Date: 28th Nov 2011 Continued… Part 15
Dear Pastor, Church & all Supporters;
(1Th 5:16-18) “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Many folks had been waiting since morning hours to greet us, and welcome us. I know all this is relative but I would like for folks to know that there are no (air-conditioned rooms to sit and wait, they didn’t have any vehicles to drive to get there, they haven’t any ‘tea or coffee rooms to pass the time, they are not entertained, they simply walk, carrying their children and sit on the ground, or where they can find shade waiting for the ‘slow missionaries’).
They also had prepared the common PNG Mumu with the Pig, veggies, fern leaves etc… to honour our arrival.
We did not have much time as the rains were near and we had to set up camp. It is a lot easier to set up a tent whilst it is NOT raining, then when it is.
Church services had been planned and due to the timetable I simply washed some of the mud off my legs, took my Bible and we walked to the church building a short distance away. I preached to a crowd of folks about three hundred in number, the building held what would accommodate over a hundred others sat outside on the ground.
In PNG, the Natives are accustomed to sitting cross legged on the ground so a building that accommodates no more then fifty people in our services, we could fit three times that amount in PNG. Also the buildings, which many, are made out of bush material and the walls may come up to four, or five feet in height with an opening from there to the roof. This provides shelter but with an open-air atmosphere.
Though I was tired from hiking the twelve miles across the pass, the LORD gave me energy to preach to the people. I have learned from the past, that no matter how tired I am, or how far I have hiked, or driven that the LORD will always grant the energy and strength to HIS servants for the preaching of HIS WORD.
After a bit of time we had camp set up and then the food was served as per protocol. The rains had already started to set in, so with the food served, and rains upon us, we simply sat in our groups as we had been instructed and tried to stay as dry as possible.
We had our raincoats on, some Natives had umbrellas and others simply huddled next to one another as they have done so since the beginning of time. There is no place to go, you cannot just abandon the food, and with it being cut up and distributed (that is the pig) you must wait for your portion to be served.
After hiking for eight hours, we were hungry and knew our bodies needed the protein. Many things simply fade away as to personal taste, likes, and dislikes, wishes and whims are not entertained in this life here. It simply becomes what it is, God does not wait for you to check in with HIM before HE sends the rain, God is not dependent upon your timing (of anything) before HE allows nature to run its course.
I have always said, and will continue to do so, that the LORD gives only twenty-four hours in a day, you can use it wisely, waste it, manage it or NOT, but you don’t get any more then that in a day, and out of those twenty-four hours you have to get some sleep.
I am of the opinion that some folks simply (waste) away their opportunity to (DO) and then complain that they didn’t have the (TIME) to do this or that! Perish the thought! We all have time for what we want to do, end of story!
I am also convinced that God prepares certain people for a certain way of life, and their (way of life) is not wrong, nor unhealthy – to them, however when someone comes from a different country, lifestyle, background, habits, etc… does not mean, or should not mean that everyone else needs to change for that (visitor).
I say this without apologies or prejudice. I am certain that the Children of Israel did not have bleach, or hand-sanitizer, they did not have toilet tissue, nor table flat-wear, I am sure they ate with their hands, and food dropped on the ground and they picked it up and ate it.
I am sure there were flies that lighted on the food at times, and I am sure that they had NO refrigeration. There were neither Ziplocs nor airtight containers. I can go on, but point made that not all Nations of people live like the sophisticated lifestyles of the developed world.
In many places around the world, the Natives indigenous and exotic to their country have fallen sick to the diseases of the ‘White-man’ and in some cases entire villages have been wiped out.
God prepared the PNG people to survive, to eat with their hands, in unsanitary conditions, to digest and not fall ill to many germs, bacteria that otherwise would become a real issue to many folks.
You see, I believe that in the ‘developed world’ we have become more clever then God, and we have replaced the natural bacteria in our bodies with cleaners, disinfects, germ killing sprays, chemicals etc… so, the ‘white-man’ has created for himself a ‘clinical germ free’ as though it were, environment.
Therefore, when travelling abroad, one cannot eat this or that because it wasn’t prepared ‘their way’ or those who prepared and served it, were not in the 99.99% germ free category of life, I think my point has been made!
(Ps 119:73) “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.”
(Ps 139:14) “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
(Ps 139:15)” My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
(Ps 139:16) “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
God makes HIS people suited for where they will live, able to survive exotic to their environment.
There are many things which, the LORD has taught me whilst living amongst Tribal people, the basic and simple necessities of life are what become important, your eyes tell you when its time to sleep, your stomach tells you when its time to eat, and outside of that, not much matters.
We had our meal, some standing, some squatting; some seated whilst the rain obeys the LORD and waters the earth. The bush houses are where the fires are made and where one can be made warm and dry.
The Natives retired to the bush houses and we found our way into the tent. We are tired but have arrived, we are muddy but soap will clean that, its small and crowded within the tent, but it is a house. The rains had soaked the food as it had been cut up and served, therefore Sherry was not able to bring herself to eat rain-sodden pork, and therefore, we had peanut butter and crackers for dinner. If someone wants to find something to complain about, well – life is full of issues.
Satan is always ready to provide God’s people with something to complain about. It is no wonder that the unsaved see no attraction to the Christian life, when so many of God’s people are simply miserable!
We had our bath water prepared, with it just warm enough to knock the chill off and the rains still coming down we decided to go ahead and bath in the outside bathing area constructed for us. We were thanking the LORD for such a wonderful feeling of being able to simply scrub clean. AMAZING what a little warm water and a bar of soap will do for one, aye? With fresh clothes on and something to eat, we retired as the evening hours were upon us. The day had been challenging, with a reality check as to who we were and why we were there.
I would like to encourage any church, pastor, S.S. teacher, Christian that if you want to build a good rapport with fellow Christian members, then organize for a hike with different challenging events, over night somewhere. I have learned more about people in ‘Natural environments’ it brings out each other’s weakness, and strengths…
The place where our tent is pitched is 7812 ft elevation, at 19:30 hrs its 70 degrees. F, however at 01:30 hrs it has dropped to 58 dg. F
The rains set in and rained all night, we called it a day at 20:00 hrs.
Our first day into the bush has been a long day, hard day, but a good day.
To be continued…
Missionary Peter A. Halliman
RETURN TO PNG REPORTS