Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Apa Update

You may have read our last post about our friend Apa. The last few years of his life have not been easy, but they tell an incredible story of faithfulness and redemption.

Becoming good friends with Apa and hearing his story has been a great blessing to my life. As the previous post stated, Apa used to lead a life of crime. Throughout the valley everyone knew the infamous name of Apa due to his intimidation and violence. I never knew Apa when he was so feared, and it is hard for me to imagine the kind hearted man I know now to have had such a violent reputation.

Through a near death experience Apa gave his life to the Lord and never looked back. Though he has the body of an NFL linebacker he doesn't seem to intimidate anyone. His heart has truly changed.

In the last post Apa had just lost his job as a security guard because of lies that his ex-wife had spread. Apa should have gotten his job back but there were to many complications. I am happy to report that Apa got a better paying job, with better hours working with the mission station maintenance (where I currently spend my days). Though Apa isn't skilled he makes a great laborer, carrying twice as much as I could and working twice as hard as most other guys.

Several months ago some of Apa's relatives took control of Apa's land and in the process burned down his homes, burned all of his possessions, killed his mother, and buried her where Apa could never find her to morn her death. In a conversation not long after this had happened Apa told me that he really wanted to go kill the people who had done this to him, he wanted to follow his instincts from his previous life. But he told me that even though he wanted to go kill, Jesus wanted him to forgive. That his homes, his land, his coffee gardens, and all of his possessions were just that, possessions. That the most important thing was that he continue to follow Jesus. The thing that hit me the hardest was when Apa told me he was tempted to forget he was a Christian for a few days so he could seek revenge, and then return back to faith and ask forgiveness. He ultimately resisted that temptation, but really made me think.

As Apa tells it, "My life is so much greater now that I have given my life to Jesus, I am very sorry for the things I used to do but I do not like to think about those things. God has a plan for me and that makes me very happy, I am people's friend now, and not their enemy."

Since Apa was not able to pay the bride price, his wife's parents took her back which broke up the marriage. Things are still the same today, he is able to pay the bride price, but she is not interested in going back. This has left Apa a single father. His children are staying with relatives of to keep them away from the feud here, and his youngest son, Bobby, stays here on the station with him.

Through all of this Apa stays optimistic. Optimistic for the plans God has for his future, and for as Apa says "forever in heaven with Jesus."

Apa would like to save up enough money to go to bible college and become a pastor. This would be a long hard path of study for him since he does not have the proper education to go strait into bible classes. But we are doing our best to encourage him to become a pastor. His testimony, passion, and faith will surely make him a great preacher and spiritual leader.


The Public Motor Vehicle, or PMV, is almost every Papua New Guinean's form of transportation. A PMV is simply a private owned van, truck, or bus that drives to and from local villages and towns. To qualify your vehicle as a PMV you simply show the right people that you have a form of transportation and a drivers license and your off. It seems like a quick vehicle safety inspection wouldn't be to much trouble for the authorities, and it would certainly give me greater peace of mind when riding in one.

There are several types of PMV's. There is the luxurious Coaster bus which seats 20 or so comfortably, is usually holding 35. There is also the van that seats 12 comfortably but will hold up to 25. Lastly there is my favorite, the PMV Dyna. A Dyna is a common term for a large truck with a small cab and a long flat bed. These Dyna PMV's will hold as many people as you can stuff onto the bed, sometimes standing room only.
The fair for a PMV ride averages out to around 5 cents per kilometer. Though much less comfortable and less convenient, it is much cheaper to take a PMV than take your own car and pay for the fuel. This is mostly because the driver of the PMV is paying for the fuel himself so he is trying to stuff as many bodies into the vehicle as possible.

Trying to get a PMV, more specifically the right PMV can be difficult. Most places we go to get a PMV, there are several waiting for passengers and they are all going different places. Sometimes there is a man hanging out the side yelling where the PMV is headed, but some times they just assume you know where they are going. The man yelling out the side is always speaking very quickly, repeating the destination so fast that it takes me a bit to understand what he is saying. During the time I am processing the info the man hanging out the side always looks at me like I'm an idiot. Example, a lot of PMV's go to a large town nearby called Hagen or Hagen town. The man hanging outside the PMV going to Hagen will say something like "hagetonhagetonhagetonhageton" in less than a second, and somehow I am supposed to decipher what that means.

My favorite part about the PMV's is that the owners like to label or name them. Names like Peace Maker, Fun Bus, Round About, Hugs and Kisses, or Nancy. But the greatest PMV name of all has to be the infamous "Lek Nogut" which means "bad leg" or when talking about a vehicle it would mean "bad wheel." I don't think I want to get into a PMV with a self proclaimed bad wheel. Later I learned that the driver of Lek Nogut had a bum leg and named his ride the same as his disability.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rachel and the Giant Lau Lau

Lau Lau: Large, crunchy fruit similar to the malay apple. Well flavored, although having a subtle sweet taste. Native to Papua New Guinea and some South Pacific Islands.

My definition of a Lau Lau: A fruit that looks like it would taste good and has the texture of an apple. However, expecting a delicious apple flavor only leads to disappointment. Expecting more of a radish flavor would be more appropriate for this nasty little fruit! :)