Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mount Hagen Adventure

I apologize for the long delay in keeping you updated on my time here in PNG, but I've made an exciting video for you all to give you an idea of how crazy my life here has been over the past few months. I am uploading it now, but the internet is so bad it may take a few days for me to find a faster connection. So when my blog update is done, I will email you again with another posting and a link to my blog and video.

We've been experiencing constant BLACKOUTS, and the biggest trial I've faced is the WATER BLACKOUT which has really been hard on me. I had just finished spilling my juice all over myself, and thought, "Oh, no problem... I'll just jump in the shower, and clean myself off!" but when I turned on the tap... NOTHING... the Dreaded WATER BLACKOUT, which occurs at the WORST possible times, like when I really have to go to the bathroom. But some of us make due by filling a sink with rain water and taking a much needed bath. Unfortunetly I am a little bit too big for that these days, so I have to make due with taking a shower as God intended outside in the rain.

So during these blackouts we rely heavily on fellow Christians who do have water to keep us alive and provide us with clean water for bathing and free use of their facilities during these unexpected occurrences.

Luckily we were able to escape from all of these trials here in Lae with an exciting trip to Mount Hagen. The drive was a grueling 12 hours over endless potholes, and treacherous roads, and we faced numerous challenges such as cramming 10 people into one vehicle, having no public bathrooms, and the constant danger of landslides which just last week buried 2 buses full of people. Despite all of this we pressed on confident that God would bring us safely to our destination.

On the way up the Mountain we stopped in the Chimbu Province where we were invited to dedicate a prayer house. The amazing thing about the people here is that they are so in love with God, that they actually build things called PRAYER HOUSES, where people from all over surrounding provinces can come and pray. We have enough trouble in North America just trying to get people to show up to our prayer meetings, so it was nice to see churches building these prayer houses to accommodate the people so they can spend time with God free from the distractions of everyday life.

After spending the night there and dedicating the prayer house, we continued our treacherous journey the remaining 5 hours and arrived in Mount Hagen just in time for me to crawl into a small village house that was hosting me and my friend Wilson where we were to spend the night. Sleeping in a village house is much different then sleeping in a home in North America, but the first thing you will notice is that there isn't very much room. There were 10 of us staying in the house with only two bedrooms, and I was sharing a twin sized bed with Wilson who refused to turn the lights out because of his fear of mosquito's which kept terrorizing him. So I wrapped my sweater around my face, and a child's blanket around my waist and experienced life in the village for the first time in my life.

Did I sleep? Well, not really... Wilson snores, it was boiling hot, mosquito's did eat me even with the lights on, and there were at least 2 springs poking into my back, but this experience really gave me a new appreciation for a nice soft bed, and a room free from the animal kingdom.

Thankfully my endurance paid off, and the local church was very hospitable placing all 10 of us in a really great hotel for the remainder of our stay. The very first thing I did was take a nice hot shower, which was a rare opportunity here in PNG and just as I slipped into bed and wrapped myself in my clean warm covers a knock sounded at the door with a voice telling me it was time to go.
The time had come for us to fulfill our purpose in Mount Hagen. We were summoned to preach at the local high school to over 300 students for the next 3 nights, and what happened the first night was pretty unbelievable. After powerfully proclaiming the good news to the students, pastor Joseph Kingal gave them an opportunity to respond and give their life to Jesus Christ making him their Lord and receiving him as their savior. I watched in amazement as over 100 students immediately came forward and for the first time in their lives put their trust and faith in Jesus as the Messiah. I witnessed students falling to their knees, some crying, some burying their faces in their shirts, all of them changed by the power that can only begin with faith in the Son of God.

So our trip was powerful, and as I spent time ministering to some of the high school students I realized that there was really nothing I could do for them, and nothing I could tell them about myself that would bring any lasting change into their lives. I could only do one thing, speak to them about Jesus Christ, and tell them how he changed me, and encouraging them in their faith, and that is exactly what I did.

Continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers, and email me if any of you want any information on supporting me while I am out here in PNG.

Jeremy Heemskerk

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