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Missionary / Evangelist: Peter A. Halliman
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Report No. 17

With our patrol team in order, we had our prayer before setting off, the morning was already heating up, however with all the rain fall the ground was quite full of water therefore, hiking would be muddy, but then again this is synonymous with PNG. Should anyone want to visit PNG and have an issue with mud, I would strongly suggest (don’t come)!

Soon we passed from the scene of where folks lived, made gardens, the bush-houses with smoke swirling out the tops all but faded in the backdrop of where we had been camped. The trail turned from somewhat of a level, open pathway to that of a muddy, swampy trail, where jumping from one clump of grassy, knobby soil proved easier to navigate.

The Valley opened up as we continued to hike, sometimes up and sometimes down, with an altitude of over seven thousand feet above sea level, anything higher then this did not seem right to see that we were still hiking the Levini Valley floor. At one high point we stopped for a break, had some fresh water to drink and rest, as we took in the view around us, I wondered how many stories this valley could tell if the mountains could talk; How many tribal wars had been fought in days gone by, how many Tribal Chiefs were buried here, how many pigs had been slaughtered through the centuries mostly to idol worship.

I stared at the mountains surrounding this valley and took note, nothing really had changed since the beginning of time (or at least after the flood). How these mountains, and rivers, the grass lands, and jungles along with the food chain had all had a great effect on the Natives who lived here.

We seemed to be lost in time, the ‘developed world’ as we knew it to be seemed to be in another life. It became as though, God had frozen time and taken us back to a people who had become trapped within the mountains and valleys of this wild and untamed land.

Our journey proceeded and as the time passed so did the miles, we were starting to descend into a lower portion of the valley and as we did we ran into the swamplands of which Levini Valley is renowned for. Tall elephant grass hiding the waterways, soon the procession of men, women, and children were swallowed up, until the only people one could make out were those directly in front of you.

Trying to navigate through this maze of grass, swampland, and fresh water channels which, run off the mountains, it became evident that soon the only course of navigation would be to simply accept the idea that you would be in water and mud up to your waste in places.

The going was slow and different ones trying to choose the best routes to keep us from sinking knee deep or over. The effort was greater then the objective to simply reach our destination, therefore, I instructed the Natives, and porters (those who were carting the backpacks etc… that we needed to set a straight course for our destination and stick to it. This we did, and soon we were all engulfed in this swamp, which, was as big as the valley floor itself.

We continued on, until we arrived at the church where there was a large group of folks who had been waiting since mid morning. As usual they all wanted to greet us and after many greetings we took a short time to clean up with some water which had been carried from a nearby stream. It was point less trying to change our clothes without properly bathing, and besides no one really cared how we looked, they were just excited that we had arrived and were going to worship with them.

As we gathered ourselves we found our way into the church building and soon the building was packed. Though it was a small building in comparrision to some of the other buildings, none the less we had a crowd around fifty people. One would never believe that so many people could fit inside such a small building but they seem to know just where to fit everyone. I should say one thing about the men and their prayers, if you have dinner on the stove at home and you came to church, don’t call on a NG Christian man to close with prayer, if so, your dinner will be another story.

They take their prayers serious, and many will just about preach a short sermon. I do think many of our kind, have fallen into such a rut and ritual of prayers. It seems like we just can’t hardly wait to finish our prayers, or that our prayers are so filled with the same repetitions that we loose sight of our petitions. I am always so surprised about some folks how they can just go on and on about some game, or holiday, or sport but when it comes time to speak with Jehovah, that person hardly has a word to say.

The services were started, songs were sung and by the sound of the singing, one would have thought that was their last church service and they were singing themselves into the Rapture!

I was given opportunity to preach and I did so, I do not know where the energy came from, only the LORD can tell, the fellowship was good and as we ended the services we were asked by many if they could have a service in the morning. I informed them that was why I was there, so they agreed to meet together in the morning for services. As we were talking to some folks were had not departed yet, my wife asked some of the women where they had travelled from, to come to church, seeing that there are no houses around close to the church building. Some pointed in a Southern direction toward the ridge in the background, which, would mean that for quite a ways they (these women and children) would hike through this swampland which we had just hiked through getting to church. Their houses were about two hours away as they would hike, of if we did the hike, about four hours.

They would hike back, spend the night and again in the morning. I felt almost ashamed in wishing them a good evening as they departed. How we of the ‘western world’ have become so spoiled when it comes to self-sacrifice for the LORD’S work.

We too began to settle in for the evening, I know one of the first things that I would do was to have some bath water heated and scrub down. Our bath house was made ready in short order, and was not long till the men had water heated for our bathing. My wife and I took turns in the night hours bathing, I can tell you that there is nothing which, feels as good as a good scrub with hot water in the bush, after all day of hiking in mud, and swampland.

That evening we had our dinner of corned beef, and brown rice seasoned with fresh ginger and leeks. We both were tired and it had been a full day for me so around 20:00 hrs we called it a night. The elevation was 7605 feet above sea level and the temp dropped down to 58 dg’s in the night.

Day light broke at 0545 hrs and at 0600 hrs I was out of the tent enjoying God’s creation and once again admiring the majesty of the mountains rising to twelve thousand feet behind our tent. These mountains seemed to have raised their heads above the clouds and posed as giant guards surrounding this valley. As I sat musing over the beauty of God’s creation, the colours and their saturation, a Native man came over to where I was sitting and quietly sat down, looking towards a mountain ridge pointing with his finger, and slowly began to reveal to me how as a young man, he had for the first time seen this (White-man) my father) appear over out of no where. He stated, his people thought that the ‘gods’ had sent a messenger to come visit them. In fact not the ‘gods’, but the God of gods, and the LORD of lords did indeed send Missionary Fred T. Halliman to visit them. He revealed how he as a young man had fled in fear to the mountains and in the night he became confused as to where he was and how to get home. Thus he spent the night sitting in a tree which he had climbed in fear of being attacked by the wild hogs. He had waited till morning hours and then he had returned to his village where he seen this same ‘White man’ preaching to the people. He related to me that in time the LORD had saved him, and he realized that he had not run away in fear of Missionary Halliman as a man, but the message he had heard had condemned his sins, thus he believed that this ‘white-man’ had the powers of the gods in order to know about his sins.

Ro 1:19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Ro 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

To be continued…

Missionary Peter A. Halliman