Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Warakar is a fairly remote village about 30 min drive and 45 min walk from the station we live on. I was invited to go by a friend who works for the maintenance crew here on station. Of coarse I jumped at the opportunity to go. It's always a treat to go visit the "bush" to go for a hike and see how the majority of people in the highlands of PNG live. This however, was not the typical hiking trip I was used to. The day before the hike I got a letter from the Warakar village leader via my maintenance friend. The letter read very nicely at the beginning talking about how he and his people were exited about my upcoming visit, but the second half was concerning to say the least. The later half of the letter said things about Rachel and I promising to come back to PNG in 3 years to start an orphanage in the Warakar village. Like I said before this was concerning since we had made no such promise. Putting the pleasent first half of the letter in context with the second half made it clear the hike was intended to be a scouting visit for the potential orphanage.

Luckily I was able to express my concerns with Dan, my maintenance friend, before he left that day. Thankfully he shared my concerns and said that if he had read the letter he would have never given it to me. I did the best I could to tell Dan that he needed to go back to his village that night and make it clear that we were just coming for a hike, not a scouting visit. I feared that though Dan was not in agreement with the village leader, the rest of the village may be expecting something of me that I can't deliver.
After some good advice from a full time missionary here on station, Dan and I departed for his village early in the morning. To get to the village we took two PMVs (public motor vehicles), essentially just vans that people pile in to get around for a little money. When we went as far as a PMV would go we push started an old beat up truck that took us a few miles. When we were a far as the truck would take us we walked for another 45 min or so. Finally to the village I was greeted by what seemed to be the entire village. Probably the most interesting greeting I have ever received in my life was by and old man with no teeth who shook my hand, told me that I had big muscles, then proceeded to squeeze my arms, shoulders, and chest with both hands. After recovering from being felt up by a toothless old man we took off on our hike. We hiked for 3 hours or so up and down the mountain side seeing some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever laid my eyes on. The main highlight of the hike was a waterfall that was about 400 ft tall where the water crashed on a ledge and just exploded into mist. I took at least 20 pictures of the waterfall but none of them come even close to capturing the beauty of it all. This was probably the most difficult hike I have ever been on walking up and down streams, crossing rivers, and other things that I will not mention since I know that my mother reads this blog.

The whole experience is one that I will not soon forget. I got to meet some people who were unbelievably kind and hospitable considering my refusal to start an orphanage. I also got to meet my first name-sake, little Jordan the first son of my friend Dan and his wife. Rachel and I have started a small competition of who can have the most name-sakes before we leave PNG. In case you are interested, I am winning Jordan:1, Rachel:1/2 (Dichel, half DIane half raCHEL). Though we make light of it all with a competition I can't help from feeling honored.

Though the concerns with the whole orphanage thing, the people of Warakar have a great need for a school. When Dan was a young he had to walk 2 and 1/2 hours just to get to school, that's five hours of walking every day and it is still that way today. This great distance from school has lead to almost all of the children in the village not attending any kind of school. I am not sure what the best course of action is for the people of Warakar to remedy their education needs, but I know that God has a plan for it all. So please pray for Warakar.

Monday, April 26, 2010


This is a post written by Dr. Andy Bennet, a full time medical missionary, on his blog site http://day-in-paradise.blogspot.com/. A good friend of mine (Apa) has not had it easy the last few years and has recently had more heart ache. Dr. Any knows Apa better than I and can tell you his story with greater accuracy and tact.

I didn't know how one life could contain so much heartbreak.

He was born with deformed hands. His left hand has a normal thumb and one finger. His right hand has a thumb and 3 fused fingers. Somehow, he seems to be able to handle things and do basic sorts of work.

Although raised in the church, he had never asked Jesus into his life. He followed a life of crime.

By about 2 years ago, he was married and had 3 children. As the only son in his family, he had inherited a large piece of land, and felt pretty well set.

Then one rainy night, he was walking along a familiar path near a river with his 4 year-old son on his shoulders. He was depending on his knowledge of the route, along with the dim moonlight of an overcast night. What he didn't know, and couldn't see, was that there was a place where the heavy rains had washed a section of the path into the stream. He stepped off into the washed-out section and fell and tumbled into the river. He grasped his son's leg with his left hand, but his arm struck a stone, which loosened his grip. They both plunged into the cold, rain-swollen water. He was disoriented at first--perhaps he also struck his head in the fall. In the swirling water he heard a voice saying, "give your life to Jesus." The words were repeated 2 times. There in the blackness, he gave his life to Jesus. Quickly his mind cleared, and he was able to lunge to the surface of the water.

Apa called his son's name, and thrashed around in the water trying to find his son, but to no avail. It was not until 3 days later that the little boy's body was found, some distance downstream.

Sometime after this, his wife's family came and took her away from Apa. He had not paid any bride price at the time of the marriage, and because he couldn't work for wages (no one would hire him because of his had deformities), and because he didn't have any brothers or other close relatives to help him, he had not been able to pay, and her family had allowed him to postpone payment. But now their patience was at an end. Besides, they accused him of killing his son. If they were serious about this accusation, I don't know why they didn't try to take the other children away from him, but they didn't.

He was recently able to get a job as a security guard at the hospital, and thing were looking up. He assumed that if he could save up some money to pay bride price, he would get his wife back. A friend even offered a generous gift to help with the bride price. But then it became obvious that she did not want to come back to him. There were rumors that she had moved in with another man. Then she went to his employer with false accusations that lead to the loss of his job.

A few weeks ago, it became obvious that some of Apa's cousins were determined to take his land away from him. His coffee gardens were about his only source of income. Because there were many male cousins to divide their family's land, they didn't have much for each one of them. They told Apa that they wanted the land. However, Apa's mother was living on the land, and she had enough influence in the tribe to make it difficult for them.

Last week, Apa's relatives accused his mother of using sorcery to cause the death of another relative. In many deaths, especially ones that aren't understood, it is assumed that sorcery is involved. It is culturally acceptable to take revenge on sorcerers, and the sorcerer's family has no right of counter revenge. It therefore becomes convenient to bring an accusation of sorcery against someone whom one wants to hurt or kill. So the cousins accused Apa's mother of sorcery. They found her in the market, with Apa's 2 children. They attacked her and killed her.

They apparently intended to kill the children as well. The little girl was left on the ground unconscious, and assumed dead. The little boy got lost in the crowd, and was rescued by a female relative, who hid him under her coat. The murderers carried the body of Apa's mother away, and buried her in a location that is unknown to Apa, to deny him of the ability to hold a proper funeral and burial for her. After the murderers left, someone noted that the little girl was still breathing, and she was brought to the hospital, where she recovered. Both children are now safe with other relatives.

Finally, the relatives have burned Apa's house, along with all his possessions. The items he mentioned specifically that were lost were his Bibles.

He came to the house Sunday afternoon, along with Simon and Esther, mutual friends. We had known bits and pieces of his story, but not many of the details. Obviously, most of what has happened to Apa can't be fixed, but we are going to try to help with a few things. Judy had a new Bible which had not yet started "feeling like mine", and she gave it to him. I know someone who can talk to his former boss to see if there is a possibility of getting the job back, and I have shared the story with him. Apa has been given a little cash to help with immediate expenses. Most of all, we are requesting your prayers for him.

Late note: Apa may be getting his job back. His wife, who works at the hospital will probably be reprimanded for lying to the security company and getting him fired, and if he doesn't get the job back, she will probably be fired. A tiny shred of justice in this painful situation.

We're back in the land of blogging!

Alrighty...so we may have underestimated our ability to maintain a blog. Apparently you have to write things now and then and we are amazingly good at putting that off!
BUT we are prepared to give it another shot!! YAY! Part of our problem may have been that we felt the need to write about huge exciting things and now that we are in some what of a routine, big exciting things don't seem to happen quite as often....SO our blogs will now be about things that happen in our normal day. Hopefully some of you will find that interesting!?!

To get you a little caught up...here are some of the things we've learned so far:

-Pineapples grow on low spiky bush like plants...NOT trees.
-Peanuts that come right out of the ground don't actually taste like a peanut. Apparently it has to be roasted first before it tastes like the familiar nut we all know and love. (AND...this just in...raw peanuts can grow a deadly fungus! Good reason to roast them!)
-96% of dogs are NOT friendly.
-A banana tree will only produce one bunch of bananas.
- If you are a child and haven't seen a white person before...we are very very scary!
- There is a difference between sugar fruit, passion fruit, and tree tomatoes...even though they still all look the same to me!
-The local tribal language sounds like it's about 90% vowels, 6% consonants, and 4% grunts. (Thank goodness we can communicate in Pidgin instead!)
- Sarcasm does not translate.
-Everyone despises the Chinese for their cheap products.
-Everything moves a little slower in PNG. Jordan's new rule is to estimate the time to finish something and then double it.
-There is no such thing as standing in line. You just work your way to the front of the crowd to get what you need.
-Be mindful of the babies you hold, some of them are....well...some of them are not properly "sealed"
-AND most importantly...God is SO faithful!

Hopefully we'll have more blogs soon!! :)