Journey to the Lagoon…

by mendibpng

As the translators wrapped up the Acts revising and Luke recording workshop, we asked our Arop friends what the road situation was like. Everybody we talked to told us that four-wheel-drive trucks couldn’t get in and out of the village. The dirt roads had become soupy. A huge truck blocked the road as well.

We began to brainstorm about our next options. We could walk to the lagoon and take a boat out to the Bismarck Sea to get to the town of Aitape, where we could get another car to take us to Wewak. Ben and I realized that although this had been a possible exit plan, it only lived in the idea stage. Our old life jackets had disintegrated, so it wouldn’t be safe for our children. Taking them out onto the open sea through a narrow inlet called The Otto (named after Otto von Bismarck, from the colonial days), where boats are known to capsize didn’t seem like a wise thing to do.

At one point, I asked, “Can we ask the Samaritan Aviation guy to come get us in the float plane?” A few years ago our director came to visit our project via this plane equipped with pontoons. Our managers in Wewak contacted the pilot and he was willing to pick us up, despite the fact that he usually only delivers medicines and flies patients in life threatening medevacs! He was concerned about the wind, so we began to pray for good weather.

(all photos by Dan Bauman, who came out with us to record Luke with Andy Weaver. I am grateful because I was too busy to take any pictures myself!)

Back to the wee hours of that Saturday morning…

We woke at 4:00 am set out around 5:30…I hadn’t slept all night just for the sheer excitement of the day ahead of us. “What if it rains while we are hiking,” and other questions kept rolling around in my head. That’s me carrying Jenny Beth on the left and Kenny (Sissano translator) on the right. Thankfully most of us had flashlights or headlamps to get us through that first part of the journey.

This swamp was my least favorite portion of the hike…we were up to our knees in the mangrove mud and had to take our shoes off in order to get through it. I had a couple of ladies holding up my arms to help me. I felt humbled, but grateful for their help!

Surprise of all surprises, in the middle of the jungle there was this large escavator submerged in the mud! It was brand new and working its first ever job when it got stuck.

We all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when we came upon this path…this meant that the muddy swamp walking moments were over.

Here is Andy Weaver and Ben walking across a log bridge… notice the hand rail…sometimes we don’t have the luxury of something to hold onto!

Upon arriving in Wauroiyn, the village nearest the lagoon, we were able to rinse off our muddy feet and shoes.

Ben shaking hands with our friend Rosa, one of the ladies who helped us carry our cargo on the hike.

From Wauroiyn we took a boat down the long narrow stream to get out to the lagoon…

The lagoon appeared before us, calm and peaceful… perfect for the plane to land!

And the float plane, in all its glory landed smoothly!

Mark Palm, the pilot, greeted us. Jessie, the kids and I flew with Mark to Wewak, while Ben, Dan and Andy went on this small boat to then find a car from Aitape to Wewak. Their journey took over 14 hours!

The rest of our journey that day was a little more normal for us. We landed in Wewak and met up with the managers there who gave us cold drinks and snacks. A few other friends who live there came by to chat while our older kids played with friends. Then our pilot friend Chris came and picked us up and expertly flew us home to Ukarumpa! As I think back on that day, I can only be thankful for Jessie traveling with the kids and me, good weather, airplanes that worked well, gifted pilots, and willing friends who fed us. God is good, all the time!

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3 Comments to “Journey to the Lagoon…”

  1. came across your blog via twitter (to which i am new!) my husband is headed to PNG for the first time this summer. he’s a new recruiter for wycliffe. loved reading this post and studying the photographs. thank youfor sharing yoru journey.

  2. I love these photos, especially the one of Mandy holding her sandals: a woman sold out for God, willing to go anywhere and do anything for God as she follows him, cares for her family, and serves others. God says: “Mandy, my dearly beloved, I love you and am pleased with you.”

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