It's time for another exciting edition of the Ukarumpa Update! We are officially experiencing winter in Papua New Guinea. Rain comes much less frequently, and in much smaller amounts. The temperature has fallen as well, with lows in the 40's at night and highs in the 60's to 70's during the daytime. Though we both have grown up in areas with cold winters, we find ourselves wearing jackets when it gets into the 60's and building fires in our fireplace at night.
It is school break for Kim now; she goes back in the middle of July. She has enjoyed some time to be around the house and relax. There is one Bible dedication coming up at the end of July, and two following closely in the first part of August, so she is busy sharpening her photography skills when she is not reading a book or cooking. She is also excited to be gearing up to teach French for the first time starting this next semester.
Jacob has been very busy being an engineer lately. The gabion basket portion of his water project is progressing and should be finished in the next day or two. The next step in the project will be to begin the construction of the large intake trench. Jacob has calculated that he will need to remove a little over 58,000 cubic feet of soil using shovels and wheelbarrows! He currently has four guys working for him, and will most likely need to double he's workforce. The other day, a friend of Jacob's from a neighboring village asked Jacob if his son could work for him. Before Jacob knew what had happened, the young man showed up at the project and Jacob's men sent him away. When Jacob visited the work site his men were quite upset with him regarding the other workman that had stopped by. They scolded Jacob and said that, if he wanted more help, he could ask them and they would bring more men. They went on to remind Jacob that there are battles taking place all over the valley and if he sent the wrong man they would have to kill him or he would kill them. Fortunately the young man that stopped by was from their same village, the men were just making a point by sending him away, and they said he could come back and work during the next phase of the project
There is an old dilapidated suspension bridge that spans the Bae' River between Ukarumpa Center and Ukarumpa village. A few weeks ago we went to church at Ukarumpa village with some others from Ukarumpa Center and, as we crossed the bridge, it was decided that the bridge needed to be repaired; and that this could be an outward expression of our desire to re-build the relationship between Ukarumpa Center and Ukarumpa village. (Much of the rascal activity that has been plaguing Ukarumpa Center over the last few years originated in Ukarumpa village. Since many of the rascals became Christians this past Easter, the rascal activity has declined sharply, and both Ukarumpa village and Ukarumpa Center have been working towards repairing the strained relationship.) During the conversation, it was stated that no one knows how to fix the bridge, at which point someone pointed at Jacob and said, "He does." Now Jacob is working on rebuilding the old bridge. The bridge piers are being threatened by erosion and will need to be protected prior to October (the start of the next rainy season). After the piers are protected, Jacob will start the process of renovating the bridge deck. The renovated bridge will be open to foot traffic only. Between the bridge and water projects, June has been a very busy month for Jacob.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Jacob and Kim Brotzler