I want to introduce you to the other me.
The missionary me.
To you, I’m the guy who writes www.moneyhelpforchristians.com.
But, that’s just my early morning job.
In real life, I’m a missionary in Papua New Guinea.
Typically, I try to draw a distinct line between those two roles I play, but today I’m going to share pictures and stories from my recent trip to a village on the North Coast of Papua New Guinea. The village is called Lavora.
I took the trip to Lavora with three other guys from Alotau – John, Marthy, and Layne. We traveled to Lavora because there were some leadership issues and morality issues that had caused enough issues in the church that they stopped coming together for Sunday Services.
Interestingly, as I was heading out the door, I decided to check my email one last time. I had an email from my web host saying that they were shutting down my site because it was using too large a portion of its server. There were some issues I had to resolve before they would bring it back online.
The idea of MH4C being down for the four days I was gone didn’t sit well.
Lavora has no running water, electricity, and obviously no internet.
I did what I could to salvage the situation, but eventually had to go to the bus stop.
The bus was running late, so I told the guys I was going to walk over to the International Hotel and try and resolve the website issue before we went. I was able to confirm that the issue was resolved and the website was back online. About 4 seconds later, I got a call from one of the guys saying the bus was ready.
Doesn’t God do amazing things?
I definitely felt a lot better knowing that MH4C would be up and running while I was gone.
John and Marthy wait at the bus stop.
In the bus. The bus ride is only an ‘hour’ to where we catch the boat. I think in the first 30 minutes, we drove into town and back to the bus stop. After that, it was an hour of actual drive time.
Since the ride was short, there wasn’t much discomfort. The only really uncomfortable part was when we were driving down a steep mountain when everyone slid to the front where I was sitting . I got squashed like a little grape.
However, before we knew it, we were at the place where buses transfer to boats.
The people on the boat.
The boat ride was supposed to be “45 minutes to an hour”. Two and a half hours later, we pulled into Lavora. Fortunately, we had some beautiful scenery to enjoy along the way. We even saw dolphins jumping beside the boat. I was too slow with the camera, so I didn’t get any pictures of the dolphins.
As it was turning dark, we arrived in Lavora. We were able to quickly get set up. The group welcomed us with dinner and hot tea. Sorry, no pictures because it was dark.
For a little privacy and to keep mosquitos out, I typically travel with a tent.
Breakfast/Dinner: Since we had the same thing for breakfast and dinner, I figured there was no point in duplicating pictures.
Menu: Rice, sweet potatoes, cooked bananas, and greens.
During the mornings, we would teach classes with the Christians. Afternoons were free for visiting and meetings. In the evenings, we had more teaching.
We went out on a Monday and were supposed to come back on Thursday.
Wednesday night I was really disappointed because we were informed that the boat didn’t come back on Wednesday night, and so it may not go out again until Friday. Thursday was Thanksgiving Day, so I was hoping to be home. Also, I’d told the kids we would set up the Christmas tree on Friday.
Fortunately, God opened the door for us and we were able to travel Thursday morning.
When we arrived at the place we were supposed to catch the bus, we were told that due to a dispute, the buses could not operate that day. I guess some people from a local village attacked one of the bus passengers because they were upset about something with the road.
I called my wife. (Cell phones are such a blessing! This was my first trip out that way where I could actually get cell reception. I couldn’t always call, but I could sent text messages.) She agreed to see what was going on and to see if they would let a personal vehicle pass.
Within an hour or so, she was there.
On the way home, we did pass through a mob of people carrying large bush knives, but I just smiled and drove through. Clearly, their dispute wasn’t with us .
These village trips are always hard for me, but I love the feeling of coming home!
As for the purpose of the trip, it does look promising that the group will be able to resolve some of their disagreements and begin meeting again. One can never really know until it actually happens.