For most people who have a Monday to Friday job, the weekend is a time to relax, get a few things done around the house, and to go out to stores and visit people.  This is quite similar for one of our missionaries in Papua New Guinea, who wrote about it in one of her newsletters.  But notice some of the interesting differences below when you live the life of a missionary.

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My day started about 4:15 AM. I got dressed, spent some time in Bible study and prayer, and read some email messages. I put a load of clothes in the washing machine about 5 AM, but chose to skip my usual morning step walking exercise, knowing I would be walking to the market a bit later.

I swept the floor, ate a bowl of soup, and hung up the clothes before leaving for the market to buy pineapples, passion fruit, bananas, cucumbers, eggplant, broccoli, and lettuce. I had intended to buy a few more things, since I am dehydrating fruits and vegetables to help another missionary feed the work team that is coming to build her bush house in October.

[Editor’s Note: fruit and vegetables grow in abundance here, but to get them out to people in the bush area can be expensive to transport.  Thus dehydrating and rehydrating food later can be one solution for this.]

I had transferred a few Kina (PNG bills worth a little over 40 cents in US money) to my wallet before leaving for the market, and then left the wallet on my desk. Oh well, I do have some broccoli in the dehydrator now and I also bought the eggplant for her. I do still have a bit of time to complete that task since the work crew doesn’t come until October.

Upon my return from the market, I took a shower and then washed the dishes so I would have room to soak my fruits and veggies in bleach water in the sink for 15 minutes to get rid of any lingering unwanted, harmful bacteria. While the produce was soaking, I concentrated on good bacteria by making my weekly batch of yogurt.

Start with 2 cups of milk powder dissolved in 2 cups of cold tap water and 1 cup of very hot (but not boiling) tap water. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of plain, natural yogurt, stir and then pour this mixture into two pint sized glass jars. I place these jars in a hot water bath in whatever containers are available, wrap with two heavy towels and place out on the veranda in the sun. By the end of the day—Voila! Yogurt! So easy!

[Editor’s Note: bacteria and intestinal problems from unprepared food can be quite serious. Thankfully one cap of bleach water and 20 minutes soaking can take care of that.]

A colleague from the PBT office downstairs called to let me know she was finished shopping and ready to go with me to the haus sik (hospital) to visit, a patient there. I called to be sure he had not been released and then gathered up some cold water and a bit of food to take along, and we were off. I had responded to an early morning call a couple of days earlier to take this young boy to the haus sik because he was vomiting blood.

After several injections and an IV, he is somewhat better and now able to eat and drink a few soft, bland items. We were very impressed by the good care his Aunt was giving him—probably better care than any other child in the hospital. She was continually washing his hot skin off with a damp towel or fanning him with that same towel after dipping it in water.

He did drink a bit of water while we were there and in the morning before I go to church, I will take him some more cold water and some ice cubes that can be wrapped in a towel to help cool him. There are overhead fans in the children’s ward, but they did not seem to be doing a very good job of battling the heat.

[Editor’s Note: The conditions in the medical facilities in PNG are very poor. In the rural bush areas, most people have to walk many hours to get to the closest Aid Post, and often they run low or are out of medicine.  When a patient is admitted into the hospital here in Madang (which is a collection of open room buildings with cots in them), it is often still the responsibility of family or friends to bring food to the patient and do some of their personal care.]

Home again, I took my wash off the line, washed more dirty dishes, and went downstairs to open the office door for a visitor who was doing some computer work in our office. Now I have come full circle to the place where I started this true tale with a yogurt and reading break.

The Saturday evening meal and game night proved to be a great time of fellowship with good friends, good food, and lots of laughter. Sunday was a much more restful day, starting early as usual, but with a short nap after breakfast. I visited the hospital on my way to church as planned and found the boy a bit more energetic than he had been the previous day.

After church services I fixed myself a hamburger for lunch and headed for my bed to read a bit and take another short nap before finishing this message to you. This evening at 6 PM I will gather with other PBT personnel in our conference room for a regular Sunday evening time of fellowship and prayer which we have dubbed Sing n’ Share.

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