Saturday, November 1, 2014

Recruiting Teachers

My official work assignment here in Papua New Guinea involves recruiting teachers to come and serve at Ukarumpa International School (UIS).  We have a huge need for more teachers, so this role is keeping me busy! 

Although I've been involved at the school for nine years, I have even more appreciation for the teachers now that Levi is a pupil there.  We're very grateful that he is able to get a good education at UIS that will prepare him as well as possible for his future.

Part of my work involves writing to teachers who may be interested in teaching here; another aspect is making the needs of our school known as widely as possible. 

One thing I've been working on lately is sending out weekly prayer requests, asking people to pray for various teacher needs.

This week I'm asking people to pray that we'll have all the teachers we need for the next semester, which starts after Christmas.  One of the classes we still don't have a teacher for is Kindergarten (roughly equivalent to UK 'Reception').

If you recognise the boy standing next to the teacher on the back row, you'll understand why this is of particular interest to me!

We're always grateful for your prayer.  Here are some things you may like to pray for with us:
* Please pray that God would provide a Kindergarten teacher for Levi's class next semester.
* We also are in need of several new teachers for the 2015-16 school year, as many of our current teachers will no longer be here.
* Pray for wisdom for me as I work out how best to use the time that I have available for teacher recruitment.
* Andrew would appreciate prayer for wisdom as he takes part in the next Executive Committee session from 19-28 November. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bridge to Kainantu

        One morning, early in August, we received word that the bridge leading into the Aiyura Valley, where we live, had fallen down.   Naturally, because this sort of thing has a direct impact on the Auto Shop department, we decided to go out and take a look.  This is what we found:

       Early in the morning, the bridge had finally collapsed while a truck carrying a load of diesel fuel was attempting to cross it.   We had all been expecting something like this for quite some time, so it was almost a relief to hear that it had finally gone down.  Thankfully the driver of the truck and his assistant were not seriously injured, and in fact the truck you see here was pulled out of the water and driven under its own power to Lae (230 km away) for repairs.  Even the big fuel tank was not serious damaged, in spite of this large group of people industriously trying to poke a hole into it with a big crowbar!

        Unfortunately, this bridge is part of the only good road into the Aiyura Valley, which means that anybody living in the Valley now no longer had a good way to get supplies in.  We had no idea how long it was going to take to replace the bridge, so we started rationing what supplies we had and settled in for a potentially long wait.  We sent a couple of 4x4 vehicles out to see if they could find a way out via a little used dirt road that runs many miles out of our way, but this option proved not to be a good one.  That road was too rough and only skilled drivers in 4x4's could use it, and there were serious concerns about the condition of some of the bridges in that road.

        Anyway, much to our delight, the government very quickly sent in a bridge building expert, and under his able direction the new bridge came together fairly quickly.  By early September the new bridge was in place!  It's still not quite done yet (there is a plan to improve the foundations and then to shift the whole bridge over onto the new foundations), but it is usable.  The dirt ramps going up to the bridge are still too rough for 2 wheel drive vehicles, especially if it has rained, so things are still not quite back to normal yet, but al in all, we are very excited about this new bridge:


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rescue Truck

Here's a picture of the AutoShop Rescue Truck:

          This is a late '90's Toyota Land Cruiser--this is the truck we have been using to go out and rescue people when they have breakdowns in this area.  In its day, it was a nice truck, but now it has 480,000 km on it, and those have not been easy kilometres.  I (Andrew) would estimate that 90% of that has been on rough dirt roads, and not everybody who has used it before us has been a careful owner.  It's missing various bits and pieces, (the driver's door can only be opened from the outside, for example, as all the interior door mechanism is gone), the home made tool box in the back has been broken into and is awkward to work around, the engine runs alright, but doesn't have as much power as it should, etc.  You get the idea.  Anyway, this old truck is getting to the point where it often breaks down when we are rescuing people, so we got the go-ahead to replace it.  We looked around at local options but the price for any new vehicle that could do what we needed it to do was astronomically high, and good used vehicles are very difficult to find here.  We carefully weighed our options and decided to go ahead and import a used truck from the USA.  So, after hours of searching eBay and various other internet car dealers, I finally picked out this 2002 Ford F350 4x4 from a Craigslist ad in Tennessee:

         It has everything we were looking for: the good International diesel engine, a manual transmission, even a manual transfer case, and under 100,000 miles.  The utility bed was not something that we were looking for, but it is definitely a bonus.   Once purchased, the truck went to some of our colleagues in North Carolina to be outfitted for us in PNG.  Working within the budget I was given, I managed (working via e-mail from here in PNG) to specify all kinds of good stuff to put into the truck, including locking differentials in both axles, a winch bumper (the winch will be removed from our old rescue truck and put on to this one), better wheels and tires, work lights, a sturdy roll bar (made by our colleagues in NC), and a few other things.  We tried to make the truck as capable as possible for our needs while staying under budget, and I think we did pretty well.

         Since it got here, we've already been using it a lot, and so far it has performed very well.  It's nice to have a truck that actually has enough power to safely pull our crash trailer and which has been set up to be hard to get stuck.  It's nice to finally have the right tool for the job!

         In other news, July is going to be a busy month for me --in addition to my normal work as assistant manager/motorcycle and small engine mechanic at AutoShop, I've also got meetings in Port Moresby (capital city) for the Pacific Orientation Course Oversight Committee and then later in the month at least 2 weeks of Executive Committee meetings here in Ukarumpa.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hospital Appointments

This building in London will become familiar over the next couple of weeks as investigations continue regarding Eowyn's kidneys (renal pelvic dilation).  Despite a lot of initial confusion regarding her referral, we were able to get appointments at the world-renowned Great Ormond Street Hospital relatively quickly.

Nigel Cox [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

On Thursday 27th February, Eowyn will have a MAG3 scan.

On Tuesday 4th March, she will have a ultrasound scan.  We have an appointment with a highly experienced paediatric urologist that same afternoon to discuss the results.

Hopefully we will then be able to make plans as a family.  Andrew's UK visa expires on 21st April, so he at least will need to leave the country before then, though we're hoping that we'll all be able to travel back to PNG together.

Thank you to all who prayed for the details of the appointments to come together.  We very much value your continued prayer as we trust God for the future.  We will continue to post updates at

On a slightly different topic, we are pleased to report that our PNG visas were renewed in record time.  Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Visas, Visitors and a Medical Update

'When are you heading back to PNG?' seems to be the question we are asked most often. 

The short answer: 'We don't know'. 

The long answer:
Firstly, we are waiting for our new PNG visas to be approved, as the current ones run out at the end of this month.  This will take at least three weeks and possibly a lot longer.

Secondly, Eowyn is undergoing tests for a kidney issue that was identified before she was born (technical details of the condition can be found in this document).  She is completely healthy at the moment (and in fact is a delightfully easy baby!), but the doctors need to work out what's going on and whether treatment is needed at this stage.  She is supposed to be seeing a paediatric urologist in London for her next test, probably in March.

Another issue is that Andrew's six months in the UK will end in mid-April.  This time limit can only be extended in the case of exceptional compassionate circumstances.

At the moment we are just waiting, but we may soon be facing decisions regarding the timing of our return to PNG.  Your prayers are certainly appreciated.

Moving on to some positive news:
Thank you for praying for our housing situation.  We now have a house to stay in until we leave the country.  We'll be moving to Haslemere, Surrey next week and will be glad to have the chance to spend time with friends and family in that area.  We are appreciating having a break from the pressures of our work overseas, and we think this time in the UK will help us return refreshed to PNG. 

We are happy that Andrew's parents are currently visiting us for a couple of weeks! 

Thanks for all your support and encouragement; it means so much to us.