A break out in Goroka has been very refreshing for us. We came out of the bush and were in awe of how many people there were to talk to at our mission base, amazed by all the choice in the stores, revelling in the sunshine and generally feeling excited and energized by all the things we can enjoy out in town. After some good times out here we’re almost feeling ready to get back to work in Kovol. Almost! It feels much the same as when you’ve decided to go running, but it’s so hard to get yourself out the door and do it, knowing that once you get started you’ll get into it and you’ll find you quite enjoy it 🙂 Unfortunately with an ongoing fuel crisis in country it’s not looking as if we’ll be able to fly in.

Our aviation department isn’t currently able to get the fuel they need to continue regular flying. As bush missionaries learning language we’re a priority for them – and isn’t that just so amazing, that our ministry has such support! . Even so there is a lot of uncertainty right now about what is possible.

let’s all put our faces together!

We’ve communicated to our leadership team our preference for getting back in soon, (while also saying we don’t mind a little extra time to recuperate!) and they have the unenviable task of weighing competing priorities and coming up with a plan. It may be months before we can get back into Kovol; we just don’t know. We’re praying for a solution to the fuel supply problems, it’s impacting all of our church-planting teams and we’ve had lots of conversations with others where we each share postponed and cancelled plans and what we’re wrestling through: what to do in uncertain times.

Providentially for team Kovol the Stous family are still there. We came out just before the fuel crisis hit and are stuck out in Goroka. They are able to stay in Kovol. There is fuel set aside to fly them out when their supplies run out and they are hoping to stretch their time in there as long as possible. So Rhett is still able to chip away at language and culture study.

The day Alice had a fever and needed cuddles

For us out in Goroka, Gerdine needs to start up school with Oscar again, for which she has most of the materials she needs. We received an email the day before we flew out telling us that fuel supply problems might be on the horizon and we flew out some school materials just in case! The main task I was working on in Kovol was culture summaries. I would ask interview questions in the Kovol language on a cultural topic, compile it all together and then write a summary (in English) on what I’d learnt on that topic. I can’t really carry that on right now, but I can jump ahead and make a start on the next stage.

The next stage is to write a cultural themes paper. We have a template called IRDS “Ideal Real Disparity Strategy” where we identify a cultural “ideal” which is Biblical culture, what the Bible calls humanity to, and we look at some key issues. Then we look at the “real” which is Kovol culture. We figure out the “disparity” which is where the two don’t line up and identify a “strategy” for how we can teach to address that.
The goal of the cultural themes paper is to take all we have learnt writing cultural summaries and figure out what are the most important areas we’ll need to keep in mind while Bible teaching. What are points that we only need to mention once, and what are points we’ll need to hit with every single lesson? Where are areas we expect God’s word to be difficult for the Kovol people to understand because their culture provides them with a preconceived idea that will be hard to get past?

Boing, boing

Having gone through 2/3 of the cultural summaries I should be able to make a start, and perhaps make an educated guess what needs to be checked out when I get back in and can talk to people again. Starting such a big write up in an air-conditioned office with no interruptions certainly isn’t an uncomfortable way to get started 🙂 I won’t be able to finish, but hopefully I’ll be kept busy.

In holiday news we all got sick at one point or another – which is inevitable really when we let ourselves wind down 🙂 Oscar turned 6, what a big boy! Gerdine made him a cake based on his favourite teddy bear and we spent a few days working on his new lego sets. The trampoline and playground continue to be a smash hit with the younger members of our family. I’m trying to up my energy levels with hydration, giving up coffee and exercising because just taking daily naps and relaxing hasn’t seemed to take care of the feeling tired issue 🙂 Gerdine has been enjoying seeing people and chatting. So that’s been our time off.

It’s uncertain when we can get back to Kovol, but we’re still content where we are for the moment. We’re gradually winding back up with school and work on the Kovol language and we’ll keep you posted on what the short term future might look like for team Kovol.

The “Barry” cake
Oscar turned 6!


Mandy Caley · 06/03/2024 at 6:24 pm

Sounds good. I was hoping you’d have to stay out a bit longer 😉
Glad to hear from you. God bless.

Ruth Cox · 06/03/2024 at 9:22 pm

Good to hear this update, I had just been wondering if you had been able to get back in. Make the most of the time to recuperate. Praying on that the fuel situation will be resolved. Love and God bless, Ruth

    Nelv Herr · 06/03/2024 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks for your great update again and I love seeing your pictures too. Many prayers for your fuel situation and trust it will not be long before your team is working back together again. 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️

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