It has been quite the trip from Phoenix, AZ to Madang, Papua New Guinea but worth the difficulty. Without a doubt we delayed every flight that we boarded. I think the combination of six adults, nine children, sixty bags, and a guitar had something to do with it. Regardless of the difficulties the staff on the planes were more than accommodating.
Lorie and I did not sleep more than one hour each on the flight from San Fran to Sydney. We are thankful that our kids did get some sleep as well as staying entertained along for the trip. When we landed in Australia we navigated customs with no difficulty (other than pushing so many bags through). From Sydney we traveled to Cairns (pronounced Canns).
Our time in Cairns was helpful as a transition. The weather as well as the landscape is so similar to PNG. The temp was around ten degrees cooler than Papua New Guinea. We had the opportunity to take the kids to the zoo as well as an amazing public pool called the “lagoon.” Apparently there are small jellyfish in the ocean this time of year that kill you or send you to the hospital so we decided to pass.
Our flight to PNG was a little rough. We were delayed at the Cairns International Airport because we were not paying for bags “correctly.” In Australia you have to use a PIN for all credit card transactions as they do not use signatures for verification. The problem is that America does not share this legal policy for credit cards as a signature is accepted. The Dodds and us had fees to pay and we were not able to use our credit cards, as we had no pin. Praise God we were able to use our debit card and they held the plane and rushed us through security at the last minute.
When we landed in Port Moresby it was nice and hot. We navigated customs with no questions asked (praise the Lord!). When we made it to the international baggage transfer they told us the flight was canceled with a new flight at 5:00AM the next day. Air Niugini put us up in a hotel and fed us dinner. We were also shuttled to and from the airport. The whole team was up and in the lobby waiting for the shuttle at 3:00AM the next morning.
After waiting for an hour the shuttle arrived. We left the hotel at 4:05AM along with three other families/people that had flights that morning. When we got the airport Matt ran inside to tell the airline that we were running late. We started shuffling bags through security and checking them onto the flight. Praise God they did not charge us for the additional bags, they just started labeling bags and putting them on the bag mover to the loaded for the flight. I was the last one on the flight.
We are currently doing well in Madang. We received keys to our house yesterday and it was a joy to be able to walk inside and see where we will be staying for the coming years. I also had the chance to meet our guard for the house and give him a hug and a big thank you! We are thankful to God that he has provided such an amazing place for Finisterre Vision to support missionaries that will be in the tribes of PNG. We were at the house today cleaning and setting up beds for us to sleep on. The kids are doing well after having two nights of regular sleep. It is still difficult as every day is new, exciting and difficult.
Please Pray For Us
Please be praying for our team. We just ended a large group of transitions only to start another set: learning the PNG culture and language. There is a strain on our team that can easily manifest itself with discontentment, envy, and competition. We love our team and are thankful to God that he has placed in us a desire to quickly reconcile our relationships.
Pray that we would continue to strive for a Spirit of unity and encourage one another in what is true.
Also pray for our shipping container – men at Grace Bible Church loaded a container yesterday that will be on the water for 2 months!