Hi Friends! Can you believe that today marks one month exactly since we said “see ya later” to Deborah at the airport? Because Deborah is able to send emails more cheaply than she can access the internet, I am probably going to be uploading most of her posts for this year. From what we can tell, Deborah is doing really well, and true to her nature took time out of a lively schedule to send us each a few stories and tidbits of information which she thought we would especially enjoy:
Facts from Deborah about life in PNG (these are from life at the missionary Center, where they are able to stay and do printing and computer work when not in the villages):
- I still wash my glasses as much as I do at home.
- Tiny ants live in every room of the house. As expected, the kitchen counter is their preferred area. I’m not quite used to sharing my toothbrush with them, nor my retainer, mug, dinner, laptop, and eyeglasses. These ants are always moving, so they’re typically easy to spot. The only place I’ve really and truly tried to keep them out of is my dresser, to which I put cotton rounds scented with essential oils in the drawers. This has thankfully kept them away so far! Brushing ants off my arms and legs and neck is now a casual hobby of mine.
- Light switches are backwards here. To turn a light on, the switch is flipped downward. In addition, the outlets have power switches to turn on and off and in some cases leave on or off. For instance, the outlet the fridge is plugged into gets left on.
- Aunt Sylvia planted a variety of fruit in the backyard. One thing in the backyard that came with the house years ago is a mango tree; it is big and tall, and for the first time, it is producing fruit. The mangoes we’ve eaten so far are from market. Uncle Andy doesn’t care for the taste of mango. Aunt Sylvia also has banana trees, pineapple, passion fruit, avocado, papaya, oranges, tangerines, lemons (she did not plant), cherry guava, pumpkin, oregano, mint, azaleas, gardenias, and lemongrass.
- Saturday December fifth, we drove to the river to wash the car and the gate to let cars in was locked shut, but a door-sized gate within the car gate was open, so we walked to the river and to the right of the pathway was elephant grass, at least ten feet high. Across the river is a village. I couldn’t see the village, though, because of trees. Monu, the Grosh’s yard maid, lives in that village. Monu does outside work for us—tends the fruit trees, hangs our clothes to dry then gathers them, dumps our wet garbage (fruit skins, egg shells) in a hole in the backyard then washes the bucket out. The Groshes have Monu work for them as a courtesy to give back to the community. There are few paying jobs in the area. On the edge of the river was a Papua New Guinean woman washing clothes and further down the bend were New Guinean children playing in the water. Because of a drought, the water level is fairly low, which is precisely why we were going to the river to wash the car instead of washing it at the house. The Grosh kids got baptized in this river. It has small stones, and consequently the water is clear. After seeing the river, we took a tour by car of the Ukarumpa center.
- I’m excited about my work! I get to type handwritten parts of the Kaluli Bible into Paratext, a computer program for Bible translators. Many words have become familiar to type since I started transferring the book of Matthew on Monday, even though I don’t know Kaluli. I think of my work as decoding for the Kingdom of God.
As Deborah’s family, we are very thankful that we have been able to message through Skype several times and voice call twice since she arrived (just being able to hearing her voice makes my day). We have heard stories of how Deborah went unexpectedly “sightseeing” for a bit when she was finding her way home from an assignment and wasn’t quite sure which road was the right one. We have laughed at tales of insects, new foods, and what it is like to live in a place like PNG. We have cried thinking of how much we miss our Deborah in the moments when the hole left in our home is especially felt. But most of all, we have prayed and thanked God for His call on her life and His call on each of our lives to make His name great throughout Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Another update with more pictures and stories next week for CHRISTmas!