A year ago we were saying our last goodbyes and stepping onto a plane into the unknown. Since that day we have experienced, endured, loved, been loved and expanded our understanding of God, some of His people, and parts of His world.
This past year:
· *We spent a few days of restful vacation in Fiji after the whirlwind of leaving America and before we started the adventure that has been our life in Papua New Guinea thus far.
· *Landed in Papua New Guinea, the land of the unexpected, and began to unpack and settle into our roles.
· We were asked to delay our POC (Pacific Orientation Course) training from August when we expected to participate, to the next course in January because of the Auto Shop’s great need for Evan.
· *Evan went on two vehicle rescues, spent a week of late nights repairing a bridge, flew out to the Western Provence to repair an airstrip lawn mower and repaired many items that only he had the skill to repair (as the only welder in the shop) in the first month. In short our family experienced first-hand how vital our role is here.
· *Experienced giardiasis for the first time (Liz)
· *We had to readjust expectations for what could be reasonably accomplished in a day when we are reliant on solar clothes drying, solar water heating, and we must bleach all produce, make many of our foods from scratch (including bread and yogurt)
· * We had the fact reiterated that drinkable water is precious (especially when your only source is a tank collecting rainwater off the roof).
· *We had to readjust our planning strategies as we learned that stores (even in town – which we have to hitch a ride to as we have no car of our own) are closed on weekends and holidays (including the Queen’s Birthday and 14 days at Christmastime(our store only for the latter of these))
· *Learned to cook things we still only know as Kumu (greens) and other things we still don’t the name of.
· *We made friends with people from all over the world
· * Evan participated in a weekly Bible Study in one of the neighboring villages
· *Liz began work at the Secondary school library
· *We moved again as we purchased a house that now Liam (and the rest of us too) refers to as his home.
· *We had our first Thanksgiving away from our family with friends who have become our second family
· *We had our first Christmas via Skype
· * We learned a second language – Melanesian pidgin (tok pisin) (still a work in progress)
· *Spent 14 weeks at POC (5 of which we spent in a village) learning to expand our understandings and our limits.
· * Evan returned as a son after 9 years to his host family in Bagame village where Liz and the boys were welcomed as family as well.
· *We’ve flown in small aircraft and ridden in PMV’s (Public Motor Vehicles) that sometimes are just the back of a pickup truck
· *Swam 1 mile (Evan) and ½ mile (Liz) in the ocean
· *Danced with a cockatoo
· *Walked a piglet (Liam and Julien)
· *Washed clothes and dishes in a river
· *Liz carried firewood on her head
· *Liz danced at a sing-sing (traditional celebration)
· *Julien experienced malaria, ear infections, giardiasis, severe eye allergies, and pneumonia and nearly being medivaced all while at our training in Madang.
· *Liz contracted Dengue fever
· *Liam became potty-trained in the village
· *We returned back to Ukarumpa and back to our home where the boys continue to thrive
· *We have enjoyed eating different foods (crocodile, fish eyeballs (well, not all of us enjoyed that one), squid, rambutans, cocoa beans straight from the tree, and cooking bananas to name a few)
· *And so many other things that we can’t list them all…it’s been quite the ride and we are still going!
Things we are looking forward to this year:
* Liam starting preschool
*Liz possibly beginning some part-time work with the literacy department
*Evan training a new welding intern
*Welcoming two new members to the autoshop team (including another welder named Evan!)
*Liz's parents hopefully coming for a visit next May