The sound of coconut branches breaking as a coconut plunges with a huge “BANG!” to the ground reminds us of branches snapping from the sheer weight of snow. This may not sound to you like “sounds of winter"… but it’s about as close as we can get here*!
*Here = a tiny island off the coast of New Ireland. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to walk around the island… Not that we’ve ever done that. It usually takes us 2-3 hours for all the mingling we do!
As I look around, I’m surrounded by beautiful palm trees and varieties of hibiscus flowers. The residents of the island pride themselves in keeping the island ‘pristine’, with groomed walking paths and homes free of debris or clutter. The beach is of course beautiful, and the water is warm (ok, in the afternoons sometimes it’s too warm!). Similar to our time in Madang, we will occasionally have a “chilly”, cloudy, rainy day which many homeschooling families deem an automatic “snow day”, and we pull out the hot chocolate mix (thank you for the care packages, friends/family!) and pretend that we’re cold enough to drink it!
You might recall reading our blog a year ago, in which we wondered specifically where we would be for Christmas THIS year! And here we are now, in our Bush Orientation in the beautiful islands of PNG. So what are we doing in this time of Bush Orientation?
- We are finishing learning Tok Pisin
- We are experiencing remote tribal life - the challenges of managing solar power, shopping and rationing food for several weeks, and facing ‘isolated’ living conditions
- We are observing and getting to know the local tribal church and the missionaries, and hopefully being a mutual encouragement to each other
- We are praying during this time about the many potential opportunities we have for joining a new OR an existing church planting work
EXCITING NEWS: It brings us great joy to share with you that just a couple days ago, our very own Naya chose to believe in Jesus Christ as her Savior! Please remember her in your prayers as she grows in the months and years ahead.
Let us also remember together the thousands upon thousands who have not yet had a chance to hear this wonderful (wonder-filled!) news.
And just on a more ‘personal’ note, it hits us big this year as we are currently in a tribe of anywhere between 12,000 and 20,000 people —— with about 15 believers. 15. (And less than 300 of them have even had the chance to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel.) Sobering? Incredibly. Please pray for this young tribal church. They have a huge burden for their own people who have yet to hear, yet much discipleship is still needed to help bring them to a place where they can reach out effectively.
Praying with thankfulness for you as we thank Him for His marvelous gift of salvation,
~the Martinez family