2020 – the year of ever-changing seasons

When I first came to Papua New Guinea (PNG) I was gifted with some advice from a former missionary, to try and return home to Australia about every six months. This would help me stay connected with my roots and to take rest from the intense experience of living in another culture. But the seasons of 2019 and 2020 have led to some very different gifts. In 2019 the Lord changed my life, gifting me in marriage to a local Kabwum merri, named Milka, and then by the birth of our son, Kelly Maik. So, while 2020 has been rued by many people, the last ten months in our household has been full of joyous smiles and the playful demeanour that only an infant can bring.

“Out of the mouths of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2

Oh how true this is.

In many ways, the general way of life in PNG has not changed much at all, for most people. While not untouched, PNG seems to have shown a resilience to the sickness which has caused such head pain in your world. Since the health department is lacking here and government reliability leaves much to be desired, I can only put this down to God’s gracious care, and providing gracious care is something He really has been making a habit of, for us.

When Milka fell pregnant we had no choice but to have the birth here in PNG (Milka has no National Identity documents or passport, despite continued efforts over the last two years, but that is another story). We decided to have the birth at Braun Memorial hospital in Finschhafen, the birthplace of the Lutheran Church in PNG, and because of our relationship with the missionary doctors at the hospital. We arrived in Finschhafen on 9 December, expecting the birth to be on the 27th. But a scan revealed some complications, the presence of cholistasis, a liver condition which puts stress on the baby, as well as some concern on the placenta. It seemed our baby was in a hurry to come. Dr Sebastian Freudenberg told us that if we were in Australia, an immediate C-section would be ordered, so we accepted his advice and Kelly was delivered at 7.30am on the 12th December 2019. It was Dr Freudenberg’s very last procedure before he departed PNG (that day), so we were just in time to take advantage of his expertise.

Surgery can always be risky in a tropical climate and with such rudimentary facilities and minimal hospital staff, where the extended family have to be the carers with meals and washing laundry at the hospital. While Kelly was quite comfortable from the start, Milka had a long road to recovery. I travelled down a bumpy road every day from the Logaweng Seminary to check on them both and to keep them well supplied, whilst Milka’s mother and sister attended to their daily needs. After a week, both were released to my care and we enjoyed our first Christmas together at Logaweng Seminary (Senior Flierl Seminary). It was such a special moment in life.

Ten months on, Kelly has blossomed into an active happy fellow, kicking like he did the day he arrived. He is almost walking already and we are busy keeping him out of kitchen cupboards and the like!  We are still trying to organise birth certificates and passports, as well as citizenship credentials, something that we ask you to pray about. As soon as international borders reopen, I hope to be able to take a well-overdue furlough (I have not been home now for almost 16 months) and introduce Milka and Kelly Maik to the Aussie way of life as well as meeting the other side of the family. We trust that the Lord has a plan for this.

I am very thankful for the technologies that have helped me remain connected to my roots, as well as connected to those who are supporting the ministry here. The LCA International Mission office can provide details to share about how you can support us to remain connected in mission together.

If you would like to consider the opportunity to donate to Mick Hauser, who is serving as a lecturer at Martin Luther Seminary in Papua New Guinea, you are invited to go to http://lcamission.org.au/donations/index.php/png.html and select ‘Mick Hauser (Missionary) – PNG’ from the list of projects.

For more information about Mick Hauser, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/about-us/who-we-are/countries/papua-new-guinea/papua-new-guinea-mick-hauser/