At Home in Madang!

Apinun from PNG!
We arrived at long last to Madang on Thursday evening, July 24th.
Our home for the next few months


We departed Seattle early Monday morning, leaving sad but supportive grandparents and a few friends behind. Unfortunately, we had too many connections (so we were told) to check our luggage through to Port Moresby, PNG. So we reclaimed it in LA and transferred to the international terminal at LAX for our flight to Sydney. To our surprise, the ticket agent told us after a couple minutes “Your visas are not being accepted.” (Oh my!) As it turned out, because we had so many hours of layovers in Australia, we needed an Australian visa as well in order to continue on our journey. This would cost us $50/person. So we said ok, and she began the process, and I was praying while Noe dealt with that.

Another employee came over during this time and wanted us to weigh one of our carry-ons for her. Which of course was too heavy, so we had to take some things out, break a zip-tie on a luggage and throw things in there… 3 times… then she was satisfied and walked away. Finally the visas were finished and we got our boarding passes and tiredly headed toward the security checkpoint to the right. We stopped by the payphones to pray because we were a bit frazzled. As we approached the front of the security line, he told us to go back to the other security checkpoint as he was closing this one. Ookkkk. It was by now 8pm, and our poor, patient (I think patient?) children hadn’t eaten since lunch, but they hung in there (barely) with us. They are such troopers! We cleared security, and followed the signs to the dining section of the terminal. We reached the end of the terminal and realized we’d gone the wrong way. No food. Ookkkk. So we turned around and dragged ourselves to the other end of the terminal where the food really was, and we ordered something and sat down.

By the time it came, it was 10 minutes before boarding, so we gave the kids a couple bites and then headed back to our gate. Lo and behold, boarding was delayed. And delayed. However, the Lord encouraged us at this point. A couple of gate agents announced that carry-ons should be checked for size and weight. As we looked at each other with somewhat of an “oh great” look, Noe saw that the ticket agent who dealt with us and our visas happened to be over at our gate to help with the boarding process. Noe called her over and thanked her again for her help. We chatted for a few minutes, and at the end she told us she’d help us get on board with no problems. (!) Because of this, we had no questions asked about our carry-ons. ALSO, Noe then informed me that because we had not been angry or yelled at her (as most people apparently do), she did not charge us for any of our visas. (!!)

The Qantas A380 is a humongous airplane. That’s all I have to say. The girls slept all night, after eating a little bit of the food we brought with us. Noe and I dozed off and on. 15 hours is a long time. But we made it!

In Sydney we claimed our bags and went through customs, and re-checked them for our domestic flights in Australia. Flew to Brisbane, then flew to Cairns that evening (Wednesday the 23rd). CAIRNS! Oh Cairns…. The international terminal locks up for the night by 10pm. Our plane was late, so we arrived after 10pm. We claimed our bags (AGAIN), and were able to stay in the baggage claim area of the domestic terminal until 12:30am. At 12:30am (or after the Guam flight I guess), the domestic terminal shuts down and everyone must go outside. So we woke up from our floor naps, and went outside with about 15 other people where we slept on the ground until 3am. As Noe puts it, “We went camping in the outback!” Ha! (His optimism was great.. and we all did fine. Even when there was a lizard by my head, and later when I thought an animal was on my head but it was just Naya’s foot…)
At 3am the international terminal opened, so we went inside. By 6:30am we were on our way to Port Moresby. NTM staff took us to their home and let us rest in a guest house for the day. The girls enjoyed the parrots and a brief swim in the pool. Mommy enjoyed a short nap. And finally, we took off for our final flight to Madang, arriving uneventfully after 5pm on Thursday. An NTM staff member met us, helped us get our luggage, and drove us back to the NTM center.

Some staff came over to our house to greet us, gave us egg salad sandwiches for dinner and some basic groceries for the next day, and a couple hours later we were in bed. Well… actually we were all in ONE bed… Why? Ants. (haha!)

The center sits right on the South Pacific Ocean/Bismarck Sea
There are ants. TONS of tiny little harmless ants. They are everywhere in our house, and Jocie hasn’t been able to sleep in her bed yet because of fear. She even said “I’m SO excited to do school, but I’m too scared to sit at the table because of all the ants!” (Her fear is the prayer request, but it should be noted that the amount of ants is no exaggeration. They are surrounding me currently, and often crawling on my face, and they’ve been darting in and out of the keys on the laptop. I could go on and on with stories, but I don’t want to bore you.)

One staff member predicted we’d wake up at 3am because of the time change. On. The. Money. The girls and I were awake at 3, and I had to convince them to go back to sleep. The sun sets around 6:30 and rises around 6 or 6:30am. So that’s kind of the norm here, to go to bed at a decent hour and rise with the sun.

Noe made breakfast on Friday morning- scrambled eggs and toast with PB&J. We were fascinated how within 10 minutes of cooking the eggs, when I took the skillet to wash it, there were EASILY a couple thousand ants inside (!!). The girls are learning VERRRRRY quickly that even a small crumb will draw a huge crowd of ants!
Friends from the MTC, currently on staff here until they move into a tribe

After breakfast, some friends on staff here took us for a walk around the center, showed us our mailbox, etc. We had lunch with a staff family (thank you!), took an afternoon nap, unpacked more, then had dinner with a staff family (thank you!).

Veggies from the market this morning, washed and drying
This morning, Saturday, we were taken into Madang town by a staff family. Naya and Jocie rode in the back with their 4 boys, and received and extensive education about PNG life as we drove into town. We stopped first at an open market, overflowing with vegetables and fruits. Noe also bought a young coconut and we all enjoyed the coconut water. We went to a big store next with lots of Asian pantry ingredients and the kids had an ice cream cone. Then they took us to their favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch. Super yum! We stopped at two more grocery stores, then brought our weary crew back home.

This is a LONG update, but much has happened, and we’re happy to have our internet set up now so we can update you who have so faithfully supported us and walked with us so far! It’s so exciting to be here finally, and we’re looking forward to learning the national language starting around August 5th, once the other families and singles arrive.

It’s hot and humid here, and apparently it’s the end of the dry season, so we’ll probably get rain almost daily.

But all is well so far! We’re safe and healthy at this point, and getting our bearings.

LOTS of love to all of you, please continue in prayer for us,

Noe, Lisa, Naya, Jocie, and 3,500,745…99 ants J