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 to this cause throughout this tiring season.

So it was that, in God’s perfect timing, a year and three months after arriving in the country, we were ready, once again and finally, to move into the tribe of Mawarero.

Also according to God’s sovereign plan, we were without a reliable Internet connection until just last week–so it is that today we bring you our first official blog post from the tribe!

Here is a summary in pictures of what we have been doing these past eight weeks–mostly, making our houses fully functional and getting settled here. Warning: there are quite a few!

One of Matt and I's last pictures before we left Madang.

One of Matt and I’s last pictures before we left Madang.

 

The kids and I on our way to the airport on moving day!

The kids and I on our way to the airport on moving day!

 

At the airport with our co-workers where we said goodbye!

At the airport with our co-workers where we said goodbye!

 

We flew to a field in a village called Saidor where we (the wives and our kids) waited for the helicopter.

We flew to a field in a village called Saidor where we (the wives and our kids) waited for the helicopter.

 

It came!

It came!

 

The wives and kids getting on the helicopter to fly to the village! (That would be us with Cassidy Cann, our co-worker, and her two boys)

The wives and kids getting on the helicopter to fly to the village! (That would be us with Cassidy Cann, our co-worker, and her two boys)

 

First day in Mawarero!

First day in Mawarero!

 

Our co-workers with us in Mawarero on Moving Day! (Zach, Cassidy, Jude, and Oliver)

Our co-workers with us in Mawarero on Moving Day! (Zach, Cassidy, Jude, and Oliver)

 

First few days in the house before any furniture was built. We ate wherever we could! :)

First few days in the house before any furniture was built. We ate wherever we could! :)

 

Again, first few days before beds were built.

Again, first few days before beds were built.

 

There was a lot of this at first. (Susanna, our oldest, and Onesimus, our 5 year old)

There was a lot of this at first. (Susanna, our oldest, and Onesimus, our 5 year old)

 

And this. (Onesimus, our 5 year old)

And this. (Onesimus, our 5 year old)

 

In the beginning, the village kids were either afraid of our kids or very shy. Either way, they would just be spectators when our kids would go out to play.

In the beginning, the village kids were either afraid of our kids or very shy. Either way, they would just be spectators when our kids would go out to play.

 

We worked on the house. Matt and Zach did most of the heavy stuff, like sanding and sealing our floors.

We worked on the house. Matt and Zach did most of the heavy stuff, like sanding and sealing our floors.

 

When there were people around, I would try to get a few words in Ndo written down.

When there were people around, I would try to get a few words in Ndo written down.

 

Our house was still heavy on boxes and bins and light on furniture.

Our house was still heavy on boxes and bins and light on furniture.

 

For the first six weeks, we had no working sink in the kitchen, but we did have one in the laundry room! Which made the dishes...difficult.

For the first six weeks, we had no working sink in the kitchen, but we did have one in the laundry room! Which made the dishes…difficult.

 

Cass and I learned how to go to the market on Saturday mornings.

Cass and I learned how to go to the market on Saturday mornings.

 

A lady carrying some greens to sell at market!

A lady carrying some greens to sell at market!

 

The men tried to get the satellite working. And then they tried again...and again...and again.

The men tried to get the satellite working. And then they tried again…and again…and again.

 

We made friends! Two of the ladies here are our neighbors! The one in the middle was visiting from a nearby village.

We made friends! Two of the ladies here are our neighbors! The one in the middle was visiting from a nearby village.

 

 

Zach and Matt installed the Canns' solar water heater, amongst a myriad of other household projects.

Zach and Matt installed the Canns’ solar water heater, amongst a myriad of other household projects.

Have I mentioned the spiders? Do you see up in the rafters? These guys are big and hard to kill. We are still waging this war with these guys.

Have I mentioned the spiders? Do you see up in the rafters? These guys are big and hard to kill. We are still waging this war with these guys.

Someone gave us a cat. It took us almost eight weeks to commit to keeping her, but she earns her keep. Her name is Hawaii.

Someone gave us a cat. It took us almost eight weeks to commit to keeping her, but she earns her keep. Her name is Hawaii.

 

We hung out with the people and began to learn names to put with faces.

We hung out with the people and began to learn names to put with faces.

 

Matt takes the kids on hikes about once a week, mostly to the waterfalls around our village. (left to right: Mary, Onesimus, and Benaiah)

Matt takes the kids on hikes about once a week, mostly to the waterfalls around our village. (left to right: Mary, Onesimus, and Benaiah)

 

 

A lady from our village

A lady from our village

 

As we got our house somewhat cleaned up and put together, we began officially learning language! Last week was Week 1! This is Matt, with his language teacher David.

As we got our house somewhat cleaned up and put together, we began officially learning language! Last week was Week 1! This is Matt, with his language teacher David.

 

The rest of us started as well!

The rest of us started as well!

 

One day, Matt and Zach attempted to play Frisbee out on the grass. Guess what happened after about 10 minutes of playing? That's right. The Frisbee flew off the mountain. Someone retrieved it and brought it to us...three days later.

One day, Matt and Zach attempted to play Frisbee out on the grass. Guess what happened after about 10 minutes of playing? That’s right. The Frisbee flew off the mountain. Someone retrieved it and brought it to us…three days later.

We're still learning the names and faces of the souls on this mountain

We’re still learning the names and faces of the souls on this mountain…

 

But it is our home now...

It is our home now…

 

And we are glad to be here for the sake of the gospel!

And we are glad to be here for the sake of the gospel!

 

So that one day, we might declare the good news that changed our hearts...

So that one day, we might declare the good news that changed our hearts…

 

to this part of the ends of the earth!

…to this part of the ends of the earth!

 

P.S. Now when are kids go out to play, this is what is looks like. Tag is the preferred game of choice.

P.S. Now when are kids go out to play, this is what is looks like. Tag is the preferred game of choice.

Clearly we did not get to this point alone.

As missionaries, we feel few things more keenly than our dependence; first, on the God who made us, saved us, and brought us this far and then on the many people whom He moved to do just that through their own giving and prayers and love! Thank you to those who love and care for us over here and being a part of what we’re doing in Papua New Guinea!

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Thank you for the update. We are so very thankful for you and the work the Lord has prepared you for (and for you to do) among his precious Ndo people.

    • We’re thankful for you and Dena, Brian, and all the ways you guys have been a part of this with us. We miss you guys!

  2. WOW – love all the pictures – thank you! Gives us a little glimpse of your new live in PNG. We’re anxious to know about how the natives there relate to and feel about you and your presence among them. You’ll probably be sharing that information soon as you spend more of your time with them. Love you guys and hold you up in prayer and blessing from the One who blesses us all.

    • Thank you for praying, Paul! We are blessed by you guys in so many ways! There is a lot we could say about how the people here feel about us (from what we can tell, at least) and relate to us…maybe enough for a whole blog post! And the more time we spend with them, the more there is to say so we will keep you posted. Thanks again, for being a part of this with us!

  3. What a wonderful picture report! Your children will never be the same…always loving people for who they are, not for the color of their skin, their station in life, their language or culture. The heritage you are giving them is rich beyond measure! We love your heart for the Lord and for the people. May you know the protection and blessing of heaven on you and your children!

    • Oh Yohana, you know these mountains better than we do! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words…we do hope that our kids are the better for our coming here and are praying to that end!

  4. Love this update! We pray for you all often. our friend, Josh Eicholtz flew you there! 🙂 He showed us a selfie of you all together! He was back in Kansas City briefly while in the US on furlough as his wife has a baby.

    • Hi Tracy!! Thank you for praying! I can’t believe you know one of our pilots…we live in such a small world. 🙂 We love you guys!

  5. So wonderful to hear about your first weeks in tribe. BCC is happy to be partnering with you! So excited to follow your journey.

    • We’re happy likewise to be partnering with BCC, Katrina!

  6. So awesome to read and see what is going on.

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