Yes, I know we are way behind!!! Without internet in the village, we have found it challenging to keep this website updated! As with everything else here in PNG, timelines don’t mean much. And so we continue to wait for Starlink to launch here in PNG. According to their website, they are going live in PNG sometime during the 3rd quarter of this year . . . so that means anytime right? Maybe . . . Anyhow, I am putting all the recent newsletters up here and hopefully I’ll be able to continue to do so as we go along. The following is the newsletter for April, 2024.

We have finally had a week of dry weather after the rains brought the water up to the ground level and a tiny bit more.  The road out to Vanimo has been impassible until this week and we have been praying for a break so the health team could make it out on schedule.  Yesterday we drove out and though we almost got stuck in the first 100 feet or so, the road got better as we went along and we made it to town in good time.

In my opinion the most exciting news for this time is the growth of our newly started Sabbath School for the kids.  Our first Sabbath there were 9 children and on March 30 we had 47 children attending!  We are starting to hear them sing in church as well.  What a difference it makes to have active children in the audience!  Total attendance was 82 so more than half were children.  Sometimes I see the parents of some of these children even giving offerings for them to give, even though they themselves are not yet attending.  I believe it is only a matter of time and many of these non member’s children will be bringing their parents to church!

The health team that were supposed to come out this Monday were delayed due to inability to get the funds they needed.  And this was due to power outages and they were due to who knows what… lol.  So Corrie and I made the trip to town to get fuel, gas for the stove, and other needed items.  Our plan is to come out with the health team in our larger truck and leave the Landcruiser for some much needed maintenance work.  (Brakes!)

In the mean time the village has been preparing for their arrival by building a canvas covered shelter for their clinic and meetings.  During the 2 weeks the health team, led by Julianne Pomat, are with us, in addition to the work they will do in Tipas, we will be taking them down for a short visit to May River and also over to Ama.  There is such a terrific need for health work and education in this area.  My next newsletter should be mostly about this 2 week program and how it was received.  Many of the team are part of a Seventh-day Adventist association of health workers that like to go out on these visits and they plan to include a spiritual talk each evening in addition to their health education talks.  They have asked Pastor Peter Oli to do the evening worships.  Please lift us up in your prayers.  When this newsletter is printed out for the Stateline Church this Sabbath, we will already be in the middle of our two week program.

Last Sabbath Pastor Oli led out in the afternoon as our little company church began the process of organizing.  In the 20 plus years, the church has mainly been led by David Tapi and it was past time to spread out the leadership and get more members involved.  The core group of leaders, (treasurer, clerk and leading elder) were chosen and then work was done to choose deacons, deaconesses, and other essential leaders.  It went very well and we are excited to see this progress.

Even with no clinic in the village and very limited supplies, the people still come to our home to see if they can get help for various issues.  Basically Corrie only has malaria test kits and medicine but she does have a few doses of antibiotics we were given as a standby for our own family if needed.  This last week a small boy had a run in with a pig and ended up with a nasty slash about 4 inches long that lay open about an inch wide exposing the muscle layer.  Corrie did her best to get this started on the road to healing.  At least it was a clean looking wound so after washing it she applied charcoal poultice and started him on antibiotics.  Elana and Ruth are changing the poultice daily while Corrie and I are out in Vanimo. 

The work on our house is coming along and we have hopes of getting it closed in soon.  It will take some time to get the electric and plumbing as well as cabinetry another interior work done but it is progressing nicely.

Getting gravel

One of the interesting tasks is getting gravel for the cement we need for under the water tanks and for pads where our stairs come down to ground level.  The gravel that was brought by dump truck and left nearly a mile from our house has been brought over in small amounts over time but it is getting more and more difficult to get any more from that pile because the road has overgrown and has been too muddy during this rainy time.  So we decided to go get some from a neighboring village on the other side of the Sepik River.  This requires going a 5 or 6 mile journey by boat and up a small river until you start to feel the propellor touching bottom.  Then the boys jump out and pull the boat up until you get to a gravel bar.  We then load the boat with as much as it can carry and begin the journey back.  With the water right at ground level, we were easily able to just shovel the gravel and sand right onto the bank just a short distance from the house.  It was much easier than hauling by bucket loads on the little scooter.  Especially since it was something the village boys could get excited about doing.  We gave some rice and David’s wife cooked up a meal of fish and rice for all of our helpers.  We made three trips and it made a nice little pile of gravel that I hope will be enough to get most of our needed concrete done.

On the inside, I have been working on covering the interior wall studs.  Some of them get 1×6 siding where I need strong bracing to firm up the house, and some get 1/4 inch plywood.  I was able to get a shipment of 100 sheets of plywood through the logging company as they have a plywood mill down river and they gave me wholesale prices.  They put my order on one of their tug boats and sent it up to the log point that is 8 miles from the village.  From their a friend of mine took my boat and had the captain put it directly in my boat from the ship and bring it to the house site.

  Next I will be putting in another 750 screws or so to the exterior siding and then getting all the screening applied.  I will then work with caulking and expanding foam to fill all gaps where those pesky ants and other bugs like to gain entrance.  Then there are all the doors I need to make.  These are made with a lumber frame and 1/4 inch plywood skins. 

My favorite room in the house is going to be that office downstairs.  I have a 12 foot wide, 6 foot high screened wall out onto a veranda with 8 feet of roofing to shade the window.  This window is just above the desk height and I plan to sit at that desk while I ask God to give me inspiration for writing the booklets that we plan to print and share in Tok Pisin language.  The commanding view out the window is stunning tropical greenery and a beautiful lake with one little bush house belonging to the neighbors.  I can’t think of a better place to sit and write with the fresh breezes coming in and the tropical birds singing in the bush. Our hearts are full of thanksgiving and praise for all He is doing in Namia land.  I keep hearing of other villages wanting to see an SDA church established in their village.  The harvest is ready and we have great need for laborers.  I am hoping to see volunteer missionaries from among the PNG people to go to these areas that are ready for the harvest.  I had a man meet me in the market place today in Vanimo and he asked me if our church held Bible classes so he could learn more.  I gave him the name of several friends here that I am sure would love to give him Bible studies.  I also told him we have Bible class every Sabbath in church.    

Keep those prayers ascending!