News from Ruth Zimmerman

Written on: March 4, 2024

Article by: Ruth Zimmerman

March 4, 2024

Greetings from smouldering Lae. We are currently in drought conditions with 90 °F+ temperatures and intense sunshine. It is quite windy, but even the wind is blowing hot, and there is no such thing as a cold shower! Somehow my laptop has remained set for weather updates for Vineland, Ontario and it is currently reading 26°F. I wish!! (Even for just a few minutes!) I hope that this report finds you well and much less sweaty then we are!

January

If you follow world news, you have probably heard about the riots that took place in P.N.G. in January. The country was left in shock after opportunists took advantage of a peaceful police protest and did an estimated one billion kina (around CDN $390 million; Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce report) in damage to shops and property in Port Moresby on the 10th. Several supermarkets and chemists were burned down, the Parliament building was breached, and other businesses were looted and re-looted. The initial protest was over a computer glitch which affected the pay of civil servants. The next day, rioting took place in Lae, and the police, defense force and security companies were ready. At least one business in Lae was burned, and others had their windows smashed, but overall, Lae got off lightly in comparison to Port Moresby. The death toll over the two days was in the twenties. Some of the rioting occurred on the road outside the church property and we had a very tense morning.

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On the home front, January continued to be eventful. On the 10th, the plane that brought us out of Indagen the week before, crashed while landing at another airstrip in the same area (no casualties). North Coast Aviation, the small company that services rural airstrips in Morobe Province, the Waria Valley, and elsewhere,is now down to one small Norman Islander, which currently isn’t flying into Kabwum District. Miring –waiting for a flight out of Indagen – was left with no other option than to travel to Wasu Station (by foot and car) and wait for a boat coming to Lae. She finally made it back on February 17.

Other highlights from January include:

  • The baptism of Jaslyn Mesa on the January 6th.  Jaslyn is the youngest daughter of M.B.C. teachers Abraham & Rachael Mesa.
  • The 5th year (!!!) anniversary of my namesake’s passing, from cancer, on the 13th. She would have turned 27 this month (March).
  • On the 20th, the start of several overdue carpentry projects, including: replacing window screens; the installation of security mesh wire on the windows that didn’t already have it; replacing crumbling chipboard shelves with plywood on a unit; staining the back door,which we replaced last year due to termites; replacement of trim on the wardrobe in the bedroom (termites); and a complete replacement of the storage cupboard in the veranda (more and more and more termites!!).
  • The purchase of a 12” Lenovo laptop and software for the M.B.C. library.  Throughout January and February, I continued transferring the card catalogue out of Word into Excel (see the report sent January 5th).  It is now about two thirds complete.  I plan to transfer all of the library files to the new laptop before the beginning of school.  This will make it a lot easier for Rachael and I while working in the library.

February

  • The carpentry work, started in January,continued until February 15 and it felt good to finally have it done and the house back in order. Apart from that,February was a month of preparation for the start of the M.B.C. school year on March 18th. This included starting the teachers’ photocopying (and it has been running at the side while I write this report). We anticipate 6 new families for the 2-year Tok Pisin program,and 3 families and 3 singles for the new 2-year English program. Please pray for the teachers as they finalize their lessons, and for the students as they prepare to make the journey to Lae.
  • The rioting of January thankfully wasn’t repeated, but P.N.G. is going through turbulent times right now, in more than one way. Tribal fighting in Enga Province in February led to a massacre with more than 70 deaths. Several government ministers resigned over the handling of the rioting in January, and plans for a vote of no confidence have been submitted at least twice. We are currently in a fuel crisis in the country and tension is running high towards the government. This has been an ongoing issue over recent months, which hasn’t been resolved. Puma Energy and the Bank of Papua New Guinea are at odds with Puma saying that they aren’t being given enough foreign currency to purchase fuel, and the Bank of Papua New Guinea saying Puma doesn’t need it. The petrol stations were closed earlier this week, and fuel prices – when open – have soared. Some flights are still running, but many have been cancelled. The bus crews have been talking of holding a protest on this coming Monday. Please keep us in prayer.
  • On February 3rd we welcomed a new member to our household.  “Jango” was born on January 12 and at 3 weeks he moved in. He is now 7 weeks old and possibly a crocodile disguised as a dog. Oreo cat has been trying to make friends (and has been bitten in the process) and Timbit cat is sticking to the high place sin the house out of total terror! He welcomes all new-comers with kisses and excitement, but is a little terror to those who take care of him!

Prayer Points:

1. The current tensions within P.N.G. as mentioned above.

2. Miring – says thank you for your prayers for her safe return to Lae. The eye clinic in Madang has told her that she can go to our local hospital in Lae for her review. Once she has been cleared, she can make plans to go back to Madang for her second cataract surgery.

3. Preparation for the upcoming start of the M.B.C. school year (March 18th) and travel for our students,especially considering the fuel crisis.

4. The plan to host the inaugural Morobe Provincial Ladies ’Camp in October 2024, and the fund-raising the Melanesian Bible College congregation has started.

5. The 7th Morobe Provincial Youth Camp (2025) will also be hosted by M.B.C. Please pray for the planning and fund-raising for that as well.

6. For our visiting teams for this year: Woody& Judy Square and team arriving in late June, and a team from Highland church of Christ, arriving in late July.

7. Brother Rick Niland in Toowoomba, Australia –for continued healing amid frequent stays in hospital due to complications of his surgery last March.

8. Brother Taylor and wife Robyn – continued healing and open doors for further medical assistance.

Special Message:

The benefits of having the materials printed and bound are:

1. The teacher is free to focus on teaching and discussing the lesson, instead of spending his/her time writing on the chalk-board;

2. The students have prepared materials as a resource to take home with them when they are finished;

3. Some of the students (especially within the ladies’ class) have low grade levels and copying reams of notes from the chalk-board means they get very little out of what they are being taught.

If you have questions or would like to know more about this project, please email me. Regardless of whether you decide to help financially,please keep this in prayer. Thank you.

May God continue to bless and care for you everyday.

With love in HIM,

Ruth

Sponsors:

Fenwick church of Christ, P.O. box 416, Fenwick, ON L0S 1C0 Canada (cofcfenwick@gmail.com)
Malaga church of Christ, P.O. Box 105. Ballajura, WA 6019  Australia (malaga@perthchurch.net)