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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

*Urgent Prayer Request*

Pacific Orientation Course Incident Statement

This afternoon (Wed. 29 June 2011) at around 1:30pm local time, a wounded man came to Pacific Orientation Course (POC) in Madang, Papua New Guinea seeking transport to the hospital. While the man sat in the POC truck, two assailants came onto POC property where they stabbed him repeatedly with knives.

After the assailants left, the man was taken to the hospital for treatment for his injuries. The man was alive at the time he arrived at the hospital.

The police were notified immediately.

The expatriate staff members are coping well. They were not a target during the attack and they do not feel threatened.

Please pray for peace for the local employees who had never witnessed such violence before. They will receive care to help them cope with the trauma that they have experienced.

Praise God that no staff or employees were injured during this incident. Also praise God that the staff children at POC were not in a position to witness what was happening. We are also thankful that this incident occurred when no courses were in session.

Thank you for praying,

Chris Rice

POC Director

Please pray for Matt. We are unable to give details at this time but he was closely involved in the incident. He is physically fine but is having trouble processing everything that happened. The children and i are fine...


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the land of the unexpected

 I (Matt) made it back home safe and sound but it was a long 4 days. Part of my job here at POC is to drive. There are only a couple of staff and 2 national employees that can drive our vehicles.
     At the end of each course we make a run up to Ukarumpa (the center of SIL in Papua New Guinea) to drop off the students and pickup supplies for POC. I had never taken the students up before and I had some building supplies to pickup in Lae (the second largest city in the country) so the job fell on me.
     We generally take two workmen with us so I chose two guys who hadn’t been in a while, Papa Ganig and Ugal. The three of us loaded up the Hino, a 3.5 ton truck that POC uses to transport students and larger orders, and then all the student sat in the back on foam matrices.
     We left of Ukarumpa Monday morning about 7. The roads around here are always a craps shoot. It is about a 7 hour trip in the Hino with a long strip of unpaved road in the middle. If the unpaved section is in good shape you can shave an hour or more off your time. If it is in bad shape then you can add an hour or more to your time.
     God smiled on us on Monday, the road was in great shape, and I set a personal record! We had enough time after dropping off the students to do some of our work that afternoon. I also had the chance to visit with some of my national friends in the area.
     One of the nationals I visited was Paul, the guy that found the pigs for me. He was concerned that the surviving pig was missing food from the highlands so he sent a huge box of highlands kaukau (a version of sweet potatoes) back with me for the pig to eat.
     PNG is called “the land of the unexpected” and it is true, the most unexpected things happen here. I am beginning to understand this and try to anticipate it. With this in mind I called South Pacific Steel to check on my order in Lae before I arrived and what do you know, they didn’t have it ready. In fact it had not gotten past the quote stage. This is just the way business operates in PNG. I think the reason for this is two part. First, people will tell you what they think you want to hear because it is better to lie to you than to risk breaking the relationship. Secondly, this is not a time oriented culture. They are more concerned about the event. If it happens now or five hours from now it make little difference.
     Long story short, we went to Lae I checked on the order when we arrived. It and another order were not going to be ready until the day we wanted to leave. They kept dragging the time out and we didn’t get to leave Lae until 2:00. Of course the road was much worse going back. They had been trying to grade it in the rain. So, it was not a fun ride back in the dark with a fully loaded truck.
     The fuel light came on a pretty good way from home and there was no place selling fuel. We should not have made it home but we prayed the whole way home and God answered our prayers. We arrived home just before 10 pm with the fuel hand well below the empty line, safe and sound.
    Just another day at the officeSmile

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do You Know This Woman?

{Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies}

She is my hero.

If you are a mother in need of encouragement, go right now to www.aboverubies.org.
It is a wellspring for the weary mama
If you need a reminder that your mothering is not in vain, or that what you are doing matters, go read her online articles or order her Study manual, The Power Of Motherhood. It will shift your perspective in great and positive ways. 
Nancy’s ministry literally changed my life at a time when I was mothering a newborn, toddler, and preschooler in extremely difficult circumstances. When there was nothing of encouragement in my life, it was her magazine in particular that was like sunshine to my heart. You can go to her website and sign up for a free subscription.

Be Blessed! xo~ T

Sunday, June 19, 2011

One Mama, One Big Belly, Five Pumpkins, & No Daddy

{25 weeks}

Our Discovery Course is over so Matt is traveling this week, up to Ukarumpa to drop off the students, then over to Lae to pick up supplies for POC.
That means Mama is home alone. (God Bless Single Mothers!) I am doing all the laundry, cleaning, trash, homeschool, dishes , meals, discipline, first aid, diapers, baths, bedtime,…well, everything. WHEW! Please pray for stamina for me, good behavior for all, safety for Matt and good roads.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

me too, me too

     I was just going to comment on Tiff’s post but she said I should do one too. I don’t think I can hold a candle to what she wrote but here goes…

- you have been wearing flip flops so long that when you put on real shoes they squish your feet

- you can’t remember what language you said that last sentence in.

- You are not surprised by giant trees blocking the road and you fall right in the mix to clear them

- while you are clearing said trees you are being devoured by ravenous ants

- Sometimes stuff cooked in the fire just sounds like a better dinner

- You have to put an extra blanket on the bed when it gets down to 75

-dressing up means a clean pair of shorts and your newest flip flops

- you smell the jungle and can’t help but think about the majesty of God

- The nicest smiles you have ever seen come from people who look nothing like you

- Giant black bats are the pigeons of your town

- Its not strange to reach for your machete if you want to go for a walk

- You are not worried to see a bunch of machete welding teenagers approaching you

- You shake hands with another man at the beginning of a conversation and find you are still holding his hand when the conversation ends

- There are more potholes than there is road

- your money is made of plastic so it won’t mold and mildew

- every bug is a biter

- being 5 foot 9 makes you one of the taller guys around.

- Nobody wears pads in any game referred to as football

- you can’t sit under a tree for fear of getting conked in the head by a coconut

- When you pass someone while walking your first reaction is to tell them where you are going

- there is no greater joy than to give freely of yourself

- friends don’t have to call before they come

- you have to ask if its ok to leave a group

- tea time is not optional



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sometimes, When You’re A Missionary…

~Your 3 year old gets eaten alive by unidentified insects.
~People show up at your doorstep in the middle of dinner or bedtime just to hang out, or in the middle of the night because when they were driving drunk they ran off the road and can’t get their car out of the mud
~You throw your plans out the window
~You nearly die of malaria
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~Your 2 year old runs around in a diaper for a full week because it’s SO hot she refuses to wear clothing
~someone walks into your home when you’ve stepped out for a minute (and forgotten to lock the door) and steals your new bag of sugar, or bottle of oil, or your favorite cookies
~Your favorite friends are scattered all around the world
~You don’t do laundry because you’re busy only to find that 2 days later one hundred million thousand ants have created a nest in the laundry basket
~you eat things you didn't know were edible
~Your children will eat fresh tropical fruit from the vine everyday. But sometimes they will run home screaming hysterically because they have eaten poisonous leaves that burn like fire going down
~You will develop tropical ulcers and boils from minor cuts and scrapes
~you catch 3 rats in your house on ONE night
~you will develop amazing skills as a triage nurse
~You will pray like your head’s on fire
~Your heart will break because you can’t do enough
~You marvel at the vast creativeness of our God
~You will well up in the Presence of God at random times
~You love until it is physically painful
~You will say “God help me, God help me, God help me!” on a daily basis
~You will cry “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You GOD!” on a daily basis
~It will take you 8 hours to get a few things in town that you need
~Your family will become funky bilinguals
~The people you love will forget your Birthdays
~You need to spill your guts but realize there is no one who will remotely understand
~You will desperatly crave food that you can never ever have
~there are weeks when you feel utterly and totally alone in the world
~You see beauty that you could never imagine
~You wake up to sunrise over the ocean every morning
~You will be overwhelmed by the beauty of a full moon rising over the sea
~the life you once knew will fade into distant memory
~thoughts of suburbia become nightmarish
~you lose your personal space
~ returning to your “home country” begins to seem scary
~you give sacrificially and love it
~You develop a relationship with God that you didn’t know was possible
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~people think you’ve lost it and you don’t care
~Your family will never be "normal"
~You realize what ABUNDANT life is all about
~Life is one HUGE adventure

xo Blessings, tiff

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Father knows best

     It has been a crazy week for me. I have had to deal with several different “hevi”s this week. A hevi is generally a  conflict between two people. In the US we would tell the person how we felt or just be mad and get over it. Either way we would generally say our peace and get over it.

     Here it is a completely different situation. Here good relationships are valued over anything else. “gutpela sindoun”- Good relationships and a general good situation is critical to life in the village. 

     When these conflicts arise everything else stops and everyone is thrown into a state of worry. Even the people who are not directly involve in the conflict have a sense of anxiety and have a need to get the conflict resolved.

      This week someone accused one of our workmen of stealing fuel and giving it to his “wantoks” (his family line). What I was not aware of was that there is jealousy between the two lines. So I went and asked the mechanic if he had seen anything funny going on with the fuel. This was a culturally appropriate thing to do. An intermediary is often used to resolve conflict.

     The other thing I didn’t know is that this is not the first time that workmen had been wrongly accused. Me asking the question set in monition a big heavy that traveled through the workmen. I had assured them that the matter had been resolved to my satisfaction and that there was nothing to worry about but this seemed to fall on deaf ears.

    Finally, two days later during morning devotions it all came to a head and we spent two hours talking about it (a very PNG way to handle it). When it was all over everyone was happy we all shook hands and went away “wanbel” (in agreement). I learned a great deal of lessons from this incident but perhaps the most important is what conflict resolution looks like in PNG.

     The second incident was when a man who lives near here wanted to rent one of our cars and driver to go the airport and get his wife the next day. This was the same day that our Discovery Course started so we just couldn’t do it. Generally, if there isn’t a course on we try and provide this kind of service for the community.

     The man was enraged and began to scream and yell. He accused us of never being willing to help him ( even though I carried his wife and mother to the eye clinic in town for free a week before). He then said the land that our water pump was on is his family’s traditional land and that if we wouldn’t help him we had to remove it. The yelling went on for a long time and we just stood and listened.

     He left and I talked the situation over with the workmen that were there. One of them is his closest neighbor. He said he would go and talk with him (the intermediary thing again). What I had forgotten is that people who live that close together are almost always related. This could have been a good thing or a bad thing. If the person is not as prominent a member of the family as the one you have a conflict with they can be dismissed off hand.

     In this case it worked well for us. About an hour after He left, the workman called me and said he and the disgruntled man were coming up to see me.

     When they came we all sat down in our house. The man apologized and explained that he had been under a lot of pressure. We then sat and talked and got to know each other a little more. My brother-in-law (Derrick) who is visiting made them some food (a great PNG thing to do when you are having these kind of makeup sessions).

     I believe that God made this happen for a reason. This man has not lived here in a long time and just moved back this year. In the words of one of my PNG friends he is not back in the rhythm of the mountain. This is no new age saying they just meant he has had trouble fitting back into the ebb and flow of day to day life here and he hasn’t had a chance to see how the new staff here at POC does things. So, I think God made this thing happen so that we could meet and he would know that I am a friend.

     At the end of the day we might not know why God has done what he has done but we can rest assured that it is for our ultimate good and the good of those who love him.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DD is Coming!

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Uncle Derrick (my brother) is on his way!! He is the first visitor we’ve had. Thanks for braving the 3 day trip around the world. We can’t wait to see you!


xo tiff

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wanna Help Train Missionaries?

     We have a library here at POC (Pacific Orientation Course). Part of the training program is reading assignments. The students can choose books on a wide range of subjects from our library. They can also choose from a filing cabinet full of periodical articles. In addition to school work people often read for fun and self betterment.

     Part of my roll here, now that this is my permanent position, is teaching the Anthropology classes. I have started to look at how they were taught before and what materials are being used. I have come to the conclusion that a lot of the material is out of date.

     I have talked to my boss about getting some new materials and they are all for it. I have lots of stuff in mind but I don’t want it to too heavily weighted with my point of view and interests.

     So, I want to hear from you guys. What are some books Christian or otherwise that have influenced who you are as a Christian. These books can be for self betterment, missions studies, anthropology, theology, or just plain fun. Please, post as many as you want to here. I am anxious to see what everyone thinks. If you are interested in sending a couple to us to help with the library and missionary training I can also tell you how to do that. I will start the ball rolling with a couple of my own…

Cultures and Organizations by Hofstede

Walking With the Poor by Myers

Working With the Poor by Myers



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bush Medicine



{view from our back veranda}

Matthew has been sick for a while (coughing until he throws up). So yesterday I took him to town to see the doctor. He is an excellent doctor. The more I see him the more I like him. He diagnosed Matthew with a sinus infection (no biggie). He gave him an antibiotic and we were on our way. Silas, Isaac and Evie had the same cough but not nearly as bad. He said don’t worry about them unless it got worse (which I totally agree with).

     My buddy Miani comes by and hangs out several days a week and he has been very concerned about their coughs. So, he decided to bring them some bush medicine. “Some what?” you ask.

     PNG is an amazing place. It is one of the most botanically diverse places on earth. So, the people here have developed a massive list of cures derived from these plants.

     Doctors and researchers come here regularly to learn about these cures. There was a doctor who came to stay in Songum who studied all the cures and plants there.

     Because Tok Pisin is a trade language it is far from exact. I don’t yet understand the local language, Nobnob, so I’m not really sure what exactly he brought. In Tok Pisin he called it “kol lip”. This just means leaf for a cold.  

     Anyway, these are the instructions I received for its use. First, you must cook it over an open fire ( the gas stove in our case, white skin style). When it has changed color and become soft you must wash it. Once you are done washing it you squeeze the juice out of it into a spoon and drink.

     As you can imagine I was a bit apprehensive about this since up until now I had been told and had told my children not to eat plants that you don’t know. I finally decided that Miani and his family weren't dead so it must be alright.

     Isaac was the first guinea pig, I mean patient. It was remarkable how well it worked. Silas was coughing like crazy this morning so he got a dose. And just now Matthew was coughing like crazy so I gave him some. It seems to have worked miracles for all of them.

    I am a firm believer in bush medicine. It is awesome. Lets go eat some weird plants!!!