Sleeping Dogs and Swimming Children, Church at Lake Sentani.


The family decided to join Darron at church on Lake Sentani.  It sounded like an enjoyable outing.  We drove our car illegally to the boat dock (still don’t have all the official papers) only to realize that we were at the wrong dock and would have to drive through the center of town with our unregistered car.  So off we bounced, jolted, dogged potholes and motorcycles, people, animals, vendors, and at last arrived at the correct boat dock unnoticed by the police.  There the pastor and his family, along with boat owners were awaiting us.  Lake Sentani is an incredible feast to the eyes of these amazing hills that flow into the water.  Pictures just don’t capture the vast beauty.

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One of the many villages on the lake.  The only way to get to these homes is by boat.  The people eat lots of fish.  Do their laundry in the lake.  It is their sewer and their bath, also.

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We arrived to the church just as they were finishing the lesson study part.  They had saved some questions for Darron.  So almost as soon as we walked in and sat down the questions started.  I admired how my husband was able to think on the spot and give clear answers.  I also admired the respect that they had for a pastor.  It was very honoring.

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The church we visited.

So there we sat on simple wooden benches.  Very simple construction.  Foundation string still in place.  Dog’s sleeping under benches.  Children running in and out.  At times running in naked from having gone swimming in the lake.  Mommies would scold them and give them a little bang on the heads and then put them in dry clothes.  Babies cried.  The service went on.  I was informed I would tell the children’s story and 3 minutes later it was time to start.  Lesson learned (always go prepared).  They called us up front and again honored us by pinning little red flowers on our clothes.  They listened intently.  They sang earnestly.


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Ralph was a fantastic interpreter.

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The pastor, with a heart of gold.

Then it was time to eat.  They honored us again by insisting that we go first.  They gave so much for people that have so little.  Many of the members live right there on the lake in little homes and villages.   As soon as church was over all the children about 10 and under, stripped and jumped into the lake over and over again.  Not a bit of shame.  Incredible swimmers.  They kept asking why our boys were not swimming.  I just said they were “malu” (shy).   Which indeed, they were!!!!

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The children who kept their clothes on!

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One little girl had what appeared to be an abscess on her for head.  I asked her Mom to come to my home so that I could help take them to the hospital this week, but they have not shown up yet. It was hot and angry, tender to the touch.

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We were blessed to worship with the people on Lake Sentani. 

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Many of the locals own hand dug out canoe’s.

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This lady was pulling in her fishing nets.

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Homeward bound on our home made boat.

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This pig was at the dock when we arrived back.  Still alive, awaiting supper for many folks.  They threw water on him.  Not sure if that was to refresh him, or torture him.


So that sums up church on Lake Sentani.  An adventure and sweet experience for all.  From dogs, to children swimming naked, to Christian love, to boat rides, to being so honored, to last minute talks, to wooden benches, to food that is a feast and yet so different for us….to people hungering for more than food or things….we were blessed to come to Lake Sentani Church.


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