Friday, February 22, 2019

My Summer Vacation Part 3: Rabaul

Debbie and I went to Rabaul after Christmas on the Chimbu Passenger Ship. The ship was dirty and I think that is where I got bitten by a bed bug. More on that in the next section of my summer vacation.  

Fr Paul picked us up and took us to the MSC Sisters Convent in Vunapope, the Archdiocese of Rabaul. The Sisters were very hospitable and Fr Paul showed us around Rabaul. We went to the market. We visited Rakunai, the place made famous by Blessed Peter Torot, his martyrdom came when the Japanese killed him for doing the work for the church. PNG wants to make him a saint of PNG. We also passed the Don Bosco School, visited seminary schools for the women and the men. Their locations seemed rather isolated, but self contained and peaceful. 

St. Bartholomew

The day we were to leave Rabaul, we got to the airport at 6 am and remained there till 5 pm that night only to find out our flight was canceled and we were only on standby for the next morning. What a boring long day at the airport. That night, being one of Debbie’s last in PNG, we took Fr Paul to dinner at a resort down the street from the Archdiocese.

Then, we had another big ordeal at the airport that morning.  The airlines confirmed our flight for Sunday! (The day was Thursday) Debbie is leaving the next day (Friday) for America,  so there was no way that was okay! Even up to the very last minute- we were told they did all they could do, but couldn’t get us on the full flight. Almost panicking, I asked to see the supervisor who said the same thing. At that point, I was literally begging- asking if anyone could give up their seats or we can pay extra or anything to get us back to Kimbe. She finally saw one possibility and we had two seats on that plane!! What an ordeal. Then they were scrambling to get our seats, make our tickets and told us our luggage we wanted checked would now be carried on. All in all, we made it back to Kimbe.    Debbie’s last night was celebrated with the Caritas Sisters who prepared a delicious dinner for us. The Bishop joined us and the Sisters that last night. Debbie sadly did make her flight the next day for the US. Sr. Sara took her to the airport that morning. I felt the prayers of everyone working at that moment. Thanks and Praise be to God!! 🙏🙏

This is the end of Part 3 of how I spent my summer vacation.  Stay tuned for Part 4 when I tell you about my Missionary Seminar in Goroka in January. 

Thank you for your prayers and support and I, in return, pray for you as well. 

Please comment, I’d love to hear from you. Thank you and God bless. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

My Summer Vacation Part 2: Christmas and Vavua

Christmas in Kimbe

Debbie and I spent Christmas in Kimbe. We walked to all the stores, went to the market, ate at the Apple Mango Cafe and the Llamo as she discovered my home in Kimbe. 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we went to the temporary site for the Mass held at a large Government Building while the new cathedral was being built. It unfortunately rained on Christmas Eve, but the choir was beautiful and plenty of people showed up. Christmas Day, Debbie and I helped the Bishop make Steak Diane, mashed potatoes and salad with real lettuce from the Highlands for about 14 or so guests. The Caritas Sisters brought cake and ice cream for dessert. The company was wonderful, the food delicious and it was a nice Christmas Day. 

‘My’ village of Vavua:

Debbie and I along with Sr Bernadette were met by Fr Bernard, an African Priest who resides in the parish of Vavua. We drove past Valoka and continued on the potholed road to the village of Vavua where we were met by a group of children and a few adults who welcomed us with song, a welcome sign, headdresses, warm hearts and smiles. Adorable! 
We attended the evening mass where Fr Bernard told the villagers about my mission. Then he told his village to make us part of them. And they did just that! The village escorted us to a house cry - a woman’s husband died on Christmas Day. For a house cry, they set up a special tent where relatives keep the widow and family company as they go through the grieving process. We were escorted into the tent. I was asked to introduce myself and then one of the village women led everyone in that tent into a song in their village language (not pidgin). I loved her, she kept the people in the tent lively and well entertained. We were offered some leaves made in a special way (delicious) and some tea. We were made to feel right at home during a sad occasion. It’s not something often experienced by outsiders. 

One thing that Fr Bernard wanted was for me (and Maria when she arrived) to adopt his village as my own. When others say “I’m going to my village for break, I can say that I’m going to my village of Vavua too.” It was nice to be so warmly welcomed.  

That night, we should have taken advantage of the calm ocean and beautiful night to go swimming, but we had a big day planned for the next day. We had plans to go on a dingy to an island close by, go swimming and fishing and just have a wonderful lazy day. But the weather had other plans. Due to a volcano eruption in Indonesia and a small tsunami, the waves were too rough and it was raining too hard. Shucks!! So we spent the day inside with warm conversation, good food and rain falling outside from all directions. We traveled back to Kimbe the next day. 

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

My Summer Vacation Part 1: Highlands

Hello everyone.  It might be winter in the northern hemisphere, but it was summer here in PNG and school was finally out, Christmas was coming and my twin sister, Debbie, was coming to visit.  

I left Kimbe on Dec 16, 2018, to meet Debbie in Port Moresby (POM). I arrived and was met by Fr Jonathan- a Capuchin. We stayed at the Capuchin College for two nights. We met Debbie off her international flight from Brisbane and the US and returned to the Capuchin College. 

December 17, we met Mel (my old principal) and two of her family members who showed us around POM. We went to the Vision City Mall, the Waterfront Mall where the grocery store had just about everything that we don’t have here in Kimbe. We visited the PNG Art and Cultural Museum that was being renovated when I arrived last March. It had representations and exhibits from all provinces and it gave us a real sense of the PNG culture and history. We ended our day having lunch at the Airway Hotel overlooking the airport. 
December 19-22: Highlands 

Debbie and I took off to Mt Hagen where we were picked up by Sr Lilian a Notre Dame Sister who housed us at her convent while we were visiting the Highlands. The Highlands are given a bad reputation, but we found the people friendly and willing to help when they can. 
Judith, a mother of one of the brightest students in my Grade 9, picked us up and we took a round trip to Mendi. The countryside was beautiful with round huts (different type of huts than the ones found in Kimbe). The villages are made of several of these round huts and were charming- making me want to explore, but the trip was long and we still had a ways to go. 
We had the opportunity to meet Bishop Don, the Bishop of Mendi while in POM at the Capuchin College. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to meet him. We did stop by to see his cathedral in Mendi; hopefully our new cathedral, when renovated, will also be a much nicer place to worship. 
Mendi was like many PNG cities, crowded with people going to and from the market. I believe the ride through the countryside was the true highlight. Another highlight was being interviewed on Sr Lilian’s Trinity radio station out of Mt Hagen. Debbie and I were interviewed about my mission, how I came to be in PNG and life in general. I felt honored to be put on radio. 

We had an opportunity to attend a family wedding, a relation to Judith. It was to begin at 10 am, but once again, it was PNG time and finally by around 12:30, the wedding began. The church was crowded, and to Debbie and I, it was a typical wedding, but what we didn’t realize is that it was the first time the bride and groom kissed in public in a church wedding. Everyone clapped and the bride and groom were a bit embarrassed. Something so normal for us was something new to PNG. Cute.  
Our last day in the Highlands was a long drive from Mt Hagen to Lae. Like every other road outside of POM, potholes were just part of the journey making a long trip a few hours longer. The slow ride was beautiful through Mt Hagen, then through the Shimbu Mountains. The scenery was beautiful and again, we passed several hut villages along the way. People walked on the road and that along with the potholes made the journey much slower. We made it to Goroka right as the sun was going down and had a brief tour. Then it was the long ride to Lae, in the dark and then it began to rain. That trip seemed to take a lot longer than expected. All in all, the entire trip that day to Lae was about a 13 hour trip. We stayed that night in a hotel next to the airport for an early flight the next morning. We were met in Kimbe by Bishop Bill.

To be continued...

Friday, December 14, 2018

Ordinations, Funeral and Christmas in PNG

On Saturday, November 24, 2018, the ordination from Brothers to Deacons Chris, Boniface and Joseph took place at around 9 am. Their individual villages constructed a small hut in the unique style of their home village for each of the three Deacons to be. They were escorted from that small hut into the church to be presented to the Bishop. The warriors from their villages accompanied them into the church. It was just beautiful to watch. The sight, the sounds, the pageantry the actual Mass and ritual of ordination was very beautiful to watch. 
On Sunday, November 25, 2018, the anticipation was growing for the Deacons to Priest ordination. The warriors were beating their drums outside the church while they prepared the three soon to be priests to be carried into the church and presented to the Bishop. Yesterday, the Deacons were brought out of their huts, today the Priests will be carried into the church. (apparently they were brought out of their huts last year). 

Out of the two ordinations, both Masses were beautiful to watch, but it seemed the Deacons ordination was more lavish, almost more formal (if there is such a thing in PNG), with a well- organized choir, outside presentation with the huts, village warriors representing each Deacons community and a large contingency of community support. The hall was very nicely decorated by their communities (table clothes on the table, nice napkins, flowers on the tables, more food and a wider variety- PNG style) and more ceremony presentations (dances) and an abundance of gifts afterwards. (Couldn’t quite figure out if the gifts were for the Bishop or the Deacons or both but they were more lavish than the priests’ gifts). 
The Priest Ordination Mass on Sunday was beautiful as well, with the Kimbe warriors and choir. The reception hall was decorated, but a little more simple than the day before and not as much food and ceremonial presentations (dances and gift wise) as the day before. What I really liked (it was my first ordination ever, so not sure if done at other ordinations) were the blessings the new priests gave for the parishioners immediately following the Mass. All in all, the two days were very nice and a truly blessed experience for me, especially since I knew all three Deacons, who were the religious education teachers here at Caritas and at least one new priest, Fr Chris who accompanied Ron and Karen, the Bishop and I to Kahlia the second weekend after arriving in PNG. Fr Chris will remain in Kahlia for another year or so to complete a few projects he started, then will be assigned his own parish. 

One interesting story: The Caritas Sisters now have 4 candidates. All were invited to the Mass and reception afterwards. Two candidates were too intimidated to come to the reception (held only for the religious priests, Brothers, Deacons, Sisters and Deacon’s immediate family and me, the missionary).  It took a while, but Sr. Florentina noticed their absence and went out, found them and escorted them into the hall letting them know they are now part of the religious family. They were a little intimidated to come in, but were happy to be included. (I know how they felt because I was a little intimidated too in the beginning, but now know I’m accepted in the religious community. It feels nice to be included.)

It was with sadness that I learned that Deacon Boniface 's father passed away the following Thursday after his ordination in his village of Silanga. How sad! I'm so glad he was able to witness his son becoming a Deacon. 

I was in tears when I heard the news. I walked to the dormitory to share the sad news with the dorm students and housekeeper. We cried together. I met Sr. Sara while walking and shared with her the sad news who shared it with her Sisters. 

On Friday, I found out that Sr. Bernadette and Sr. Benedict were going to Silanga and I packed my bag and joined them. 

We spent the night in Silanga with one of the school teachers who teaches in Silanga that I met in Kimbe. Her home is charming- but no bathroom (an outhouse) and an outdoor kitchen. No electricity - but I had at least a thin mattress to sleep on. This is considered a bush village. We went to visit Deacon Boniface and he was surprised to see all three of us. It was really sad - his father died the day before and was already buried the very next day (Friday). We were thinking maybe on Saturday, but he was buried on Friday instead. His mother broke down in front of us - (her grief was fresh and it always seems to come in waves). 

His bush village was very simple too. So quiet and in the middle of nowhere somewhat in the mountains. Just beautiful! Pigs and dogs and chickens and roosters (and children) roamed freely throughout the village

We stayed in a blue and white ‘staff house’ which was the school teachers’ simple house. Inside were two bedrooms, one big room that passed as a living/dining/praying etc. room. She had three simple plastic chairs, an altar for prayers, a table and that’s it. Nothing ‘comfortable’ - no couch, or soft chair,  no pillows - her bedroom had a bed, with a very, too thin of a mattress, (I had to take out a few clothes out of my bag to add a little cushion around me). She gave me her bed, the other bed was for another Sister and the third Sister and the school teacher slept on a simple blanket on her concrete floor. A building outside served as a simple kitchen (no stove, no oven, no appliances, no counters, no kitchen sink, no stainless steel, ) only firewood and a few pots, cups, plates, etc. We ate outside on long bamboo benches and a water tank that caught rain water was the only source of water and again- no bathroom. Just a very simple house, no luxury at all. But she has community- the other teachers all shared their resources and companionship. Her house was typical of what I saw throughout the village. 

Then, I felt very grateful when I returned to my ‘simple’ place with a few ‘comfortable’ luxuries. I guess Americans are just used to so much and we take it for granted that it makes one thankful when I see someone happy without almost anything. We walked from one village to the next, not many vehicles. Thinking about the two days, the people really have nothing ‘comfortable ‘ here, transportation, housing, etc. but have loyal families and company, etc. and yes, a luscious paradise filled with gardens, fruit trees, palm trees, luscious vegetation to live in. God is so awesome. 

On Saturday, exactly one week after Brother Boniface became Deacon Boniface, we were at his father’s grave. He said that as of the Saturday after being ordained, he can now perform funerals - he didn’t know his first funeral would be for his own Dad. That hit me sitting at church on Sunday morning and I had to fight the tears. Please say a prayer for Deacon Boniface and his family. 
School is out for the students, this week is staff week and we have all the paperwork that needs to be completed before the end of the week. I’d rather just teach. 

My sister, Debbie, is joining me here in PNG for Christmas. She will arrive in Port Moresby on Dec 16 where I will meet her. We will fly to Mt. Hagen on Dec 18 and be in the Highlands till Dec 22 where we will travel from Lae to Haskins. The Momma’s of the Diocese are planning on dancing for her arrival and I will hopefully join them. We will spend Christmas in Kimbe, then after Christmas we plan to go to Rabaul. Debbie will leave PNG on Jan 4 and I will go to my Missionary Seminar in Goroka from January 7-25. Then the new term will begin on January 28, 2019. I know the time will go fast. I look forward to telling you all about it next year.  

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please pray for me as I pray for you. Thank you again for your support and prayers. 

God bless 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Fr. Casper and Return to Valoka

I returned to Valoka last Sunday, but this time I traveled with the Caritas Sisters, their candidates, the dormitory ladies, and Father Casper a Salesian Father who is originally from India, but resides now in Rabaul. We started from the school at 6 am with the dorm ladies altogether in the back of a truck decorated with pink balloons. The Sisters, Father, the candidates and I followed behind in the school bus. 

We sang along the way. What a beautiful sight we were that Sunday morning. Again, we traveled down that beautifully awful pothole road at about 10 miles an hour.  

We made it to the church where we were warmly welcomed by the MSC Sisters with refreshments before mass. The mass was celebrated by Fr Casper and Father Joseph, a priest from Uganda who has a very welcoming positive personality- very warm. The church was packed and both the church choir and the dorm ladies sang their assigned music. The church choir sang a beautiful rendition of “I believe”. I was told that it is an African version, which would make sense having an African parish priest. 

The night before, the Assembly of God (AOG) Church was celebrating their 50th anniversary in Kimbe. They were celebrating in a park nearby on microphones loud enough to hear from my place. I had to be part of the action, so I went to listen to their music. When I arrived, I was immediately surrounded by my AOG Caritas students- a welcoming sight to see. The preacher was white and preached in Pidgin, but I’ve heard several in my lifetime to know what he was saying, even though I didn’t understand every word. But I was thinking- why can’t our priests preach like that. Then surprise, surprise, God seemed to answer my question, because when Fr Casper said the homily on Sunday morning, he really engaged the congregation and especially the students. He also preached in Pidgin, but again, though I didn’t understand every word, I understood the message. Our dorm students danced up the aisle for the offertory. Very nice!
After mass, the young people and parents gathered around and a few groups danced to music in honor of their guests - and again I had a front row seat along with the Sisters and students. After the dance celebration, Sr Florentina and Fr Casper spoke on living a religious vocation. An interesting concept during their speeches and expressed by the parents who stayed to listen, especially for large families, was to ‘sacrifice’ one of their sons and daughters to the religious life. So that was a word or question I had stuck in the back of my mind and I’ll address that word later in this blog. Now back to the fun stuff.  

After the vocation talk, we went inside where we were served a delicious buffet of food made by the MSC Sisters and the friendly conversation continued inside while the dancing including our ladies continued outside. Our students were enjoying themselves. 

After lunch, it was time to say goodbye- our students left - riding in the back of the truck - this time without the pink balloons. We followed close behind, saying our Thank you’s and goodbyes to the MSC Sisters and Fr Joseph and the remaining congregation. 

Fr Casper stayed with us on Monday and celebrated the 6:30 am mass in our chapel. Then our classes were reduced to 30 minutes so we could end the day with an inspirational talk by Fr Casper. 

He also had a separate meeting with the teaching staff on the proper way to discipline- Salesian style. The secret is punishment vs consequences and the positive approach to discipline. A very interesting concept. Instead of yelling at students for doing something against the rules, you almost apologize for having to discipline them. ‘I’m sorry, my daughter, but you leave me no choice but to discipline you, I so wish I didn’t have to do it, but sorry, you leave me no choice.’ Something like that - I think I’m a natural at that, but it will take practice. 

That night, I talked to Fr Casper about the word ‘sacrifice’ mentioned earlier. He said he didn’t like that word either, but thought of it more as discernment of God’s calling and/or God’s grace to be chosen for the religious life. The ‘sacrifice’ is not having a family of your own, but gaining so much more in the long run. I also mentioned my visit to the AOG church the night before and asking why we don’t have priests that preach like they do, but then he came along and preached like they did and with positive enthusiasm. He said that homilies are not stressed in the Seminary the way it should be, but he is trying wherever he is assigned to teach others to open up. Everyone enjoyed his positive personality and wished he could become our school priest. But, sadly, he left early Tuesday morning for Port Moresby for a meeting, then back to Rabaul. We all hope he visits us again soon. 

On a sad note, my two fellow missionaries, Ron and Karen, left Kimbe and returned to the United States. My ‘wontoks’ (we speak the same language) and community left me behind. A new Bishop will be announced soon, therefore, Bishop Bill is letting all his staff go in anticipation of the new Bishop wanting to pick his own staff. Because I teach at Caritas, I’m not considered part of his staff, but my mission is still his responsibility. Thank goodness, because I like it here and I’m not ready to leave yet. I feel sort of numb since they left and now my only ‘wontok’ is Bishop Bill. 

The good news is that another Lay-Mission-Helper teacher will arrive next year (hopefully in January - depending on visa). Her name is Maria Luisa Garcia. She is currently in formation classes in Los Angeles and will be commissioned on her birthday (Dec 9, 2018) as I was commissioned last year on my birthday (Dec 10). She is exactly one day older than me... how is that for a coincidence! I am looking forward to having another ‘wontok’ here soon. 

My school year is winding down fast. One more week of instruction, one week of final exams and the last week I’ll call ‘play-week’ a week of closing school activities. A class party, a school Christmas event and competition and a recognition day as the last day for students. (Nov 30). The last day for staff is December 7. Then my sister, Debbie comes to PNG for Christmas on Dec 16 and that will be another blog altogether. Stay tuned. 

I thank you again for your prayers and support. You are in my prayers.  Happy Thanksgiving. Please feel free to comment and leave a message.  God bless you all. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Road To Valoka

Term three has ended and I had a free week off and no real plans. I wasn’t looking forward to a week alone, but surprises were in store. The week started on Sunday when I was finally able to get Sr. Benedict, one of the first PNG Sisters of Caritas, out of the convent. She finally got the permission she needed to go swimming on Sunday and from her happy dance and ear to ear smile, she was looking forward to it. We planned to swim and have a mumu lunch at the Franciscan Retreat House with Sr. Benedict, the candidates, my fellow missionaries, the MSC Sisters and the Brothers.

But, sadly, it was not meant to be as planned- it rained throughout the night and into the morning and not the quick thunderstorm that comes, blows its fury and leaves, oh no, it had to be the California downpour that goes on forever.

I walked to church in the rain not very happy with God – Sr. Benedict’s one day off and it just had to rain? Really? We all decided to wait till noon. The mumu was ready despite the rain- so instead of gathering on the beach (at the retreat house) - we ate at the convent at the Diocese - not my choice of venue. It finally decided to stop raining and we all piled in the truck and went swimming anyway. It was for a short time before nightfall, but Sr. Benedict was very happy and that’s what counted.

It was probably a good thing that I didn’t go away for the week. I adopted a kitten and named it Kimbe. That same Sunday evening, trying to avoid the security dog, one of the Sister candidates picked Kimbe up. Scared, Kimbe jumped down onto the rocks below and hurt itself. I had to carry it inside. It was injured- could not walk and was crying like a kitten. For the majority of the week, I had to baby it -bring the food and water to him and very delicately, pick it up and lay it down on a tray to do its business- the poor thing was crying the whole time. I could find no veterinarian anywhere in Kimbe and was told that cats are resilient and have 9 lives. By the end of the week, it was walking again - slowly - carefully. If a cat has 9 lives, I think this kitten is on life number 4. It is almost running again- I think I can breathe again.

But it was my week off and if I didn’t get out of Kimbe, I might be on life 4 myself! At last, Sr. Bernadette invited me for an overnight trip to Valoka and I happily said yes and thank you! On Thursday after morning Mass, I had breakfast with Sr. Mary Agnes and her niece, my grade 11 student, Veronica. I was then escorted to the public motor vehicle (pmv) and I was on my way.
Valoka is so close to Kimbe but yet so far down a road so full of potholes and uneven pavement and still flooded from recent rains. The lurch of the public motor vehicle (usually vans that pack people inside - the original Uber without bottled water or a/c or comfort) made my stomach queazy with the stop and go as the driver tried avoiding whatever is or is not on the road. The ocean peaked every so often through the abundance of trees and bush houses built on stilts along the way. We made it to the convent situated conveniently next to the church and across the street from the Catholic hospital. Electric poles were piled in a neat bundle along the tree line waiting for their turn to be wired and attached to the village. The village apparently has been waiting for about two years- or the job will be finished within two years - not sure which, but it still means no electricity. The town generators come on every night between 6  - 9 pm and anything that needs electricity must be done within that 3 hour time period.

Sr. Bernadette, Sr. Anita and Sr. Martha warmly welcomed me with fresh ripe mangoes from their own tree. Yum! Behind their newer convent is an older cookhouse left behind by the German Sisters and filled with antiques. It would make a really nice museum- but the roof needs to be fixed and the building could be used again.
Sr. Bernadette and I walked the quiet roadway where a car every so often broke the unique sounds of the countryside- trees swaying in the breeze, ocean waves lapping against the shore, birds singing their daily tune and insects buzzing away. We visited families she knew and met many school children along the way.
Fr. Joe, an African priest from Ghana, welcomed me on Friday and offered Sr. Bernadette and I a ride back to Kimbe. The decision was easy - either Fr. Joe or a PMV - so I gave up the idea of swimming in the ocean across the street and took the ride home instead. Fr. Joe is delightful, open and warm and navigated that horrible road rather well. We visited Hoskins Secondary School on the way where Fr. Joe said Mass for the 10th and 12th Grade students taking their final exams the next week.

Saturday, we went to the small village of Dagi where we celebrated the feast day of Archangel Michael. We had Mass in the cutest church I’ve seen yet here in The Kimbe area. The Mass had dancing participants up the aisle, followed by a celebration of dance, songs, a mumu lunch (yum) and all the trimmings and other festivities. Sr. Bernadette was surrounded, like always, by extended family that I enjoyed meeting. We were given a place of honor to sit up on the announcer’s platform. All in all, an enjoyable day.

I am now currently teaching during term 4 which is heading fast toward my own long holiday in December when my twin sister, Debbie, will join me. Please pray for safety as we journey forward.

Bishop Bill is expected back at the end of October. Thank you for all your prayers- it seems he is recovering well from his stroke.

Now I say so-long until my next blog. Thank you for your continued support and prayers. Please know that I am praying for you in return.

Love and God bless from PNG.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Independence Day (PNG)

September 16 is PNG’s 43rd birthday- Happy Birthday PNG and Happy Independence Day. The people are just as patriotic as in the States, but it’s hard not to say ‘Happy 4th. It’s not the fourth and it’s not America. September 16 also marks my 6 month anniversary since I arrived in PNG.

The town of Kimbe is so colorful with flags waving from stores, from cars and trucks and from people’s hair. They wore colorful clothes or traditional outfits, danced up the aisle at church and had a parade of people and vehicles cruise up and down the streets of Kimbe.  Unfortunately, there were no fireworks at night to mark the occasion.

The children were especially adorable dressed in Independence Day clothing. Our Caritas students marched this morning at 6am in a school parade - I guess the students wore their school uniforms. I didn’t go watch them, got up a little later and went to church instead.
September 17 is Monday and a holiday due to Independence Day on Sunday. Unlike the US, all the stores are closed- I guess they don’t capitalize on Independence Day sales so it is very quiet in town.

Term three ends next week, then we have a week vacation and term four begins in October. We had finals last week and have a day off for Independence Day on Monday and a short day next Friday. So it will be a short week and then a week off. Yeah! I’m not sure what to do for my week off. I wanted to go back to Rabaul, but might save my money for when Debbie (my sister) visits.

After term four ends in Nov/Dec, then it will be summer break. For those who may not know, our seasons are switched - summertime in the US is wintertime here and wintertime in the US is summertime here. So Christmas is during the summer and therefore, school break is during the summer also.

Debbie is coming to visit me in Dec/Jan and I’m starting to plan our agenda. We are planning to maybe go to the Highlands and maybe to Rabaul- depending on schedules, travel warnings and budget. It will be nice to have her visit no matter what we do.

Thank you again for your prayers and support. As I am phasing out of my honeymoon phase of mission, I really need your prayers as I encounter ordinary life here in Kimbe. After six months, I am still struggling with the language and really want to break out and join a group or two to become more acquainted with the people of PNG. (Beyond the Sisters, the staff and students and church)

I will continue to pray for you as you hopefully pray for me and my mission. Please leave a comment with suggestions or ideas on what you would like me to write about and I’ll do my best to write about it.  Or just say hello...

Thank you and God bless

My Summer Vacation Part 3: Rabaul

Debbie and I went to Rabaul after Christmas on the Chimbu Passenger Ship. The ship was dirty and I think that is where I got bitten by a b...