Our final day of hiking was all downhill! An hour into the hike we stood at a clearing and could see all the way to the ocean. From where we were it looked like just a few more hours and we would be to the beach. But, it actually took most of the day to get there.
I loved Matt’s positive attitude in the midst of shoes #2 and #3 falling apart. He eventually got to the point where he could go barefoot for awhile, and then it was flat enough to wear flip flops.
We got into the village of Biliau and found a boat right away. Since it was nearly dark, we had to spend the night, but they fed us dinner, gave us a room to sleep in, and we were able to leave a little before sunrise the next morning. We were back to Madang before lunch.
As the boat took us out into the ocean, I reflected back to the struggles we had on the hike. The people in the Finisterre Mountains are very friendly, and very hospitable. We have complete freedom here to proclaim Jesus. The difficulty is not the reception, but rather the terrain and the linguistic diversity. All in all we walked through 7 different language areas in order to survey the nDo language, which is the furthest back in the mountains. 7 languages!!! And the terrain… Even though, by air it is only 2 or 3 miles from village to village, most villages are separated by steep descents to the river followed by a grueling climb. Even the locals that travelled with us from Mina had not ever been as deep into the Ndo area as we ventured.
I reflected further: In spite of the tremendous difficulty of the terrain and linguistic diversity, by God’s grace, the Gospel is making progress here. Lives are being changed. Eternal destinies secured. Thank you so much for being partners with us as we expand out further and further from Mibu. While it remains to be seen where Matt and Zach will locate, they are currently on another survey of at least two more languages in the Finisterre Mountains. This time they’re using the helicopter!!! J
Love in Christ,
Joey and Brooke Tartaglia