They Held Hands

Easter weekend was a delight.

You can thank our friend Jennifer for BOTH of those swimmers!

There was some swimming in the pool … first time for a certain girl in the family, some cookie baking, an Easter Egg hunt at a friends house, Easter Egg dying and nachos eating with good friends, and lots of adventures and drop-bys by some of our favourites.

We enjoyed seeing Easter in the eyes of a two year old. The endless singing of “Hallelujah” which never seemed to get old, despite the constant drumming with loud objects as he “worshipped.” (His words, not ours!) And just yesterday he told us that he was pretending to ride on a donkey like Jesus. I guess those resurrection eggs and story reading actually sunk in somewhere in there.

After Jared and Max’s hike (El and my drive) up Castle Hill for the combined churches sunrise service, we prepared a gigantic brunch feast. I don’t want to be silly by calling our own feast gigantic, but seriously – I panic about two things – the thought of not enough food for our guests, and people not having a family to celebrate holidays with. Despite our last minute additions, I did overcompensate.

As we all sat around the living room, something caught my eye – two of my guests, two men, one of which I had just met, holding hands.

And my heart melted.

One of our guests was a man from PNG, visiting our centre on his way back from some training he’d been doing. He’s pioneering a work in PNG and doing an amazing job. We loved hearing his stories… and that he’s planting banana trees for all the teams of young people we bring through. (I played the role of a good mom and asked him to plant some sweet potatoes, another of their staple diet, so that they don’t just live on sugar their entire time!)

But back to the hand-holding…

In PNG culture, the men often hold hands. In fact, in many places it would be totally inappropriate for Jared and I to touch in public, but the men?! They’re all walking down the street holding hands, or sitting next to each other chatting with a hand on their mate’s inner thigh.

And I loved that it was happening in my living room. What a beautiful picture of culture, what wonderful friends, all brought together by the common understanding and love of this man Jesus… these two men, black and white, holding hands in my living room as we shared and delighted and celebrated the gift of life that comes from Jesus.

Friends, He’s good. Really, really good.

 

 

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BYO Water!?!

This has been a year of babies, babies, babies. For the past couple of months, I’ve had a friend deliver a baby at least once a week… and they’re not stopping anytime soon. I think I am up to 10 friends/acquaintances who are due the same week that I am early next year!

Just in the past few weeks, four of my girlfriends here have had beautiful little babies, all born in the comfort of our local hospital, with wonderful care to keep them and their mamas safe.

That’s why I was shocked when I read this as my own little one kicked around in my belly this afternoon:

“A sign at the front of the hospital in [Papua New Guinea] reads, ‘Women in labour must bring their own water.'” — Fraser Coast Chronicle

Holy. Cow. There are no words. There are absolutely no words.

And this coming from a girl who has been studying health care in PNG for the past number of years, spending this very week up late at night writing up our current strategies while Jared helps to outfit the new waiting area onboard our medical ship, knowing full well that 1 in 7 women in rural PNG will die during childbirth…

Knowing Molly’s story intimately… Molly the sweet newborn girl who didn’t live… but has inspired hundreds to take compassionate action…

Knowing that for many of these women, clean water is actually quite hard to come by in the best of circumstances, much less in the middle of contractions.

And yet, as upsetting as it seems that a woman would have to BYO water to deliver a baby in a hospital, also knowing that it is still probably the best possible place to deliver and the ones who get to go there are truly the lucky ones.

I guess some days it hits you harder. Fresher. A deeper knowing. Deeper motivation to keep on keeping on to do what we can to change it… for more to haveĀ life to the max.

Let it be…

Max visiting a remote village in PNG earlier this year.

Do I Know You?

I have this awkward, awkward quality/ability/talent to remember random details about people.

How is this awkward? Well, sometimes I “meet” people and already know their name, address, spouse, and what year their family pet died. I have to politely smile and pretend I’m not the stalker I sometimes feel like I amĀ (and remind myself God gave me this brain and this job.)

Now that I’ve been preparing so much material from the YWAM Medical Ship outreaches to the Gulf Province, I’ve started to feel as I actually know these people whose lives have been changed. I even feel as though they are my friends. I’m on first name basis with them – and they have never even met me. I refer to them like they’re the neighbour down the street… and they don’t even know that I exist.

I felt a little bit strange and silly when I realised just how dear they are to my heart. And then I realised that is the ultimate reality. Even from miles away, it is this caring about the individual that drives me to sit in an office (or home office) with my little baby playing at my feet, helping to change their lives.

So in an attempt to embrace the loveliness that is me loving them, allow me to introduce you to some of my friends