Monday, June 27, 2011

Fourth Update

The weeks are starting to go by so quickly and really resemble each other, so I am pretty sure if I wrote out every day’s details it would be very boring and repetitive!  We had 2 visitors come from Montana on Tuesday, they are 23 and 24 and have been fun to get to know this past week. We went on a long, scenic walk one afternoon, and the scenery was stunning!  I got tons of pictures of the mountains, and PNG life.  I came out to the radio station again this week in the hopes of working with my deaf girl, Sandra, but she has never come.  That is a bummer, because I think I could really help her.  It seemed like it finally clicked to her that I actually knew a whole finger language, she couldn’t stop watching me sign the songs the other day in church and gestured for me to come sit with her.  She did learn the signs for boy and girl, and bad and good and was having fun running around telling everyone they were a bad girl.  J  I am praying and hoping I will get a chance to give her the wordless chick track I got to bring over, and that she will comprehend what the pictures are saying.
I taught Junior Church again this week, it is so fun to sing with all the little kids and I have been teaching them about Hudson Taylor.  They understand some of what I am saying, and I ask them, “You save (pronounced sav-ay) or nogat? Which means, Do you understand? 
I am getting to know some of the PNG ladies in church better, and one came to me on Wednesday night and said “likem you” (which means Love you.)  I feel mixed feelings about this, because I want them to love me but I also know I am leaving and I don’t want them to get attached to me and then be sad when I leave.  I can greet people in Pidgin now, which they all like a lot.  The words I know are just English words spoken with an accent.  They don’t ask how are you here, they say “You alright?” “I’m alright.”
 I am teaching all 7 Wells’ children piano now, twice a week to try to help them as much as I can while I am here.  A few of them are really enjoying the lessons, and progressing well, so that has been a blessing. 
Tonight I just finished typing out the Institute of Bible Truth’s Missions course.  I merged 2 courses together and re-wrote and simplified all 40,000 words, so that was quite a job! 
We had a girl’s night at Deborah’s on Friday night.  That was really fun.  We all stayed up late and watched a movie.  We didn’t have power except the generator, and the stove and hot water were off because the kitchen was under construction, so we roasted hot dogs over a fire and boiled water for hot chocolate and it felt very third world…kind of.  J The men were all at a Faithful Men overnight meeting.  We spent all day Saturday over at KBBN also, and it was a lot of fun.  We were all very excited for the Wells’ as they installed their brand, new beautiful stove!  We celebrated with a cake and chili. 
Emily Wells’ slept over the Mission Home on Saturday night to help me prepare my big Italian feast.  I have learned a lot baking over here- the oven pilot light goes out all the time, and you never know when, so cooking times and temperatures are very subjective.  It is so humid that something that seems almost overdone, is gooey in the morning!  My plan on Saturday night was to start with baking a strawberry pie.  I had bought canned strawberries.  Well, the strawberries were rotten. No problem, I just so happened to have fresh ones.  3 worms and mild heart attacks later, my fresh strawberries were ready.  Then it took like a half hour to find a recipe that did not call for strawberry gelatin because we didn’t have any.  We finally found one and Emily made that.  I worked on rolling out the pie crust but something seemed terribly wrong.  The crust was a strange, greasy consistency.  I shaped it in the pie dish and baked it.  When it came out it looked even worse than when I had put it in! And it tasted absolutely awful, crunchy and greasy.  Becky came out a few minutes later and realized that somehow the oils had gotten moved around and we ended up using the unmarked deep fryer oil for the pie.  :P That explained a lot.  Plan G was now in place for our strawberry dessert…we scraped the berry mixture out of the pie and made a cobbler.  It was pretty late when we attempted our other dessert which was also close to disaster the entire baking time, but turned out good in the end.  Then we de-bugged and cut up cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, and broccoli.  I made Italian dressing, browned the beef (the sausage here is really expensive and seems iffy), did the dishes, and finally got to bed around 12!  After church and choir practice on Sunday we served a sit-down dinner to over 20 people, including some other guests at the missionary home and Mr. and Mrs. Wells who were in town for the weekend.  We had broccoli and pasta, Italian green beans, cucumber salad, and garlic bread.  Praise the Lord it all came together…barely…the ingredients substitution thing, sharing a kitchen with a hotel, and the oven that insisted on turning off over and over, and the crushed red pepper deciding to be really spicy…anyway it turned out wonderful, even the desserts!! J After dinner, we played Buzz Word with a house full of friends, and then watched Becky and Brandon’s wedding DVD after dessert. 
It was another wonderful week.  Saturday marked my trip being half-way over.  I can’t believe how fast it has gone.  I feel like I have been here for so long, in a good way.  I know I will have a hard time leaving.  This weekend we are going camping for the 4th of July- all 17 of us in a Jeep-like vehicle for the 5 hour ride!!  It will be a blast!! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Third Update from PNG, with a link to pictures!

 Please check out a few pictures here:   PHOTO ALBUM

Tuesday- I had planned on teaching Sandra in the morning, but the nationals here don’t have a very strong concept of punctuality or coming when they promised.  So instead I worked on a typing project that Bro. Brad gave me and caught up with my Mom and some friends online.  That night we went over in the evening for fellowship at the Wells’ house.  I am getting close with Deborah and the girls.  They are all very sweet. 
Wednesday- Wednesday was just a normal day back at the Missionary Home.  I am enjoying learning the different ways to cook and bake here- between having to know how to substitute ingredients that either aren’t available or are too expensive and the high altitude, you have to make a lot of adjustments.  My brownies that I attempted from scratch turned out so raw that Kezia had a raw egg reaction.  Oops! J The cooking times are much longer here.  Wednesday night we left early for church because tonight is the night of the State of the Origin game, which is like one of three “super bowls” for Rugby.  Sometimes there are riots in the streets, and the traffic can get really crazy.  We made it there and back with no events, and got to catch some of the game after church.
Thursday- Shopping Day!  I did the errands for the Missionary Home with Brandon in the morning, and then we all got to go out shopping in the afternoon.  Especially with the girls with us, and their white skin and blonde hair, you feel like a celebrity or something because everyone wants to stop and say hi and touch them.   At one store, Kezia was sitting with the security guard chewing on gum he gave to her. I made Garlic and Broccoli pasta for dinner with garlic bread and a salad.  I was so excited because I found Italian dressing at the store for 9 kena ($3) and it even tasted good!  Thursday night Bro. Brad brought me a large typing project that needed to be done by the next morning for Religious Instruction at the school.  So, I typed just about 4,000 words that night and a little bit the next morning, and got the project done. 
Friday- One of my favorite days so far!  Finished my typing project in the morning, went to do R.I. at the school with Brad and Deborah, ate lunch and then taught 5 piano lessons for a few hours, then Becky and the kids joined us and we had a wonderful, big dinner of venison, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots.  We were supposed to have peanut butter cups for dessert, but our peanut butter was at fault and the mixture tasted wonderful, but it never set.  At night, the guys all went down to play a computer game, and we stayed upstairs and watched a movie.  After that, we watched Brad and Deborah’s wedding video from 15 years ago!!  It was fun to watch, and Brad couldn’t believe Brandon and I were there, along with so many people from our church.  It is neat how the Lord brought the missionary’s lives together so many years later, but yet it seems like we have known them for so long.  J
Saturday- Day of rest!  Brandon found a very nice Coleman tent on clearance here, and got it for our camping trip coming up in 2 weeks.  We can’t wait to get it set up, but it is Winter here (which no one warned me about, so I brought all of my summer clothes and everyone is wearing scarves and coats here!  Even though it is in the 60’s, it feels freezing!)  so hopefully the weather will cooperate for us when we set the tent up.
Sunday- Church, Brandon began his series on “Money Matters” and did a great job of teaching on “choosing to use your resources.” After church, we all walked down to a river about a ½ mile away and had a baptism.  The 2 men baptized had both been being disciple by Brandon.  At night, we had choir practice back over at church- Deborah taught music theory, and then everyone attempted to sing 4-part harmony with their new choir song.  I am so glad that my voice has come back a little bit, even though I still feel quite unwell, I have been able to sing again!
Monday- My big accomplishment for Monday was making P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps.  It took a bunch of substitutions and different sauces and everything, but they tasted SO good!  J 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Update 6/14/11

Check out the pictures in this album:

Thursday- Shopping Day! We went to over 9 stores gathering supplies for the chicken projects that the missionaries are doing, supplies for the Mt Hagen Missionary Home, and Brandon and Becky’s personal food and supplies. The cost of living is very high here, especially for food. The produce is very inexpensive- you can get 8-10 carrots for one kena, which is about 40 cents in America. A cucumber is less than 20 cents, and fruit is also less than a dollar. But the actual food is very pricey- a bottle of juice is 10 US dollars, a box of cereal is also around 10 dollars, a bar of chocolate can sell for up to 90 kena, which is 40 dollars!! Chicken Breast is about 6 dollars a pound, even a jar of mayonnaise or pasta sauce is around 5 US dollars. Thursday was also the first day that I got internet, I take for granted being able to check my email any time I want. The internet is also very expensive here, and a lot of times you pay per MB that you upload. It was taking about 10-12 minutes to upload each page! Sometimes I have to remind myself I am in a different country, because it’s not as "rough" as I pictured, the food costing a lot and internet being slow is a small price to pay for having hot showers and toilet that flushes and a store right around the corner! There are many missionaries in this country that come over 5 hours to the Missionary Home to get supplies to last them over a month! Sometimes the 5 hour trip becomes an 8 hour or impossible due to the horrendous road conditions.
In the evening we played games with the Gades and Taylor families who were visiting here at the missions home.
Friday- This day was one of my highlights so far. I joined Brad and Deborah Wells to go for their first time to do Religious Instruction at an International school. They have done it at other schools, but not recently. It sure reminded me of CHOICE Kids Club a lot! Singing, lesson, personal time…a year ago I would have been so amazed that they were able to do all that inside the school, but praise the Lord we have been able to do the same thing in America! Next week I will possibly get a class of my own because there are 3 classes that have no instructor. After the school, I went out to the Wells’ house in the new van that just got donated to their church. It was a blessing to catch up with Deborah and remind her that we were at her wedding! J She was also talking to me a lot about foreign missions, and we had a great conversation between laundry, dishes, and other things. I also photographed all of the workers that are building the college, finishing the kitchen, and digging a very deep hole for a hot water tank. It has been raining a lot here, and I almost got caught in a downpour with my camera!
Saturday- A day of rest! We had a lot of preparations to do for Keren’s big birthday party that had gotten postponed from the week before because of sickness. Cupcakes, cake, veggies all cut up, soup for dinner the next day. I walked to the market and Best Buy (their grocery store, not electronics!) with Brandon. Best Buy was already closed, the business close very early on Saturdays. No 24 hour service here!
My medicine has not made much of a difference with me yet, even though I have almost completed 2 weeks of it. I was very sick on Saturday night, in a lot of pain from my stomach. L Bummer. I was up most of the night.
Sunday- I could understand a lot more Pidgin at church today. You kind of get used to the language, how it sounds, but I cannot really use any words in a sentence yet. Brad preached a great message on Traitors. In between services I saw Sandra, my deaf girl, again. She was very happy to see me, and remembered a lot of signs from last week. I taught her a bunch of new ones, she really liked counting with the numbers I showed her. She thought it was funny to sign good and bad as I acted each one out. After church was choir practice- we were singing My God Is A Rock. Deborah played the piano, and Brandon was leading and helping everyone figure out where to sing and making sure they understood what the song meant.
We had gotten another huge rain storm, so Keren’s party ended up being mostly inside. I was the "game director" because I lead games a lot at CHOICE and girls camp, so we played colored eggs, and doggy doggy, and a relay. The favorite game of all was pin the necklace on Keren. Becky had drawn a true-to-size picture of Keren and the kids and some adults had a lot of fun trying to be the closest necklace. We had about 15 kids there for the party.
After the party ended, we all stayed and fellowshipped with the Wells’ family for the rest of the evening. Brandon and Brad had a long conversation about leadership, which was fun to listen to. I had not seen the Wells’ girls previously because they had just gotten back from staying with their grandparents. I had fun getting to know them, they are very sweet. There are 5 of them- Emily, Johanna, Charity, Amy, and Jennifer, and then the two boys’ names are Marshall (the oldest) and Torrey.
Monday- I stayed at the house on Monday and helped Becky with the kids and cleaned up from the busy weekend. I played a couple games of Chutes and Ladders with Keren, but then it got boring because we kept sliding down the chutes. While the girls were napping, I read through a 2nd book since I have been here. It has been nice to have time to read, even though I am not really a big reader in the states, but I think because of the absence of internet and phone, you get creative with free time! When Brandon arrived home it started my "busy time." I had some stuff to type out for Brad Wells, I am going to be typing out an entire institute course for Brandon, and I also started teaching almost all of the Wells’ children piano on Monday evening. It is neat to see the Lord using my skills and talents to serve Him here, also. It shows me that no matter where you are, if you have a heart to serve, He will use you. As I was reading over the last week, I have been able to use my main interests for Him- photography, teaching, typing and secretarial stuff, sign language, singing, working with kids, running game time, even going in to a school just like we do in NY. I am even going to work with Torrey Wells to teach him how to train his 6 month old puppy. It’s like every aspect of my life in NY is being able to be used here on the foreign mission field. What a blessing!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

PNG- first week update

Well I am here in Papua New Guinea, and even though I have only been here a few days, I have gotten to experience so many things.  I have taken many pictures, but the internet is too slow to upload them, so I will try again another time. 

First of all, the trip: I had flights from Rochester, Detroit, Los Angeles, Auckland, Brisbane, and Port Moresby.  When I was in flight between California and New Zealand it went from Wednesday night and then it was Friday morning…It killed some trying to figure out what time it felt like to me and how long I had really been in the air.  Time kind of seems to stand still! It went really smooth, though, and what a blessing my luggage made it through all the security and weight checks and arrived with me all the way to Mount Hagen!  Well…that is, almost all of my luggage.  I got paged in the Brisbane airport, to come to the transfer desk.  I went over and they said, “Are you Ashley King?”  I said, “yes.”  They said, “Oh we were expecting a man.  Do you have a chainsaw in your luggage?”  Well, to make a long story short, yes I did have Brandon’s chain saw in my luggage, and turns out a used chain saw should never have been allowed to come in the first place.  It ended up in the bomb room in Australia and they told me I needed to go there, also, but I couldn’t because my flight was boarding and I didn’t have a visa so I couldn’t have anyway.  So…my luggage all arrived minus a chain saw. 
I stayed overnight my first night in Port Moresby.  I had a wonderful couple named Pastor Holmes and Priscilla Taco meet me at the airport and show me around and then drive me to the Mapang missionary home.  I was exhausted and it was the middle of the night for me, so I tried to stay awake as long as I could, I had my first experience with kaukau (cow-cow) which is a very popular sweet potato here.  I could barely sleep because I was really excited to be in PNG and so close to seeing everyone…or maybe it was because I was sharing a room with a Japanese woman that hadn’t said a word to me and I didn’t know if my stuff was safe…either way morning finally came and I was ready for my last flight to Mt Hagen!
They gave me a window seat, and then took it away so I was crowded next to a screaming baby for my last flight.  I could not understand the Pidgin they were speaking, but no worries because they were just saying where the exits and oxygen bags were and I had heard it so many times!  When our little plane landed I saw New Guineans all over the tarmac.  Here it is a novelty to watch the planes come and go and it is even more exciting when a white person lands!  I was enjoying the view and all the people, and then suddenly I saw a little white skinned lady video taping and a little blonde haired 2 year old in the window!!  It was Becky and Kezia.  Becky looks amazing after having a baby just 2 months ago!  There were a lot of big hugs and more big hugs.  Kezia has not forgotten how much she loved her Yee-yee so she wouldn’t let me put her down.  Keith was so much bigger than I expected and just adorable as he was in the pictures!  The trip didn’t seem so long after re-uniting with my family.  J  I can’t believe how well Brandon speaks Pidgin, within 10 minutes of me landing he was networking and got offered a landscaping job at a cafĂ©!  The next morning at church, people were telling me that they enjoy working for Brandon and that they appreciate his leadership and how he interacts with them. 

About an hour into my stay we headed with Brad Wells to a bridge opening.  I was going farther into the village part of PNG than Brandon had even ever been!   It was very neat to see them in their costumes,  and watch them celebrate the bridge opening.  They loved to feel the kid’s skin and hair.  I took a lot of pictures and videos.  It was all great until I had to cross the bridge.  The bridge was designed to “safely” get the kids across the river to their school house.  I had gotten behind the rest of the group because I had been taking pictures.  Well I got up to the bridge and all the sudden started panicking.   It was like stepping onto a national Geographic bridge…picture a rubber balancing beam.  It was 3 feet wide, but that didn’t really matter because it was swinging and swaying, it was filled with people,  there was NO RAILING and it was at least 20 feet over a raging river.  My camera was throwing me off balance and there was no way to catch my balance….and I broke the bridge rule: “Don’t look down.”  Well I looked down.  And froze.  I was terrified! Did I mention there was NO RAILING?!? I kept picturing me and the camera floating downstream.  I didn’t plan to die my first day there.  Worse than all this, the natives that were crowded behind me on the bridge were laughing hysterically at me and making the bridge sway even more.  A native man finally came and rescued me and helped me across.  I was still shaking, but I was very glad to find out once I made it across that I was not the only one scared out of my mind to cross the bridge.  Becky had handed over Keith to a native and Brandon, Manny, and Kelly were also scared.  Like Brandon said, “it was the bridge opening” so the bridge wasn’t exactly tried and true!  On the way back over the bridge the natives all thronged to watch us cross and laugh at the white people.
The rest of the bridge opening was so neat…cultural dancing, presentations, and tribal ceremony.  They served us a dinner on giant banana leaves.  We just made it back to the vehicle before a thunder storm.
Our first dinner there, we went to the “squash club” and enjoyed a wonderful meal.  I had chicken schnitzel which is breaded chicken with gravy over it.  Yummy!  Then we came home and opened the tote with all of the gifts and supplies for the Kings.  Brandon now has 4 chain saw blades with no chain saw. 
Sunday was church- the Wells’ church building is beautiful.  I got to meet the church members and everyone was trying to teach me some Pidgin words.  Brandon would introduce me as, “sister bilong me, Ashley.”  I got to meet Sandra who is 16 and deaf and I talked to her Mom and got to teach Sandra how to spell her name and sign church, pastor, and Bible.  It was so neat! Her brother told me later that she was going around signing her name over and over. J I wore a “Mary-blouse” and Lap-lap that a friend, Ollie and her mother gave me. 
When we got home from church we had Keren’s  lik-lik(little) birthday party, because her big one got postponed until next week because Kez and Keren have been sick.  We enjoyed stir fry and cupcakes.  Yummy!!  J  I discovered that the eggs and milk (in a sealed package) don’t stay in the fridge!
Monday was a day of rest.  I went swimming with the Gades’ girls and caught up on my pictures, and we drew pictures for Grammie.  Keren and I had a picnic lunch in the beautiful sunshine.  Kez has a 102 degree fever, so she has been very lethargic these last 2 days. I also taught Keren to play Jesus Loves Me on her new piano.  She is so excited to learn the piano!  At night I went with Brandon to institute.  He taught Genesis and Personal Evangelism.  He really does good teaching in Pidgin and making sure they understand.  It seemed like a great group of men ready to learn the Word.  Some of the students come from far away to hear the Bible taught.  I was distracted by some of the largest bugs I had ever seen.  Started with a huge cockroach on the floor, then I looked up and saw an active, large spider above my head.  Moths started pouring in, attracted to the light.  I don’t like moths.  I thought I didn’t like moths before I met PNG moths….they are very large.  At least I thought they were big until the cicadia bug flew in.  It was the size of a small bat and horribly disgusting.  Especially when Douglas caught the cicadia and moths and put them in his pocket to roast for later!!  :P
Tuesday the 7th, Manny and Kelly headed back home so we went to the airport to see them off.  There was a very large house-cry (funeral) going on at the airport.  Tons of people from the person who died’s village come to see the casket fly in.  The mourning lasts for days, and if you do not join in the mourning they suspect that you poisoned the person that died or something! 
The rest of the day we cleaned the house from head to toe to get rid of fleas that somehow got in the house.  We listen to the radio that is coming from KBBN (Brad Well’s radio station).  We had Kingston and Ollie for dinner.  Kingston has been disciple by Brandon and will be getting baptized this Sunday.  At night we played a game with the Gades and Taylors, missionaries that are staying at the Mt Hagen Missionary Home that Brandon manages.
Wednesday was Keren’s birthday!!  We started celebrating very early…around 6:45.  I would have celebrated more if it had been a little later. J The girls have been sick since I got here, especially Kez.  Today everyone is sick, I don’t have what they all have yet, but I had a very bad day with my stomach.  Poor little Keith is coughing and has a fever.  When I was outside in the morning someone was at the gate with a chicken delivery.  I got Brandon and then watched them unload 15 boxes of “chicken projects.”  52 live chicks in each box.  They are going to be raised for the Pastor’s Conference in September.  Brandon spent the greater part of the day delivering chickens to people who had volunteered to raise them.  I went to the market for my first time today.  I can’t wait to get photos down there, they way everyone sells their fruits and vegetables is so neat, they stack their produce up in little piles.  We bought bananas, green beans, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and guavas for around 7 US dollars.  I also bought my first Bilum which is the purses that they all wear, even the men!  I got a red, black, and white one, of course! J  Today was also Keren’s first official piano lesson. She is a fast learner!  We stayed home from church on Wednesday night because everyone was not feeling good, but we did listen to a sermon through the radio station that comes through the cell phone.  

That's all for now!!  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Weddings are a beautiful thing!

This bride had amazing taste- everything was beautifully done in black and white.  I had so much fun second shooting this wedding with a friend.  As I was shooting, I kept thinking to myself "I could do this every day the rest of my life!"  I love weddings, I love taking pictures, and I love when it happens at the same time.