On Tuesday, April 22, we took a 45 minute flight from Lae to Port Moresby, the capital of PNG, where we stayed a week before moving on to Australia. Henry and Rita Versteeg picked us up from the airport and, after giving us a tour of the city, we went to their place at Four Mile. Henry runs the Reformed Bible College and lives right on the grounds, along with the other 2 teachers.
All three teach but also are missionaries in neighbouring areas. Actually they are the supervising missionary pastors, since these churches do have their own native pastors or candidate pastors. One of the missionaries, Allan Douma, came from New Zealand and the other one is Cornelis Kleyn, who studied at our seminary in Hamilton. We are staying in their house next door to the Versteeg's while they are in Australia. They just had a baby girl a few weeks ago and are waiting for her visa before they can return to PNG. They plan to return shortly after we leave, so we were happy to use their home for sleeping, eating breakfast, and for preparing lectures, but we were very sorry to have missed them.
Henry and Rita Versteeg in front of their home
Thanks to Cornelis and Greta Kleyn for letting us use their home!
Henry and Rita showed us the buildings on the campus here. They have 2 classrooms and a library, all very simple wooden structures containing the bare essentials needed for teaching. Seven Papuans are following the training right now, all for the ministry. They study and live here for 5 years, first 2 years in the Certificate Program, and then 3 years in the Diploma Program, after which they are called to be a candidate pastor somewhere for a year, and afterwards, upon completion of the final classical exam, they are ready to be called for regular ministry and will receive the full title of Pastor. All the courses at the Bible College are taught in English, the official language of PNG.
Homes of the students
The students live in simple wooden homes right on campus, along with their wives and children. Besides their studies, each student must work for 2 hours in the College's gardens a few days every week and that gives them ration cards to buy groceries. They have their own gardens as well, close to their homes, where they grow as much produce as they can to help provide for their families. Extra produce is sold at the market. With the warm weather, their gardens are used all year and they eat whatever they grow.
No washrooms or taps in their homes, but there is a central washroom station with running water for doing dishes and laundry, and for showering.
A student in front of his home, with his wife and 2 children, and Henry and Rita nearby
At the Bible College, Jerry led 2 morning devotionals for all the students and staff, and he taught a course for 3 days to the 3 students in the Certificate Program.
This is the school bell that is rung to indicate the start of classes.
Leading a devotional
Jerry with his 3 students in front of the classroom
On Friday afternoon Jerry gave his talk on Forgiveness. Quite a few people came to hear him, including women who brought their children. Yes, a power point presentation works here too! The people understand English fairly well, so most could follow it, but afterwards, Henry gave a summary in Pidgin.
Singing before the presentation - they love singing, both in Pidgin and in English
A talk on Forgiveness & Reconciliation
Some sat on chairs, some on benches, some on the floor, some stood - all listening
Just in case you think he wasn't working hard enough...
This is the church at Nine Mile, where Cornelis Kleyn preaches.
Rita took Teny along to the Women's Bible study at Nine Mile on Thursday morning.
It was all in Pidgin so I couldn't follow much of it, but I felt a love for the gospel message.
Both of us found this weather exhausting and struggled with the constant heat. Ceiling fans help, but there is just no escape from the heat. We both must have been low on salt too, because when we took extra salt, we felt better. We sweat so much that our bodies needed lots of water and extra salt. We are looking forward to the cool weather of Tasmania next week!
Blogging was a challenge because of the slow internet connection and is time-consuming - hence the late posts. We have so much to share with you! More about Port Moresby will follow.