MAF Papua Conference 2016

  This year we had the privilege of spending a better part of a week in the mountain village of Mamit for family conference. This was the first interior conference that we have been a part and it was a wonderful time, but there was also a lot of work involved from our entire team. Everyone with their belongings, all the food, bathroom supplies, fridges, cooking items, LPG, a water filtration system, and the list goes on and on, was flown in which was quite to undertaking. Some of the guys like Greg who have back grounds in other areas (like electrical and plumbing) besides flying got put to work through out the week. For Greg though it was like coming home a little bit as this was one of his favorite places to fly into before moving to the south coast. So he greatly enjoyed those first minutes after landing as he was able to greet people that he had not see in a while and make that connection with them again.
      It took us over two hours to reach Mamit from our location in Meruake.  So we had the privilege of flying in a day early so that they could use the plane to help shuttle the rest of the people the next day. It was neat to land and see all the people gathered around the top of the airstrip and have them help carry our things. The people seemed to really enjoying having us there in their village. Our kids loved that they could explore and be out doors with all their friends and loved getting to know the New Heights team that had come from the States to lead our conference. I guess that the best way to describe what conference is like for the kids is to think about VBS and summer camp all happening on the side of a jungle mountain. For the older children like Franklin they got to sleep with the New Heights college members that help run things. He loved hanging out with them and enjoyed the freedom of staying up later playing board games up in the dining hall. During the day Isaac was part of the youth group but at night he bunked with his parents. Isaac loved all the silly games that the youth played and being apart of the youth group for the first time.
     I would say that one of the top things that happens for at least the kids is having a snack shop through out the week of conference.  And this year Greg and I had the privilege of running that for the first time. Our wonderful New Heights teams brings a lot of fun candy that we can’t get here plus things like beef jerky, wheat thins, mixed nuts, and dried fruit as well. It did mean that we had to work through the conference but it was fun talking with everyone and watching the children enjoy things that they were missing from back home.
     I would say for me though the highlight was singing and listening to messages in English as we do not have that privilege where we live. I think that even Isaac was missing it as well as I caught him singing along which I normally do not see very often. And mixed in with the singing and wonderful messages were a lot of silly games especially during the night meetings. This is also the kids favorite time as the team that cames does a wonderful job incorporating wonderful costumes and games that really go along with what the kids are really into. Last year was a Star Wars theme and this year was a Minecraft theme. However, since our children are older this year Greg and I found ourselves volunteered for way more them we ever wanted by our wonderful children. And I will admit that they got me to do somethings that I would never do in front of people but it brought great joy to them to be doing this kind of thing with their parents.
     And since this years conference was held in a village our family got to experience things that a lot of the time only pilots like Greg get to see. One morning the village came and did a big traditional presentation of food and a large pig to our group that they were going to cook kind of like what we would call a pig roast. Then one of our team building games for the adults was to see what it took for the people to make a quick meal. It took us over an hour to do it in different teams though. I found myself heading down the path with a group of ladies to dig up some different veggies while the guys got a fire going. Now we could only use what they used so we found ourselves digging up veggies with a pointed stick while the guys tried to start a fire the traditional way. It was a fun team building time. And then during family fun night the New Height team got the joy of trying to learn how to properly tie up a pig in the village before it can go into a plane. The kids really enjoyed watching this in action as they have all seen pictures of the pigs being put in and out of the plane but not this part.
     It was a great time interior filled with lots of wonderful memories and a time to reconnect with different teammates that live all over the island. And I will say that we all went home with much stronger leg muscles as you were either walking straight up or down for the entire week.

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