Friday, April 25, 2014


A couple of Sundays ago, we had Reuben 'dedicated' at the Tok Pisin worship service we regularly attend on a Sunday morning. We wanted to stand up at the front and publically thank God for giving us Reuben, as well as promise to bring him up to know Jesus.
Dave, one of the elders of the church, is asking us whether we are happy to dedicate Reuben to God
After we had made our promises, the church was then asked to make a promise too - they stood up and agreed to support us as we try to bring up Reuben wisely. It was brilliant to hear a resounding 'We will' come as their answer. Then Dave marked the forehead of all three of us, praying for us as he went and asking God to help us. When he had done that, he invited people to come up and pray for us too. A surge of friends and colleagues joined us, surrounded us and prayed for Reuben. It was a moment we will never forget and Reuben loved it! He smiled and gurgled through the whole thing.
Friends and colleagues came up the front to pray for Reuben - it was wonderful!

 It was great to be surrounded by our Ukarumpa family.

Reuben really enjoyed it!

Reuben is 8 months old today and loving life. We still cannot quite believe he is here and are just SO GRATEFUL for him! Earlier this month, we celebrated ten years of marriage as well. Thank you God for our ten years and the blessing of this wonderful little boy!

Thank you to our friend, Susan, for all the photographs apart from the last one.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Going Mobile

PNG is a country where communication is difficult; installing a land-line telephone system is impractical. That's why mobile phones are really popular, and becoming ever increasingly so. But even mobile phones need masts to send and receive the signals. The terrain is extremely steep and undulating, so where does one put a mast to best reach the villages in the area? Well, that's where a team of guys with GPS receivers and good relational skills comes into play, along with the helicopter.

First of all you have to locate the spot you want to survey. For good reception the masts want to be up on high terrain, which makes them pretty inaccessible.

And it wasn't just the steepness of the terrain which would have made walking to this spot difficult.

Thankfully the drop-off was steep enough that the aircraft was safely on the ground whilst the tail rotor was clear of  the grass.

Once the site was surveyed, then the guy went the the local village. On this occasion I gave him a lift down in the helicopter, rather than making him walk!

In the village he spent a few days negotiating the land rights to put up a new mobile phone mast, before getting collected again.

The other side to this mobile phone company is their charitable foundation. They fund the likes of the aid post I was previously involved with and schools. We provided the transport to one of their school openings. With a couple of VIPs present, the village put on quite a programme.

There was a drumming band
There were ladies singing
There were the Highlands 'clay men'
There were warriors
There were children singing the national anthem
There were the necessary speeches
And there was the opening of the school

New Britain

As I'm still trying to learn the different landmarks around the country, I sat in on a aeroplane flight over to New Britain. We were taking some translators out to meet up with another mission's helicopter so it could transfer them into their village.

There are some pretty amazing colours in the waters off PNG
 Unfortunately, whilst we could get within 2 miles of the airstrip, low cloud prevented us from being able to land. So went to a nearby airstrip to wait and see if the weather would improve.

To get mobile phone reception you had to go and stand on the other side of the 'haus win' where the guy in the blue shirt can just be spotted!

Being coastal, the weather here was better that day
 Typically, the cloud and rain had set in for the day, so we flew to the nearest town for the night. Moving meant we had better communications, a guesthouse to sleep in and fuel for the aircraft. Going home would have meant 4 hours of wasted flying.

I was a bit surprised to see this Land Rover, complete with British number plate, at the place we stayed
 The next morning the weather was lovely and we got into the airstrip without any problems.

Transferring the people and cargo between the 2 aircraft at the landing strip
 Apart from when Eyjafjallaj√∂kull erupted spectacularly on Iceland in 2010, I've not really had to worry much about volcanoes before. New Britain has a number of them that are active. Thankfully we get information from Australia about their status.

This photo was taken from the airstrip we landed at. The volcano is venting gas, but not emitting any ash.
We then headed home, enjoying some more of PNG's amazing scenery on the way.

An amazing blue river (the colour comes from the minerals in the hills that the river flows out of)

One of the many valleys that run through New Britain