by Mission News
Most adventures begin with a single step, but mine began with several flights before I found myself standing on PNG soil in Port Moresby. Along the way, I stopped off in Brisbane, via Christchurch, to stay with the ever hospitable Ryans while enjoying the Brisbane meetings on Sunday.
Monday morning meant another flight, this time to Port Moresby, where we enjoyed a relaxed dinner with some of the saints.
Tuesday morning, another flight, this time to Wewak when the real journey begins. Originally we were meant to catch a flight up to Lumi, but MAF (the local flight company) decided that this was a good week to conduct staff training so we switched to a backup plan which involved a Land cruiser packed to the gunnels with pastors (I counted seven pastors plus Kid our driver and Pastor Pascal’s son, Raymond). Space was at a premium with nine passengers so our luggage was secured on to the roof of the sturdy Land cruiser. Before getting underway we caught up with the Wewak saints at a midweek meeting.
The next day we wended our way towards Lumi, driving on what is charitably called “roads” but more aptly named “goat tracks”. Kidh, our driver, did a great job until momentarily losing concentration when we had just passed Wulukum, picking a fight between our Landcruiser and a steel bridge, and coming off second best (sorry Kidh, we had to mention this). Thankfully, we were able to get underway by just replacing a wheel and effecting minor repairs when we got to Lumi.
We made our stay at Jerry’s Guesthouse where sisters Magdalene and Nola did a great job of providing food and even doing our dirty laundry (literally not metaphorically). The nearest assembly was at Milliom and we found our way there on several occasions, not only because of the excellent fellowship but also because there we could find reasonable internet access and Pr Darcy could charge his laptop (first world problems).
We did some hall openings at Otimgi and Poraf. At Poraf we had a baptism at the local river, watched by lots of observers on the surrounding hills. As usual, half the fun was getting there, and the saints couldn’t have been more hospitable providing enthusiastic singing and refreshments (they must have somehow thought that we were looking too thin(!) as they kept on trying to feed us).
At Poraf, Pr Richard Narang0 was officially made the new Zone Pastor for the Lumi Zone (he’s the one on the left—the guy on the right was just photo bombing).
We spent five days at Lumi, conducting various meetings with the oversight in addition to the hall openings mentioned above. We then began the long trip back to Wewak, stopping at various assemblies along the way, including a two-day stop at Maprik.
First stop was Wulukum (Pr Luke), with a song composed in Pr Darcy’s honour sung by the assembly.
We left Wulukum, running late, and then headed off to Angra (which we found was an hour each way off the main “highway”), stopping off at a couple of assemblies along the way.
The saints at Angra had been waiting patiently for us and put on the usual amazing welcome. They showed us some coconut trees that had been planted on the previous visit by Pr David Manley and Richard Hood, several years before. Richard’s coconut tree (left) was thriving but Pr David’s tree wasn’t doing nearly as well (right).
The time we got to Penning the day was drawing to a close, and we still had to get to Maprik for the night. Our timeframe wasn’t helped by our Landcruiser developing a flat tyre, and we had already lost our spare wheel in the bridge accident several days earlier. Thankfully, we could cobble a spare wheel off the other Landcruiser that was travelling with but it meant that we had to get three tyre tubes the next day at Maprik.
The saints at Maprik, as they had been everywhere in PNG, were pleased to see us and we had a meeting and gave a few thoughts from the Bible. Pr Darcy entertained the pikininis while we waiting for the wheels to be changed/swapped.
When we finally arrived at Maprik darkness had settled over the city, but Pr Roderick had generously organised food for us which was very welcome.
The next day we had an oversight meeting at Meko where we discussed, amongst other things, whether or not a government identity card was the Mark of the Beast (which it isn’t) and how best to manage assembly finances to avoid any accusations of impropriety.
Maprik was having problems with its power supply which meant that the power was turned off during the day, but thankfully was working during the night which allowed the ceiling fans in our rooms to work throughout the night (PNG’s climate is tough coming from Dunedin). The second day in Maprik we went to a house meeting in Bons. Pr Darcy tried to help the music by picking up a tambourine but ultimately was unsuccessful.
After a night in Wewak, we flew back to Port Moresby for our final engagement of a hall opening at ATS (Airborne Transport Squadron?). This was covered by the local television media (Pr Urban was interviewed at length) and included two baptisms.
Thanks to the saints at PNG for their unstinting hospitality, and thanks also to Pr Darcy for allowing me to come along for the ride. Truly, “Tiring but Inspiring”.
November 21, 2023
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