I arrived back in PNG the evening of the 9th, spent two nights in Port Moresby and then caught the Monday flight to Ukarumpa, arriving late in the afternoon. That evening I spent catching up with Juliann and Sara. The next day was filled with organization and reorienting myself to Ukarumpa, checking mail, updating my computer settings, etc. I was also preparing for my STEP mentor visit in Madang. And I volunteered to fill in for a couple days where they needed help during the Holiday Bible School.
Holiday Bible School happens most Januarys in Ukarumpa. This is a time for Papua New Guinean children from the Aiyura valley to come learn about the love of God in a safe environment through many fun and interesting mediums. There was lots of singing, games, puppet shows, skits, Bible stories, coloring, memory verse time, etc. etc. An average of 500 kids attended each morning and they seemed very attentive and interested. I was able to go and help for two afternoons when they were short staffed and got to observe first hand all the laughter, smiles and learning. It was also great to see Papua New Guineans from the area churches working alongside the ex-pats. The theme was the 10 Commandments and there were Bible stories and activities to help explain each of the commandments in an accessible and memorable way. With prayer and continued discipleship, hopefully the children who attended will have their lives changed with a true understanding of the gospel.
Then came the weekend. I was still packing and organizing my luggage for Madang when Betty called to tell me she is currently in her village in Morobe because her father is really sick. Of course I am sorry Betty’s father is sick but I was definitely thrown for a loop when the plans changed. Obviously the situation can’t be helped and so I stopped to think of all the things that had fallen into place to make it ok for the trip to be cancelled. I had originally asked a friend to come with me for company and safety in Madang, she couldn’t come but another friend agreed to go. This other friend has to be down in Madang next week anyway for work so it was easy for her to change her plans and not have to cancel everything for me. The flight was also changed from Monday to Tuesday allowing me at least one business day to change my reservations. And I can’t help but remember that God knows better than I do when and where I need to be. Maybe Betty will come back to Madang and I will go down in February, maybe not. But for now I have plenty of other projects to continue working on and Juliann is thrilled that I will be staying in Ukarumpa instead of heading off again.
So what’s next? I am just switching gears and all the projects I was going to work on in Madang- I will now sit in the survey office and do the same thing. These projects include some work for the Onobasulu but also lesson planning and prep for teaching English during STEP in March. Also because I am around I will be able to attend and help with some of the Scripture in Use conference happening this week. I am very excited to see what impact this conference has on the church leaders who will be attending from all over PNG.