Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday in grand fashion. I slept in, was served coffee in bed, then French toast for breakfast. Overall, the day was quite leisurely, except for a few chores working on one of our volunteer flats in the afternoon. Later I had a great workout at the weight room.
The really exciting part of the day was that we got to see Brad and Nikolai Ballin, along with Chirith and Mekelle. We had not seen them since we were all in the US on our respective furloughs, and in fact it was our first time ever to meet M'kele. They just arrived back in PNG a couple of weeks ago, after serving over 2 years with MAF Australia in the Northern Territory of Australia.
For those of you who don't know, Nikolai grew up in our home church in Marysville, Washington. We've known her since she was 12 or 13. She was on a Work and Witness team that I led to the Dominican Republic in 1997. She came to Kudjip as the elementary teacher in 2002-04. Brad was an engineer for MAF in Mount Hagen. They were married in our yard here at Kudjip in the Spring of 2004, and continued serving in Mount Hagen for 2 or 3 more years before going to Australia, where Brad began his work as a pilot for MAF.
Now they have been assigned to PNG once again. They will be in Mt. Hagen for a few months at least. We don't know if they will be assigned there long-term, or to one of the outlying MAF bases. Either way, it's wonderful to have them back in PNG.
The Ballins joined us for my birthday dinner, along with Patrick and Allison Williams and their kids Elizabeth and Benjamin, their colleagues at MAF. A great evening!