Earthquakes, Landslides, and a Falling Tree Branch

 We knew that living in the mountains of Papua New Guinea would be different from living in the town of Madang. But there is a point where, having lived in Madang for the last year, I began to think that on a large scale—a seismic one, perhaps—I had seen what there was to see about living in Papua New Guinea.I was wrong. In three–ahem–groundbreaking ways.Nature Experience #1: the earthquakes. Now maybe the fact that our house here is built on stilts has something to do with it, but while we felt one definite earthquake over our entire year in Madang, we have felt several in just the first few weeks of living in the tribe.Now that I have gotten somewhat used to what an earthquake feels like (coming from Arizona, my previous experience with earthquakes was, well, nil), it has been a sweet thought that it is God who shakes these mountains! They do not shake of their own accord, by chance or whim, but are rather shaken the One who made them.But that has not been the only event of nature that we have been privy to up here.Nature Experience #2 among these inaugural happenings? Landslides.We haven’t actually seen a landslide, but we have heard two.Have you ever heard a landslide? It sounds pretty much as you might expect it to sound, rocks tumbling and crashing and echoing down a mountain. It’s actually kind of a crazy sound. We’ve heard them only at night thus far and woken up to see the evidence of them on the surrounding mountains in the morning (see the picture above).Now, has the nervous thought ever flitted through my...
Hello from the Tribe!

Hello from the Tribe!

We last posted on our blog eleven weeks ago.Have you wondered where we’ve been? What we’ve been doing? Why we haven’t written?Here is a brief breakdown of what has been going on!We spent the rest of February packing everything we own and, by God’s grace, on February 25th, we officially moved into the village of Mawarero! After years and years of training with our home church, God brought us–one by one–people and churches who wanted to see the gospel go to the mountains of Papua New Guinea through us and, in November of 2014, we arrived in the town of Madang, PNG.Months were spent acclimating to this new environment, language, and culture. Then we were ready to begin the search for a remote tribe in the mountains that might want us to live among them. Months of surveys followed. We traveled by land, sea, and helicopter, fueled by prayer and support from back home, looking for a remote tribe in the mountains that might want us to live among them for the purpose of one day preaching the good news of Jesus Christ in their language!God answered the many prayers that were prayed when we found the tribe of Mawarero in the Finisterre Mountains.This monumental decision of where to go made, we spent the next eight months building two houses on this remote mountain ridge.We did not do it alone.We were accompanied by dozens of dedicated friends from the US who flew out to help us build, as well as multiple church bodies who walked with us and cared for us month after month and hundreds of individuals and families who prayed for us and gave...

Help Wanted

         Since we decided to go and take the gospel to the nation of Papua New Guinea, our journey has been a bit like the waves of the ocean, sometimes rolling with the current from task to task as we make progress, sometimes cresting into a wave when whatever we’ve been building toward nears completion.We are at one of those cresting points now. A year and a month after our arrival here in PNG, we are finally ready to move into the village of Mawarero in the mountains of Papua New Guinea!  Being in town for the past year, we have learned the trade language of this country, established our organization here, found a tribe to move into, and built two houses within that tribe. The houses are not yet finished and more supplies will need to be purchased and flown in later on, but there is enough done in both houses for us to move in.Every step forward here has felt hard-won and precious, as most have been met with obstacles of one kind or another. And as we approach this next big step, we find ourselves facing obstacles once again.So, we’re hanging our Help Wanted sign here on our blog.One of the sweetest things we hear being here is when people back home ask us what they can do to help us. What a sweet thing to be asked! Sometimes, the answer is to pray because only God can fix the problems we’re facing. Sometimes, the answer is to send some much-needed supplies in a package. And sometimes the answer is to give for any who are able. That is what...

The Day that Changed My Life

          Eleven years ago, I fell off a cliff.Literally.Because that day had been impacting our lives ever since and will continue to do so for as long as we’re alive, we thought it might be a good idea to share this part of our lives to give you a glimpse of a specific challenge we face here every day.The story goes like this:August 6, 2005, Matt and I were newlyweds, hiking in Payson, AZ with a large group of friends in Box Canyon. By nature, we’re both pretty enthusiastic people and at that time, we were all about taking everything we did to bigger and better levels of enthusiastic-ness. If you know us now or knew us during that time, you know what I’m talking about.As we were all trying to pick the best path down into the canyon, our friend Nate decided to just go straight down. As I watched him navigate the steep descent, I decided right then and there that he was going to get seriously hurt or die with that kind of foolishness.I can smile at that now.We broke off into different groups and soon it was Matt, our friend, Joel, and me meandering along the river at the bottom of the canyon, following wherever it went by alternatively hiking alongside it, swimming across pools of water, or jumping over small cliffs into the pools of water on the other side. We were having the best time and when the rain started to fall, it was just one more adventurous thing to love about the day.The river led into a waterfall, dropping over another cliff, about 25 feet down, into a...

The Four Hardest Parts of Last Year

In the last blog post, I recounted the 3 best parts of last year. I started with the good because, really, remembering the good lends me perspective on the bad.Life here in Papua New Guinea is unpredictable and while sometimes that can be a good thing, last year for most of the time that just meant difficulty. Lack of infrastructure, logistical hurdles, and unreliable weather contributed to many of the hardships of 2015, but the hardest parts for me were more emotional than logistical and more personal than professional. Here they are: Being Away from Fellowship –Hypothetically, I knew this was coming. We moved 8,000 miles away from everything in Arizona, our church included. On the list of ‘Things I’m Choosing to Leave Behind Spiritually’ were things like sermons every Sunday, small group every Thursday, and gospel-centered conversations with other believers frequently. Yet, being without these things was harder than I thought it would be. For a large chunk of last year, I fought the reality that reading the Bible in the morning was one of my only sources of spiritual encouragement. Yes, we came here with other believers who love the Lord—but we were all struggling to adapt and adjust to life here and seemed equally stretched. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much self-pity and discontentment I had invited to pull up chairs and sit down in my heart. Oh, the lies we can let creep in during times of difficulty! They promise to make you feel better, but they never do. But there is joy–real joy–in the truth found in the gospel. Namely, the truth that, first, I...
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