Before we went to POC (Pacific Orientation Course) I was worried about hiking, bugs, being hot, cooking over a fire, washing in the river and physically making it back to Ukarumpa in one piece. We are in one piece and we did, or encountered, all of the aforementioned things and they were, yes, I am going to say this..fun (mostly). Don't get me wrong - I am VERY happy to be back in our home...running water, electricity (most of the time) and floors are things I will try never to take for granted again. I will never forget the thrill (yes, I mean 'thrill') of walking through the jungle and thinking, "I am in the jungle, I AM IN THE JUNGLE!", of washing clothes and bathing in a river with sunlight trickling through mambu and of seeing children running ahead of me down the winding path to the water. There are smiles and eyes that are lodged in my brain, sounds of the jungle and of people murmuring into the night...all seared into my memory, part of me now.
There are stories we could tell of sticks that were scorpions, gallant frogs and cheeky geckos. (They all have happy endings). But for the moment, they are not really what is on our minds. The truth is that Reuben didn't sleep much, so neither did we. A sort of fog descended over us as we spent endless night hours slumped over the side of his cot. We got very, very tired, and here, at the ends of the earth, we came to the end of ourselves. Do you remember that we asked you to pray for us? Well, we needed it and in those end places, we met God, just as we have met Him in every other place we have ever been. POC isn't really about hiking and learning a language, even though those things are a valuable part of it. For me, for us, it was about learning to trust God for every minute and to feel His presence with us, even when all seemed bleak. To be quite frank, I was right to be frightened about going to POC, but I am grateful that we did. We have been stretched and drawn out beyond our boundaries, and when the dust settles we will be the better for it.
Perhaps reading this will worry you. Well don't be! The scorpion didn't bite me (apparently he was put off by my white skin) and we are all sleeping better. We have learned a great deal about PNG, people and ourselves. It was good, but we are tired. Thank you for your prayers and praise God from whom all blessings flow.
|This is our outdoor kitchen where we learned to cook over an open fire|
|The river where we washed clothes and ourselves|
|Us on the verandah of our village house|