Thank you for your love and investment in our ministry! The last time I wrote an update I asked you to send some questions and many people responded! I will start this update by answering one question I received.
How do you do your laundry?
Basically, just like you do. (We have town power and backup generators for our support center.) My washing machine is pretty much the same as the one we owned in the states. My dryer is a bit different, but it works basically the same as one in America. The only difference is if the power goes out (which happens multiple times a day) then I have to be sure to restart it. My washing machine must have some kind of memory and battery because it starts up again. Also, power is expensive, so I use a clothesline as well to cut down on costs. But the dryer is SO HANDY and makes towels feel wonderful!
Since I wrote last, Brad has been chipping away at learning to fly here. There are several stages, but he is doing well and is currently moving into instrument flying. We are grateful for Brad’s instructor as he and Brad work well together and they work hard to communicate efficiently so that Brad can process all the new information. Please pray that as Brad moves into the harder portions of flying he will retain information quickly and that the Holy Spirit can bring to mind things that are important in stressful moments. Thank you for your support for Brad and our family in prayers! We are so grateful for you.
One of Brad’s favorite parts of his job is seeing many of the tribal works throughout the country. The kids and I don’t often get to see these works, but last month we went out to the Kuman tribe. We got to see some of what it is like to live in the middle of a tribe here in PNG. The missionaries, Coleton & Shawna Williams, let us stay in their small home and were amazing hosts. Their kids taught our kids how they have to conserve energy and showed us where they go to bathe and wash their clothes in the river during dry season. They normally collect rainwater for drinking water, showers, washing dishes, and washing clothing, but sometimes there is no rain for months during dry season.
One highlight in Kuman for me, was going to their church and hearing God’s word in the Kuman language. It was a joy hearing their worship songs in their heart language! One song they sang was to the tune of “They will know we are Christians by our Love.” Later I asked Shawna what the song was about she said, “it is very similar to the English version. It’s about how we should love one another.”
Our kids loved this experience and Evey often asks me when we will see their boys (and cats) again. I think this experience helped the kids see the need that families in the bush have for our aviation support. We have heard many missionaries say their favorite sound in the tribe is the airplane coming. It brings supplies and company that is familiar to their home country. Although Papua New Guinea is their home and they love it, it’s like tasting a home cooked meal by your mom- something that reminds you of your roots and those who are supporting you.
The kids are on spring break now and many of the missionaries who are on our base have gone to help with conferences for church planters. Pray that our missionaries are recharged and encouraged during this time. Brad and the aviation team are extra busy during this time. So, please pray that they can take everyone where they need to go during the break.
Thank you for your continued support financially and in prayer for this ministry! We are so grateful to be apart of a team reaching the ends of the earth with the Gospel!
Doing Laundry in Tribal Locations
Laundry for tribal missionaries is much different! They use a twin tub washer, like the picture below. These are awesome because they don’t use as much power which is necessary when using solar/battery power. To use this machine, first fill up the left side with water with a hose attached to the water tank that collects rain water. Then turn it to agitate and allow it to scrub the clothing. Drain the dirty water and fill it again to rinse. Agitate again if you have enough power. Drain once more. Remove the clothes and put them in the other side that will spin the clothes. Then hang them up to dry outside. This type of washing machine takes more time, but is much more efficient. Also, if there is not enough sun during the day the batteries on the house may not have enough power to run this machine, so pray for sun! If it has been dry for too long there may not be enough water to use the machine, so pray for rain! In dry season, the only option is to carry your clothing to the nearest river and do laundry there. And while you are there go ahead and bathe because you don’t want to waste precious drinking water on bathing either. The tribal missionaries are tough because they need to be with the people, not because they love to live rugged lives in the wilderness. They aren’t superheroes, but they do sacrifice much to tell people the gospel in tribal locations. Pray for them to be encouraged in the everyday tasks they do to stay in these locations. The work of teaching the gospel in their third or fourth language is hard, but the everyday grind can wear on them as well. Wives often spend the majority of their day cooking, cleaning, and doing homeschool because everything takes so long with fewer amenities. They are also striving to minister to the women and children around them. The mundane things of life can make or break their ministry. Little things that no one else sees, matter. Pray for the missionary doing laundry, studying language, writing lessons, translating God’s word with no proof their work is bringing any fruit. Pray that the Holy Spirit would encourage them in these moments. If you know one text them and encourage them!
In our next update I will answer the questions: What ways have you found to best support and empower your husband in this stressful season? And what scripture are you clinging to right now? For me, these questions are linked so I will answer them together.