October is our featured reader month! And I’m so glad a few of you were willing to share. We still have LOTS of openings! If you want to have your story featured on the blog, please go to this page and fill out the available form. Remember to send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love this couple’s story! I often equate traditional living with farming and homesteading. But missionaries living in rural areas truly have to return to a traditional lifestyle in every sense of the word! Clint and Ashlyn are family and I’m so pleased they decided to share bits of their story with us!
Your Name: Clint & Ashlyn
Tell us a little bit about who you are:
We’re Autumn’s brother and sister-in-law. We have 3 kids, Kyler, Brooke, and Lance, all ages 3 and under, so we’re very busy! 🙂 We are missionaries in Papua New Guinea, and we live in a very remote tribal village of about 120 people.
Our desire is that someday, we’ll be able to plant a mature church among the people group where we are living. We are currently in language and culture study, but we also love living a traditional lifestyle.
Share some details about your home/land situation:
We live off the grid in a very tight knit community on the bank of a winding river. Our house isn’t a hut (thankfully!), but it’s rustic with a tin roof and plywood floors and walls. We have solar power for electricity and a tank for catching rainwater for daily use.
We don’t have a lot of our own land, but the land around us is pretty much free to use (with permission from the locals) for gardening, hunting, or fishing.
Which parts of a traditional lifestyle have you embraced?
We have embraced many aspects of a traditional lifestyle. We cook many of our meals from scratch. We buy most of our meat fresh from the locals, and we get a variety of organic, tropical fruits and vegetables from the people and our own garden.
We live off the grid with solar panels for electricity and a tank for catching rain water, but we’re still able to have a washing machine, lights, and fans.
Because the climate is so warm, we don’t need any form of heating, which is nice! We also are raising our 3 kids there.
Which aspects do you most enjoy (and why)?
We enjoy the quiet pace of life and the simplicity of living in the jungle. We also enjoy the freedom to raise our kids without as much distraction from modern technology.
Name one skill you’d like to learn in the future and also why:
We’d like to learn more about the best way to garden in the tropics because there are many things that won’t grow well with the steady heat and humidity of the jungle air.
We’d also like to learn more about canning and raising our own pigs and chickens in a tropical climate because we aren’t sure if there may be certain diseases or considerations that we may need to take into account. Or perhaps cultural differences that we need to be aware of.
Tell us about one of the difficulties you’ve faced on the journey and how you deal/dealt with it:
It’s been difficult living in a different cultural context as we raise our family. We’ve had to adjust the way we see life and the way we do things to fit with the people we live among. It’s also been difficult at times to balance ministry, family, and the desire to have a more traditional lifestyle. We’ve had to be intentional to not neglect any aspect and have a bit of a schedule to our days so that we can have time for everything.
Another challenge is not having supplies as readily available as we would like. For instance, we’d like to have pigs at some point because they are common animals in our area and easy to buy. But, we’re not sure if we’ll be able to get good fencing materials in town.
We’ve been able to deal with this problem by planning weeks or months in advance, scouting for things in town when they are available, and sometimes making do with other options if our first pick isn’t available. We’ve learned to be flexible! 🙂
If you could give advice to someone following in your footsteps, what would it be?
Trust that God will provide for your needs if you are following Him. Not just physical needs, but emotional and spiritual as well, even if you are miles away from friends and family. He will give you the strength and courage to face each day and be able to balance the lifestyle He’s called you to have.
Thanks so much for sharing Clint and Ashlyn! You’ve made huge sacrifices to share God’s good news and we’re always praying for you from the frozen northland of Canada. Some day, I hope to come and see your home, meet the people you live among and see how you do traditional life in a PNG village!
If you have questions or comments for Clint and Ashlyn, you can leave them below in the comments section!
All photos belong to Clint and Ashlyn. Used with permission.