SmythsInPNG's Weblog

February 14, 2009

February 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — smythsinpng @ 3:07 am

In most of Papua New Guinea you won’t see men walking out of grocery stores this Valentine’s Day with bundles of roses. Godiva chocolate is nowhere to be found, nor Russell Stover, Toblerone, See’s, Whitman’s, Reeses or Mars. Occasionally we can find an Asian version of Cadbury chocolate and Plain M&M’s, but chocolate is not a normal Valentine’s Day gift for most people here. Men and women do not walk down the street hand-in-hand. Restaurants are few and local culture does not promote a Valentine’s Day date. Nonetheless, love can still be seen.

Last Friday love was seen in the compassion of male relatives embracing a widow and her daughter upon arrival when we flew the body of the husband and father to a distant airstrip. It was found in the screeching wail of the women as they mourned their loss together. It was found in the sweet tears and painful grimace of eight year old Lawrencia, adorned in a new white dress, as sadly and sweetly she told me through the aircraft headset of her family travels to bury her father. Here in Papua New Guinea, love is more apparent in grief. In many places the most important message of love is missing: God is love. This young girl and her family so desperately need to hear of God’s selfless love in providing eternal forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ. Hope is on the horizon as missionaries are now working in the language groups into which she was born. It may be a decade before God’s message of love reaches this extended family.

Teaching began in the Mengen tribe this week with about a hundred people meeting in the morning and evening sessions to hear God’s word. One of the exciting things has been to see God work in the hearts of Mengen people to help Dave with the lesson preparaton. It is a tedious process of translating, checking to see if the translation communicates the intended message, correcting errors and checking again. Some of the men are typing the lessons for Dave, then bringing them to him for checking and corrections. Dave says, “Some of them can type faster than I can!” While most of these men have not yet understood the message of life, the principles of transference, passing on responsibilities for communication of God’s message are taking place.

This weekend we are packing and preparing for our short return the USA. Mold, mildew, mites, ants and rodents can do a lot of damage in a short time when left unsupervised. A vehicle and a house have been made available to us in the Northwest. In preparation for our absence our missionary co-workers have been trying to accomplish as much of the necessary travel in January and February as possible. Arrangements have been made for the aviation team in the Highlands to cover essential flying in the months ahead.

Highs and Lows Today

Highs and Lows Today

There is a full time dentist available to serve us at the moment. His office is two and a half flight hours away. When the availability of the dentist, an aircraft, a pilot and financial resources all match a dental flight may occur. When those things don’t match folks may just “make do.” The mountains don’t change much but the view is different on every flight due to the position of the clouds and the sun creating unique views of the beautiful landscape.

Sweetened Smiles

Sweetened Smiles

Aircraft maintenance by the Highlands team is always fascinating.

Major Maintenance

Major Maintenance

This week they were preparing parts for painting, rebuilding horizontal stabilizers and flaps, among other things.

Stripping paint with a smile

Stripping paint with a smile

Working in so many remote locations requires a large support team, all committed to spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world.

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Rebuilding Stabilizer

Rebuilding Stabilizer

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