It’s hard to believe we’ve been here a month already! We have no doubt your prayers are the reason we’ve settled into our new home far better than we ever expected to in such a short period of time. Thank you for every prayer or kind word uttered on our behalf!
Chris is enjoying getting back into nursing and learning the ropes of tropical medicine. A new illness going around, Chikungunya Fever, has kept the medical staff on their toes. In his first week alone, the clinic answered three radio calls from injured or sick missionaries living in remote tribes accessible only by helicopter. As 45% of the patients seen are PNG nationals, his job has also been a great way for Chris to learn Pidgin, the national trade language.
Sarah spent the month learning how to take care of our family in such a different culture. Every meal having to be made from scratch with many foods we aren’t familiar with, much of her time has been spent in the kitchen. Bleaching produce to avoid Hepatitis A and sifting for bugs is all new and time consuming. A food container arriving from the USA was the cause of much excitement on center last week. As these containers from the USA only come once or twice a year, the items they bring are fleeting but precious, tasty reminders of home. It’s amazing how excited one can get over chocolate chips that are still separate chips or a bottle of Ranch dressing! Before we arrived, another container had fallen off of the truck while on its way here and was raided completely, leaving the store quite bare when we first arrived.
The girls are having a blast exploring their new home! The many different bugs and animals are often the focus of their time and attentions. They play hard outside all day long, come home happy and covered it dirt, and sleep well all night. It’s perfect to them:) The school term starts July 24th. Riley will be in 6th grade; McKenna in 4th; Amelia in 2nd; and Lucy will be in half-day Kindergarten.
As strange and out of date as life here seems to us and may sound to you, we’ve come to realize how pampered we are compared to our national neighbors. Our friend, Janet, from a nearby village, wades across the river twice a week to come help Sarah learn the ins & outs of running a home in PNG. After a full day here, she wades back across the same river to return to her thatched roof hut. She prepares meals for her family with vegetables from her garden cooked over an open flame and hauls water from across the river. With only a 6th grade education, some would think her uneducated or ignorant. Yet it is she who helps us not only with the basics of living, but also with learning a new language, of which she knows five! Janet was the first in her family to trust in Jesus; since then, her husband and all five children now know Him too. Hearing of the changes in their lives since then excites us to help further the gospel in any way we possibly can to those who’ve never heard. Just this week, we were praying as bible teachers presented the last few lessons from the evangelism teaching from creation to Christ to the third village of the Dinangat tribe. After 16 weeks of faithful teaching, we can rejoice since most from that small village did indeed trust in Christ as their “Kidaak Aamna” (Savior).
So many stories we wish we could share with you all! We hope you’ll check out our blog for just a few of the funny or new experiences we’ve encountered here. They are posted on our website at www.ntm.org/chris_cooke . Be sure to check out the new pictures we’ve posted to an album on Facebook titled “Papau New Guinea- Land of the Unexpected”. You can find us on Facebook as Chris Sarah Cooke.
We are able to be here because of the monthly financial support of a few churches and several individuals who desire to see God glorified and lives changed in Papua New Guinea. We are currently at 47% of our monthly recommended support level. Would you please consider giving on a monthly basis to allow us to keep on in the work God has here? Please email us at email@example.com if you’d like more information about partnering with us for PNG.
Thank you again for keeping up with the Cookes!
Until they’ve all heard,
Chris & Sarah, Riley, McKenna, Amelia, & Lucy