Sunday, July 15, 2018

Culture Stress


Today was one of those days where we struggled with culture stress. Tom had to deal with getting our washing machine repaired or replaced.  It’s been broken for almost 2 weeks. Nothing happens fast here. Things are night & day different!
Before we left the house today, I was chatting with my brother on WhatsApp. He shared an inspirational quote with me. The line that stuck with me was to see the beauty around me. It’s easy to lose sight of the beauty in this city. It’s filthy, smelly, suffocating. There is rubbish and waste everywhere, betel nut spittle spewed on walks and walls, poverty and disease everywhere I look—both humans and animals. I see filth and desperation, and I lose sight of the beauty. I needed to hear that today—to look for the beauty.
So I looked for the beauty as I rode the hot, smelly, dusty, crowded, suffocating PMV. I reminded myself to see the beauty when my anxiety was getting the best of me and my stomach was cramping on that bus. Today we had to take 3 buses to town and 4 home. I tried so hard to see the beauty as I walked the streets of Port Moresby with the relentless sun and humidity bearing down on me.  I tried to find humour in the fact that after finally arriving at the drivers license center, we were told to try back next week because they were out of cards!
And God did not disappoint. There was beauty in the bus ride to town. Out my window, I saw the rolling hills, the coastlines, and the beautiful people. In town I saw friendly smiles, some bubbling streams, and the beauty of people going about their day, determined to keep surviving despite the poverty.  We met new friends who took pity on us and gave us a ride when we were unsure of where were going. There was beauty in smiling eyes when Joy and I shared some potato crisps with the children behind us on the bus home.
Tonight I enjoyed the beauty of friendship while visiting in the cool of the evening with my two neighbours who have become my dearest friends. I pray I can continue to see the treasures in the ordinary and find beauty in this city filled with heartache and sickness.
Written on Thursday, 3 May 2018


Friday, July 13, 2018

Coming Home, Part 2


When we arrived at the airport in Port Moresby, we were excited!  After leaving the airplane, we had to go through immigration and customs. As it turned out, the instructions we were given on board our last flight was not correct…they told us we only had to fill out one customs & immigration form per family…turns out it was one per person. Thankfully we had a very patient and sweet immigrations worker who really blessed us with her kind words and helpful attitude. After getting through that long line, it appeared that we would need to wait in another long line to go through customs.
As we entered the waiting area for customs, God blessed us again with a kind worker. The gentleman asked me if we were moving to Papua New Guinea, and I responded affirmatively. He then pointed to a doorway and told us to go and he welcomed to his country!  We never even had to go through customs!  
We loaded all of our bags onto Ismael's truck and began our short ride to our new home. Joy and I stayed and unpacked, while Tom and the teens went to town with a list of some necessities that we needed to settle in and be able to cook for the next few days.  I still have no idea how Joy and I stayed awake!  We were exhausted and I felt like I was sleep-walking. But I kept resisting the urge to lay down and nap. I just robotically unpacked one bag after another after another.... Boy did it feel good to sleep that night. I'm glad we all pushed through. It really helped with the jet lag.
(At the time of writing this,) we have been here two weeks, and have certainly had our ups and downs. Rather than progressing through the different stages of culture shock and acclimation, I feel that sometimes I go through them all in a matter of hours or a day!  I am so glad to be here and amazed at how God has worked on our behalf and blessed us so much. We still have needs, and stress over things, but we need to have faith that God will continue to provide for us.
We have made some sweet new friends. We love our neighbors! Yesterday I met a dear sister who lives down the road and has a heart for orphans and children.  I met another sweet sister at church Sunday, and I know many more friends are to come. I am excited to see God work everything together is His time as we minister to vulnerable women and children here in Port Moresby.
Written on Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Coming Home, Part 1

There were times I never thought returning to Papua New Guinea would be a reality. I often thought it was only a dream that would never be fulfilled; a longing I would carry with me the rest of my life. That just makes this homecoming all the more sweet!  I am back where I belong. I can feel it in my bones. This islands girl is HOME to stay (God-willing)!

I had every intention of keeping a regular journal after arriving here. I wanted to document everything. But, as always, life and busyness got in the way. I will share what I have written, and try to do better going forward. Ha!


We left our house around 5 o’clock PM Saturday, 14 April 2018.  We had a longer trip to the airport than expected. The GPS we were using took us on a very long and roundabout way through NYC to the airport. We arrived, checked in, and had a very short wait to board our first flight.


Our first flight left at 12:30 AM Sunday with a stopover in Vancouver on our way to Manila. The first leg to Vancouver, BC, was about 5 ½ hours. We were there about an hour to pick up more passengers, and did not get off the plane.  We soon departed for our LOOOOOONG trip across the ocean to Manila, Philippines. This flight was around 13 hours, 50 minutes long. We arrived in Manila around 9:30 AM Monday morning (Manila time).


We had a 14-hour layover in Manila, and departed for Port Moresby around 9:30 PM, Monday. After a 5-hour flight, we arrived in Port Moresby around 7:30 AM Tuesday.
Our landlord and friend was waiting for us, with a few guys to help get all of our bags onto his truck and to our house.

Prior to leaving on this journey, I was experiencing a lot of anxiety and fear about traveling with the whole family, and more specifically with Joy.  A few hours before leaving, I sent out a prayer request email specifically about traveling with a child with special needs. I know many people were praying for us…I could feel it and felt like the whole trip was a series of small miracles.

Joy amazed me throughout the whole trip. It was unbelievable how great she did!  I know that dealing with the changes, lack of sleep, different food, people, environment…sights, sounds, smells, tastes, etc., could not have been easy for her. She loved her first experience flying and took it all in stride…she is my champion and hero!

I did get really sick in Manila due to some food poisoning, but it was still an amazing trip overall. I prayed fervently for healing and God did not disappoint!  My nausea and other symptoms passed before our final flight. This whole trip greatly increased my faith in God!  It also made me feel as though my faith is small. I know I can count on Him, yet why do I worry and doubt?

Friday, June 8, 2018

Sweet Reunions, School Days, and Malaria (UGH!)

Meet the Family!

We have so many things to be thankful for as we look over the events of this past month (and a half! Sorry for the delay in the newsletter).   But what tops them all is being reunited with our adopted Papua New Guinea family after 15 years.

A little over a week ago, we flew to Hoskins, West New Britain Province, which is where we lived 15 years ago. We sadly learned that the couple who adopted Jen had passed away several years ago, but some of Jen's brothers and sisters are still living there with families of their own now. We hosted them for a big family dinner and spent lots of time walking back and forth to each other's homes in order to spend as much time together as possible.  The story and all the details would make this newsletter too long, but check Jen's blog out (http://www.beautygrows.blogspot.com) as she will be posting more stories and details there.

Below left is Alex (Jen's brother), Jen, and Esther (Jen's sister) holding her new daughter, Sharon.
On the right is Tom with Esther's husband, John.
One huge answer to prayer is that we were able to find a used 4WD SUV!  It does need some work and 4 new tires--the tires are completely bald and will need replaced before rainy season comes and the roads become more treacherous. Pray for God's provision for that. Four new tires will cost about $500 USD.If you feel led to give towards the tires and other needed maintenance (it leaks oil, and needs a new fan belt), it will be a huge blessing, not only to us, but to our friends and the community.

This vehicle is not just a family vehicle, but it transports us to the facility we are helping to build for women with HIV, it takes community youth (and our own teens) to youth fellowship, it takes Jen and neighborhood women to women's fellowship, and it is available to transport those who are sick or would have medical emergencies to the hospital.  It will be used to deliver food and emergency supplies to settlements of orphans, and the list goes on!  It is God's vehicle to be used for His work.
School Days

Our twice-weekly classes and tutoring are in full swing now. We are not only investing in our community, but we are working to prevent children and young women from being targeted for human trafficking. Two of the many factors that put people at risk are a lack of education & job skills and being illiterate in English. In order to be able to go to school, children must know English. Teens and adults cannot get a job if they do not know English, are illiterate (How do you fill out a job application if you cannot read or write?), and lack basic job skills.

Many women and children are forced into trafficking against their will, but some feel there is no other option to earn money other than to go into prostitution.  Our classes will empower at-risk women and children in our community to go into the education system and working world equipped to succeed!  We teach English literacy, Health & Wellness, and Bible to the younger children in our classes. Our tutoring sessions are tailored to what areas the students and adults need the most help in. So far, we are tutoring in English, Math, Computer Literacy, Baking, and Accounting; we have some interest in Tom teaching carpentry as well. We are committed to seeing people rise above poverty and desperation and to go forward with HOPE that they can build a better future for themselves and their children.

Visit our FaceBook page for weekly pictures and updates on our classes and tutoring (
http://www.facebook.com/restoringunity).  We are currently accepting donations for our health and wellness class: we are in need of plastics (band-aids) and antibiotic ointment for sores, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. We would also like some plastic dental teeth to better teach about good dental hygeine...so ask your dentist to consider donating to Restoration...it's tax-deductible!  Here is the link with the info about our school needs: https://www.facebook.com/restoringunity/posts/775149695992162
You can meet some of our students here: https://www.facebook.com/restoringunity/posts/775149695992162
We have new children coming to tutoring and classes each week. Stay connected with lots of photos on our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/restoringunity.
Please join us in prayer and thanksgiving:

*  We are so thankful for the opportunity to travel to Hoskins after being away for 15 years. The reunions are a sweet taste of what heaven will be like!

*  Alex and his wife Grace are the only believers in our PNG family. Pray for Esther, John, and family; Steven, Patricia, and a cousin Alex, as well as the many other aunts, uncles, and cousins who do not know the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

*   We are very thankful for our car! Pray for our current need for tires and repairs.

*  Pray for healing for Tom, who is currently recovering from a very bad bout of malaria. Pray for good health and protection for the rest of us.

*  We are so thankful for each student and young adult who comes each week to our school!  Pray for them and pray for provision for our school needs. This is a ministry that is free to our community.  We have financial needs for our school, as well as tangible needs. Just send us a message if you are interested in learning more about how you can help!

*  Pray for safety for Tom as he spends every available day at iCare4U (
https://www.facebook.com/ICARE4UPNGAUS/).  Please visit their page to learn more about the facility being built and their vision to help women and children affected by HIV. We are honored to be laboring with them!  We look forward to the day that the building is completed and we can begin ministering to women and children there.
As always, thank you for partnering with us. We cannot do what we do without each one of you behind us!
 
Your co-laborers,
 
Tom, Jen, Lexie, Michael, Daniel, and Joy!
Here are the following ways you can give to our ministry (all donations are tax-deductible):
Online: 
http://www.restoringunity.org/support
Mail:  Restoration International
P.O. Box 73,  Bainbridge, PA 17502
Or set up automatic bill pay/ bank transfer.
Send us a message for the bank info!  Thanks!
Copyright © 2018 Restoration International,  All rights reserved.

Hello From Under the Equator (May Update)

We really cannot thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers. We truly felt them during our ~40 hours of travel across the US, Pacific Ocean, and SE Asia!
Highlights:
* Savannah Joy was a super-traveler and handled everything like a pro. (Whew!)
* Healing when Jen got sick from some food in the Philippines.  It happened during our 14 hour layover; she was feeling better well before our last flight from Manila to PNG!
* Kind, helpful, and patient customs and immigration workers upon our arrival  in Port Moresby.  We were waved on through and out the door without even having to go through customs!
*  Our landlord (and friend), Ishmael, was waiting with a truck and driver for us at the airport.
God was with us and went before us each step of the way. We are so thankful to be here!
OUR FIRST TWO WEEKS
Acclimation

We have been busy acclimating ourselves to being back in Papua New Guinea again; it's been 14 years!  We are practicing Melanesian Pidgin with our neighbors and friends, and we will also need to learn Motu, which is another trade language used here in Port Moresby.

We have never lived in the capital city before, so we have a lot to learn in regards to how things are done here, such as: how to get around on public transportation (called PMV's here--Public Motor Vehicles), and where to find the things we need.  We also need to be careful to follow the advice of our friends in regards to where we should not go--some places are not safe for us to go, period, and some places we can go as long as someone local is going with us.

As we move forward in ministry, we are constantly checking ourselves...asking ourselves and others how we can live and minister in a culturally appropriate way.

We have met with many national ministry partners the last few weeks, and are praying for the Lord to show us wisdom in who He wants us to partner with in ministry here.  Because of the laid-back islands culture, not many people are ministering "full time." Many of those ministering are doing so around work and family obligations. We want our time to be full, so we will likely be wearing several "hats" as we minister here.

New Friends and Ministry Partners

Pray for us as we seek God's will regarding specific ministries. We are hoping to soon be ministering in the following ways:

1. Hospital visitation one day a week (there is a specific ward for sexual abuse/domestic abuse patients & also the maternity ward where we can connect with women in difficult places who often abandon their babies at the hospital).
2. Partnering with a local non-profit that works with women who have HIV and TB, and also homeless children.
3. The teens are hoping to begin teaching and tutoring soon with the local kids in our neighborhood. We'd like to start more "formal" class/tutoring hours two days a week which will include Bible lessons.
4. Jen is hoping to start a teen and young ladies Bible Study/mentoring program.

Pray that we will be sensitive to the Spirit's leading in what we should take on and what we should network out to local churches and other NGOs (Non-Government Organizations). One example is our desire to start a child sponsorship program, which would cover school, book, and uniform fees. We learned this week that there is already a local organization doing this. Rather than step on their toes, we are hoping to meet with them, learn about what they are doing, and help in any way we can. The last thing we want to do is take over or become "competition" for others who have the same heart that we do. It is more glorifying to work together in unity for a common purpose. 
Other than the above-mentioned prayer requests, please pray that we will be able to find a 4WD vehicle within our current budget, or that God will provide the remaining funds for one. We are still in need of $5,000 USD. We are halfway to our goal of $10,000. Used vehicles are VERY expensive here; and the rough road conditions require 4WD.

Our ministry is severely limited when we are relying on public transportation. It is not safe for the ladies to travel the buses alone, nor is it safe for any of us to be riding them after dark. We are confident that God will provide, and we look forward to updating you soon!

If you would like to give towards our vehicle fund, you can do so online (http://www.restoringunity.org/support) or mail a check (adding a note designating your gift for our vehicle) to: P.O. Box 73, Bainbridge, PA, 17502.
As always, thank you so much for lifting us up before the Father. We have truly felt your prayers these last few weeks, and can't even begin to list for you all the ways we have seen God working...this letter would be too long. Please "like" and "follow" our FaceBook page (http://www.facebook.com/restoringunity) for the most up-to-date pictures and newsletters.  We'll be working to update our website as well over the next few days (http://www.restoringunity.org).
 
Tom, Jenny,
Michael, Daniel, and Savannah Joy
Copyright © 2018 Restoration International, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:
USA: Restoration International,  P.O. Box 73, Bainbridge, PA 17502
PNG: Restoration International,  P.O. Box 1405, Vision City, Port Moresby, NCD, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Phone:
+675 7529 9416

Email:
tjmcbratney@restoringunity.org
jemcbratney@restoringunity.org


Friday, March 16, 2018

February Update

Winter Greetings

Spring is just around the corner!
Tom has been in Papua New Guinea for a month already, enjoying the heat!  We are more than ready to join him, but we are still waiting on paperwork.
The good news is, 2 out of 3 things that need to be processed are done.
1. Restoration International is officially incorporated as a non-government organization (non-profit) in Papua New Guinea.
2. Work Permits have been submitted.
3. As soon as the work permits are approved, the permanent visas can be submitted for processing.
After these are approved, I (Jen) will be able to purchase our tickets and send our passports to the embassy in Washington, DC for our visa stamp, which will only take about 3 days. The end is in sight, but keep praying for things to move along in a timely manner. What we hoped would only be a few weeks has turned into a month, with a few more weeks of waiting ahead of us.
We are so thankful that the Father has gone before and beside Tom every step of the way!
 
  • He found a house within just a few days of arriving and has moved in awhile. Our landlord and his wife told Tom that after praying about it, they do not feel like they should charge him any rent until the rest of the family moves in, so he is only paying the electric bill.
  • Port Moresby is very dry, and we rely on rain water for all of our needs. Tom said they have received a lot of rain, and our water tank is full.
  • Our landlord, a local business man (and a Believer!) and his father, a prominent attorney, have been instrumental in guiding Tom through all of the paperwork that needs processed in order for us to come on a long-term visa. 
We rejoice in each large and small detail that God has attended to for us. We feel very blessed with the contacts Tom has been able to make. In addition to Women of Hope, there are several other ministries to victims of trafficking and sexual violence who can use our help. There are numerous opportunities for us to minister, as well as our teens. They have been asked to assist at a local Christian school with tutoring and teaching English.  We are excited to arrive and get plugged into ministry.
Below are pictures of a facility that houses women and children who were vitcims and are survivors of sex-trafficking.
Thank you for praying for the kids and I as we travelled to Georgia, Florida, and back in the last few weeks. In the past month I have had the opportunity to share in churches in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Georgia. I have been sustained by God's strength and grace...nothing else!  The house is almost packed up, and we have friends who will be renting our house while we are gone.  Keep those prayers coming as there is still a lot to do the next few weeks!
We really cannot say thank you enough to those of you who are supporting us financially and holding us up in prayer!  We could not be doing this without you!

While our family is moving overseas to begin working with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea, we want you to know that Restoration International will still support work among the First Nations people here in America. If that is something you would like to be involved in, just reach out to us!  We not only continue to financially support First Nations ministries, we can also plug you into ways you can serve and give tangibly.

We are still in need of finances for our airfare and a 4WD vehicle:
  • It will cost approximately $6,000 for our family to fly to Papua New Guinea.  Tickets are running about $1,500 per person (Jen + 3 kids).  Will you please consider donating to our ticket fund?  Your donations are tax deductible! 
  • Port Moresby is a very spread-out city and our ministry will require lots of driving. Pray with us about the provision of a used car. We'll need about $10,000 USD to purchased a dependable, used SUV. Tom said that due to the road conditions, we definitely need 4WD!  I've included pictures below of the road from our village leading into the city of Port Moresby. This is in the drier season with a few days of rain, so you can imagine how treacherous the roads become in rainy season!
According to the Human Rights Watch, World Report 2016, "...Rates of family and sexual violence [in Papua New Guinea] are among the highest in the world....with an estimated 70 percent of women experiencing rape or assault in their lifetime."
https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/papua-new-guinea


You can make a huge difference in the lives of vulnerable women and children in Papua New Guinea. Your faithful monthly donation will help to feed, clothe, and educate victims of violence and human trafficking.

Monthly partners are the backbone of our ministry. We can also use annual and one-time donations for special projects and ministry needs (such as our vehicle).

Please pray about joining our team!
You can set up your giving in a way that is convenient for you:
  • Online through our website: http://www.restoringunity.org/support You can select recurring monthly giving when you give this way.
  • Automatic bill pay through your bank.  Just contact us if you need any info regarding our bank (account number, etc).  Phone: 912-631-1951
  • Or mail your donation to: Restoration International, P.O. Box 73, Bainbridge, PA 17502.  Make checks payable to: Restoration International.
  • All donations are tax-deductible.
 
Thank you, again, for your faithful prayers and support of our family as we seek to follow the Father's path for us, reaching indigenous people with Hope!

Tom & Jenny
Michael, Daniel, & Savannah Joy