Another month of the “same old, same old” routines in the finance office and printing department so there’s nothing of import or interest to share. Maybe I can cheat and fall back on an idea from eons ago that a dear friend Kathy has previously allowed me to copy and use! You who have been on the mailing list for the past decades may have already guessed what’s coming. Yep. The  multiple choice Q & A insights into life here in PNG! Unlike previous multiple choice versions, these mostly reflect town (rather than jungle village) incidents.

1. What fragrance is preferred …
a. flowers
b. garlic
c. the scent gland of a possum / tree wallaby (smells like skunk to me!)

2. Food shopping at our favorite store, what exciting “find of the day” can be purchased
for only K2.45 (about $0.80) a pound?
a. half a stalk of celery (split lengthwise)
b. potatoes
c. pork liver

3. An ambulance siren is heard. This means ….
a. The ambulance is transporting a critically ill person
b. The ambulance is carrying a dead body to its village for burial
c. The ambulance is transporting someone who wants to get somewhere fast

4. Flowers and stripped palm fronds line the road. Vehicles are all decked out with red strips of cloth. This indicates the vehicles are enroute to …
a. A funeral
b. Escort a government dignitary to speak to the community
c. A soccer tournament

5. At a church wedding – what is asked of the bride?
a. “Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?”
b. “Are you here by choice or were you forced to marry this man?”
c. “Has the groom’s family line paid your bride price in full?”

6. A friend of mine won’t eat pig meat / pork. Why?
a. The Old Testament law forbids it.
b. She’s afraid of getting tapeworm or “pig bel” from it.
c. Pigs can be possessed by evil spirits. Proof — When Jesus cast out demons from a man he let them go into pigs.

7. A friend is having trouble finding a job even though she has put her application in at numerous places. She attributes this failure to find work on to …
a. The spirits of her dead parents standing in the way of her getting a job
b. Her lack of a good education
c. Lack of good references

8. A woman’s bride price has never been paid. To resolve this the bride’s family will …
a. Take the woman back and thus break up the marriage.
b. Help the husband find work so he can make the bride price payment.
c. Wait until the oldest daughter of the woman marries and take her bride price as payment for her mother.

9. Someone “borrows” a 3 year old child saying she’ll return him to his family after the weekend. She doesn’t bring the child back. Help in recovering the child will come from …
a. The police
b. The mother’s clan line
c. No one

10. An employee has lost her job because of incompetence. She is angry enough to kill. After a lesson on the 10 commandments including “Thou shalt not kill” – she asks for prayer that …
a. the person who told her she is no longer employed will go back to the USA and die.
b. God will take away the “spirit of anger” that’s defeating her right now.
c. God will help her find another job

Okay, that’s probably enough glimpses into the local culture for this edition. It will perhaps give you some insight into the very different thinking we need to recognize as we interact with our friends and neighbors. Even after all my years here their logic and reasoning basis still seem quite different from what we think of as the norm. Prayers are always needed and appreciated ….
– that we not be judgmental but rather strive to understand their culture and background and how they are interpreting what we try to teach them, – and above all — our need for God’s help as we persevere in our attempts to convey the Truths of His Word to these dear people.
Thank you for your prayers and other vital input into the work God desires to be done here. Some plant, others water, but it is God who gives the increase. Your part in his “big picture” of reaching around the globe is just as necessary as are the few who minister from the front lines. You are most greatly appreciated!
Co-laboring to bring back Christ as King!
Hope Sharp
P.S. Since you have so faithfully perused the update this far you are certainly entitled to one last “extra credit” question with a glimpse of missionary life … (Thank you, Holly, for the reminder! )
11. A missionary friend returns to the USA for home assignment. She revels in the fact that there at home …
a. she can drive herself to the store without having a man along in the vehicle
b. there are no pigs, potholes or people to dodge along the road
c. she can purchase everything on her list
d. she has “too many to count” choices for each item she wants to buy
e. no one stops and stares at her as she shops
f. her credit card gets approved on the first swipe without the cashier having to wave the card swiping contraption in the air to try to get a connection
g. she rides to and from the store in an air conditioned car, shops in air-con comfort, and very likely returns to a nice cool home!

Dare I say you have to e-mail me for the answers? Nah. As slow as I am at answering correspondence, that wouldn’t be fair, would it!

So – how did you do? 1. Either b or c 2. c 3. b 4. a 5. b 6. c 7. a 8 c 9. c 10. a

Extra credit: 11. All are totally too true!