Monday, May 29, 2006

Is That My Wheel?

When we first moved into the house we are living in, I had to buy a fence to go around the house. (In Kavieng, I can buy the fencing and poles. You have to build your own gate and drill your own holes in the poles.) I traveled to Kavieng with two men from the mission work in Sohun to purchase everything I needed for the fence.

The trip there proved to be one of the most memorable trips to Kavieng I have had. The first three hours or so were pretty uneventful except for one flat tire. About two thirds of the way there, the road changes from dirt to sealed. It makes for a nice drive in. Especially after being bounced around on the rough road for the past 3 to 4 hours. Also, when you arrive to the sealed part of the road, you can increase your speed from 3 mph to 50 mph. On this particular day everything seemed as if it was going fine. I did notice, though, once we were on the sealed road that my hood was shaking much more than normal. I did not think much about it, but I should have.

The road is very narrow and very curvy. If you have ever been driving on those old West Virginia roads, this road is very similar. The road is right on the ocean, so it is scenic. Anyhow, as I was driving at a high rate of speed (50 to 60 mph), I kept noticing my hood. Then BOOM my hood flew up! I could see nothing! I quickly slammed the brakes hoping I was not going to smack into a coconut tree or go sailing into the ocean with a Ford truck! My truck came to a stop on the side of the road. We got out of the truck to inspect the damage. The hood was bent pretty good close to the windshield. The part on the hood that latches was just simply worn down from all the bouncing on the rough road. There was no way to use the latch with hood. I had some rope with me. (You never leave for a trip to Kavieng, without rope, tools, two tires, bush knife, duct tape, and Tylenol.) We managed to bend the hood back and tie it down with a rope. It looked very funny, but normal for here!

We then got back in my truck and headed for Kavieng again. Everything seemed to be going just fine. I was driving close to 60 mph, and the rope was holding the hood good. The men and I were just talking and fellowshipping. Then another loud BOOM and the front end of my car dropped. I could see sparks, and what looked like a wheel flying through the top of the coconut trees! It took a lot of my strength to hold the car straight. Had I not had both hands on the wheel at the time, there is no way I could have prevented the truck from turning sharply. I also think the truck would have flipped over as well. The truck came to a stop and I still had NO IDEA what had just happened. Then one of the men with me said my entire wheel fell off. He said it flew higher then the top of the coconut trees! I saw the tire in the air, but it never occurred to me that what I saw was ACTUALLY my front wheel! I got of my truck and sure enough my front passenger side wheel was gone! There was a huge gouge in the road from where the brake drum slammed into the pavement. It was at least 30 yards long. We had to go into the bush and find my tire.

You might be thinking, “Wow, Terry, you must have some gross sin your life, and the Lord is punishing you. First your hood flies off and now your wheel!” The Lord, however, was looking after me!

My truck came to a stop at a dirt driveway. Right in the middle of it! It was the driveway of a tire shop!!!!!!!!!!!! NO kidding! I am not evangaaaaalistically speaking. There are only two or three of these places between Namatanai and Kavieng! When I first realized what had happened, I was wondering, how in the world was I going to get my truck towed to Kavieng!? I still did not realize I was right at a tire shop. Then a man came over and told me my truck had stopped at his tire shop! He quickly examined the damage, and brought over two jacks to jack my truck up. He then took off one lug nut from each of the other wheels, and then put my wheel back on. He said my truck did not have any significant damage from my wheel flying off. He said the wheel fell off because the “starts”, the things you put the lug nuts on, were worn out. I was able to drive slowly the rest of the way into the Kavieng. Not only that, I had no other important parts fly off. :)

When I arrived in Kavieng, I found some used “starts” and then replaced the bad ones with them. I also had the hook for the latch rewelded, so I did not have to use rope to hold my hood down! All together it only cost me about $40! I lost no time with all that happened and was able to keep my schedule.

The Lord is good. When I think of how he looks after my family and I, it is incredible!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Earnestly Contend for the Faith

On Wednesday evenings, I am preaching through the book of Jude. The primary theme of the book is found in verse 3:

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

Earnestly contending for the faith is the theme of the book. Why do we need to do so? Because of what we see happening in verse 4.
(Jud 1:4) “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

There is a very real danger to churches today. Sometimes I think we are like Jonah; asleep in the bottom of the boat while the storm is raging all around us. Many of us need to “awake out of sleep” as the Bible directs us. This past weekend, I noticed on the internet The Davinci (sp) Code opened up in the movies. One article said it was the third best opening for a movie, in movie history. A movie which attacks our Lord Jesus Christ. People want the Bible to be discredited. People do not want to have to face a holy God in judgment one day. They want to live their life as they see fit. Although this movie does attack our Lord, I believe there is even a greater danger than this.

In verse 4 the Bible says, “Certain men crept in unawares…” These are people who become members of our churches. These are people we fellowship with on a daily basis. These are the people who work to destroy the church from the inside. The greater of the two threats, (Davinci Code/men who crept in unawares) is by far the men who crept in unawares. These men are marked by ungodliness, lasciviousness, and denying our Lord God. As we read down through the chapter, there are many more characteristics and comparisons made about these men.

How in the world do people like this manage to get inside our churches? What do we do to protect our churches? We earnestly contend for the faith!!! People in our churches need to know why they believe what they believe! They need to be willing and able to contend for the faith. Today, though, many churches have become social clubs. For many churches, it is not about contending for the faith. It is about being entertained. It is about hearing a nice religious teaching. Christians need to know they are in a battle. They are to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

Unless we contend for the faith, we will lose the next generation. The church is the pillar and ground for the truth. The church, of course, is not the building, but the people. Based on that, how are the pillars in our churches today? Are they willing and able to contend for the faith, or are they so filled with the world, they could not even contend for faith with a Jehovah Witness? Are they actual even shaken by a movie like The Davinci Code? If so, woe on us!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cheese Burger Please!

Cultural differences!

(Here is just a quick funny story that happened to me two months ago.)

Every month, we travel out to get supplies as many of you already know. The majority of the time we go in my truck to Kavieng. Sometimes we will go by boat to the island of New Britain. Every time we go to Kavieng for supplies we go to a restaurant for lunch. There are two restaurants in Kavieng and both are operated by the two hotels in Kavieng.

About two months ago my family and I arrived at one of the restaurants for lunch. We were the only ones in the restaurant, as is normally the case. Each member of my family ordered for themselves in English. (These small hotels are geared for tourist.) One of my children ordered a “fish burger”, and another ordered a “steak burger”. Then I ordered a “cheese burger”, and the rest of the family ordered as well. I could not wait for my cheese burger! I was very hungry. We had left very early in the morning, and none of us had eaten yet. It was just about 1:00pm. When the food arrived, Rachel received her steak burger, Heather received her fish burger, and I received my cheese burger. As I looked at my sandwich something did not look right. I took of the top piece of bread only to find a single piece of cold cheese! That was it! Nothing else, just a single slice of cheese. I called the waitress over and told her my order was wrong. She looked at my sandwich and said, “No it isn’t.” She then looked at my daughters two sandwiches, and said you have a “cheese burger!” We then realized, based on my daughter’s use of the word burger, it confused her. After all, they ordered a fish burger and steak burger and received fish and steak sandwiches. So when she heard my order of a cheese burger, she assumed I simply wanted cheese!

I then told her I wanted mince meat (hamburger meat) with my cheese. She then said, “Oh, okay you want mince meat with your cheese burger.” I just smiled and said, “yes please.”

My family and I laughed for several minutes. It was clear we were not at a restaurant in America!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Phone is Back up!

I am back! We have had power problems, and phone troubles. Our phone is working much better now, but we still only have it for a few hours a day.

This past weekend went very well. Saturday, I headed out to the village to make visits, as I usually do. This time, I was meeting with a man named Jonah. He and his new bride have been coming to church since the beginning of the year. Right after they married, they decided to come to the Baptist church. (By the way, the weddings here are nothing like they are in the states. Some other time I will post on the wedding custom here in PNG.)

About two weeks ago, Jonah started raising his hand at the invitation time, asking prayer about his salvation. He wanted to know more. (I have found it pretty consistent here, that after four to six months of hearing the preaching, people begin to become concerned about their salvation.) When I arrived in the village, Jonah was waiting for me by the road. I picked him up and we went to the church building. I began to witness to him personally for the first time. He listened intently. As we talked about the day of judgment he would face, he realized he was on his way to hell. Then I explained exactly why Jesus came to the earth and died on the cross. I showed how Jesus defeated the wages of sin and rose again on the third day. After hearing this, Jonah repented and put his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation!

Jonah, of course, was in church on Sunday, and brought two friends with him. One had come before, but it was the first time for the other friend. His wife is currently on the other side of the island in her home village. Please pray that when she returns, she too will put her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

On the way back from church, I managed to loose my bumper. It fell off again and I did not realize it. However, another man found it and brought it to me today! I guess he knew right away who the bumper belonged to. Also, on the way home, I ran over a python that was just about the width of the road. I regretted not having my camera with me. As my truck was approaching the snake, I thought it was simply a large branch off a tree, or a small tree, but as I ran it over I realized it was a python.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Village Funeral

Village Funeral

(Our phone went out again, and is now back up! It is still not working properly and I am having alot of trouble connecting to the internet. There is a very good possibility it will go out again for several days. Hopefully it will improve.)

The following took place on Friday, May 7, 2006

Today, I headed out to the village of Sohun to preach a funeral. The funeral was for an elderly lady who was saved and attending the mission work in the village of Sohun. (This work was already going before I arrived. This was the group of people praying for a missionary to come before I arrived. I teach there every Sunday before heading out to the church I started in the village of Kudukudu.) The lady who died was named Mama Ruby. She died from TB.

The funerals here can be quite the experience. I arrived about 9:00am with my family. Many of the villagers were already there, but several hundred more still would be coming. I was early. As the people arrived, preparations were being made for the burial. The hole was dug, and the coffin was decorated. They make their own coffins here. Much better then the outrageous prices we pay in America. At this time, as well, the pigs were brought in. They were still alive and tied to a piece of bamboo.

The men take care of the pigs while the ladies prepared yams, rice, and taro. The entire village will be fed after the burial takes place. The men killed the pigs and then bled them. The pig then had his guts removed and was placed into a hole in the ground. Now, in the hole are rocks that have had a fire underneath them for quite some time. The rocks are VERY hot. On top of the rocks was placed banana leaves, then the pig, which was also wrapped in banana leaves, was placed on top. Then more heated rocks were put on top of the pig, and the hole was filled up. The pig’s guts were placed in this hole; they are wrapped in banana leaves as well. One to two hours later the pig was ready to eat. The ladies get sea shells and use them to scrape the yams. After the yams had been scraped they were placed on an open fire to be cooked.

While all this was going on, the dead body was in the “haus boy”. (This takes places in all the “mat mats”/funerals here.) The ladies all took their turns entering the “haus boy”. Once inside they cried/wailed for several minutes and then left. Except for these funerals the ladies are never allowed to enter the “haus boy”. It is for men only.

After all the people had arrived, it was time for the preaching. We sang a few songs and then I stood to preach. This funeral was a great opportunity. There were 300 to 500 villagers present. I preached on being “ready to die.” Most of the people seemed to listen intently. I hope and pray that the seed that was sown will bear fruit.

Right after I finished preaching the body was moved to the burial site. This was only about 20 yards away. Once the body arrived there, I spoke briefly, read some scripture at the grave side, and then the body was buried. During this time the people began wailing. The wailing continued the entire time the grave was being filled in. Nobody leaves the grave side until it was filled in and then decorated. Once that was accomplished, we returned to the spot of the preaching and the eating began. (During the graveside part, Bethany was stung by a hornet on her arm. It was the first time she had ever been stung by a bee. She handled it bravely. She simply buried her head in my chest and cried for a few minutes. Most of the people simply thought she was crying with them.)

Eating in the village is very different then what one is used to in the western world. When the eating did begin there were no plates, forks, spoons, etc… Papaya leaves were placed in front of us. This was our plate along with three to four others. Then a man placed rice on the leaves with his hands. Next, parts of the cooked pig were placed on the leaves, followed by yam or kau kau. With our hands, we began eating along with the few others around the papaya leaves. (This really saves on the amount of dishes you have to wash!) At the funeral today the pig tasted excellent, and the yam was very good too. By the time we ate it was already 1:30pm.

I hope to be able to get good video footage of their “matmat”/funeral for furlough. It is a very unique experience.

Again, I thank the Lord for the opportunity he provided today to share the gospel with several hundred people! I am also thankful that Mama Ruby is now with the Lord!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The phone is up!!!

It seems about once every six months the phones here in Namatanai go out for an extended period of time. (Anywhere from one week to six weeks.) When the phone is working properly, we usually have it for 8 hours a day on the week days, and four hours a day on the weekends. You might be thinking what if you have to call for an ambulance. No problem, since there is no ambulance to call for. For that matter there is no doctor to call for either. Well, what if I want to order pizza from Pizza Hut? No problem there either, no Pizza Hut. (No pizza place at all.) I wonder if we get a doctor here, if a Pizza Hut would follow? Wow, I am really suffering for my faith. :)

Now, there are advantages to our phone situation: I have never received one phone call from one telemarketer asking me to switch my long distance service or accept their credit card! I have never been woken up in the middle of the night by a wrong number. (Come to think about it, I don’t have to ever worry about being woken up in the middle of the night by the phone, wrong number or not.) Nor do I have to worry about annoying phone calls from people I do not even like. So as you can see, perhaps I am the one with the advantage.

I arrived back from Kavieng this afternoon. If you remember last month, on the trip back from Kavieng, the top spring of the back springs snapped. I also lost a signal light on that trip. It fell out due to the poor road conditions. This time I only lost one item off of my truck. The right half of my rear bumper fell off. After it fell off, I just removed the wire that was holding my passenger side mirror in place, and switched it to hold the bumper. The quick fix worked and I made it back with the bumper! Oh, how America is wasting money by paving roads. Just cut the trees down and call it a road!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Phone out!

Phone Lines Are Out!

Sorry I have not been posting on here the last week.

If you remember a few post ago, I said how it is now uncommon for the all the phone lines to go out where I live. Well, that has happened again. The phone has been out for eight days now.

I have no idea when they will be back up. It could be a few more days, or several weeks. Pray the lines will be restored quickly. When we are without phone lines, we do not have a clue as to what is going on in the rest of the world. You can get island fever pretty quick. It removes our source of news, and email capability, which we use on a daily basis.

If you are wondering how I am able to post this, I have traveled to Kavieng for supplies. I will be here for one more day.

As soon as my phone line is restored, I will begin posting!