Expect the unexpected. . . I feel like this theme has come up a few times in the past several weeks, even before I got here. They call PNG the land of the unexpected, which is hard for someone who likes to plan and prepare and be structured. But it’s been an amazing lesson in where our peace is found- not in being super prepared or in control, but in knowing the One who is and trusting that everything that happens has passed first through His capable hands. Hard to do sometimes. But for me in this season of transition, I know the peace I have is from Him and from the many prayers of all of you.
I was extremely blessed in the weeks before I left by beautiful time with family and friends and such meaningful moments. My sister even showed up at 4:00 a.m. at the airport to see me off. Which anyone who knows her knows, is not a time of day she likes to see! The lady at the counter seemed to conveniently forget that 50 lbs is the weight limit when I rang up at 51 lbs, 51 lbs, and 52 lbs- even though later I heard her charging an extra $100 for someone else at 51 lbs.
All of my flights went very smoothly and actually went by quite quickly. I would advise that anyone traveling on multiple flights not take a carry-on without wheels- that’ll definitely weigh you down as you trudge through the airport! I was able to listen to WCC’s prayer for me from the airport in Atlanta and that was a beautiful blessing.
While my luggage did not make it to PNG from Australia for several days, it was a major lesson to me of how little I actually need. In all my preparations and planning, I did not plan for not having “my stuff” for 4 days, but people were generous in sharing clothes and helping me retrieve the luggage, since I can’t drive here. I also didn’t have to pay any customs fees.
So now I’m here! I’m fortunate enough to be staying in the home of someone on home assignment for the year. It’s a nice house with lots of space and it already has almost everything I would need. I’ve enjoyed adding my own decorations to remind me of home. The beautiful thing is that it has a porch so I can sit outside and listen to the birds sing and be in the fresh air (sorry for all of you in Indiana right now. Come visit and I’ll share my sunshine!)
I am going through an orientation called E2- E stands for equipping. I am learning about how to live here at Lapilo, about the culture of PNG and will start learning the Tok Pisin language this week. Part of our E2 training has been to hear more about the work being done among the tribes from some of the missionaries who are currently in from the field. I have loved hearing more about that process (if you’d be interested in learning more come to Interface) and the lives that are being impacted by hearing the Gospel. And these are the stories I'm excited to tell.
I’m living on a support center with 65-75 units also serving as support missionaries to the church planters in the field. There are so many opportunities to serve in seeing thriving churches established here. Teachers, maintenance workers, business admin, IT. They’re all needed.
There’s so much more to say about life here and what I am learning but I thought I’d do that in a few pictures as I experiment with this new program I want to encourage people here to use:
View a slide show of photosfrom my first 12 days here. You get to be the guinea pigs for new ways of communicating! This is a fairly easy-to-use program that I want to test to see if it would be useful for other missionaries here. Let me know if you have any thoughts.
I'm grateful for all of your prayers and support and emails or WhatsApp texts. I'm so glad we can keep in touch. As I hear the stories of people here and what has connected them to missions, it so often happens with a relationship- missionaries in their church growing up or friends they visit on the mission field. That is one of the reasons I am here- to connect future laborers with what God is doing here so that we can meet the needs of all those needing to hear.
"He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Luke 10:2
Praise that my flights went smoothly and I didn’t have to pay customs fees or two overweight fees that I could have been charged. And while I didn’t get my luggage right away, it was a lesson on how much (little) we really actually need.
Praise that where I am living is already very comfortable for me. I’m decorating it and making it my own.
Praise for all the wonderful people here at the support center who have been helpful in my learning and transition. Pray that I can remember their names and get to know them well, so I am better equipped to help them communicate what is meaningful about their support work and how they affect the bigger picture.
Praise for how much peace I have felt in this transition. Pray that God would continue to give me His wisdom and guidance and clarity and cover me in His peace.
My PNG number is 1 675 7313 9148 if you'd like to keep in touch via WhatsApp.
Please pray that there would be room for me at the regional conferences in March. It would be an opportunity to meet more of the tribal missionaries and talk with them about ways that I could help them with communication.
Pray for wisdom in what steps to take first as I start my role in communications.
Pray for my ability to learn language. Right now, it’s not sticking, but we start the official curriculum this week.
Pray for my ability to die to myself and what is comfortable and surrender what I love and be grateful for what He brings my way. Pray for His presence in my grief as I’m apart from my family and friends who I love very much.
Pray that I would remember to seek the Lord before I do anything and not get caught up in the projects that may take away my focus from why He has me here.
Pray for safety and protection and health.
Pray that I can be a blessing to the missionaries in PNG!
More stories of what God is doing can be found by following Ethnos360 on social media.