Monday, March 30, 2009

You Really Can Go Home Again

This weekend we had the privilege of speaking in our home church. It was Faith Promise weekend for Marysville Nazarene. We spoke last evening (Saturday) for the dinner, and then this morning for both worship services.

We saw many old friends, and met a number of new ones. The church is currently in a time of rapid growth; it is exciting what is happening there. We have only known Pastor Craig Laughlin through Facebook and email, which isn't a perfect way to understand a person; now that we've been with him, we have felt his heart for the gospel and his heart for missions. We are beginning to really feel that he is our pastor!

We were also very happy to know that the church exceeded it's goal for the Faith Promise pledges for mission giving for the coming year.

We have also enjoyed the hospitality of our friends Gayle and Ralph Yunker. Our friendship goes back to the days when we lived in Arlington. We got acquainted through Band Boosters at Arlington High School, where our sons were both involved in Concert Band and Jazz Band. They are Christian brother and sister, and love missions.

The final bonus is that my sister Cammi and her husband Denny as well as Judy's sister Jacquie have joined us here for the weekend, and we are going together for a week of vacation on Orcas Island. That is a very photogenic part of the world, so expect good photos here over the next few days.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Faithful Friends

We spent Friday evening with our long time friends Jim and Nancy Fletcher and Hal and Stephanie Clark. We've been friends since the second year of med school (for Jim and me--first year for Hal), and have stayed close ever since. Jim and I were partners in Whitehorse Family Medicine for 11 years. It was a great time of catching up, telling about our kids (10 among us) and even playing games. Oh, yeah, Nancy's great cooking add a lot to the evening.

Fletchers' youngest son Timothy and his fiance as well as our daughter Amy joined in as well. Great time!


Friday, March 27, 2009

And Yet Another Judy

Well, for those of you who have gotten into the habit of checking this blog every day, I'm sorry to have left you hanging for a couple of days. We don't have internet access at our apartment in Nampa, and often have limited time when we are places where we do.

We are now in Arlington, Washington, where we lived for the 11 years prior to going to PNG, staying in the home of our friends Gayle and Ralph Yunker. Tomorrow we'll be knocking around Arlington, seeing what's changed and what's the same as in the "old days." We'll stop by Whitehorse Family Medicine (my old practice) and in the evening having dinner with Jim and Nancy Fletcher (my old partner--no, my relatively-young former partner) and Hal and Stephanie Clark (along with Fletchers friends going back to early med school days. Then on Saturday and Sunday, we'll be at Marysville Nazarene, our home church, for their Faith Promise weekend.

The photo is of Judy Mercy, Judy's latest namesake. She is the adopted daughter of Monica Tumap, our friend in Kudjip. The little Judy is beautiful, and the big Judy is most honored. The little one is also blessed indeed to have such a good, loving mom.


Monday, March 23, 2009

The People With the Boring Life

Well, it doesn't seem like we have anything very interesting to tell everyone. However, we seem to be staying busy all day.

Our priority at the moment is to finish our deputation presentation and the associated Power Point presentation. In addition there are banking and financial chores, family matters, completing the furnishing and arranging of our apartment, keeping up on email, shopping (not for fun things), working on computer matters, various on-line tasks, and on and on. So right now our life is busy but boring.

You cant' take many interesting photos of that. Sorry.

Sam is off gold prospecting. That's right, gold prospecting. While the average college student in Idaho wants to go to some warm place, Sam and his buddies have packed up their sleeping bags, tent and gold pans, and are heading off to the Owyhees to seek their fortunes, just as their ancestors (never mind that fact that Sam's ancestors were in Korea) 140 years ago. They have heard of some recent successes there, and are off to check it out. If they don't freeze some critical portions of their bodies, I'll consider that their trip was highly successful.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Being Motherly

You may think that this looks like a picture of a pile of dirty laundry. There's a good explanation for that. It's because it's a pile of dirty laundry.

What do college students do when they have a chance to go to their parents' house for the weekend or even a few hours? They take their laundry, of course. The rule when Sam was at home was that he did his own. And he must have done some since he's been at college. But it got late, and there was still a batch to go, so Judy offered to finish for him. I think it made her feel good.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

I promised more details, and here they are.

Our flights were from Mt. Hagen to Port Moresby on Saturday, to Brisbane (Australia) on Sunday, to Sydney and then on to San Francisco and Boise on Monday.

Drew, Andrea, Amy, Sam and Denny (my brother-in-law) were there to meet us, along with 2 of Sam's college friends. We drove straight to my Dad's apartment, where my sister Cammi was waiting and spent some time with there before going out to supper.

Then we went on to our apartment, kindly provided by Cammi, Denny and Denny's mom, Marge Ellis. It's a very nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit in a large appartment complex. It's modern and clean, and everything works! Sadly, there's no internet connection there, and it's too expensive to justify getting it at the present time. There is internet at the apartment "club house", but it closes at 6 PM. Anyone who knows me very well knows that this is not highly compatible with my life-style! But between that, my sister's house, and the occasional coffe shop hot-spot, we'll get by!

Yesterday (Tuesday) we went to get our Idaho drivers' licenses. We learned that we had to take the written test. Not feeling ready to "wing it" we went away to study near-by for a couple of hours. We didn't want to go home and back the next day, because it is pretty out of the way for us, and we had to depend on someone else driving. We went back a little later, arriving at 4:03, just to learn that they don't give the sritten test after 4:00! So we went home, studied some more and went back today and passed just fine. Now we can drive the Suburban that Denny has loaned to us!

I worked out with Sam and a friend at the university gym this afternoon, and Judy is out shopping with Amy. So, everything is pretty much right with the world for the moment.

For those of you who don't know our family, the top photo is me with my dad, Al Bennett, age 91. The second photo is Sam, Judy, Amy, Drew and Andrea.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Home Safely!

We have arrived in Idaho. I'll tell more detail later. Thanks for all of your prayers and support.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Tale of Five Cities

Hey! We're in the US! At the moment in SFO waiting for our flight to Idaho, our kids and family. It's been a fairly uneventful trip, except for evening adventures in Port Moresby.

Our flight from Mt. Hagen down to PNG's capital was delayed a couple of hours, which meant we got in after dark. There are two taxi companies that reliably know where the Mapang Missionary House (where we would stay) is. There were no cabs of either company around. In the past we had taken a cab after the driver said he knew where it was, but really didn't, and weren't willing to take a chance again. Eventually we parked our luggage carts near the entrance of the domestic terminal, where there are lots of security guards. Judy stayed with the stuff while I sought help. At Air Niugini Customer Service I met Virginia, who tried to phone either of the companies we knew, but then called another, which she said was trustworthy. Then she came out with me to give directions to the cabbie personally, since she lives near Mapang. When we went out, we found that Judy had become firends of Shelly, one of the security guards. By that time Judy had been waiting outside for a half-hour, and it took another half-hour for the cab to come, so we had a nice visit with these two helpful young ladies.

The cab finally came, took us straight to Mapang, where we found a hot meal and a comfortable bed waition. We got up at 3:50 Sunday morning to make our way to the airport and our flight to Brisbane.

Because of a change in itinerary forced on us by the airline, we had to overnight in Brisbane. Not a bad city to be stuck in. We had a few hours to relax, and took a brief excursion on the Brisbane river to a park area with a food court to get a bite to eat. Then back to the hotel, up early again to go on to Sydney and then on to the US.

Here we are. We'll see our kids in just a few hours! We appreciate your prayers.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

On Our Way

We will be leaving for home assignment in the US in just a few minutes. I may get a chance to post along the way, I may not. If not, I should be up and running by Monday or Tuesday. Your prayers are appreciated.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Murder Mystery

Tiara Diamond, Miss Kansas City, and Dr. Ivan Spudnik, the defected Russian rocket scientist, attended a barbecue this evening at the home of the wealthy Kansas City car dealer, Tom Dooley. Unfortunately, their host met an untimely death, being found next to his grill with a barbecue fork in his heart, and his steaks burned to a crisp. Both Miss Diamond and Dr. Spudnik were suspected of perpetrating this heinous crime.

The guest list also included the famous singer Chbby Cheddar, and Tom Dooley's half-sister Bobbi Sox, among many other notables.

Actually, since there were so many dinner guests, and so few parts for them to play that there were 2 to 4 people to play each part, including 3 Tiara Diamonds, and 3 Ivan Spudniks.

The truth eventually came out, but since not all Kudjipites were present, and a second event is planned, I'm not at liberty to reveal who was guilty.

Those of you who have known Judy for a long time are not surprised at her talent for disguise (remember the time she came to the Harvest party at Marysville Nazarene Church as Albert Einstein, and there were people who knew Judy well who never did figure out who was playing old Al). For the rest of you, if there is any lingering doubt, I have my arm around my own lovely wife, whether you think that looks like her or not!

The Mystery Dinner Party was great fun. The food was great, too! Thanks Becky Wallace for putting it all together.

Photos: In the second photo, that's Dr. Rebecca Wallace and Dr. Stephanie Doenges playing the parts of the other 2 Tiara Diamonds. In the third, that's Dr. Niles Batdorf and Dr. Bill McCoy as the other 2/3 of Dr. Ivan Spudnik.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Up a Ladder Again

Folks wondered why I was carrying a step ladder to work on Monday. I had my usual stuff--Tilly Hat, old maroon satchel, sun glasses--plus a step ladder.

I got to chapel almost on time (we have it every Monday morning). I parked my ladder outside the chapel door, and went in for a brief time of singing, worship and an encouraging talk from Chaplain Moses. At the end of chapel, when it was time for announcements, I asked everyone there for their help before they went to their various duty stations.

They were quite willing, and followed my out to the "circle," the round garden area around the famous Nazarene Hospital sign in front of the Emergency Room.

I took my ladder, and used it to get a better vantage point for what would otherwise have been a pretty clicheic photo of a bunch of people by the hospital sign.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Pastoral Call

Chaplain Moses has been at Nazarene Hospital for about 5 months. A few days ago he said that he wanted to come to see us before we leave on furlough. He just wanted to share a few words of scripture and to pray with us. Last evening he came.

He read from the 48th chapter of Genesis, the account of Jacob's blessing on Manasseh and Ephraim, the sons of Joseph. He talked about how God had blessed Joseph in Egypt, but then God brought Jacob, who blessed Joseph's sons. He drew the comparison to God's blessings on PNG, but that God had brought us and other missionaries to be a further blessing. He said that he is at heart a pastor, and he wanted to minister to every one at Kudjip Station, including the missionaries.

He prayer for us, for each of our kids by name, for safe travel on home assignment, for effective ministry in the US, and for our safe return to PNG.

We are far from our home church and pastor. In fact, the pastor at our home church is someone we have never met (we'll get to meet him in just a few weeks), and he can't come to our home to share the Word or pray with us. But last evening we felt the blessing and comfort of pastoral care. We thank God for Chaplain Moses, kind, sensitive, gentle pastor.



When the power goes off, our internet connection is gone. Sometimes even when the power is on, one of the meny links between our computer and the V-SAT dish fails, and the connection is gone for a while. Plus, the battery in this laptop will no longer hold a charge even adequate to keep it on for a few seconds--it goes off like a light when the power goes off, and whatever I'm working on is instantly lost. We'll pick up a new battery as soon as we get back to the US. Both Sunday evening and last night I was ready to post to the blog when we lost internet, and I wasn't willing to stay up until it came back on.

In fact, last night we had no connection when I fell asleep in my recliner, and still didn't when I woke up at 1:30 because I was called into the hospital. When I got back at 3-something it still wasn't on. We hope for a more reliable connection for the next few months while we're in the US. Former PNG missionaries will marvel that I'm complaining about my internet connection being unreliable, instead of complaining that it takes a month for mail to go between PNG and the US. Actually, it still takes a month for mail to go between PNG and the US.


The People in the Porch Swing

Yep! It's two old codgers sitting in their porch swing drinking coffee. That's Patches the cat getting in on the fun. It was a rainy afternoon last weekend.

We're counting down the days until we head back to the US for home assignment. Our meal list starts today! This is a venerable Kudjip Station tradition. Missionaries who are getting ready for home assignment tend to be very busy their last few days. So for their last 3 or 4 days, fellow missionaries sign up to have them over for supper. There is also a meal list for your first 3 days back! So this evening our list starts. We fly out on Saturday.

It will probably be next week before I get our deputation schedule on line, either here or on Facebook.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Too Much of the Wrong Stuff

We have a really nice problem at the moment; too many doctors. Well, not too many for all the patients that we need to see, but too many for the wards. With 2 docs on each ward, we have 2 left over! Bill is swamped with administrative work, so that frees him to do that. Last week, he asked me, since I had less than 2 weeks until furlough anyway, to do some work in the pharmacy.

We receive a lot of donated medicine. This is a valuable resource that most of the hospitals in PNG don't have. At times when the govermnemt's medical supply system is out of medicines, most of the hospitals here just have to do without. We almost always have something useful to teat our patients. Hundreds of great people give medicines obtained from many different sources.

However, sometimes we get medicines that we can't use for various reasons. Some are for conditions that are rare here. Some can only be used in very specialized ways, with special monitoring, or with blood tests that we can't do. Some are common meds that we have a reliable supply of, but the donated ones are a bit too old to use. Some meds are only used in chronic, ongoing treatment, and we receive donations in such small quantities that we can't even get someone started on a treatment regimen.

The pharmacy will be moving into the new building in a few weeks, and we really don't want them to have to move a lot of useless medicine. We need to get it sorted now, the good stuff made easy to find, and the useless eliminated now. Problem is, many of these meds are not familiar to our pharmacy staff. Plus, they are very busy with the routine functions of getting medicines dispensed.

So for the moment the pharmacy is my "ward". I'm going through thousands of containers of medicines, throwing away what is too old to use, or is unlikely to ever be used. I'm making a few happy discoveries ("oh, I didn't know we had any of that!") along the way, and making a list of the useful things that we have that we could be utilizing. It also makes me sad that we are still receiving some donations that we can't use. People are putting hard work into collecting and packing these items, and spending money on sending them.

What's the answer? Well, for one thing, if you are involved with sending us donated medicines, please don't quit! Just be sure that what you are sending meets a need here. Make sure the list of needed meds is a current one. If you have questions, please ask!

And thank you for your help!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Boy With a New Guitar

Joseph is a good kid. Oh, he got off the path for a while after his dad left the family, left the church and took a second wife. He was pretty angry. But his mom is a very strong lady, a strong Christian, and a strong prayer warrier. It helped when a few people kept believing in him, even when he was doing unwise things, running with people who were not good influences.

From the time he found out that someone wanted to pay his way to Nazarene Youth Congress this year, he cleaned up his act, started coming back to church, and even started treating his mom with more respect.

At NYC, he made a new commitment to Jesus. He's continued to show signs of maturing as a Christian, and as a responsible young man. After dropping out of school for a year, he's back in school this year.

He got really excited when the new pastor at their church offered to teach him to play the guitar, and told him that he could play in church. Even using a borrowed guitar, he really wanted to do that. When Judy heard the story, she couldn't help herself, and went right out and bought him a guitar.

Now, guitars here are not expensive, so it wasn't a big sacrifice on our part. They're also not very good, but Joseph will get a few years use out of this. The look on his face tells you what he thought of it!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Tennis Anyone?

I think that one of the basics they teach you at tennis lessons is something like, "select a racket that is at least a little smaller than you are." But I don't really know. I don't play tennis.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Two Men at the Bottom of the Ladder

I wanted to take some photos of the new hospital yesterday afternoon. I've wanted to get one from a higher point of view than I can from the ground, so I went to Maintenance, got a ladder and a "spare" worker.

We carried the ladder down to Knox Church, and put it up in a couple of different places, and I went up and took pictures. While we were there, my friend Michael, who works at maintenance, and had known I was borrowing a ladder, showed up. I think he was just worried about what crazy thing I might be doing, and so he came to help make sure I was safe as soon as he could get away from whatever else he had been working on.

Here are Michael and Tony steadying my ladder, and here is one of the pictures I took.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


We've gotten some comments about the "Ruth" story from a few days ago. People have asked if we are going to be in their area for deputation, and if not, they are worried that they won't hear Ruth's story. I'll try to remember (maybe some of you can remind me) some time late in our home assignment to write a blog that tells about her in more detail.

Well, now I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining (whether I am or not), but it is always nice to see more COMMENTS. I know you may not have anything in particular to say in response to any particular blog, and that's OK. You can use COMMENTS just to say "Hi", brag about your grandchildren (and make us jealous), or just let us know that you are there. It doesn't have to be in response to that blog necessarily. For most of my posts I add a big "COMMENTS" link at the bottom. You can click on that, or on the little line that says "0 comments" or "1 comments", etc., at the very bottom of the post. Just in case you haven't seen the word "COMMENTS" enough, I'll put it in one more time. COMMENTS. There.

For a photo to brighten today's post, I'm using a shot that I took in the kitchen, just to test the camera, or something. It caught one of Judy's un-self-conscious smiles that I love so much.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Movie Night at the Bennetts

A couple of weeks ago we hosted a movie night. We showed The Princess Bride, a perenial favorite. Amazingly, there were several people who had never seen it before (we own a copy of the 20th Anniversary Special Edition, so it's not like people haven't had time to see it)! There were also a bunch who had seen it many times, and could say a lot of the lines along with the movie. I can say some of the really famous key lines. My nephew Al and his wife Debra host Princess Bride showings when the turn the sound track off completely, and the party guests are required to supply ALL the lines.

It was a lot of fun, and even the newbies enjoyed this wonderful classic film.


Coming Home

This evening after my workout at the gym, I needed to take a car down to the Dooleys, so I walked up to the house from the front driveway, rather than cutting across the back yard as I normally would coming home from the hospital side. It was raining lightly. I love the way the house looks at twilight, with the warm glow from the windows, and knowing that there will be peace and love inside. I love the random flowers along the drive and across the front of the house.

As we approach time for furlough, I'm getting restless, and I'm thinking a lot about what we will be doing when we get to the US, especially time with our kids and other family. We think of that as "going home", but in reality we, like most missionaries, have two homes, and we love them both. The US is home. Nampa is home (whatever house we'll be in). But PNG is home, and this little corrugated tropical bungalow is home, too.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tired of Waiting

You go to the doctor because you don't feel well, then you have to sit on those hard benches for hours, and sometimes you just can't take it any longer.

Sorry, I don't remember what this man had, or how sick he was. In fact, I think I took this when I was not on duty, just passing through.