I recently spent time visiting our missionaries, Chris and Maggie Hostetter along with their four children, in Papua New Guinea. They are working with a remote Pal tribe located north of Goroka an hour by helicopter. (If you are like me, you have no idea where this is. I had no idea where this was either until I was there). They have spent the past three years living in tribe with three other couples learning the Pal language, translating it into a written language, and translating the Bible into that language. In the process they are teaching the Pal people how to read and write. It’s a daunting task to put it mildly. It takes a special couple to move from the US to this remote area of the world to live and learn with a previously unreached people group.
Day 7, Friday.
Today we were planning on leaving between 9 and 10 but the weather refused to cooperate. If the helicopter didn’t come by 3 or so we would not get out. The wind howled and the rain beat against the roof making the entire house loud. When the wind stopped blowing the fog was so thick that you could not see across the valley. All day we drank coffee and waited to see if the helicopter could make it in. The Digicell internet and phones didn’t work either so we had no way of communicating with the pilot back in Goroka. So we just rested and hung out until 2:45.
I took advantage of the time by finishing a book. Right at 2:45 I went into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Then out of nowhere we heard the chopper. It was a beautiful sight to see it land because if we would not have gotten out we would have had to wait three more days. This would have messed up all of our flights and complicated things immensely. But God provided and after an hour ride we arrived safely back in Goroka where a man drove us 17 kilometers back to the NTM base.
Day 1, Saturday.
We flew into Port Morsby on time then attempted to catch our next flight to Goroka. That flight was cancelled so the airline put us up in a hotel for the night. A man with New Tribes Missions named Steve met us at the airport and helped us figure out what we needed to do. Customer service is always sketchy in third world countries. After a lengthy visit with customer service, they rebooked us on the next morning flight out and arranged for us to stay at a hotel on their dime. We had to wait at the airport for a ride for over an hour. After an interesting 15 minute ride we arrived at the hotel. That night we ate at the hotel restaurant and went back to the room which had a TV. We turned it on and watched the Discovery Channel. We all thought it was interesting watching the Discovery Channel in PNG. The next morning we had to be at the airport at 5am to get our tickets and wait for our 8:15 am flight.
Today we left Sydney and arrived in Port Morsby, Papua New Guinea. According to itinerary we had just about an hour to deplane, retrieve our luggage, clear customes, get tickets for our next flight, go through their version of TSA and get back on a new plane. We were stressed to say the least. Fortunately we got off the plane first and headed straight to customs where we were first in line. It was super cool except we managed to stand in the wrong line becasue we needed to buy a visa. The kind attendant told us where to go and we wound up being the last people on the plane to pass through customes. By this time we were in a panic and figured we had a ten percent chance of making the flight. After retrieving our bags we passed through the other half of customs and they held Van Johnson back to take a look in his bags. Josh and I acted like we didn't know the man and walked toward another area to retrive our tickets from an agent for the next flight.
For some reason I take comfort in knowing that I can buy a refreshing Coca-Cola just about anywhere in the world. It’s my go-to comfort drink of choice and I drink it often. I had a Coke before boarding the plane to fly to LA and another one on the plane. As we strolled through the airport and we noticed the shelves were all stocked with it. As we landed in Sydney Australia, Coke was there on the shelves ready to greet us and refresh us after a long journey. Even as we continue to travel to Papua New Guinea I expect it will be there as well.
What is the one thing that everyone wants? It’s universal and timeless. The people in Russia want it just as much as the people in Singapore. You need it, I need it, kids need it, parents’ need it, singles need it, widows need it, everyone needs it. What is it that every man woman and child who has ever lived on this planet must have? Hope.