In the picture above you can see three houses (excluding the grass-roofed hut) belonging to NTM missionaries in Menya. On the right is the Chappell’s house. In the center is a house that, until very recently, belonged to a missionary family from the Netherlands. This family completed a church plant/Bible translation in a neighboring tribe and had moved here just to help the new missionaries get started in their first few years. They have returned to the Netherlands and the Walkers will be moving into their house. On the left is a house that belongs to the Arn family. The Arns were one of the original missionary families in Menya, but had to leave PNG and return to the US for medical reasons. They hope to come back, but their future is uncertain. We will be moving into that house for now with plans to build our own house (hopefully next year.)
While these houses are not a permanent solution, (we will be building and the Walkers plan to renovate) they are a huge blessing for us. Because these houses are already there, we will be able to move into Menya very soon and get right to work building relationships and learning the language. Most of the time missionaries moving into a tribe have all the stress of entering a new, very foreign culture while having to deal with house building and the lack of running water or electricity. We will have a basic and sufficient set up right from the start. And when we do start building our own house, we’ll get to eat and sleep in a completed house rather than a tent. For comparison, that grass hut in the picture was the Chappell’s home in Menya for the first six months.
This luxury might lower the value of our “roughing-it” stock, but we sure are thankful for it. Next week Dave and I will be flying into Menya to check out the condition of these houses and prepare them for our families to move in. We will also try to meet as many folks as we can while Wes is still there–he is heading home at the end of the month.