352 days after arriving in country, we’re ready to set the first post in the ground in Konomala!
The whole month of November, we lived on a small island that’s home to the Akolet church. We got to be neighbors with our friends Adam & Julie who had a part in planting that church and are now working to help the believers grow into maturity. We really appreciated getting to spend time with Adam & Julie and the church there.
If you ever want to sit down and talk about Romans with Gili (an Akolet Bible teacher), just bring some instant coffee along and watch the magic happen. After he’s done smiling about you bringing coffee, he’ll get out a blackened, metal water bottle, fill it halfway with water, then put it over the fire. A few minutes later he’ll pull out his two coffee mugs and put 10 to 15 cups worth of instant coffee in the mugs. Once the water is boiling, he’ll pour about a sip of water in. Yes, “a sip” is an approved unit of measurement.
Then he’ll hand you your mug. When your coffee sludge is cooled down enough, knock that sucker back and he’ll make you as many as you can handle…or until the coffee runs out…which happens reasonably quick. In PNG, it’s called “short water”, and the guys in Akolet have perfected the craft.
Recap: Konomala Land Agreement
At the beginning of December we flew out of Akolet. That same day, I (Seth) got right back on the plane with Luke and a couple of our mission leaders to go out to Konomala again.
After meeting up with some guys from the Patpatar and Siar churches, we finished the drive down to Konomala.
We spent time just hanging out and connecting with a few key guys in Konomala, then we officially “accepted” the community’s invitation for our two families to move in. We all signed a little agreement about the land we’ll build on, then we talked through how the next couple months could look in regards to building our houses.
When we told the “short water” story to the guys in Konomala, they were in shock. They don’t like the taste of black coffee in general, never mind anything that ridiculous. The Konomala drink “tea” as the Akolet would label it. Tea is coffee with creamer and sugar in it — only wimps drink that in Akolet.
Since our trip at the beginning of December, we’ve been working at full speed to make sure everything on our end is ready to go. We have two homes worth of cargo packed on pallets or in crates waiting to be shipped.
We even got a little time over the holidays to rest before the chaos ensues over the next 3 months. That said, we could use another month … or six … to feel rested.
Now: Konomala Build Trip #1
Tomorrow, Luke and I fly out to New Ireland for our first build trip to Konomala. We’ll be there for about a week working alongside some Konomala guys and a group of people from the Siar church.
Our goals will be to:
- Intentionally connect with the community
- Make sure the ground is cleared
- Check that the timber is being milled on pace
- Build a storage shed for all our cargo that will eventually be arriving by barge
End of January — Build trip #2 to set posts and prep the houses for when the barge arrives with all the other building materials.
Middle of February (likely) — Build trip #3 to get roofs, floors, plumbing, and electrical done on both houses.
Sometime later — Build trip #4 to finish the houses and move families in.
That our time in Konomala would be a valuable connection time with the community and with the Siar church … that our work would be productive and safe … and that we would remember why we’re really there and depend on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and power.
That our wives would have that same wisdom and power. It’s never easy being left at home without much help. Pray that they’ll all be healthy while we’re gone. Sanity can quickly run away when sickness and lack of sleep moves in.
That we proactively let God change us every day so that we can experience His life, and that He would keep preparing the hearts and minds of the Konomala to finally find His life.