A Tonsillectomy, a Trip, and Reverse Culture Shock

Sometimes when you get back to your homeland after being gone for a while, it takes some time to adjust…coming back to the States in September was one such time for us, so apologies on not posting and thank you for understanding!It has both felt like we’ve been home for far longer than two months and like we’ve been here for no time at all. Here is a bit of what we’ve been doing since landing on US soil:— Re-adjusting to being back in the U.S.: we’ve definitely had some re-adjusting to do as both we and our kids remember how life goes in America. Some examples: Our kids washing their hands in the drinking fountain because, you know, they had forgotten what it was for. Thankfully, this happened at church so I feel like most people understood. 🙂 Being around people who speak our language all. the. time. This point has been especially appreciated by our kids, who have not quite gotten the hang of either language we began to speak in PNG. In fact, my absolute highlight of my first three days in the U.S. was watching how easy it was for my kids to see old friends and make new ones because there was no language barrier–something that had begun to be a bit of a struggle right before we left the village. Although, we do still get confused from time to time. Doing things at night! Oh, how my heart leaps at the freedom here to have the lights on in the house at night and not be inundated with flying insects! We can talk! Make...

Coming Home

Over the past two years, there have been many tough decisions we have had to make.The decision to actually leave the US to come here.The decision of out of all the tribes in PNG in the Finisterre Mountains which five we should survey.The decision of those five tribes, into which one we should move.And then thousands of smaller, important decisions regarding our time, our family, our finances, this new culture we live in the tribe…the list goes on.But the decision we made in the last few days was one of the hardest we have had to make for several reasons:-it involves our children’s health-it is based largely on probabilities and possibilities, what could be and what might never happen-it forces us to interrupt our ministry at a less-than-ideal timeAs some of you may know, two of our kids have been struggling through multiple occurrences of strep throat recently. Susanna, our oldest, had it the most severe, with the last bout lasting through three weeks and two rounds of antibiotics and culminating in fevers that remained around 104 degrees for six days. Onesmius, our six-year-old, also has had strep, but the last time he got it was just six weeks from the previous time.Without being able to be properly diagnosed, the ENT we’ve been consulting with stateside has said that their symptoms point to being strep carriers and the only real remedy a tonsillectomy. Basically, there is a good chance that the strep will continue to come back, possibly putting Susanna through high fevers again (and the dangers associated therein) with no medical assistance nearby, or at the very least, continuing to...

The Faces of Our Village

A place has many faces. Its people, its landmarks, its way.If this post were about my native Phoenix, I could show you the five-lane freeways during rush hour or the swollen Saguaro cacti after a particularly fruitful summer monsoon in the desert just 15 minutes from our house.I could show you the effervescent pinks, fluorescent oranges, and deepening reds of an Arizona sunset or the massive, creeping walls of an approaching dust storm. I could flash pictures of the baristas at the local Starbucks or the friendly greeters at a nearby Walmart; hundreds of students traversing ASU on a school day or my sweet family around the table at Thanksgiving–the list goes on.But this post is not about Phoenix. It’s about my new home, my new place!As most of you know, we live in a remote village in the rugged mountains of Papua New Guinea called Mawarero.To introduce you to this place, I could show you how the cold sheets of wispy cloud pass right through our house most afternoons or how, on clear nights, millions of stars glitter and twinkle and prick every inch of sky, giving several hundred people on a remote mountainside the planetarium show of their life.I could show you how, after a couple days of nonstop rain, you can see dozens of new waterfalls streaming from the mountains if you turn in a 180 degree circle. I could show you the market on market day, with the reds and whites and browns of their varied sweet potatoes, the differing hues of green of their, well, greens, and the flashing yellow of their bananas.But none of those things would tell you about this place as...

Living…Where Resources Are Finite

One of the bigger adjustments that came with moving to Papua New Guinea from the US was learning to live somewhere where our resources were limited.For thirty years, my knowledge of running a household did not include contingency plans for things like running out of water. Our resources were seemingly infinite with the electricity, water, and gas all supplied by various companies, limited only by how much we wanted to spend every month.Elsewhere in the world, take PNG for example, life does not function that way.In Madang, we had two resources that were more or less limited: water and propane. For all of our water needs (drinking, dishes, showers, etc.), we had water tanks that we shared with our co-workers, the Canns, that God would graciously fill from time to time with rain. And for all of our propane needs (cooking on our gas ovens and stoves, heating water for showers, etc.), we used good ole’ propane tanks–items that, before coming here, I had been pretty terrified of and only associated with our BBQ grill which we used maybe once a week.But in the city of Madang, there were contingency plans that the town’s infrastructure already had in place should those resources run out that looked much like our every day life in the US.Electricity was solely supplied by the city and we just pre-paid for a certain number of units and kept an eye when it was getting close to running out. When we ran out of water in our tanks (which we definitely did during last year’s drought as God saw fit for it not to rain for two...

A Cooking Class in Mawarero

I went to a cooking class today. What’s that, you say? A cooking class in a tribe in the remote mountains of Papua New Guinea? Yes.My language teacher has been talking to me about teaching me how to cook like a tribal Papua New Guinean and today was that day.After market, I strolled on over to her house (and by ‘strolled’, I mean hiked, because, let’s be honest, that’s really more what it is and by ‘house’, I mean her area, a flattish piece of ground with several huts on it).She took me to a small one in the back and told me to hang out and rest while she got everything. So I climbed up into the hut and waited.Then she came in, followed by a bunch of other people and kids who either sat in the small hut with us or looked in through the doorway and/or windows. She spread out a tarp-ish looking bag on the floor and brought in a bowl filled with sweet potatoes, cabbage, green onions, and other greens.Then she grabbed a vegetable peeler and began peeling some massive sweet potatoes, dropping their peels onto the bag on the floor. After all the sweet potatoes had been peeled she cut them up and put them in a bowl, pouring water on them.Moving onto the cabbage and greens, she cut them up and put them in another bowl.All the while, she’s telling me how if I eat like this, with all these sweet potatoes and greens, I’ll get fat (which is a good thing here!) and then my mom will see how fat I’ve...
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