18 August 2013


I have reached a milestone: I have officially been living in PNG for a month. “So what’s it like?” people often ask.

“How are you getting along?”

“What do you do all day?”

Honestly, I think it’s going pretty well so far. Neither of us has been harmed or jumped or carjacked or threatened so that’s good. We are getting to know our way around as we travel from one first-world bubble to the next. As Paul describes it, “We live in our first-world apartment in our first-world compound, get into our first-world car and drive to first-world grocery stores and first-world restaurants.” The only local exposure we have experienced, until today, has been through the car windows.

Today we went to church following an invitation from one of the pilot wives. Paul and I have been looking for a good church but, since leaving the best church in the world, we have become church snobs looking for someone preaching the grace message. Luckily, we see about 20 minutes of Pastor Prince on television five days a week.

One local church had been recommended but the church was not located where Google said it was and, since most places don’t have websites and most Facebook pages don’t come with addresses, let alone maps or directions, it took some serious research for Paul and me to find the building.

We did a drive by on a Saturday, checked the English service time and then proceeded the next morning to church. The building itself looked like a newer structure but the parking lot within the gate was small and there did not appear to be any security guards. The church was located in a rough area and was surrounded by the local markets that we have been advised to avoid, so we sat in the car for a few minutes, kept our eyes out for any expats and, after a failed sighting, we went back to the compound with hopes of finding a better option.

Yesterday I reached out to one of the pilot wives who not only provided a recommendation but also advised that she would meet us at our place, guide us to the location and then serve coffee and cake back at her house after the service.

The church was small and reminded me of my days in the Middle Tennessee Nazarene church I attended as a child. The sanctuary was open air and fans were blowing but I was still sweating uncontrollably at times. “Good thing you wore your scarf,” my husband quipped as I used the program to fan myself.

A small praise team led us in singing “Ten Thousand Reasons” twice, all the way through, back to back, in what I swear was differing keys. The service events reminded me of a Catholic service just because we would sit, sing a song while seated, stand to sing the same song again, sit for the pastor’s Bible reading, stand for more singing, greet the people around us, sit for a long-winded prayer and the message that did not relate to the Bible reading, be invited to stand for a song but then sit first for the second long-winded prayer (a dozen people half stood and then sat once the prayer commenced so there were a lot of confused people), stand again for the singing and then be seated as we were dismissed, which was, again, very confusing for nearly everyone.

The message wasn’t what we wanted but the church people were welcoming and in attendance were people we know. One of the pilot wives advised me that there is a women’s Bible study on Wednesdays that provides a good opportunity to mingle with the local women.

Outside of researching and finding churches, Paul and I have a pretty busy schedule. I go to the gym four to five days a week and to the grocery on a weekly basis; Paul has been studying for aviation tests and enlightening himself on reddit.

I have been developing a personal website, working on my résumé and job searching. Paul today – for the first time since I have been here – flew the plane out of Port Moresby and back. In his defense, he was supposed to fly twice before but both trips cancelled.

When we are not napping, Paul divides his time between crushing candy and contributing to the well being of the world through his commitment to solving Free Cell games on freecellproject.com, a website dedicated to solving the world’s 1 million Free Cell games. Yesterday we changed a tire. See? We’re keeping busy.

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