First off, my apologies to any of you who checked my blog and were disappointed at finding there were no updates during my time in PNG. I thought that I would have more opportunity to access internet, but I did not. Once I did have internet it was costly and I would have had to update from my iPod (I saved you the horror of multiple, unintentional spelling errors, so thank me).
I have no idea how I'm going to fill you in on everything that happened, so don't expect it all at once. For now, I'm just going to use my journal as a guide and hit on a few highlights every couple of days or something. There is a lot to get done with classes around the corner and my having been out of country for 8 weeks....
June 8 we (the Discovery team of 10) arrived in Port Moresby (the capital of PNG) and stayed there for two nights at a missionary guesthouse. It was nice to not have much to occupy those first couple days since we were getting over jetlag. (PNG is 14 hours ahead of Virginia.) We went out to look at the market and gained a few ideas for souvenirs; most of us were frustrated because we had not yet exchanged money and had to reject everyone's offer to sell. The following day we went to BTA (Bible Translation Association), a translation organization operated by nationals. They shared a few video clips with us and we heard a couple short testimonies. One of the Papua New Guineans emphasized the need to have Scripture in the heart language because even though they may have learned another language that had God's Word, they still had to be taught what those other words meant.
After our two nights in Port Moresby, we flew to Madang to begin our orientation. POC (Pacific Orientation Course) was wonderful! We really began to bond as a team with our being thrown into learning Tok Pisin (trade language of PNG) together and more deeply during our team meetings each evening when we would have times of sharing testimonies, worship, and prayer. POC was very busy - most of my journal entries are cut off or interrupted, a true reflection of all that went on. Even as I glance at our schedule, it seems as though we were busier than it shows.
While at POC, there was this exciting time of pulling laundry off the line that’s right outside our rooms. One night, I was getting my towel so I could shower, when I saw “a mommy gecko carrying a baby gecko.” I immediately informed my roommate of this, as it startled me. She came out and didn’t scream, but kinda stepped back and said “that’s not a gecko.” I looked at the “not a gecko” from a new angle this time and saw what she saw – a snake eating a gecko. ☺ It was great! Two of the guys came rushing out with cameras; one was determined to take it down and chop its head off. I was determined that we get Papa Ray (director of POC) before anything was done. Papa Ray’s been a missionary to PNG for 30+ years, so he could tell us that the snake was not poisonous. Instead of chopping the snake’s head off, one of the guys carried it over to the bush to release it.
During our orientation we had several hikes, all of which were great – some more wearying than others. But the activities more exciting than hiking were those of going to Jais Aben. I’m not much of a swimmer by any means (just learned how to swim last year), but I did go snorkeling for the first time – in PNG! Very exciting for me! There were four of us who were going out together. Two had gone ahead and one was nice enough to stick with me. ☺ There were lots of coral and more fish than I would ever be able to recall and identify. We had been given a tok save (informational talk) about the different sea creatures we may encounter. We were warned about the sea urchins, blue striped octopuses, and jellyfish. The sea urchins were plentiful, but it’s kind of obvious how to avoid them and they don’t come after you. Jellyfish, however, swim beside you. Not. Cool. At. All. I was blessed with the awesome experience of spotting the team’s first jellyfish. Because there were no solid rocks for me to stop on and the jellyfish was inches away from where I was swimming; there were branches on one side, and I couldn’t escape that direction…so I head for the nearest person, my awesome brother Jason! Haha – he was safely standing on rocks between sea urchins when I reached him, the jellyfish still close behind me. In my “freaking out,” he grabbed me and all I could do was laugh, without telling him exactly why I was freaking out. Thankfully, his rescue did not result in his stepping on a sea urchin, but my freaking out did result in some coral cuts to my knee and toes…could have been worse.
More to come…hopefully!