Well, my "update soon to follow" didn't happen very soon. So now when we're about to fly back to Australia in a week's time, I guess I'd better let you all know what's been happening here and in Townsville.
The opportunity to go to Alotau in Papua New Guinea came as a bit of a surprise to us, but I'm so glad that we said yes to going here. It hasn't been easy at all times, definitely not, but it's been so good.
We have been helping to set up a new YWAM training campus in town and have been working on the house, with the seminars running and just trying to get our heads around the billions of things that always seem to need to get done. Planting a veggie garden, going through 100 application forms, figuring out where to place 40 people, making friends and lots of driving around.
(Just for your information, the fire fighters are putting out a fire in the grass field next to our house. It wasn't doing any damage to where we live :) )

Other days we've had time to just explore. The importance of just stopping to take in the beauty around us can never be underestimated. Those days when I've taken the time to just go for a walk after dinner or climb a mountain are some of the best I've had here. 
Meanwhile, in Townsville.
A cyclone category 4/5 is about to hit the coast tonight and tomorrow morning. It has moved further south than it was originally predicted, so it looks like the worst part of it will miss Townsville. Isaac and I won't be there for it, so no need to worry about us. Our friends should be safe and so should the YWAM campus be, but since cyclones are quite unpredictable, you never really know until afterwards. At the moment, it seems like Townsville shouldn't get much more than a windy and rainy night. Keep praying for the city and the surrounding areas though, it is a quite severe cyclone and it can cause a lot of damage. 
In case you're interested, you can follow the cyclone on this website, where they update the forecast every hour.
http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDQ65002.shtml
 
"When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." - Genesis 9:16

/Emilie

Our lives took a bit of an unexpected turn and we've now recently arrived in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Since PNG is the Land of the Unexpected, I guess we shouldn't be all that surprised. We're here for just over two months and will be helping out with some training and seminars, as well as working on setting up a new campus here.

At the moment our internet access is quite limited, but hopefully we can send a longer update shortly!
Stay tuned!
 
 
Me and Isaac do work a lot and some weeks are really busy. Weekends aren’t always days off and sometimes you get called at odd hours to fix things. So you have to make sure to set some time aside to do fun things as well. Something that is on my top list of favourite things to do is hiking, or bush walking as most people call it here. If I could, I would hike every trail there is in the world. Isaac probably isn’t as keen, but he’s also really enjoyed exploring with me (and I’m very grateful he has been). We’ve found some truly amazing places around Townsville and I already want to go back to some of them again.

One of these places is Alligator Creek, just half an hour south of Townsville. The name doesn’t sound very charming, but this place has nothing to do with alligators (since there are no alligators on the whole continent of Australia) and we also haven’t heard of any crocodiles in the area. It’s a beautiful creek that I would love to come back to and swim in. Clear waters and all those fish that I have no idea what they’re called (I know one of them is jungle perch).
 From Alligator Creek a 2.5 hour trail begins that takes you up to Alligator Falls, a series of cascades and falls down the cliffs. It doesn’t look like what I’m used to for waterfalls, but it’s still very beautiful (with another great swimming spot at the bottom).
 
I read up a bit about the trail beforehand and saw that we were meant to do 4 “creek crossings” on our way to the falls. I thought I was used to creek crossings from the creeks up in the north of Sweden. Ankle- or knee-deep water. Again, I realised that some things Australia defines differently from how I define it. Our “creek” was waist-deep in one of the crossings, which was quite amusing.

One of the reasons why this surprised me so much is that Townsville is in fact in a kind of drought at the moment. Since we live in the dry tropics, we don’t have the privilege of having four seasons, but instead have about 2 ½. In dry season, and in the pre-wet season, which is around the same time as the rest of Australia has winter, it doesn’t rain much at all and a lot of the creeks dry up. In wet season, which would be the Australian summer (and Swedish winter), it’s extremely hot and humid with a lot of heavy rainfall. The problem now has just been that the last few wet seasons haven’t really been wet seasons at all. They’ve just been very humid dry seasons, from what others have told us (we haven’t been here for a wet season yet).


This graph shows the water levels in Ross River Dam, which is Townsville’s main water supply. If you’re good at reading graphs, you’ve probably already figured out what it’s telling you. The maroon (dark red) line at the very bottom is the water level 2016. As you can tell, it’s much lower than the previous years. In fact, the dam is down to 19%, and until the next wet season begins, much rain isn’t really predicted.

So because of the limited water supply, Townsville is now on level 3 water restrictions (of 4 in total). This hasn’t had any huge implications on our lives yet, and isn’t really an emergency so far. What it means is that we can’t water our gardens with anything except a hose 4 hours/week. More specific; 6-7 am on Sunday and Wednesday mornings and 6-7 pm at night on the same days. Me and Isaac volunteered for the Sunday morning shift, getting up just before dawn.

With all this said, there is no need to worry about the water levels yet, but it would be good to get some rain soon. It just makes the land come alive. Until then, me and Isaac will enjoy our early Sunday morning watering adventures. 

/Emilie