Geckos on the ceiling, chicken poop on our mosquito net, spiders jumping across our skin, pigs squealing under the floorboards. How did we get here? Wanting to google the risks of eating undercooked marsupial, but we can't because we don't have internet. I guess we are eating the undercooked marsupial. How did we get here? Communal wailing and sobbing next door because an important man in the village has died. We are told that he was killed by sorcery, and that it is not safe to be out at night because you could meet a sorcerer. How did we get here? Sharing our testimonies and life stories in front of village churches and schools, entirely in the trade language. How did we get here?
Our time in the village was surreal, difficult, and amazing. We were treated with more hospitality than we had ever experienced. The hardest part was initially the culture shock and then, the heat. But when it wasn't too hot to function, we were kept really busy and had a lot of fun! Some of our favorite parts of village living:
- Every day was full of conversation, and topics were diverse - politics, drug laws, adoption, Osama bin Laden, Rambo. The men tried to teach Matt a card game; it was over his head, but they flipped out when they saw him do a "riffle shuffle."
- Some of the cultural things that were most interesting were learning about sago production out in the bush, and hearing Adzera (the local language) worship music playing in our village.
- Making new foods (fried rice, banana bread, spaghetti, hot chocolate) and it being a hit. We were asked to go to many other villages, some over an hour hike away, so that Emily could teach the women to make banana bread.
- We took our android tablet with us, and every night it was passed around the village so people could watch the "Jesus Film" and other Bible movies in Adzera.
- Playing with the kids, bathing in the river every day, chasing the chickens and pigs, petting the village dogs, and running around with his best friend Clive. He was also ecstatic to receive his own small bush knife as a parting gift - it's in storage for the time being!
We are settling back into life in Ukarumpa, but we also want to continue the relationships we started in the village. We were often told how sorry they were that we had to leave, and that we were welcome to come back to visit any time. The main thing on our hearts is that we want to better understand Papua New Guinean belief in sorcery ("sanguma," or black magic) because this was a huge deal in our village, and obviously a big source of fear for our friends. Please pray that God would give us the wisdom and sensitivity to speak to this issue.
Love from Matt, Emily, & Elijah
- Our village was great - we’re so thankful we were put in such a welcoming and warm community
- We were healthy (well, enough to function) while in the village
- A lot of situations just felt totally, 100% out of our comfort zones and out of our control. We are thankful that we were able to pray through these moments and find peace just trusting God
- We had a refreshing visit to Australia to spend time with Kelly Alexander! Thank you to those who gave her things for our "care package" - we are enjoying lots of goodies!
- Please pray that we would get over our nasty case of flu-turned-bronchitis
- For Matt to settle back into IT work quickly
- For Elijah to cope with the most recent change - coming back to regular life in Ukarumpa. There are lots of tears and meltdowns with every transition
- For Emily to be led in the right direction as far as her new role in the "Scripture Use" department here at Ukarumpa