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Jan 6, 2018

furlough

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’ve managed to get out a grand total of TWO blog posts during our home assignment, and it was May before that, so let me try and get some of these thoughts out.

This is our very first home assignment, a sixth month leave from Papua New Guinea to have our daughter Lucy Mae; it’s also for learning how to be a family of three, raising some more support, and to hopefully get some rest before jumping back into ministry.
A Christmas-y walk through Disney Springs.
It has been amazing to grow into a family of three… our “mom and dad shoes” so to speak. At first, it was terrifying and overwhelming. This little person invaded every aspect of our lives. Honestly, there was a certain amount of mourning our 7-year-long-pre-baby-life… But then, fueled by the grace of God and cups of coffee, we started growing. The nights weren’t quite so long and anxiety-inducing; we didn’t cry quite as often; and we found that with some intentional “normal” we can still just be us. Suddenly, she became a part of us, and not an intruder. We’re so thankful for our little coconut!

We’ve reached the point in our furlough where we are homesick for PNG, for our ministries, for our friends, and our home. It’s been good being in America — there are people we love, not to mention fast internet, fast food, shopping, and anonymity — but now we feel ready to get back to the everyday life God called us to.

Can you pray for us? We have a few prayer requests weighing on us right now. 

Travel costs: we need about $4500 for tickets and baggage back to PNG.
Partners: our cost-of-living has increased with the birth of Lucy Mae; we’re looking for more partners.
Phones: we both need new phones, since ours each have one foot in the technological grave; it’s required to have working phones for our ministries.
Medical Bills: obviously, having a baby is costly.

We are continuing to make our travel arrangements in faith, knowing that the Lord provides what we need when we need it (and not a moment sooner), but it is heavy on us, and rather discouraging at times. BUT GOD. He is good and faithful. As our friend used to say: “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills; but He only feeds us one hamburger at a time."

Dec 19, 2017

she's here!

I am so proud to introduce you to our daughter - Lucy Mae.
Rose Day Photography
November 22, 2017
9:14pm
6 lbs, 1 oz
19.5 inches

Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes for this pregnancy and birth —we have been so blessed by them as we do our best to soak up every day with our sweet girl. She is doing remarkably well, and we love her more every day! Josh and I are both doing well, too, as we settle into a new normal that includes feedings every few hours, lots of diapers, and little sleep.
Rose Day Photography
Now we are busy raising some much-needed financial support, and planning to head back to Papua New Guinea in March. Our flights will take us through Belgium where we will get to see our extended family for the first time in 3 years — and Lucy Mae will get to meet lots more family! There are two new babies on that side on the world, too, so we’ll get to meet them as well! :)

Oct 2, 2017

bad blogger

Wow, it’s been since MAY that I blogged last. They say it’s bad blogging etiquette to say “It’s been SO LONG. I’m sorry I’m a bad blogger. It’s been super busy.”

But you know what?
It has. 

Ministry:
There have been more medevacs, which means both Josh and I work extra. From July 2016 to July 2017 we had 36; both in country and out. That’s a record for our center/clinic/program.
left to right: Jon Leedahl, Dr. Kevin Ludwig holding baby Jensen, Josh Verdonck after flying a medevac to Cairns, Australia
photo via: @j_verdonck

Besides the medevacs (not all of which Josh flew, obviously), there has been lots of other flying to keep him busy. You’ve probably heard about the newest tribal work open in Maliyali. They are first delivered to a staging area in the Kodiak, then shuttled in to their village of Maliyali in the helicopter. Josh was one of the main pilots helping with their allocation, as well as delivering them to their new home.
Josh doing one of the Maliyali allocation runs with the guys, Nathan (back), and David.
photo via: @j_verdonck
As is always the case with ministry work, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” You probably remember that in January, one of our pilots had to leave for an early furlough. Unfortunately, in the last two weeks before we left, one more pilot had to stop flying as well. That leaves the program at 3 Kodiak pilots and 1 helicopter pilot for the next 6 months at least. This is a heavy load for the team there, as it doesn’t take long to burn out.

While we can’t exactly change our plans, this is something that weighs on Josh and I. Will you pray with us that God would send some more pilots to help carry the program in PNG?

Family:
Apart from the ministry side of life there in PNG, is the personal side. The doing life side. For us, that has meant getting excited as Baby GIRL Verdonck keeps growing right on schedule and is doing very well, and so are we.
View from our new porch! :)
We also got the opportunity to move into a different house on the center, one that needed a little work before we could move. Luckily Josh had lots of help, so it didn’t take too long before it was ready for us to move in. We now have a beautiful home that we absolutely love, and a wonderful front porch that we make regular use of. This is the first time that we actually feel settled.

It was election season in PNG this summer, which brings on a whole host of drama in the country, as emotions run high and strong about their candidates.

Maternity Leave:
So now we are in America, on our maternity leave. We’re living in our hometown of Florida, in a little house in a great location. Just a few days after we arrived in Florida, Hurricane Irma came right through our town. Being inland, we did not need to evacuate as mostly hurricanes are just wind and rain for us; it’s the post-storm clean up that causes all the difficulty. Luckily there was no major damage to any of our friend’s or family’s homes, and apart from the annoying clean up, and no power for several days, all is well.
Josh and I at our baby shower this weekend. So many blessings, and so fun!
We’ve seen the OB/GYN, pre-registered at the hospital, and signed up for all the parenting classes we can. There’s an overwhelming pile of baby clothes and supplies in our living room, and a car seat in "our" minivan. But at 33 weeks, it won’t be long before we have to put that stuff to use!
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May 17, 2017

names

You might have heard that New Tribes Mission has changed their name; it’s now called Ethnos360. I wanted to give a little update on what that means for us.

The vision for Ethnos360 is exactly the same as New Tribes Mission, it just uses more culturally appropriate language for the various places they work, stepping away from language that can be offensive or dangerous (such as “tribes” and “mission”). Ethnos still represents the people groups that are the heart of NTM, and 360 represents the globe. The vision is still the same, there’s just a new face.

Right now NewTribes Mission Aviation has not changed their name, although I suspect they will change soon to maintain continuity across the board. Until that happens, we still work for New Tribes Mission Aviation in Papua New Guinea.

Each separate field has the choice to use a culturally appropriate name, and in Papua New Guinea it would actually hurt us more to step away from the ties that NTM has here by changing our name. The relationships, paperwork, and legacy that exists here under the banner of New Tribes Mission is a generally good one, and changing that could potentially damage those ties. This name change from NTM to Ethnos360 only applies to the USA employees.

So, to sum up how this name change affects Josh and I:
In America we are now:Ethnos360andNew Tribes Mission Aviation 
In Papua New Guinea we are:New Tribes MissionandNew Tribes Mission Aviation
If anything changes, we will be sure to let you know! I just wanted to provide a little bit of clarity on this big change within our mission, and how it relates to us.