The Stous family have visitors: Stacie’s dad has come! They kept it a secret from their children, so it was a complete surprise! They were sure they’d blown it several times when Stacie said things like “when my dad comes…” but no one caught on!
For the blog this week I decided to sit and have a chat with them. Over coffee we asked them to give their impressions. I’ve taken the liberty of summarising and writing their answers, so what you’re reading is my own summary of what they said – I’m sure they’ll correct me if I got something wrong!
Who are you guys?
We’re Tim and Kathy. I’m Stacie’s dad, so we’ve been following you guys, reading all the blog posts and hearing from Stacie how things are. We’re really glad to get to come and visit so we can really experience things. It’s one thing to read about it; it’s a whole different thing to see, smell and touch it all ourselves.
How did your grandkids react when they saw you?
They didn’t recognise me! I’ve never had a goatee before and so they walked right past me at the airport. They were all wondering who this creeper waving at them was, and then I hugged them!
I think they’re happy now. You’ll have to ask them.
How was the journey into Kovol?
You know we’ve seen the videos of you guys arriving into Kovol very often. We have the videos ready on our phones to show people who ask us about it, so in a way, it was very familiar. Stacie had warned us to expect a lot of people because everyone would be excited to see her parents, parents visiting being a big deal in Kovol.
Even so, it was pretty amazing to see so many people! We felt a bit like movie stars! It was like we were famous and we received a very warm welcome.
What were your first impressions?
We noticed how warm and friendly people are. People are really happy to chat and there’s lots of smiling.
What have you been up to in your time here? Any plans for the remaining time?
We don’t have any real plans, we just want to experience what it’s like here. We don’t want you guys to be thinking about how to look after us and give us a good time. We just want to experience what life is like for you guys here and take it as it comes. So no real plans for the rest of the time.
How’s the bush food been?
It’s been okay, not too bad. I don’t think we’d choose to eat any of it if it was served at a restaurant though. Of course we are super spoiled though in the West with the food choices we have.
We’ve not had to eat anything like grubs and what we have eaten hasn’t been the worst. We’re not fans of the texture of the mamuni (root vegetable grated and cooked in bamboo, like a starchy sausage) we ate, which was quite chewy. The food is so different and maybe if we would eat it more often we would get used to it.
Are you catching anything in the Kovol or Tok Pisin languages?
Not a thing! I guess I could probably catch some Tok Pisin, but they talk so quickly I don’t know what they are saying!
How are things different from what you expected?
For me, it was seeing how open and hungry people are to hear God’s word. I’ve read about that openness, but sitting and talking with people and hearing their hearts is a whole different thing. People here have a genuine desire to hear the truth. They know that they’ve caught bits of it, but that they don’t have the whole thing. They’ve heard some things, but it’s all been jumbled up. You guys have a real privilege to get to work with people who are so open and hungry to hear God’s word.
What’s a highlight?
Sitting with one of the Kovol guys and talking with him and seeing how warm, friendly and emotional he was especially when it came to his talking about his hunger for spiritual things. Another highlight was when I could thank the community for how well they’ve been looking after you guys and seeing how everyone lit up and burst out with smiles.
Kathy – for me, it’s seeing all the cute Kovol kids. They’re so curious and friendly, I enjoyed showing them how different butterflies appear on the screen saver for my watch
No, it’s been a good experience. I did get a really bad sunburn from our time in Madang. The pain was 7/10 and blisters formed, so we had to cut short a trip to the village.
Tim and Kathy are with us until Monday and will be returning home shortly afterwards.
Our thanks to Tim and Kathy for their visit. It’s been encouraging to meet supporters of our work here. It often feels like we are alone, but this visit has helped us to realise many people are involved and support us 🙂