In case you were wondering, yes, we are alive and well! We have continued serving here in Papua New Guinea throughout these trying times. Our lives certainly look much different than they did at the beginning of 2020 but God is still good and the work of Bible Translation continues.
Here’s a brief overview of the year, with plenty of pictures:
I (Amanda) was able to attend two ladies retreats early this year. Both retreats gave me time to rest, regroup, and, without realizing it at the time, prepare me for the crazy that was about to come upon us.
Our community went into lock-down near the end of March. We wanted to do our part in being vigilant about not spreading or contracting the virus and abiding by the government’s recommendations. This time was HARD especially for the extroverted ones in the family – Alan, Finn and myself. Colby, our little introvert, was in heaven!
However, we made the best of it. We got creative with our time, how we socialized, and started some new family routines.
Alan helped produce a local radio talk-show – UkaRadio, which featured a kid’s story time (Finn was a guest star – you can listen to one of his segments below). And the two of us completed lots of projects around the house.
Life ever since has been strange, sad, difficult, slow, you name it. The teens we work with really felt the blow of social distancing and other restrictions. Lots of our friends left suddenly, and many we looked forward to seeing return in June have yet to do so. We started to get used to a “new normal” of having only three shopping days a week, ordering produce for delivery several days later, and having date nights with friends over the computer.
After about a month, the community started to open up again bit by bit. The school switched to a digital format, though, which meant lots of changes for our work. Many of our teachers returned to their home countries, and those who were left shuffled to fill the needs. Alan took on more English classes and I taught Kindergarten Language Arts. Online teaching was difficult for a variety of reasons, but we made it through. As teachers, we thrive off of the face-to-face interactions, which made this term particularly challenging.
Like seniors all over the world, our senior class missed out on all the fun senior events they had been looking forward to. But what a lovely bunch they were – they had good attitudes and made the most of it. Fortunately, they were able to have one last group dinner before the shut-down, we had a semi-normal graduation ceremony (Alan gave the commencement address, which you can read here), and almost all of them have returned safely to their home countries.
Our plan is to start school again, in person, on August 12th. I will be back to teaching in the Learning Assistance Department and Alan will be doing English for grades 8 to 12. Our student numbers are much lower and so are our teachers. Please pray for wisdom as we move forward with such limited staffing.
God has been good throughout this time, and we know He will continue to direct us. One blessing we’ve seen is how close our boys have grown with each other. Finn is very much our adventure boy and Colby is happy to be his sidekick. More about them in the next update!