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A new update from Courtney & Jakes YWAM team as they finish up their time in the jungles of Papua New Guinea!

Into the jungle we go

 "Iyeta Dewadiwana" This means Good Day, in Tawala, one of over six hundred languages spoken throughout Papua New Guinea! 

 We have spent the last two weeks in the beautiful jungles of Papua New Guinea! We arrived in PNG on Friday the 18th, and spent the night in Port Moresby before flying to Alotau the next day. 

 Our first week here was spent staying at the YWAM base in Alotau, which is a city on the eastern coast of PNG. The moment we stepped off the plane, our eyes were looking around left and right soaking in every little thing we could see. This did not stop as everyday the mountains and greenery never ceased to amaze us. 

 The majority of our days spent in Alotau, we walked from the YWAM base to town, which is about a thirty minute walk away. In town there was a market, where many locals would come each day and sell various fruits and vegetables that they’ve grown. The fruits in PNG are all so fresh and taste amazing. Some of our favourites are pineapple, coconut, laolao, lychee, bananas, mangos, and papaya. We loved exploring the markets and meeting the people there. Right outside from there, we would go each day and have an open air. As soon as we pulled out the guitar, people from all over would come to see what was going on. We wouldn’t even make it halfway through a song before we had a large crowd surrounding us. During these times, many of us had the opportunity to share testimonies of what God has been doing in our lives, others had opportunity to preach and share a message to the people there. We also got the chance to pray for many of the people.  Other opportunities we had included leading a youth group, Sunday school, and helping at a local church there. 

 This past week, we travelled from Alotau to a village called Huhuna. It was a two hour truck ride away throughout the mountains, on paths that borderlines don’t really exist, called Huhuna. There have been a few missionaries and YWAM teams that have been in the area for a few hours at a time to preach and pray for the people, but not specifically where we were or for long periods of time. We first arrived in Huhuna, having little idea what to expect for our time here. Little did we know what a blessing this village would be to us and the place that it would hold in our hearts, as we are now on a bus driving to our next village.

 I will try my very best to write out how this past week went, although there aren’t many words that can truly describe how great our time here was. There’s something about PNG culture that is so amazing and also very humbling, and that is their hospitality. Never in our lives have any of us experienced hospitality like we have here in this beautiful village. The people decorated the church with fresh flowers that they picked and leaves that they weaved into beautiful patterns. Someone gave up their house for the week, just so our team would have a place to stay. In the eyes of the western world, this village does not have much. None of the people have very expensive possessions, or big houses, the village doesn’t have power or toilets. But they do have something so beautiful that I think a lot of our cultures at home have lost, and that is the way they serve and love other people. They don’t have much, but they always give. Each day they bring our team fresh fruit sliced up and garnished, they boil water for us, and they start a fire for us before we are all awake. There was one night that we needed something to cut our chicken on, and they went and brought us their best brand new cutting board. They loved us, just because. They didn’t expect anything in return from us, they just loved. Within the first few days of being here, everyone knew each of us by name. We all feel so thankful and blessed by the people here in Huhuna, and are hoping that we can take home the things that we have learnt from them.

 A lot of our time spent in Huhuna was with the kids and the mothers from the community. The boys had a lot of fun playing soccer with the village boys. We sang heaps of songs with silly actions. We learnt some PNG songs, and then got the opportunity to share some of our fun songs from back home. Our girls spent time each night with the mothers cooking up dinner for the evening. All of these times, we got to build relationships with the people here, see how they live their lives, and pour into them in any way we could. 

 Prior to leaving for PNG, we partnered up amongst our team and prepared teachings to share in the villages once we got there. Essentially what we’d been doing, is running a little discipleship program each night, where the people could come and learn about different topics such as having relationship with God and others, the Gospel, and who God is and who we are in Him. This has been such a cool opportunity for us to take everything we’ve learnt throughout our time on DTS and teach it to others. After dinner each night, people from the community would flood into the church at the sound of Dickson, our PNG friend, playing the guitar. We all sang and danced to our King together, before we shared and taught. Our teachings are always followed by fellowships times, singing songs, laughing, and praying for one another. Because no other teams have stayed in this village before, we had the opportunity to share messages that these people had never heard before. We as team feel so grateful to have been able to share about Jesus to these people!

 During our time here, we’ve adopted an extra team member, a PNG local, and our twelfth disciple, named Dickson. He has been a huge blessing for our team in too many ways to count or write about. Dickson traveled from village to village in order to find a place for us to go throughout our time in PNG. He has been leading worship for us before each teaching (praise God because we didn’t know any PNG songs!). He has stood out on the highway for hours, waiting for a truck to drive by so he could ask them if they’d transport us to our next village.  All of these things he’s done while constantly spending time with us and telling jokes. Dickson’s heart to serve others, including serving our team, is something we are all so thankful for; I think that we’ve a learnt a thing or two from him. 

 We have been able to try a lot of fun things this week while we’ve been here. The mothers taught us all how to weave coconut palm leaves into baskets, balls, pinwheels, fans, you name it! The people here are so resourceful and creative. We’ve had “showers” in the river, the guys went spear fishing, and each of us have picked up a few words from their language. We will all be coming home with stories upon stories of all the cool things we’ve experienced. 

 Our time in PNG so far has been so so good. We have seen miraculous healings of broken bones, pains, and sickness in the name of Jesus. We have seen people hear the Gospel of Jesus for the first time, and others fall deeper and deeper into relationship with Him. We saw a broken, torn apart family, decide to resolve their problems and come back together.  We have made beautiful friendships, stepped out of our comfort zones, and experienced so many new things. Because of the time our team spent in Huhuna, the village has decided go open their homes to future YWAM Gold Coast teams. They have also decided to build a bigger and more permanent church and housing for future YWAM teams! How cool is that! As sad as we are to say goodbye to our sweet friends here who have become so special to us, we are all very excited for what the next two weeks here will hold. We all also cannot believe that our time in PNG is going by so quickly. We are now on our way to our next village, where we will spend the rest of our time in PNG.

 

Testimony from Adri
"Personally I had been struggling in the past days; I was a blonde haired, white skinned girl sitting in a pink poncho on the bus stop in the middle of Alotau PNG with intentions of sharing the love of God. Meanwhile I had a heart ache for the sick and injured and often caught myself diagnosing people as I walked to and from the base. I had prayed for sick people before, I work in a hospital and I always had silent prayers for each patient I saw. I hate sickness and I hate pain and in PNG I didn’t have the time or resources to help even 1 of the 100’s I saw. During open airs I approached a mother and her son Charlie, his arm in a tattered makeshift plaster cast, he was 9. He had fallen from a coconut tree which stands as tall as a 2 or 3 story house. I got down and began to ask for healing and prayed for a fast recovery and feeling confident, I asked him if he felt any pain but he said yes. Every time this happens my heart sinks a little, and after the open air closed we headed home again. We spent a week in Alotau and on the last day we headed to the market for the last time when I felt a tug on my hand. It was Charlie, a big grin on his face as his mom said “this is the girl who prayed for you”. His cast was gone and his mom began to explain how his arm was in full use now and I could't believe how I doubted God could use me."

 


Prayer Requests
-Safety 
-Against any kind of sickness as a few members if the team are sick right now. We would love to be in full health as we are away.
-That nerves would be calm as we experience new things.
-That we as a team would be unified and build each other up
-That through everything, we would give glory to God; because without Him, we wouldn't have made it here
-For the village of Hunana
-For the hearts of our next village, Hagita

 

We miss you all back home,
Sending love,
The team