Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pre-Christmas Activities

December is a very full month here on our center. I kind of forgot how busy things are here after a year back in the States. We started on the 2nd of December with the jr. and sr. high drama. They presented The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and did a great job! Then on the 3rd we held our annual Christmas Festival - where the gym is turned into a "mall". Each class, 7th through 12th, sells something and then individuals also have tables of goods to purchase.

The 4th was Sunday and then we had school Monday through Friday, which is enough activity on its own, but we seem to throw in dress up days just to make things more chaotic. So my dear friend Carmen decided that we should display the 12 Days of Christmas.

I was 5 golden rings. Here we all are - quite a crew.

Then the evening of the 9th was the school Christmas concert. The elementary students sang and acted. They did a great job, as did the music teachers.

The high school students sang and played their instruments. They all did a tremendous job!

The following day was the staff Christmas party. We held a progressive dinner times 4 - meaning that 4 houses hosted appetizers, 4 housed hosted soup or salad and 4 houses hosted the main dish. Then we all gathered for dessert at the end. We had a Sunday and 3 more days of school, that were filled with projects due and tests to be taken. Then on Thursday we had our class Christmas party. So here was my class on the last day of term 2.

Now that break is in full swing there will be more Christmas celebrations to come!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Belated Madang Birthday Post

I can describe my birthday trip to Madang in alliterations... Sun, Snorkeling, Shopping and Silly and then Fun, Friends, and Food. We took a few days to sit in the SUN and read. We had two traditional book readers and two Kindle readers. Nice to be balanced.
We made sure we had some tme to SNORKEL. Such amazing things can be found underwater. We enjoyed the sea stars as well as a sting ray - lots of clown fish and coral. We tried to get our little DVD player hooked up to the TV in the evening, but since the remotes had 'walked' away from the resort we never could switch over to AV and so we ended up watching some TV on the little 6 inch screen.

One day we met up with some friends that live in Madang and they took us into town to do some SHOPPING. We were able to go to a nice Brian Bell and find some things that we can't find in Goroka. Of course we had pay to fly them up to Goroka, but when you are shopping deprived it all seems okay.

FOOD is a must in the middle of a shopping day. We found a great place to have lunch and to visit. Fish and Chips all around!!

One of our days was filled with rain. It started raining around 3 am and kept raining until 3 pm. We weren't going to let that get us down. So we went out and played in the rain. The lovely ladies that took this picture had to think we were SILLY!

We spent the rest of our rainy day playing cards. We played 16 hands of Hand and Foot. This way we got to be partners with each person and play individually. We were a bit sick of Hand and Foot by the end of this day.

All in all the best part of our trip had to be the FRIENDS! We had a great time relaxing together. FUN is a pretty boring word to sum up our time, but it was FUN!

Thanks Carmen (in teal), Kristin (flowered top) and Robyn (in pink) for a great four days!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Birthday Bash

The years that I am in PNG, I try to celebrate my birthday with my good friend Becky. Becky and I share the birthday of October 3 (as do so many others!). This year Becky and I had a pinochle party. Our parties are really an excuse to have yummy food and hang out with friends.

Throughout the evening we change partners. We play four hands with one person and then change partners and tables. Here I am playing with my friends Peggy (tan sweater), Pat (blue top) and Carmen (black sweatshirt). Below is Becky (left) playing with Robyn, Shriley and Melanie (clockwise around the table.)

There was a third table in the kitchen where you find Terri (grey sweatshirt), Emily, Kristin, and Renee (clockwise).

Becky was the winner of the night, which seemed very appropriate. She hadn't won a pinochle party before and it was her birthday celebration.

Such a fun night!! Friends, food, gifts, and pinochle. I really had a great night with some wonderful ladies.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Field Trip!!

My grade 4/5 class took a field trip the last day of term. We have been studying Papua New Guinea history this last term and learned that one of the main exports is coffee. We live in a valley that grows lots of coffee and has a number of coffee factories, so we went to tour the New Guinea Highlands Coffee.

My students were good listeners, asked some good questions, and learned a lot about coffee. Mr. Dave, the company's manager, was our guide and teacher.
After the beginning presentation, all the kids had the opportunity to try the coffee. Thankfully their teacher didn't have to try any.

Parker has inherited his dad's love for coffee.

Best friends sharing a cuppa.

After our coffee tasting we went on a tour of the factory. This loft was full of bags of coffee beans.

The coffee is shipped all over the world. We learned that Germany and the US are the main purchasers from this company.

This was the 'cup room' - where coffee beans are roasted and tested to insure consistant quality of the beans.

The students were interested in the roasting process.

This is a vat of beans. Then they travel from here to be checked and bagged for transport.

Here is where the beans end up - bagged and stacked.

And here we are at the end of the tour. We had a great time and learned lots.

Friday, September 23, 2011

PNG Independence

PNG Independence is celebrated by our school in style. This year I am helping out with our student council group and Independence Day is our biggest fundraiser. I baked and "decorated" a cake for our cake walk. It was pretty late at night and this smilely face cake is all I could come up with.
The next morning, Sept. 16th - Independence Day - we began with a pie auction. Some pretty yummy items up for bid.

At NCA we have a unique twist on the "kissing booth". We send kisses - lip shaped suckers and a rubber stamped lip print. It is a very popular booth, and a lot of fun to deliver little bits of encouragement.

One of our other booths was the stocks. You could pay to put your friends in the stocks and then throw wet sponges at them. I had two students send me a "kiss" and two other students put me in the stocks. I think I prefer the "kiss".

Here is a shot of our cake walk. It is the most popular booth at the our celebration. Most PNG citizens don't have an oven and so the chance to win a cake is a big draw.

It is awfully fun to award a cake to the winner!! Here is our student council president showing off the cakes.

Friday, September 9, 2011

August Prayer Letter

School: NCA has begun!

Finally August 3rd arrived and we got to start school. I had been waiting for so long to be back into the classroom and I was thrilled to get started. I am teaching grades 4 and 5 again this year. Right now there are 15 students—8 fourth graders and 7 fifth graders. The class is currently made up of 2 Australians, 2 Germans, 1 Canadian and 10 Americans. Of course most of them know little about living in their home countries. They are great kids and I have been enjoying getting to know them over these first three weeks.

This part of the school year is a little bit difficult. Everyone is trying to learn new routines in my class as well as in music, art and PE. We will all get them down soon. The work load is a bit of a jump from 3rd grade to 4th grade, but they are all doing well.

This first term is shorter than usual because we postponed the beginning of school as we waited for some of our teachers to arrive. Just last week we found out that there is a new national holiday this Friday and so we have lost yet another day. I am not sure how we will get all this term 1 information digested, but I am sure my students are up to it. Plus it will make term 2 seem like a piece of cake. Please be praying for both students and teachers as we try to learn/teach all that God would have of us this term.

Tribal Update (excerpt from Gary and Esther Smith’s letter)

A couple weeks ago some religious leaders threatened some of our tribal missionaries. Though things looked a bit concerning this was the outcome..

This morning after a not so good night sleep I looked outside and saw men walking around our houses to protect us. Then the plane came in with the NTM leaders and left to go get the police men. We all met together and prayed and reminded each other to respond as Christ would respond.

The police arrived at the same time as the delegation. So we gave the floor to the religious leaders and they accused us of all kinds of falsehood and they said we had to leave and gave us a 2 month deadline to get out. The police men then gave us (around 120 people) the floor and they listened to testimony after testimony of how God has changed their lives and that Jesus is the only way to God. I literally cried as a listened to them give God all the glory. The police man had to stop people as hand after hand went up wanting to give testimony!

After these men heard the testimonies one man proposed that we can stay until we finish the translation. They literally changed their demand and said, “We never said they had to leave.” The testimony of God’s working in the lives of these people silenced them! So they even apologized to us and we shook hands. Our houses are still standing and we are safe, but more importantly our faith is stronger!

We are excited to hear of the faith in the Lord that is developing in our new brothers in Christ.

Praise/Prayer Points
• Praise for the many believers in the remote areas of PNG who are growing in Christ.
• Pray for my dear class as we continue to grow academically and spiritually.
• Praise that our 3rd grade teacher has her entry visa. Pray that she will be able to arrive in the next few weeks.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Joanie's Birthday!!

Even when Joanie isn't in PNG we still celebrate her birthday in style. Second-handing is one of her favorite pasttimes in Goroka. Don't you miss this? Here are Pat, Stuart, and Matt checking out with their finds.

Even your husband went second-handing. No wrist slitting that I saw. Here are Robyn, Dana and Kristin.

You know you are my dear friend if I will go into the second-hand store AND get my picture taken just for this blog post!

And we couldn't leave out your lovely daughter. Here are Stephanie, Matt (again), Carmen, Jenny and there she is Hayley. We love you and hope you have as much fun as we did on your special day. Happy Birthday!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July Prayer Letter

“Summer” time = VBS
For many of you summer means a change of weather, camping, and Vacation Bible School! In Papua New Guinea we don’t have much of a change in weather (though this year is challenging that a bit). We don’t do any camping, but we did have Vacation Bible school this year. A couple ladies here on center headed up VBS this year with materials sent from one of their home churches. We had singing, Bible lessons, snacks, crafts and games. There were about 35 missionary children from our center and others nearby that came to our four day VBS. I had the privilege of organizing and leading crafts. I loved having each of the four age groups for 20 minutes at a time and helping them with their craft.

The kids seemed to love the opportunity to have a structured learning and play time during the long school break. We don’t have local parks or extended family to visit so the 7 or 8 weeks of school break can seem long. This helped break up our break and reinforced Biblical truths of God’s power, His presence, and His truthfulness.

The beginning of school has me all excited! I have had lots of time to prepare and I am ready to begin. However, we have had to postpone the beginning of school this year in hopes that a few of our teachers will arrive on time. School was to start on July 27 and now we are beginning on Aug. 3. This week long extension has allowed 3 of our staff members to arrive before school starts. Our grade 3 teacher will not be able to be here at the beginning, but we hope that she will arrive just a couple weeks late. Please continue to pray for her entry visa to come through soon.
This year I will begin the year with just 15 students in grades 4 and 5. It is the fewest students I have had in a class since 2002! I will work my way up to 20 students by January as families have had to delay due to finances, furloughs, and other family issues. Please pray for my class as we welcome students throughout the year.

Hannah Update
Hannah has had some ups and downs this month. She was very weak at one point and in severe pain. She went up to the hospital and found out that her gall bladder needed to be removed, but after an exploratory surgery they decided that it could wait until she was a little stronger and the gall bladder was not as inflamed. Please pray for her and her family as the surgery is scheduled for July 27.

Praise/Prayer Points
• Praise that many of our teachers have arrived and are getting ready for school to begin on Aug. 3rd.
• Pray for Hannah’s surgery on the July 27th.
• Pray for our 3rd grade teacher as she is still awaiting her entry visa. Pray that she will be able to arrive soon after school starts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 2011 Update - Gail's Greetings

My PNG Home…
May 28th I arrived in Papua New Guinea after 11 months of home assignment. I loved being in the US with my family, friends and churches, but I also loved “coming home” to the family that the Lord has given me here in PNG.

I made it in time to be involved with 6th Grade Promotion. This group of students were my students in grades 3, 4, and 5. They are very dear to my heart and I was so happy to share their special day.

Then the next day was our high school graduation. It is a huge celebration here. More work goes into NCA’s grad than into most weddings. This is the final good-bye these students have before they head back to their home countries. I had the privilege of teaching these students when they were 6th graders and have watched them grow up into young adults. Such a joy it is to see them following the Lord and seeking Him for guidance.

Graduation evening is a time that we say goodbye to not only the seniors but those going on home assignment. I was able to spend time with some dear friends, many of whom will be in the US for the summer or for the next year.

What’s Next…
Now that graduation is over and many people have left, what do I do? I will be getting ready for the next school year. School begins July 28th and we hope to have a bunch of new teachers. Over the next few weeks I will be setting up my house, preparing my classroom, setting up some of the new peoples’ houses, working on our school accreditation tasks and visiting with those that are left here at Lapilo. I am looking forward to being back in the classroom. It has been a year without teaching and I am ready to teach again! Setting up my house is always fun. I love to organize things and I have plenty to sort though. Then there is the job of setting up some of the new teachers’ houses and praying for their arrival. There is work to be done at school for our accreditation so I will help with that and finally… I will hopefully be an encouragement to those that are still here at Lapilo over the long break.

Hannah Update…
I recently read that Hannah’s blood counts are improving and if she continues, there is a chance that she will be able to move back home at the end of June. Hannah’s body has switched to her sister’s blood type, which is a sign that the transplant is working. It has been hard on the D’Arcy family to be apart all this time, so please pray that Hannah will be well enough to be away from the hospital so that she and her mom can return home.

Praise and Prayer Points…
• Praise that I had a safe trip back to PNG and had a wonderful time reconnecting with friends.
• Pray that Hannah may return home at the end of the month.
• Pray for the new teachers that will be coming to PNG next month - for their visas and the goodbyes that have to be said.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

NCA Graduation

Graduation at Numonohi Christian Academy (NCA) is a whole evening of celebration. We take pictures before, during, and after Grad. Here is my dear friend Joanie. Her son Cooper is one of the 11 graduates this year.

I got a picture taken with the graduate himself, but it was taken by the graduation photographers and I don't have it yet. Jacqueline and Hayley are Cooper's sisters (Jacqueline flew back for his graduation this year). So good to see the whole family.
Here is a blurry pic of Cooper and his friend Joash walking in. Cooper is on the right. I taught both these guys in 6th grade.

Here are the stage and the graduates. They all sat on comfy couches during the ceremony.

And the graduating class of 2011!!

After graduation we take more pictures of good friends. Here is my friend Carmen and me.

We especially like to take pictures of our dear friends that are leaving for home assignment. Here I am with my "nieces" Rachel and Emily. Sure going to miss these girls!

And finally some of my girlfriends. It was fun to be together at graduation and to celebrate our students. Too bad we couldn't all look in the same direction at the same time.