As most of you know our first task after arriving to PNG has been to learn the trade language and culture. This is part of our “orientation” to the field and has been our full time job since our arrival. Another part of this busy orientation process is something called “Bush Orientation.”
Bush Orientation involves us moving to a tribal location that has been reached with the gospel and has a church established. It typically lasts for a period of about six weeks. This time “living in the bush” is intended to give us a glimpse into what it takes to live and work in a remote village. We will look at things such as house building and maintenance, the ordering of supplies, becoming a part of the community, as well as many other invaluable bits of information.
Our leadership here in PNG has asked us and our friend/co-worker Aimee if we would be willing to move to a tribal location on a small island in one of PNG’s eastern provinces this January, among the the Tigak people group. Instead of staying for only six weeks, they requested that we live there until we officially finish our national language study. This will probably be about three months.
We, along with Aimee are very excited about this move and view it as an incredible opportunity.
It will be great for our language & culture study. It will be good for Tom to learn about what it takes to keep up a house in a village situation. It will be a great place for us to really start thinking about where the Lord wants us long term, and whether or not we will partner with Aimee. Another benefit is that the missionaries who currently live on the island are well respected by everyone we have met in the country. Even though we haven’t met them yet, we are excited for how the Lord will use their practical life & ministry insights to help equip us for our future as church planters. So we are excited.
At the same time, though, we realize that this move will come with it’s share of challenges.
One of these challenges will be our living situation. The co-workers of the missionaries who currently work on this island are no longer on the field so there is an empty house that we will be able to live in. But that’s just it- there is ONE house. 🙂 This means that our family and Aimee will be living together in this house. Now don’t get me wrong, we love Aimee to death and have a very good relationship with her- both as a teammate and a friend, but to be honest everyone enjoys having their own space! We are praying that we can live well together and find ways to respect each other’s privacy and so on.
Another big challenge/need we are facing is that of solar power. The house does not have a working solar system right now and we have not purchased anything like that yet to help out. Needless to say, living in an isolated location without power in our house for several months would be very challenging, so please pray that the Lord will work something out and provide for our need for electricity! (We are looking into several options that could possibly help)
The next six weeks will be very busy with continued preparation for our move, continued language and culture study and Christmas. Please pray that we will use our time wisely and that all the details will fall into place for this next important step to reaching people with the good news of grace! We would really appreciate your prayers!