How do I even begin?
Our minds and bodies are still trying to adjust to all that we are experiencing. But God is good, and the Army has been wonderful in supporting us and getting us here. We’re grateful for all the work in Chicago, London and here in Boroko (Port Morseby) that went into arranging for us to come half way around the world.
It’s an awesome experience, scary adventure, and blessed opportunity to minister, and we still can’t believe God’s chosen us for this.
There are difficulties! There are loss and grief associated with leaving family. There is hardship involved with travel, doing without, heat and humidity … I could go on, but how can I whine? My emotions are close to the top, and when I begin to soak in all that we’re experiencing, God’s goodness fills my heart and mind – I’m so thankful for His calling on my life, and for blowing our minds with this crazy adventure that was beyond our imagining.
There is such blessing already. The final days before our departure from Chicago were filled with wonderful family times. Our packing did not go well, and we were concerned that we would get half way, and find that our luggage would go no further. But God provided guidance from a good friend, a wonderful ticketing agent at United, and suddenly we had our bags checked all the way through to Port Moresby!
We arrived on Wednesday, November 14, at 8 a.m. We were greeted at the airport by Col. Chris Webb who presented us with leis welcoming us to Papua New Guinea. A driver from THQ, Bugave, helped us schlep our bags to a van, and we were whisked 10 minutes away to the Salvation Army compound where our townhouse is located. We got to rest and shower, and then went to THQ (at the other end of the compound) for informal introductions and lunch in the Chief’s office with Chris, and her husband, Col. Neil Webb.
After some basic discussions, and a chance to Skype with our daughter Megan back at the CFOT in Chicago (funny story for a sidebar!), we went back to our home for a nap. At dinner time, the TC, Commissioner Andrew Kalai, picked us up and took us to the Crowne Plaza where we enjoyed an Asian buffet. National dancers in full costume were welcoming folks to a ballroom right next door.
When we arrived at THQ or lunch, the Chief told us that someone back in Chicago had tracked him down through Sametime (Lotus Notes chat feature) and was anxious to Skype with us. We guessed it was Megan. She had the nerve to contact the Chief Secretary because we had not been able to get Internet access and the family was anxious to find out if we arrived safely! That’s my girl. So after we had sandwiches, the Chief’s wife went to his computer and called up Megan on Skype so that we could chat for a couple of minutes. Megan then used Facebook to announce to the world that we were okay, and that we had indeed arrived!
On Thursday morning I was awake by 5:30, and after finding materials to make coffee with a loaner coffee press from our wonderful neighbors Majors Phil and Deslea Maxwell, I tackled making our first breakfast. Sandy got the video camera out, and you can see the results! It was rather nice, if I do say so myself.
(Sorry … bandwidth/consistency is poor! Video to come later.)
Oh, before breakfast, while I was sitting in our living room enjoying my first cup of coffee in PNG, movement caught my eye. There was a tiny lizard cruising across the wall above the front windows. I thought it was pretty cool, but Sandy didn’t share my enthusiasm!
Bugave took us to the US Embassy to register, but we found out they only do that on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 9 and 11. Then we went to the local cable company to sign up – what do you know, it’s just like back home! We paid the money, and they said that a tech will be out in 7 to 10 days to hook us up! J We went to the airport and found out that the one lost suitcase was in Brisbane, and would arrive on Friday at about noon. Praise the Lord! We came home and had peanut butter sandwiches and COLD WATER for lunch, then walked over to the office for an afternoon of meetings.
Sandy and I are both overwhelmed by the tasks, but we know God will provide!
Major Phil took us for a drive to visit a local shopping center, where we were able to get sim cards for our iPhones, and we bought oil so I could make popcorn! We also stopped by a store to check out guitars, but they didn’t have an acoustic with electric pickup. Then we went to the airport with Phil to pick up Deslea arriving back from an overnight visit out in the highlands.
We have great neighbors! Phil and Deslea have been so wonderful to us, giving us guidance and suggestions, and even providing us some necessities like toilet paper, a coffee press, a bottle of bleach, a trash can, a laundry basket and a clothes dryer rack! They’re having us over for dinner tonight at their place. Tomorrow, Major Rex Johnson is taking us shopping. He’ll show us the best places to shop for groceries so we can stock up, and we’ll get to see more of the city.
We’re grateful to the Webbs and the Maxwells especially, for all they’ve done to help us make our adjustments in these first few days. It’s exciting times as we gear up for the General’s visit next week. More than 3000 Salvationists from across the territory will gather for a congress, commissioning, retirement service for the TC, and an officers councils.
These are certainly exciting time for us, and we miss our family and friends, but we know that God’s got great things in store for us here in PNG. Please keep us in your prayers. And stay tuned …