We have a house. It’s sitting in the middle of a village on a tiny island in the south pacific. From this house we will live and minister to the upwards of 20,000 Tigak people of Papua New Guinea with the hope of helping them discover who Christ is and what He has done for them! That is why we are there.
As you can probably imagine, living in a remote island location can be complicated. It’s complicated if you have the right set up, and even MORE complicated when you don’t! Up until now we have struggled with some things about our house and solar system -primarily because they are old- and that has made our living situation a bit harder than it would be under other circumstances.
We have been seeking the Lord to know what we should do about the needs we have with our house in the village. Even though we still don’t know for sure what we will be doing in the long term about our living situation, we have recently had a few answers to prayer regarding our house that we wanted to tell you about!
The first answer the prayer involving our house came at the beginning of the summer. When a group of our fellow missionaries and a work team from the U.S. came to work on our partner Aimee’s house, they were able to do some work on our house as well! At that time our friends Kim Walden and Steven Thompson -alongwith others we have never met- were able to convert our shed into an office for Tom and make some changes to our kitchen so we could have a pantry. That was the beginning of the changes that we needed and we are so thankful to those who made them happen!
Fast forward to this month and we had more prayers answered. We have been able to purchase a used solar electric system from a missionary family that has left Papua New Guinea. The family selling us the system gave us a very good deal on it and we are very hopeful that once installed on our house, it will make a great improvement to our power needs. Most likely we will still need to purchase several batteries (new) and possible a few random pieces for the system. For now though, we are feeling very thankful for the great start the Lord has provided for us to have our solar power needs dealt with! Also, we were given a gift by our sending church that “just happened” to cover the exact cost of the system! God has had it all under control even when we didn’t know; He is so good! But that’s only our first praise…
Secondly, about a week ago a few men were able to travel out to our island to make some short-term changes to our house. The Weatherl’s are a missionary family serving in the islands region of PNG just like us. We have gotten to know them since beginning our ministry in PNG. They are a wonderful family and we appreciate them so much! Aaron Weatherl was actually the one who oversaw our language and culture studies when we first arrived in the country and he did a GREAT job at it! He has been a huge blessing to us. So we asked Aaron if he and his son Micah would be willing to help us out with some projects on our house while we were away. (Aaron has a lot of the skills we needed for the adjustments to our house). They agreed and flew out to our island and worked very hard to fix a few things we really wanted changed before our return.
Our house had one ceiling fan and only a few outlets. Call me a wimp but one fan when it is 110 degrees in your house does not cut it! 😀 Aaron and Micah were able to add more outlets and some fans! We also had very short walls in the house which practically caused some problems with sound traveling and light going right over the walls when we wanted any room to stay dark at night but wanted to use a light in the main area of the house. This especially affected our sleeping Jude! Now, the walls are much higher and will make a difference I am sure. Our ceiling was in need of some TLC, too. It was covered in something called “sizelation paper” which is a thick tin foil looking stuff that works as a heat barrier between the tin roof and our house. Because of how old it was, parts of it were beginning to fall down in many areas and Tom had had to duck tape it back up and even staple plastic sheets up over it in places. Now Aaron and Micah have covered our open ceiling with thin plywood which should lengthen the life of the sizelation paper as well as give us a little more of a heat barrier from the tin roof that the blazing tropical sun beats down on all day! Also, my favorite part about the plywood ceiling is that I will not feel like we live in the belly of a robot any more! Yippy! 😀
Another change made was fixing our toilet which had a horrible leak making the bathroom smell like urine ALL THE TIME no matter how much I cleaned! Now the base of our toilet is not wrapped in duck tape… at least I hope. 😛 Also, they made a gate for the top of the stairs on our porch. I am particularly excited about this because when village dogs keep coming up on your porch and stealing flip flops, ripping open trash bags, killing small injured tropical birds you are trying to nurse back to health and causing all kinds of problems it gets OLD! Hopefully this gate keeps dogs OFF our porch!
All these changes are a great improvement to our living situation and a huge encouragement to us when we think of going back. We are hopeful these improvements will make things a bit easier than they have been. We are very grateful to Aaron, Micah and the several Tigak men who helped do all the labor on our house. Also, our wonderful partners Linn Beall and Aimee Hedrick made sure to feed the guys and make sure they had what they needed while they were out there. We are so thankful to everyone involved!
Another praise we have is for our partner Aimee. The construction of Aimee’s house was recently completed and she has been able to move in! It has been a huge project and a stressful thing for her to go through and she has finally been able to start taking it easy a bit and rest! We are so happy for her. Of course her house being completed helps us all because now we all don’t have to live in the same house! Not ideal. 😛
Though we are so happy for these short term solutions to our house, we are still seeking the Lord for what to do about our home long term. We do not know what we will do in the future about the rotting posts on our house and the fact that we need a bit more room down the road (there are only two bedrooms) but we have time to pray and see what the Lord provides for. Please continue to pray that we would have the wisdom to know if a rebuild or an extensive renovation is what we should do. To stay up to date or the learn more about this, check out our PROJECT:HAUS page! Thank you all for your prayers about our house and please continue pray!
*Sorry for the low quality of some of the pictures, they were e-mailed to us from the village so they had to be compressed very small. I’m just glad we have any pictures at all! Pixelated or not, thanks Aimee! 🙂
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Tom and Beth,
Praise the Lord! When we were at goodwill the other day looking for school clothes bargains, Anna came running up to me and said, “Mom, I found a fan for the Carlton’s!” She had heard me talking about how you guys just wanted some simple things that we take for granted! It was so sweet it brought tears to my eyes! It is so awesome to see how the Lord is providing! Love, michelle