Lessons from PNG rerun

I’ve decided that I’m going to do a post about what I miss about life as a missionary, but just to get you all up to speed (for those of you who didn’t know about that shadowy part of my past), here’s a slightly updated rerun of a post from last August about some of the lessons I learned there.

Our first morning at our new home

It’s been six years since J and I packed up every last thing that we owned, sold the rest, took our four month old baby, got on a plane, then another, and then another, and moved to Papua New Guinea to work as missionary teachers.

Our experiences there left an indelible impression on our lives.

Here are just a few things that I learned in our two years there that may be worth passing on . . .

Some of the outfit was not my fault.

1. Nothing bad will happen to you if you are not dressed cool.  Therefore, if your feet are cold, Chacos and socks are okay.

Addie takes a bath.


2. Accept help when it’s offered, even if you don’t need it.  Maybe the help isn’t for you.

I didn’t have baby decor, so I hung her pretty dresses on a line along the wall.

3.   Use what you have. You don’t have to buy something, especially if there’s nothing to buy and no money to buy it with. (I learned this is called being resourceful. Go figure.)

Check out the intricate roadway these guys carved out of the wall.

4.  Kids who don’t have TVs do this crazy thing called “playing”.  It turns out that it is good for them. 🙂

Some friends made dinner for our 3rd anniversary and created a lovely "restaurant for us".

5. If you can’t go out, stay in. Sometimes making the best of it is actually better anyway.

Addie looking out the airplane window over the jungle, the quintessential MK photo.

6. Kids are adaptable, even with intractable things like nap schedules and eating patterns.  Actually, grown-ups are too. God made us this way.

Jungle hike near a tilapia pond.

7. Stick together. You’ll be able to do things that you could never do on your own.

 “Seriously Mom, you’re gonna bathe me in this?! Because I bet if this water were cleaner, I would enjoy this bath about 0% more.”

8. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can and not worry about the rest. In fact, much of the “rest” actually won’t kill you (even if it doesn’t necessarily make you stronger). I mean, it really is possible to be too clean.

Fish face is my silly face of choice. I was focused on positioning dried shallots on my bagels. 

9. DIY, girlfriend! (Or boyfriend? Are boys reading this blog?)  If you want bagels, make them. Yogurt? Make it! Bread? Make it! Sausage? Make it! Spaghetti sauce? Make it! Nappy cleaner? MAKE IT!  Milk? Well . . . . buy it from the cow guy that delivers it on his motorcycle and pasteurize it yourself! You don’t need no store, girl. (See, you know I’m serious when I start using double negatives!) Pull up your big girl pants and make yusself that food you want!

(But Rum? Well, get yusself a ride all the way to the big city, and then buy it, smuggle it back to the missionary center, and try to keep the Brits off it. 🙂 )

The left side was our house while we were there.
Master bedroom when we arrived. I'm standing in the doorway. There is wall behind the door. It really was this small.
The gorgeous view from that very tiny bedroom window

10.  A lot depends on which point of view you decide to take.  Choose wisely.

Wow, that really barely covered a fraction of what I learned there. We’ll have to do this again some time. 🙂  Just curious, what did you do or where did you go, however briefly, that changed your life forever?

7 thoughts on “Lessons from PNG rerun

  1. wow. I have LOVED reading your blog. this post could alternatively be called, the Non-American Way ha ha. I lived in Peru and Mexico for summers only and have a similar take. btw the rum comment = hilarious.

  2. ps – although I don’t live in the third world anymore I am going to try making my own bagels sometime. I made english muffins a couple weeks ago and they turned out GREAT! love the DIY part too.

  3. So… it’s possible that you knew my brother-in-law in PNG (Andrew Koens). Not sure exactly when you were there, but you probably met my sister-in-law as well (Clare). Small world. 🙂 My husband and I spent 4.5 years traveling around the world working in missionary aviation, and while there were things that were annoyances, there are LOTS of things that I miss about living overseas.

    Came cross your blog when a friend (Lisa Fitzg…) shared it on FB. Loved your most recent post on deleting the comments. 🙂
    Carrie @ Busy Nothings recently posted…We Interrupt This Comment…My Profile

    1. I did know Andrew and Clare! I’m so glad that you found my blog. Lisa and I are friends from childhood and our kids are in the same class. Are you still in missions?

      1. Well, I like to think we are always in missions – it’s just that our mission field has changed. 🙂 No, we’re no longer living overseas, but yes, we are still fulfilling the great commission by being salt and light in the secular world. 🙂

        My husband, Peter, knows Lisa from, eh, not quite childhood, but highschool/college age, and her husband graduated from Moody Aviation a couple of years after Peter did. As you might know from knowing Andrew, he and Peter grew up as M.K.’s in South America. It’s such a small world, isn’t it? 🙂
        Carrie @ Busy Nothings recently posted…We Interrupt This Comment…My Profile

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