To get to the Owininga in 1975, the Croots had to take a two-hour truck ride and a one-hour boat ride to Ambunti on the Sepik River. They stayed there overnight. Early the next morning, they would embark on a ten-hour boat trip in a river truck, which stopped one time for fuel as they traveled to a missionary team’s location in the Iwam on the May River. There they stayed overnight again. The next morning, it would take anywhere from one to five hours to get to their final destination, depending on how much water was in the river. It did take them six hours once when they were trying to get home the day before Christmas. That is a long time to spend in the sun, and that was a problem for Doug, an ongoing problem because of frequent cases of skin cancer. In late 1978, an airstrip was opened on the May River, which meant river trips were cut down to the short trip that was the third day of the trip before.
Although there were many times of discouragement in language study, work in the Owininga was most enjoyable. They both enjoyed the bush living, and their five daughters all count the Owininga as home. All five of the girls graduated from the mission boarding school. It was great to have that facility, which tried at all times to work the curriculum to allow children the maximum time at home with their parents. They counted it a privilege to have Godly dorm parents and teachers caring for their girls.
After language study was finished, they had the honor of sharing the truths of God and creation starting from Genesis through to the resurrection with the Owininga. What a joy it was to see these people, who a few years earlier had never heard of God or Jesus Christ, recognizing their sin and acknowledging that Jesus was the only way to make a way to a relationship with the God of Creation.
Over the years Doug has had a large number of skin cancers removed. In the 1990s, he had to return to Australia a number of times to have large cancers removed and skin grafts put on. This prompted the doctor to say that Doug should get out of the village and off the river. He said that the reflected sunlight off the river is more dangerous than direct sunlight. So for the last several years, the Croots have been in Wewak, helping out in administration.
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