As I mentioned before, Papua New Guinea is the land of the unexpected. With over 800 languages and a rapidly changing culture, new experiences are bound to happen. Being married to a Papua New Guinean brings new aspects to our married life as well. The typical stories of growing up in the states have a whole new perspective as Jay tells of his unique childhood adventures. Some of these childhood adventures have been reenacted in our married life. As I look back on what I’ve experienced already, my mind is filled with wonder and amusing laughter wells up in my heart. Some of the events I say, “I cannot believe I saw that,” while in others I rejoice at the undeserved opportunity of service to my Savior. I give thanks for everything experienced so far in the village, watching the beautiful orchestration of God’s masterpiece conducted according to God’s magnificent design. Here are some of the unusual and unique events that have happened so far in Papua New Guinea.
- Getting married with one day of preparation (Got approval of marriage intention late Thursday, April 5th and married Saturday, April 7th)
- The amazing ability of wonderful people such as Jim Tanner to get all the arrangements made (decorations, cake, photographer, refreshments, area) in such a short period of time
- Traveling 7-8 hours on a deteriorating road from Goroka where we got married to Hagen in Southern Highlands
- Dodging a myriad of potholes on the main highway, the Highlands Highway
- Traversing the even more rugged road of uneven rocks and split ground, damaged by the earthquake, to go to the village in Nembi-Plateau
- Every woman I met in the village saying they are either Jayson’s mother, grandmother, or auntie and every man Jayson’s father, grandfather, or uncle (in PNG, mother or father is a general term for any in-law or relative). The family tree is quite extensive, to say the least.
- Several live pigs were given to me as a bride price, including one relative of Jayson giving me the biggest pig I have seen in my life. Even our large land cruiser would not have been capable of bringing the pig back to the village (it’s worth was 10,000K- about $4,000)
- Almost every day, someone brought fresh fruits or vegetables fresh from the garden. Almost every night, I would use that same fresh produce to cook for a large group of people who came to our house for fellowship and discussion.
- Close to 80 ladies attend the ladies’ meeting held in Moriah Baptist Church. Some ladies walk for over an hour just to come and hear God’s Word, so hungry for growth. They all enjoy swit kai, what they call the little cookies or biscuits I make for them.
- Watching a pig be killed and the whole pig be put on hot rocks along with some sweet potato and some greens then covered in banana leaves and left to cook for several hours (they call this mumu)
- Stalling on the slippery muddy steep incline from our house to the church one Sunday, our car coming dangerously close to the edge of the mountain. This was during Jayson’s first attempts at learning the manual stick shifting. One of the boys helped us escape this predicament and we arrived at church safely. Now, Jayson has mastered the art of shifting and we only stall out every so often.
- Having a strange animal called a Kabul brought by the tail to our house by one of the men in the village. This creature has 5 fingers with large sharp claws and a long tail, similarly to a wallaby. A cage was made for it that night, and the Kabul was put in the car. A few days later, some of the men killed the kabul and the family ate it.
- Jay bought another creature more familiar to me from a boy who caught it in the bush. A long green and yellow snake- to this day I have no idea if it was venomous. I’m glad the boy had a grip on the neck close to the head. The snake also was killed, and mumu’d (cooked on hot stones) right in our fenced area.
- I was told I could have someone’s baby (she wanted to give it to me to show how much she loved and appreciated me)
I love the extraordinary place I get to call home. The vibrant green mountains and succulent fruits of the diverse types of trees wane in comparison to the sweet treasure of each special life on this stunning island. God’s marvelous hand masterfully directed every step of this unique journey, and my heart ecstatically flutters when I imagine the boundless adventures ahead. More unique stories and situations are still to come…now is just the beginning.