Greetings from Papua New Guinea! March 2023

We are overjoyed to share that we returned to Papua New Guinea (PNG) on January 11th!  We will share more details about our journey below, but we'll focus on a quick update first.

David is back at the office! During our time in the U.S., he continued to grow his skills as a developer through various online courses and projects. He was also able to do some remote work on his project for Education for Life, the literacy project he's been part of for the past few years. Due to some changes with the Education for Life project and the needs of our organization, his role has shifted. David is now using his skills in IT on projects that help our community and organization run smoothly. The team meeting these needs was down to just one software developer before our return!

Melissa has returned to her role at Ukarumpa International School as a teacher's aide. She's currently helping in third grade. This class has 15 students from four different countries. As a teacher's aide, Melissa is able to take some of the "busy work" off of the teacher's plate. On a typical day, she may grade papers, do one-on-one work with students or make copies. These small things reduce the workload on our busy teachers.

All of our kids are back at school and have just finished up the school term. This has been a big adjustment for each of them in different ways. The transition details for all six Smith children would take too long to tell, but please praise God with us for their friendships here, their amazing teachers, and pray for each of them as they transition yet again. Do pray specifically for Makaylah as she perseveres through her last semester of high school. Our school year has four terms. Term 3 just ended. The kids will have about two weeks off. We then head full-steam ahead into term 4 and all the end-of-year senior things!

Our trip back to Papua New Guinea was an adventure! We had to change our travel dates a few times due to an unexpected delay with our visas. However, everything finally came together. Thankfully, all of our flights were on time and ALL of our luggage made it to Papua New Guinea with us!

For the curious, our route took us from:

Charlotte, NC to Atlanta, GA, via two rental cars (5 hours)
Atlanta, GA to Doha, Qatar (13.5 hours)
Layover in Doha (4 hours)
Doha, Qatar to Singapore (7.5 hours)
Layover in Singapore (11 hours)
Singapore to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (6.5 hours)
Layover in Port Moresby (7 hours)
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea (1.5 hours)

home sweet home, completely exhausted, but grateful!

Melissa Smith