Since I have not been taking the time to make a coherent posting, thought I would at least share some thoughts.
Ascension and Pentecost as holidays. These are major days in the development of the Christian faith. However, I had never done much to celebrate them. Here at Senior Flierl they are taken seriously. We had Ascension Day off from class. Not only did we have a nice Pentecost service today, we are having tomorrow off from class. It is interesting what is assumed about special days. I noticed that no one had said anything about wearing red to the Pentecost Service today - a new trend in my worship life. However, when I arrived at church I noticed that most people were in red . I guess it was too obvious to have to be mentioned. One of the special events today was something I had seen before, having the same bible reading done by people using different languages (a nice reflection on what happened to the Disciples on Pentecost). What was different today was that I was one of the "foreign tongues" readers. It was also interesting that out of the 8 of us reading, only 3 of us were from different countries. The other 5 reflected languages spoken within PNG (it is estimated that there 500 all together). The language we study and worship in Tok Pisin is a good bridging language, but no one's first language.
Honkewe I have the 25 first year students in several different classes and know them the best of all the students here. I was sad this week when it was announced that one student, Honkewe, is dropping out. He has developed heart problems and has missed several weeks of school. It is hopped that he will stabilize and be back to classes next year. Since the nearest hospital with an EKG is two days travel away, he would have to be gone for extended periods of time. He always had a great smile and would laugh at my problems in pronouncing his name. I look forward to seeing him again next year.
Geckos - When I wrote about animals earlier, I didn't mention the most ubiquitous in my house - geckos. They live their whole life cycle in a house, with gecko poop and gecko eggs being a regular part of life. They look so much like the Geico Gecko at first I kept expecting them to start talking :-) However, the are a silent presence that I barely notice anymore. I do notice them most when Peter is inside and starts stalking one. They are good for eating mosquitoes so we don't work at getting rid of them.
Health - It has been good. There have been no re-occurrences of my malaria. People talk about how the first time to get Malaria is the worst, so I feel very lucky to have had a light case. Unfortunately I have not lost anymore weight, but am glad I have not gained any back yet. Having lost around 50 pounds since coming here has made a real difference in my ability to get around. I hope to bump up my exercise and develop more walking stamina. At this point I have trouble participating in parts of every day PNG life - such as walking the bush track to the stores in Gaugidui. I also have been unable to go visit some people's homes as it requires quite a bit of hiking from the roads.
Company - I had my first overnight guests, Rod Norby and Nancy Anderson. They are the other ELCA missionaries that are stationed at the church headquarters in Lae. It was fun to have guests and made me get the guest room ready and the kitchen better stocked. They were kind enough to bring some of food that I have trouble getting, such as carrots and bread. Unfortunately for me, their term is finishing in June and they are going back to the states. Fortunately for me, my brother Bob and his wife Byrna are coming to visit in June. They are overlapping with my semester break so we are able to go traveling together.
Adjustments - We had a new staff member from Germany join us three weeks ago. He was to be the new station manager. Unfortunately he left a week ago. I am not clear what he was upset about, but definitely this position was not a match for him. It makes me feel better about my adjustment. The pace has been slower than many, but I have been adjusting. It may be a problem that we don't have a new station manager. Our acting station manager (who is also a member of the faculty) is going to Germany on leave for three months. We have some reliable local workers, but none of them are good with machinery. So, prayers for our water pump and truck is requested.