Archive for ‘multicultural living’

February 15, 2018

We are family!

by mendibpng

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Noah, Jacob, Ellie, Me and Jenny Beth, Feb 2012

I’ve often written about expat life and the hardships that come along with this life style. However, this post is not about hardships. It’s about community and how people have circled up to help the kids and me. Ben has been gone for two weeks now, and still has two more to go. He is consultant checking the books of James and Mark in nine languages, while I have stayed here at Ukarumpa with the kids as it was too soon after furlough to put our teens in the hostel and take the little ones out for a village stay.

I haven’t had a chance to feel overwhelmed or lonely or sorry for myself because our community has been here for me. From phone calls checking in, offers of childcare and meals, help with fixing our dog run, to the chief helicopter pilot arranging for Ben to make it back a week early in time for Noah’s play, the feeling of being part of a community has really made these two weeks go by quickly. I am not saying that everything is easy, but I am grateful for all of the little and big things that people do for me. I am a fairly independent person and it’s not easy to accept help. However, in doing so, I remember how much joy it gives me when I am able to help out a friend. And so the circle of giving keeps going here, over and over, time and time again. All of us expats are separated from relatives in our home countries and so part of the thriving happens when we stand in for parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I know that this is a treasure I sometimes take for granted but for today (and hopefully future ones), I am full of gratitude.

Furthermore, I am grateful for the people whose jobs directly impact me and my family. These hardworking  missionaries and Papua New Guineans are running the schools, flying and fixing aircraft, fixing computers, stocking the store, keeping our internet running (oh how wonderful it was to talk to my college aged son yesterday!!) arranging for visas and passport renewals, and countless other jobs. All of these people are here to see the work of Bible translation going on in Papua New Guinea. So thank you from our family, and from the people of the Aitape West for your service.

I can’t finish here without mentioning our partners, friends and family back home. When I think about the host of people who are keenly invested in our work and in the lives of the other missionaries here, it is overwhelming.  You are an important part of the picture, so thank you.

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 

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September 17, 2015

Happy Birthday Papua New Guinea!

by mendibpng

bilas
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.

JB

  • 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.

    twins dancing

  • 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.
    kuka
  • I love the relational aspects of Melanesian culture. Working together, sharing, reciprocating, and being with people are important here.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
    2004-04-JN-DSCN4498
  • We have freedom here to serve the PNG people in whatever way they need it.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.

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