Papua New Guinea (PNG) is home to our family. We first arrived in 2002 as a family of four, and eventually grew to be a family of seven. Yesterday was PNG’s 40th birthday. I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to our home of 13 years.
- Many of our happiest family memories come from PNG: going to the beach in Wewak, making fireworks out of steel wool, swimming in the river, etc.
- Since our kids have grown up here, our friends have become family, both PNG and expats. I love that I can get to a close friend’s house in a 5-10 minutes’ walk.
- I love the relational aspects of Melanesian culture. Working together, sharing, reciprocating, and being with people are important here.
- We have a purposeful ministry in the work of Bible translation. It is mind boggling that where we live people do not have access to God’s Word in their own language. Every Scripture portion that comes from The Aitape West Project is one more piece of God’s Talk for our neighbors to read and hear for the first time in their language. There is nothing like seeing the look on someone’s face when they hear it for the first time, as evidenced in the picture above, when Pastor Peter played the audio of the Gospel of Luke at the market one day.
- I love the beautiful foliage, landscape and animals. (I admit I’m not too crazy about pesky insects though!) Every morning I wake up to a bunch of birds in the eucalyptus tree next to my house singing crazy songs.
- We have freedom here to serve the PNG people in whatever way they need it.
- PNG is the land of the unexpected. I am constantly learning from this that I am not in control of everything. It is a good thing because I tend to hold too tightly to my plans and my ideas. When we first arrived in PNG, other missionaries modeled being learners and respecting the culture and environment we are in; it has helped us walk into situations with open hands.
- Our kids are growing up with lots of people from different cultures. They are learning to navigate cultural misunderstandings as well as value different perspectives. Ben and I have benefited from this too.
- We live with minimal commercialism here. Being in a place where it’s difficult to get something (and it’s costly!) means that you really consider whether you want to buy it or not. None of us has it perfect, but I feel like our kids have a lot of opportunities to be in nature, to create, and to be free to play.
- To sum it all up, the people here are the biggest reason I love PNG. God put them on our hearts years ago, and whispered to us that He wanted us to stay, even though we thought we’d only come for a short while.
We belong here.