Steve and Gerdine Stanley with Oscar had an exciting plan. Everything was lined up back to back for the team to build houses in Kovol and move in. Unfortunately, the NTM helicopter is having engine issues and is therefore grounded and their plans are scrapped. It looks like no flights until August and so no milling, and no house building for now.
They had managed to get into Kovol to arrange the ‘use of land’ for the future houses before the issue with the helicopter.
The guys spent six days there arranging a contract for the ‘use of land’ to build houses on. They arrived without warning by chopper, but all Kovol heard it and so over the days they spent there representatives from every Kovol village came to see them and tell them that they were happy for the three families to move in. They spent a few days chopping back the jungle where their houses are going to go and making the land ready to start construction.
Signing a bit of paper does not mean much to the Kovol people. Their way of saying “we agree to let you use this land for your houses” is to have a feast together, and so a pig was butchered and the whole community feasted on pork, taro, potatoes and greens.
Their next step is to start cutting down trees in Kovol and milling them into planks; with the helicopter being down there’s no way they can move all the necessary tools in. Instead they are in Madang buying building materials like roofing iron, electrical cable, PVC pipe, guttering and light switches that their houses will need.
They have also been working hard on preparing themselves to be able to use chainsaws safely both in theory and practise, gaining basic experience by cutting down some small trees and spending two days milling a pine tree. It was a dry run of what they will be doing in Kovol on much bigger trees. Although the village trees will present a greater challenge, they should be competent enough to use their chainsaws safely.
Steve and Gerdine find it awesome to see how the Lord, who wants to see the Kovol people reached with His Gospel, is making it happen. They were in need of two things: chainsaws to arrive on time and someone to help them use them. The Lord provided both in the form of friends of other missionaries who had lots of experience cutting trees and were willing to buy the chainsaws in the USA and bring them on their visit to PNG. Sadly they will not be able to help them with milling in Kovol due to the helicopter issues; and the chainsaws were confiscated by border control in Brisbane but the team trusts God to provide people to help with milling when they actually can get in and an alternative delivery method for the chainsaws.
Oscar is almost walking! They love seeing how he grows and develops. He loves getting out and about in the sun and is delighted whenever he gets to play with water! Whilst in Madang he had his first try of playing in the ocean; he loved it!