We have finished surveys and have found a tribe!
What needs to get done before we can move in and learn the language and preach the gospel?
Our next stage consists of building two houses. Now, it may sound easy to you to build two houses in a helicopter-access only location in the jungles of Papua New Guinea…but it is actually quite complicated.
This blog post is both to update everyone on what’s going on here, but also…to solicit prayer. Many things have to work together in order for this to work out. We are going to be away from our families much this summer, but Lord willing by the end of it, we will be able to move in to this tribe and start learning their language, so we can bring the gospel to them in their mother tongue!
Here is a break down of the tasks we will be working on and some details behind them.
Unload the Shipping Container
Before we left for Papua New Guinea, we gathered all the supplies we would need, staged them at our church building, and then after we left many from our church got together and loaded everything up into a 40’ shipping container. These supplies included things like beds, dishes, roofing, solar panels, batteries, piping, wiring, bathtubs, sinks, cabinets, homeschool supplies, and tools for building the houses. Basically, nearly all of what we need to move forward is in this container. The container has been in Papua New Guinea since February, but it has been stuck in Lae and has racked up quite a few customs and storage fees that we were not expecting. But now, praise God, it’s in Madang, and we should be unloading it on Monday! Once it gets here, we can start charging the solar batteries and get the tools we need to move to the next task.
Take One Final Survey to the Tribe
Hopefully, this will take place Thursday or Friday of next week. We will once again take a dingy to Biliau, hike into Malarero, and probably arrive the next day. Once there, we need to find out exactly where the houses will be built, work out the details with where things can be dropped off, and even stored for house building and see if the tribe can help at all with gathering any supplies, like the 100s of pounds of small rocks we will need for mixing concrete for setting posts.
Purchase Remaining House Building Items
Though much is in our shipping container, there are still some things we need to buy here in town( the wood, some brackets, etc.) We have already purchased ovens for the houses, but window glass, window frames, etc. still need to be purchased, among other things.
Ship Housebuilding Items to the Tribe
This one is complicated. We have to ship everything to the nearest beach to the tribe (Biliau) and then shuttle them into the tribe via helicopter in what will amount to upwards of 75 trips. A week ago, we weren’t really sure how this was going to work. Namely, we didn’t have a way to ship them by boat—we didn’t even know of a boat that could ship things. But last week, we found a boat that can move about 45,000 tons at a time to the beach at Biliau! But, even after finding a boat, it’s still a little complicated. It’s going to take several trips to move everything into the tribe. We will need to load everything onto the boat for each trip. The boat will then need to move everything to the beach, where we will unload everything. Then we need to coordinate with the helicopter to come and move everything into the tribe. The chopper, however, can only move 400kg at a time, so quite a few trips will be made! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate. Hopefully, there will be a place on the beach to store everything. Hopefully, people will be willing to help load and unload. Hopefully, there will be room in the tribe to drop all the supplies off!
Build the Houses Up Through the Floor
Once we have the supplies we need for building the houses up through the floor transported to the tribe, Zach, Jeremy and I will stay in the tribe and do just that for a few weeks. This means we’ll be digging post holes, mixing concrete, setting the posts in the concrete, drilling holes in the wood to attaches frames, and setting tongue and groove wood on top of the posts! Right now we have two weeks slotted for this part of the building and five days for the transportation of the building materials part…but maybe we’ll get further along in the building? Or maybe we won’t get as far? Please pray we will get as far as we can! Really, the longer it takes, the more time we will be away from our families, so we will be working to finish the houses as soon as we can!
Welcome a Building Crew from Our Church to PNG
After Lord willing getting through the tongue and groove flooring, we will come back to Madang…probably take a few days off…and then start all over again. We will gather the remaining materials for building up through the roof, as well as the plumbing and the electrical, and then ship them back to the beach in Biliau, where a helicopter will again meet us to move everything in. But this time, hopefully, on one of the last helicopter trips into the bush to bring the supplies from the beach to the tribe, we will also be transporting several guys from our church who will be coming in to help us build. They will stay for about a week in the tribe with us and help us get as far as we can. (This should be a sweet time)
Finish Building Our Houses
It’s really unclear how far we will be after we complete the items listed above. But we are pretty sure there will be quite a bit left to do. Whatever is left to be done, Zach, Jeremy and I (and anyone else wants to come out and help!) will head back into the tribe to finish building.
Move Our Families Into the Tribe
Once the houses are complete, we will pack up our families, bring enough food and supplies to stay in the tribe for 6 to 8 weeks, and move our families into Maleroro.
Hopefully at this point you feel the need as I do to pray. Pray that remaining building supplies can be found and purchased on time, that boats can run on time, and helicopters will be available for transporting materials, and weather will be cooperative. And pray for wisdom for all of us as we think through these things.
The good news is that God is in control of boats, helicopters, weather and everything. He has worked so much out for us to get this far, and we trust Him to work the rest out…even if it doesn’t look perfectly according to our plans.