have enough information to share with you all about where or with who we will be working with but as soon as we know for sure we will let you all know!
So right now, we are finishing up our pidgin study (the trade language of PNG). We do this by going to the house of our language helpers, Jacob and Jenny, to practice our story telling, etc. Our (hopefully) last evaluation to make sure we are high enough in our language abilities is scheduled for Monday, March 7th. As many of you know, Sean is currently recovering from dengue fever and so as long as he is strong enough on Monday, we will continue as planned with the evaluation. Once this is complete, we will begin making plans for to go to “bush orientation” which is where our whole family will live in a tribe for 6-8 weeks with another 1-2 missionary families who have already lived there a while so we can get that experience. When that is done, we should know more about where our family will personally be serving. Please pray with us about that!
Blessings of the Center:
-Having a nice place to stay surrounded by great people while we wait. It is a small community to fellowship with! For example, last Friday night we had a center-wide fish fry where we met for food and fellowship and our boys loved playing outside past bedtime.
-Being able to communicate and make friends with PNG people in nearby villages.
-The scenery is so breathtaking and we get to see it everyday!
-Most PNG people (Even the ones close to towns) eat almost exclusively from their gardens! This also provides us an abundance of fresh, delicious produce we can buy from them such as cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, several kinds of greens, tomatoes, strawberries, pineapples, corn, oranges, lemons, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocado, and more!
-The New Tribes “support center” is only 10 minutes drive away (and we can rent a vehicle to drive there). It also has a school where kids of the support workers go and also has a homeschooling consultant/resource room, a clinic with doctors/nurses, our pilot families, a grocery store with a few things from the U.S., and a gazillion small kids! Since about 200 people live there, they have events sometimes such as “skate night” which is where the kids all bring their bikes/trikes to the gym and ride around like a skating rink and they sell food such as hamburgers, fries, and ice cream!!
Challenges of the Center:
-The boys haven’t picked up much of the national language yet since everyone on the center speaks English, so they are sometimes frustrated they can’t speak to PNG kids. We’re working on this! And once we live out in a tribe there won’t be as much English 😉
-We are still in “transition mode” and don’t know how long we’ll be staying here at the center, we know it’s not “home.” This is also hard for our boys.
-Bush missionary families are constantly coming and going from the center, so one day our boys may have some English speaking kids to play with and a few days later, they are gone again, making them very sad and wishing for more friends. ): The other missionary families who live here currently are empty nesters or have high school aged kids, which is great except our kids are limited to playing with themselves. Ha!
-Women driving here is somewhat of a safety issue and so Jinny is limited to hanging out with the kids at the center if Sean is working on something.
I hope this makes sense and helps you to understand our situation more! Please ask any more questions in the comments or by email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to answer them on the blog!