Friday, February 24, 2012

A little power... a little perspective

 Well, our power situation improved for a few days, and is now back to totally unreliable again. But this post is coming to you from a humbled heart with a MAJOR attitude adjustment. You see, earlier in the week we went to see some friends of ours. Friends who had previously been living with another family. Now for reasons too long and unimportant to write, they are living underneath the house they used to live in. And they have a newborn baby (that is why we went to see them). So while I was complaining about not having power at night, my friends did not even have a roof over their heads. In fact, they have a floor over their heads and a few make shift walls.

They are good people.

They are hard working.

But in this country cost of living is VERY VERY high...especially if you leave the jungle and come live in the city. "This economy" is a tough economy.

But as I thought about how sad I was that there was no longer room for them, their newborn baby, and 2 other children in their house. I thought about a family who also had this problem. "Hey, sorry Mr. Carpenter there is no room for you here, but I have this barn that you and your pregnant wife can stay in." And the Savior of the world was born. I think about how much this story can relate to this family. This family whose beliefs are mostly based on works and good deeds, not on a Savior who made himself just like them in order to show them how much His Father loves them.

We hear a lot today about being "relevant" in the Christian world. In order to do our jobs to reach others for Christ we have to be relevant to everyone it is we are trying to reach.  That means different things in different cultures. In my own culture I find it is hard to be relevant because I don't own an iphone. Here I find it hard to be relevant because I own a phone at all. But in the midst of all this, the Lord reminds me that HE IS, WAS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE RELEVANT. 

To everyone.


My job is to tell His story.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sounds I hate

***Please excuse this post that comes from a grumpy, sleepless, bad attitude...

1. Tennis shoes squeaking on a basketball court

2. Geckos

3. Every bird that exists in PNG. They all love to make mind numbingly loud noises at night

4. Mia's pacifiers hitting the floor at 6 am as she is throwing them out of her bed telling me she has no intentions of going back to sleep

5. The generator being turned OFF

6. Rats crawling in my walls

7.Your Mom

The End

***Sorry, I didn't really mean that about your mom. I am sure she is a lovely person. I have just had no sleep for the last 3 nights since we have had no power. It is hot and our fans make a huge difference. They are huge metal blade fans. They swirl around lots of air and drown out even more noise. I love them and am very sad when they sit still and lifeless in my house. Hopefully, the next post will come from a happy, well rested Tribal Wife with no insults to your family. Thank you for understanding.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This is Wrinkling my Brain

Sometimes in life you come across things that make you seriously ponder the unfathomable. A book, a song, a quote- these things can shoot straight to your heart or mind and make you question everything you thought you knew before. Life as you know it is changed from an encounter with this new experience. Sometimes this new life-altering thing may be a food.

Sometimes it is a chicken.

That looks and tastes like a ham.

It is a chicken-ham.

Why does it look and taste like a ham if it is chicken?

How did it get that way?

Why is it so delicious?


These are the questions that are now wrinkling my brain.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What are we calling "reached"?

I recently read a series of articles discussing short term missions and whether or not they were doing more harm than good. It was very interesting and there were a lot of great points made both for and against short term missions. I know it seems hard to think that there should be anything against missions at all, but it is true, unfortunately that some short term mission projects do more harm than good. But also, some long term missions projects do more harm than good as well.

I myself am not against short term missions. If I had not gone on my first short term mission trip to Haiti, then I may not have ever become a missionary. This trip was a great experience for me but I know it all has to do with the the missionaries we went to help, and the ministry they already had set up. We went on that trip to aide the missionaries, not to hold big evangelical rallies.

In my personal opinion (which may not count for much, and I totally understand that) I think it is not the duration of the "missions" that we should question, but the quality of the job we are doing while we are there. There are plenty of short term mission trips that are a huge benefit and blessing not only to the people who are being helped, but also to the helpers. I do agree, though, that most of the time to do a quality job does take a long term commitment. ***Please don't hear what I am not saying. We will need people to come help us build our house on a "short term" mission trip. I am not saying don't come. Please come. Please. We need you.***

Jesus spent lots of His time with people. Developing relationships with them. Discipling them and teaching them. Really investing Himself in them, and I think we should do the same. 

As Americans we have sort of adopted a fast food mentality to almost everything we do...including missions. We like to go in to a poverty stricken place throw some tracts at people, preach the Gospel to people through a translator, ask everyone who wants to receive a "free gift" to raise their hands, and rejoice when "hundreds" get saved! Its fast, cheap, and easy, just like McD's.

But just like fast food isn't healthy for our physical bodies, this time of "missions" isn't healthy for the body of Christ. Sure it takes longer to move in with people, learn their language and culture, and teach them about God the creator, His character and history with mankind and His plan of redemption through His Son Jesus, but this investment creates disciples and a healthy church, just as taking the time to prepare a healthy meal from fresh ingredients creates a healthy body. Does it take more time, hard work, and money? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

A good friend recently brought to my attention that CNN was reporting that PNG was a mostly Christian country. And I know that the government proclaims itself as a Christian nation, but when you live here, you look around and wonder where all the Christians are. You might be surprised to know that most of the villages that we are looking into moving into already have a "church". Yep. Its true. But are there Christians there? No.

You see there are lots of well meaning churches and organizations that come here (and everywhere else in the world) and do the "fast food" missions and call an area "reached" when really all they have done is built a building and added another spirit to appease in the minds of the people. Then the country itself is stamped CHRISTIAN in big red letters and everyone can high five each other and move on.

But what is left? A big mess that someone has to clean up...or we could just keep turning a blind eye to it, until one day Judgment comes and who is left accountable?

Christ asked us to make disciples. People who will have a real and true relationship with Him and who can then teach others and pass their knowledge of this relationship on to each generation. And that is what we are here to do. We want to make disciples and plant mature churches. We want to render ourselves unnecessary. We want to leave one day, knowing that the Gospel message will move forward, and will do so much more effectively because now it is in the hands of the people, and they are reaching their own people in their own culture.

Anyway, I have no idea why I am writing this really. I guess I just didn't want any of you to have seen that report on CNN and wonder why the heck we were here if this was a Christian country and we are supposed to be reaching the "most unreached people groups in the world". You were wondering that weren't you? Yeah, I know you were. You were thinking we were just here for the waves and the tan. But would you still think that if you knew that because of the way we have to dress here I look like I am perpetually wearing a white tank top and bike shorts???

And to wrap things up, here is a picture of me with a "kapul" on my back. As you can see she was very interested in our daughters' toys. Yes, it was fun in a very creepy sort of way...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Be careful what you complain about

A few days ago, I was having a particularly stressful day. My 2 oldest girls had been at war with each other all day over a  Polly Pocket,  and my baby was screaming and refusing to take a nap. I hadn't left my house in like 17,000 days and it was approximately 1 million degrees in my kitchen where I had spent most of the day.

After I completely lost it with the Big 2, telling them that if they were going to fight over one doll then I was going to throw the other 30 they had away, since they obviously had no use for then, I walked into the bathroom and found this. 

You see my 3 year old has recently learned to wipe herself. Every parent know what a triumph this is. No more stopping in the middle of dinner to wipe someone's rear end, and then coming back to that dinner to realize that you have lost your appetite. And as a busy mom it is a serious relief as it takes one more thing off my plate. But when I walked in and saw the toilet paper like this, I realized that not only was no one else in my house capable of putting the toilet paper on the toilet paper holder, but now I had to make sure that I started the roll as well or the next person to use the bathroom would be wiping themselves with streamers. I lost it again, thinking that I would never be free from taking care of EVERY. SINGLE. MUNDANE. DETAIL. of everyone else's life.

However, my attitude changed 2 days later when that same 3 year old came down from taking her bath completely dry and fully dressed and ready for bed and said "Look, mom, I dried myself off and put on my own pajamas! Aren't you proud of me?" I replied "yes" of course but in my head I was thinking, "what you don't need me anymore? Getting you out of the tub and ready for bed is MY job! I am your MOTHER! YOU THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME?"

Then I remembered what I was complaining about earlier and how this was actually one less thing I had to do. But this is something I like to do...I want to do. I love getting my little 3 year old dressed in her little clothes. I know they won't be little clothes much longer. Sigh.

I guess I can't pick and choose what parts of being a mom I want to do, just like I can' pick and choose what parts of being a missionary I like and don't like (being confined to my house most of the time for one thing). As in everything in life we have to take the good with the bad.

So now I am trying to dig deep into God's word to truly understand what it means to be content in all circumstances. To have joy no matter where I am or what I am doing. Like, I said in the last post, God has given me the life I always wanted, so why should I complain? Because I am in a part right now that is a little monotonous on my way to a part where I will probably beg for monotony? No. I will rejoice in what God has for me now, and try to remember this time for when we are in the tribe and everything is crazy and our "schedule" gets thrown out the window everyday, and how much I complained about it.

I am sure it will be like the Israelites looking back at Egypt and recalling it as this wonderful place that God tore them away from, forgetting that they were slaves in a foreign land and were begging for God to deliver them. Having this blog will be good for me when I am doing the same and looking back on my days in Wewak as a wonderful place that God tore me away from when right now I am begging him to take me to a new place. Any new place. But, if I can find my contentment in God now then maybe I won't find myself in this position again. Maybe I can learn to be satisfied in any place, any circumstance, for any period of time. Lord, help me with this please.

The toilet paper is a good lesson for me, and I have a feeling that I will be seeing it pretty often as a reminder.