Missionaries Dave and Robyn Parry are living among the Siawis as part of their on-field orientation in Papua New Guinea. Both are missionary kids who grew up in a tribal village, but actually being a missionary is a whole new experience.
The Lord has graciously allowed almost every possible situation to occur to show them how to deal with life in the tribe.
“All of the special orientation crises that the Lord has seen fit to bring upon them are starting to overwhelm me,” wrote missionary to the Siawis Linda Krieg. “It scares me, to think of the few things they haven't experienced yet, like one or more of the Siawi men going berserk with anger. And that crisis situation has all the fuel necessary to explode, if we don't deal with some pigs carefully.”
A Siawi man with a hair-trigger temper happens to live right next to the airstrip with his seven wives, several children, numerous dogs and 3 pigs. The pigs keep busy rooting up everything in their path, including a tractor shed and are frequently found rooting under the missionaries’ homes.
“Our greatest fear,” Linda wrote, “is that they will turn their full attention to the airstrip. So far, while they have been out there on the airstrip quite a bit, they haven't torn up the surface. Another danger is that they will run in front of the plane as it is landing. With that in mind we post guards along the edge of the airstrip where they are known to be, to prevent such a catastrophe.”
Linda is trying to deal with the “pig situation” diplomatically to spare Dave and Robyn the experience of seeing the man in full-blown rage. They’ve avoided that orientation experience thus far and that seems to be a good thing.
However, Dave and Robyn have had the opportunity to learn to deal with several interesing experiences.
Last week a young boy was brought to the missionaries with a broken arm. Since the bones were severly misaligned, Dave had to gently pull the bones into place. Then they had to fashion an arm splint from an old leg splint that had some malleable aluminum that could be cut into an effective splint. After the splint was in place there were still some humps and bumps but it looked as though the arm would heal well.
“Children with broken arms are common in tribal life, so the Lord made sure they didn't miss this learning opportunity,” Linda wrote.
Another situation added to their experience was a major medical emergency that happended at 1 a.m. A Siawi man came to tell Dave that Onau was dead and his teeth were clenched. Fortunately Dave knew that in Pidgen parlance dead usually means unconscious. So he made the long trip through the dark jungle, crossing three streams to the edge of the village where Onau’s house is located.
Dave found that Onau was now conscious and complaining of pain. Not sure of what to do, Dave gave him some medication and decided to consult Linda in the morning. In the morning it was decided that malaria was the culprit and so malaria medication was started.
Pray for Dave and Robyn as they learn to deal with life in a tribal village. Pray also that these experieces will help them in their future ministry.