I asked my wonderful wife to write another post. This is her second post.
When Terry asked me to write another entry for his blog, I really didn’t know what to write about. Our life in PNG seems to never have a dull moment. Compared to life in America, most every aspect of the culture is completely different. To many of the village-dwelling nationals, we are considered rich. Not because we ARE rich, but because we live in a house made of wood with a tin roof and a cement foundation, we BUY most of our food instead of growing it and eating the same thing every day, we have indoor plumbing, and a generator to give us electricity to run our computer, water pump, refrigerator and freezer, AND we own a truck and can fill it with gas and have it repaired, which we need to do quite often. (We have even had it repaired with super glue and duct tape, and when you look under the hood, there is inner-tubing tying together just about every part you can see!)
I decided I would write about what it’s like when we have to do things the hard way. There is a joke among many of our missionary friends here in PNG. We tease each other about whether we are REAL missionaries or not. If we have some kind of convenience that offers us some comfort and/or rest, than we are not being REAL missionaries. If we have to do without something or have it tough, then we are REAL missionaries. We have been real missionaries for a few weeks.
As for the indoor plumbing, our water is pumped into the house from two big tanks that are filled with rain water. Our gutters are connected to the top of the tanks, and the rain water is collected from our roof. A good rain for just two or three hours will fill both tanks. The only problem with this system is, well, when it doesn’t rain, there’s no water. No water in the tanks, anyway. There IS water in the rivers and springs. We have heard that when your tanks run out of water here in Namatanai, that you have to go to the rivers and springs and get some. We always thought that would be tough, and I was always so glad when it would rain just as we thought we would run out of water. Well, it finally happened. We ran out of water. I thought it wasn’t a big problem, though, because we would pray for rain, and ask others to pray for rain, and it would rain. That was three weeks ago. So, we have been going to a spring fed river about one mile from our house every day to fill up our liter jugs with water from the spring. (Daniel, my 15-year-old, has this job.) We girls also wash our long hair at Halis (hah-leece), and the baby gets to play. I do the laundry in two large tin tubs every other day. I fill them up with soap and water and put the clothes in to soak. Then we all rinse the clothes one at a time, wring them, and throw them in the basket. This gets repeated about six times. Oh, my aching back! Normally, my children do the laundry in our semi-automatic washer, and I hang them up, (and inspect them).
It has been annoying, but the Lord always gives me what I need o help me grow, and this has been one of those times. First of all, it has allowed me to focus more on my prayer life. This time when I prayed, there was no rain after a few days. Why not? What’s wrong? I am confident that it will rain, and the Lord knows what He is doing in our lives. I also know that my prayer life needs to be much, much better. This really is not an emergency situation. We can get water any time we want from the river. Will my prayer life be good enough, (‘good enough’ sounds as if it will be where it should be; maybe I should say ‘better enough’), when things really get difficult? I really need to work on that.
Having no water has been good for the children, too. Normally, they don’t have to work that hard. Their chores are easy. They have also been praying for rain. I think it’s wonderful when we are all pulling together to pray for our needs here on the mission field. It’s been good for all of us. Especially baby Levi. He loves playing in the water! I just received some heating pads for my back in a package from the US, and I am off to try them out…
Disclaimer: the real missionary joke is a joke because we all know it’s tough living here in PNG, away from family, medical care, etc. We are happy to be serving the Lord where He has called us.