Surveying our Ihu Land

 …God does not purchase Marijuana.

The Land Of Miracles

It has been about a year and a half that Pastor Jerry, Matt, and I have been trying to get surveyors out on our property to set boundaries so we can build. So we set a date to do it with the Kerema office a month and a half out. No email, letter, or communication happened during that time. Matt, who is the director of the  TTMK (That They May Know) Team and my pilot with a Cessna 206, took a few days to fly to Kerema and then go out on a dinghy to the Ihu land to see if we could get started. We landed in Kerema (15min. flight from Kanebea) and went directly to the land office to see what was going on. They were not ready, but Ian (the main man) and Murphy, the surveyor, were together in the office. Now this is miracle number #1 because that never happens in PNG. God had Matt put his diplomatic hat on and arranged with Ian for Murphy to go out with us that day (spur of the moment for them) with his equipment to look at the land and see what had to be done for a later trip.This is miracle #2! While we were going to the dinghy we found out that the Governor was in Kerema also and Matt was able to go see him about the airstrip and other things. The Governor ended up taking Matt to the dinghy in his limo. This was no small miracle and became #3!

We had pre-arranged for a dinghy to meet us, but that never happened. Matt once again arranged for a dinghy already at Kerema to take us and we took off with Murphy on a 2 hour ride to Ihu. This would be miracle #4. We arrived at Pastor Jerry’s temporary government housing where we put our backpacks and went directly to the land. As Murphy looked around he saw that we had a lot of people to help him carry all his equipment. I had asked for Pastor Maisa, Pastor Murphy (a different Murphy), Pastor David and of course Pastor Jerry to be there waiting for us and they were excited to be part of this survey. One prayer of mine was that Murphy would use his equipment and give us 4 corners today instead of waiting till another time to come and do this surveying. It is normal for him to look at land and see what he has to do and return another day. Murphy saw all the help and started at the first corner boundary. Hallelujah, what a Saviour! Amen for miracle #5. Matt, the servant-leader that he is, picked up the surveyor stick and headed to the second corner while we started clearing the land for the surveyor. I am glad I brought new bush and grass knives for all of us to use. You will see this story unfold in these 40 pictures. It was very hot and a long day from the time of Matt’s and my early morning wake up to go in the mule to get to the airplane, Matt’s preflight and flight to Kerema in order to make it to the land office as they opened that morning. But by the end of the day we had miracle #6. We had all four corners and we could now start building! Praise The Lord for His wonderful works and that all the people that came from Ihu village could see what God was doing with Ihu Baptist Church Land!

Of course none of this could go without some hiccups along the way. It had started with the arranged dinghy not showing up. We had found out that it never left Ihu when we got to the Kerema dinghy landing. That particular incident slowed us down for a little over an hour. I can not explain to you how hot it was but us whiteskins need to be bathed in sun screen. Matt thought it was about 97 degrees, but it felt 110. We are 7 degrees south of the equator plus have a humidity factor. As I told you folks back in the States on deputation, there are only two seasons on the coast of PNG. It is either Hot or Boil! Well this is the season of Boil! Praise God for His Grace and all the help we were going to find waiting on us!

The next hiccup we had was that some of the villagers planted gardens on our land. Some told us that these people were warned about planting on government land, and knew that they could be kicked off as soon as we began to build, their gardens becoming ours. I looked at Matt and that did not sit well with me or him at all. After the evening meal Matt and I were visiting with our national pastor friends. I found out that the man (Poku) that Jerry and I lead to the Lord during the Huruta Bung was coming faithfully to church. Now that was encouraging! Also, I was excited to see the man (Kiki) that Jerry lead to the Lord when I preached in Harevavo come here and help us do the surveying. As the evening went on with a sweet spirit I told them that I had no peace kicking these people off their gardens even though we had the legal right to do so. This was God’s land and I wanted to show the village through the gardeners how loving, merciful, and gracious our God was to them. “Let’s show these gardeners how much God appreciates their hard labor on these gardens. God will purchase their gardens to show his love and kindness to these people.”  They would be receiving compensation, a very important part of PNG culture, in a situation in which it was both undeserved and unexpected. What a wonderful way to create an illustration of the grace of God!  So the next day we went throughout the village and gathered up the gardeners, 15 of them, and they followed us out on the land. Matt and I, with the pastors, began counting all the Kaukau mounds (PNG sweet potato), Banana trees, Coconut trees, Kumu plants (garden greens), yes, we even saw some Marijuana plants growing, but I told them that God does not purchase Marijuana!  I took a picture of Matt with one of the plants as we were joking around and just having fun. We had a meeting with the gardeners and I told the people that I would be back on the 16th of Feb. to pay for them. We could kick them off, as they well knew, but I told them that God wants to show you appreciation for your hard work in these gardens. We had the police out with us as witnesses and to keep everything on the up and up within the legal realm. The Constable even talked to them and told them that he saw the gardens as a good example of us coming as a church and mission to bring nothing but good to the village. This man is not even saved! Please pray for him. His name is Wilki. The people agreed and said that they would look after the gardens till I got back to pay them. Folks that is miracle #7. The Lord kept all the troublemakers away for this meeting and that is miracle #8. God even knitted the heart of the Constable and the Police to mine, which I would call miracle #9.

The last two pics below are to show you how difficult it is to get supplies to build anything on our land. Pastor Jerry arranged a canoe and engine from his uncle to go 5 hours one way to pick up lumber from Baimuru to build his house. Jerry’s brother works at the lumber yard and bought the lumber. He gave it to Jerry so he can start building and to be able to start the church soon. I had nothing to do with it except purchasing the gas to get him there and back.  I am excited to see God answer Jerry’s prayers!

Yes! We had two days of miracles from our Great God! I will continue in another article and more pictures recounting how the payment went.  God continued not only the story of our land in Ihu, but also He continued His Miracles as well. I hope you enjoy this story in pics that are down below! This time they start from the bottom to the top.

It is very evident that God has given us “A Land of Miracles”!!!