The last month has been the hardest here so far. The honeymoon stage is wearing off and I find myself having to work harder to do the normal things and be joyful in it. Chores have been more exhausting, parenting has taken on new levels of work, family and friends have felt farther and the task of learning not one but two languages has looked like Mount Everest. So when David heard that there was a girl’s trip to Itutang he signed me up with no hesitation. The moment we stepped off the helicopter and into the tribe my heart was strengthened. It felt like the whole time I was in Itutang the Lord was saying, “This is why I have brought you to Papua New Guinea. Come and see what I have done among this tribe.”
Bill and Kelly Housely are some of the missionaries that have been working amoung the Itutang people over the last 12 years. It was awesome to see the church strong and thriving and the faith the believers was a treasure. During the visit I was able to sit down and hear testimonies from many believers of how the gospel has radically changed their lives. I saw first hand their dependence and faith in God. Currently Papua New Guinea is going through a huge drought, one of the worst they have had in 10 years. Rain is everything for the people here as they depend on it for their gardens to grow and thus for there to be food to eat. While we were in Itutang it rained three times and much thanks was going straight to the Lord for His provision.
I had so much joy just being with the people. Here in orientation we are somewhat fenced in and have to drive or walk 15 minutes to get to the nearest village. I really enjoyed just walking out the front door and having people to sit down and practice Tok Pisin with. As a mom that makes language learning so much easier!
When Bill and Kelly moved into the tribe the people only spoke their Tok Ples language but since then they have learned Tok Pisin and some are even learning English. I was able to help some kids on their reading exams and that was a blast. The kids were able to read in their Tok Ples language, Tok Pisin and English! To make them feel better I tried to read a story in their Tok Ples language and couldn’t even read the first word. (It looked something like this, “Ejribfjhkche”)
One of the hardest things to see is people and children who are ill and in pain. I had the privilege of meeting one woman in the Itutang tribe who has been suffering from stage four breast cancer for the last 2 years. Over the course of time the breast cancer has completely eaten away her left breast and it is now a huge open sore covering her chest and moving on under her arm and to her back. She was clearly frail and in so much pain. Kelly was able to see her and give her some pain medication and rice on the last night we were there. In the morning the woman asked her daughter to get her skirt and she walked up to Kelly’s house to say goodbye to us. Before we left she said this, “I am so ready to go see Jesus. I know that I am sinful. That He paid for my sins and I am just happy thinking about going to be with Him. There will be no more pain and no more sin.” I cannot tell you how much this encouraged my heart and how this was another reminder of why we are here and why it is so important.
Multiple times my eyes were filled with tears at the privileged it is to be here. Ten years ago I began to feel the desire to serve overseas but thought there was no way the Lord could want me to go. Little ol scardy cat me who would never do anything that meant being out of my comfort zone. I severely underestimated the grace and power of God. I am humbled that He was patient with me over the years of doubt and fear and that gently He showed me more of Him and less of me. This job is hard, its no joke. Every bit of me is challenged on a daily basis but I honestly can say there is nowhere else I would rather be then here in PNG.