Here are some of the most frequently (and even some of the oddest just because we think they are great) questions that we have been asked. If you have others, please email me at Tara_Ellis at wycliffe dot org.
Where are you?
Papua New Guinea aka PNG. It is the eastern part of the large island just north of Austrailia
How long will you be there?
Our first term is 4 years in Papua New Guinea. After that time, we will come back to the States for a year for furlough. We are following as God leads, whether he leads us back to PNG or somewhere else. Our commitment with Wycliffe is indefinite.
Will you come back to the States during that time?
Only if someone wants to see us extremely bad and pay the $13,000 round-trip ticket for the four of us!
What are you doing?
Tim is working in the Communications and Technical Services department. Originally he was going to be doing hardware maintenance. Right now he is working on the telecom side learning the telephone system. He always wondered what those 5+ years at CHOA working telecom was for.
Tara will be working in the Personnel office. She will be working with the members coming to PNG and going on furlough. I will be starting sometime in June once our family is settled.
How will you stay in contact with your friends, family, and partners?
There is internet in PNG! We will send out quarterly newsletters while we are over there and monthly prayer updates to our prayer partners. We will also be updating the blog. We also have skype, so we can talk via skype. This will need to be pre-arranged since there is a 14-15 hour time difference!
Are the kids going with you?
Tim's answer- "I'm glad you asked. We're thinking about finding someone to babysit them for 4 years. We were thinking about you." The real answer- OF COURSE!!! (OK, so it is now obvious that they are here with us, we like to keep this one on our FAQ because its funny.)
Will you be homeschooling the kids or will they be attending a public school?
After homeschooling for their entire lives, the kids will be attending Ukarumpa International School beginning the 2012-2013 school year. They will have the opportunity to interact with kids from all over the world while being taught from a Biblical Worldview. They are very excited.
Where will you be living?
We'll be living in the Highlands area of Papua New Guinea in Ukarumpa. Here is the Wikipedia link.
What is the climate like?
The climate along the coast is very tropical- hot and humid and rainy year round. We'll only be there for our initial training course. The highlands are located about 5100 feet above sea level and is much milder. The temps can get down into the 40's at night and up into the 80's during the day- spring like year round. They have two seasons in PNG- the wet and the wetter season. During the wetter season, it is very difficult to get around as roads are washed out.
Will you be living in a hut or what?
We'll be living in a house. Here is a link to some pics showing some of the houses and buildings in Ukarumpa. Scroll to the bottom to see pictures of the houses. Right now we are in a duplex. We are currently looking for a house to purchase.
What is the shopping like?
All my couponing and shopping skills will get very rusty while living in PNG. There aren't many places to go shopping. OK, so their is just the "grocery store" in Ukarumpa. There are some second hand type stores in towns nearby. No malls, no Kohls or Belk or Target or Publix or even those stores I don't like very much.
What about restaurants or fast food?
I had to get my fill of Chick-fil-A before leaving home. OK, so we had to get our fill of any type of restaurant or fast food joint before leaving the States. The best explanation of fast food in Ukarumpa is "buying tortillas from a local lady and stuffing it with last night's leftovers." Yep, it will be cooking and no going out to eat. Although there is a "Kai Bar", which is as close to fast food as we get. It will have chicken and chips (Australian chips, which means really big french fries) and sometimes a sandwich or hamburger. There is a rumor that they used to actually have ice cream. Although the ice cream isn't exactly like we are used to!
What will you eat? Will you have to eat bugs?
So Tim did try a couple of bugs while we were in the village, but no bugs, that I'm aware of, are on the official diet. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables available at the local market three times a week. The store stocks many similar (not exactly the same but close) to what we are used to back at home. Unfortunately the price tag is a LOT higher than what it is back home.
What will you be wearing?
Yes, we will be wearing clothes. The biggest wardrobe change will be for Tara. She will need to wear longer skirts. Fortunately, more and more people are wearing the long Bermuda shorts that are baggy with long shirts. The rest of the family will be wearing shorts and pants and tops. As Bekah gets older, she'll need to wear skirts, too. We have heavily investing in croc-type shoes since it does rain so often in PNG. These are great for walking around and getting mud off of.
How do I send you a care package or letter?
Care packages and letters can be sent via the good ole USPS. The best route is to use a flat rate International shipping box. It usually takes 6-8 weeks for a package to get here. Our address is
Tim, Tara, Andrew & Rebekah Ellis
SIL PO Box 1/477
Ukarumpa, EHP 444
Papua New Guinea
I've heard there are headhunters in PNG? Is that true?
Rest assured, cannibalism has been outlawed. I really don't think Tim and the kids have much to worry about anyway since they don't have much meat on their bones. =)