Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Better day

Well, I had a much better day today. Nothing really changed other than my frame of mind. I put all my kids to bed last night, and my oldest soon got up complaining of a belly ache. Mattie, Mia, and JMG all had a stomach virus this past weekend, so I figured Lucy's turn had finally come. She was sleeping on the top bunk of a bunk bed, so I let her stay in my bed since I knew she would have no chance to make it to the bathroom from that "high altitude".  I could only imagine the splatter that would come from vomit flying that far. She apparently fell into a deep sleep and did not wake up even as she started to get sick, which resulted in my bed and my child completely covered in vomit. It took me 10 minutes in the shower to get it out of her hair. As I looked at this pitiful child of mine sick, shivering, and sobbing, I couldn't wait to get here cleaned up so I could wrap her in my arms and comfort her ailing body. In this classic moment of motherhood,  I felt the Lord telling me, "that is exactly what I want to do for you. I want to wrap you in my arms and comfort your ailing spirit."

You see, in the three shorts weeks that we have spent in the tribe, we've been through some major setbacks and disappointments with our house, two of our kids had malaria, the baby had a bad cold and ear infection, and then after all that everyone got a stomach virus. And of course the day before we were going to move into our house and start language study, Mia has this arm incident. We have had a rough three weeks.

So last night when all the puke was cleaned up, I rested in knowing the Lord sees and hears and comforts, and I finally felt some peace. It makes no sense, but that is the peace of God- it passes all understanding.

And in the midst of all this chaos, the time in the tribe with the people- part that really matters- has been truly amazing. We love the place and the people, and even though I know that this chaos may continue until the day we leave the tribe, I am certain that this place is where I want to be. The place I want to live and work. The place I want my daughters to call home.

Anyway, Mia's arm has been bothering her on off since we got here, but the doctor's have no idea what is wrong. We will be here until November 9th because the helicopter is not available to take us back into the tribe until then. Hopefully by that time the pain will either have stopped completely or we will have figured out what is causing it. And by the time we return hopefully my husband and our friend Layne (the guy from the team who stayed behind to get our solar electrical system set up) will have even more of my house completed. So even though this is bump in the road that I neither wanted nor expected, I know we will get through it and things will be better when it is over.

In the meantime, here are some pics of the progress at the time I left:

Outside of the house with tarp siding and solar panels on the roof.

Layne working on the electrical system. Don't worry he is 4 IQ points away from being a genius, so he can handle this!

My kitchen

My bathroom

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I am not even sure what to say right now.
I just made a $10,000 mistake.

Mia fell yesterday and we *thought* she broke her wrist. She was screaming and crying and wouldn't let us touch it. We got on the radio and asked the doctor what to do and he said we should fly out to the clinic the next day.

I was devastated. I knew my daughter would be fine, but we were supposed to move into our house that same day (we had previously been living with our coworkers until our house was livable), and I knew that leaving would cost us $10,000...$5,000 for the helicopter to come get us and $5,000 to go back in. Plus, I was making friends and starting to learn language. We were just getting to the really fun part.

The doctor also told us to put her arm in a sling and wrap it to her body. We did that and she screamed through the whole process. She also cried through the night whenever she would roll over onto her arm.

This morning she cried when we tried to fix the parts of the wrap that came undone, so at 7:30 am we left on the helicopter and came to the clinic.

But when I took off the wrap at the doctor's office, she acted like nothing was wrong. We took some x-rays and they showed that nothing was wrong as well. The doctor said it could have been a number of things, but at this point he really had no idea and that she was completely fine.

I was devastated again. It sounds ridiculous I know, to be devastated that my two year old's arm is NOT broken, but knowing that I just put our family $10,000 in debt for nothing is something to be devastated about.

We completely drained our accounts with house building and because of a huge mistake on the part of the company we ordered our supplies from- we had to buy some of them twice and that put us into a little bit of debt already.

But that was manageable debt. We knew that in a month or two we would be fine again. Now, I have no idea when we will be fine again.

And the biggest problem I have right now is that this was one of my major fears about coming to a helicopter only location. Can I really take care of my family in this place? This place where I have to choose between letting my child suffer or sinking my family financially. I know one day in the future we will have an airstrip, and with an airstrip this would have been a $600 mistake instead of $10,000. But that will be at least a year...maybe more. Can we survive until then?
 I also know that this experience is going to make it even harder to call for the helicopter in the future. What if there is a true emergency but we wait...

I wish I was in a better place right now. I wish I was that missionary who just bounces back and trusts the Lord, and writes beautiful words of encouragement for anyone who needs it. But right now I am just not there. I am the doubter. The questioner. The crushed.

Do you hear me God?
Do you see me?
Will you meet my needs even when I mess up. Big time?
I don't understand this, God.
I feel so stupid, and alone. 
Help me, please.

And I know He will. I know His Word brings healing and comfort and truth- every answer to those questions above, so I am going to cry, and read, and breathe. Because I know that with Him sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Please, Lord Jesus, bring the morning.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Eight Years

Eight years ago I read a book, which led me to a website which stabbed at my heart and opened up my spirit to hear the Lord saying, "this is what I want for you."

And once the Lord calls and you accept- you try really REALLY hard to make it happen. Like now. But that is not exactly how He works. Just ask Abraham and Sarah. I tried to manipulate my situation a few times to make His promise come true faster, just like Sarah, but He always reigned me in before things got too crazy and little Ishmaels entered the world. (just so you know this is a metaphor for my desire to do tribal church planting, and in no way have I ever considered my giving my slave girl to my husband to produce an heir... And in no way have I ever had a slave girl.) I have to admit, though, that I always thought that Sarah was completely crazy for what she did, but after these eight long years I can tell you that it is hard to wait for God's promises...because they are so good.

But that is what makes them so good. They are His to give, freely and with perfect timing. And anything we add to them makes them false. Just manipulations of our own hands which are nothing more than idols. Our own sad interpretations of what God is trying to give us. Stupid shiny golden calves. If we would just wait a little longer...

I can't imagine where I would be if I had given up on this promise. If I had decided that God was taking too long, so I should move on to something else. I am thankful everyday that He reminded me that He keeps His Word... so thankful that I could read story after story of His relationship with other people- people just like me with whom He never failed to fulfill a promise. And so thankful that He broke my heart over and over again for those people who did not have those stories- those testimonies those words to read to encourage them when God gives them a promise and at year six they are still waiting and wondering.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for eight years of dreaming, and thinking, and planning, and praying, and training, and praying, and crying, and begging, and praying, and rejoicing. Thank you Jesus for loving me enough to allow me a small part in your Kingdom. Thank you that I get to start tomorrow.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What it takes to be a missionary

After this last week of preparing to move into the tribe I thought I would put together a little list of all the skills necessary to be a missionary. Here goes...

You have to be a good planner.

You have to be organized.

You have to have good math skills.

You have to be a good traveler.

You have to be a good packer.

You have to be a good language learner.

You have to be a teacher.

And a nurse.

You have to be wealthy.

You have to have physical strength.

And mental strength.

And control of your emotions.

You have to be a good cook.

And a great cleaner.

You have to be a plumber.

An electrician.

A carpenter.

A builder.

An accountant.

You have to be able to fly an airplane.

And a helicopter.

You have to be a people person.

You have to be a good example.

You have to have perseverance.

You have to be humble.

And self sacrificing.

You have to love Jesus.

Raise your hand if you know one person who completes this list? I can tell you that personally I could check off like 3 things up there and that is all. So how do we do it?

We don't.

The Lord does it all. And He does most of it through His body here on earth...the church. And I have never experienced that more than I have this week. Through our support team back home and our fellow missionaries here on the field of PNG, we have been able to accomplish the impossible.We had some very touch and go moments, and thinking back I still can't figure out how it all worked out.

But I do know this...we could not have done it without lots and LOTS of help! So I am sending a ferocious thanks to all the people who have worked hard to make sure our family gets to be a part of the Hewa ministry. We are blessed and humbled by your great gifts!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I had this friend that I went to school with who was a "one-upper". You know what I'm talking about. That person who always has to one-up you on every single thing you say...whether bad or good (see Penelope on SNL for a great example). It always seemed like this person wanted me to be simultaneously jealous and sorry for her. I always thought she was crazy.

But now, I am totally feeling the same way. Every time I share a post and I read comments (on facebook or here) I have similar responses. If someone writes, "oh, that sounds so great...so much fun...I would love to be doing that!" or anything positive, I want to write back "ARE YOU CRAZY! THIS IS THE HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD AND NOTHING ABOUT IT IS FUN, AND EVERYDAY I WANT TO CRY!"

But then, if someone shows me pity, with comments such as, "Oh, so sorry...I can't believe you are doing this" then I want to write back, "NO, SERIOUSLY...DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR ME! I HAVE THIS BEST JOB IN THE WORLD! IT IS SO EXCITING AND FUN, AND EVERYDAY I PRAISE THE LORD FOR IT."

So, basically...yes...I am crazy. I have turned into that girl. But don't be afraid to leave comments. I love comments, and really you can't lose with whatever angle you choose to go with.

I am not sure which response is truly accurate. I think it all depends on the day, but I honestly believe that this job entails a little of both. Like right now, I am super excited to FINALLY be getting into the tribe in six days, but the process of getting there is very hectic and stressful and I really do just want to cry at the end of everyday.

You see in order to move our stuff into the tribe we have a limited number of flights that can carry it all. And those flights are in a small plane that can only carry so much weight. And then in a helicopter that can only carry/sling so much weight.

Helicopter "slinging" wood for our coworker's house.

But before we can get all our stuff in, we have to get our actual house in. By that I mean all the materials to build our house. And for all you MTC and NTBI folks, your batteries alone will take up and entire flight and a half. That's right. JUST THE BATTERIES, not the solar panels, and wires, and plumbing, and plywood, and tin roofing, and nails, and screws, and stove, and washer, and fridge and freezer, and really do I need to go on any further? I mean I can, but this would get pretty monotonous after a while, right? Oh yeah, and I have to fly in food supplies for five months as well. Do you see why I want to cry every night these days?

Right now, we are trying to figure out what we are going to sacrifice and live without for five months. While that list is actually pretty long, I don't really want to do to you what I did in the previous paragraph, so I will just tell you that the big things we have chosen to leave here are our furniture (yeah, no furniture for five months will be fun) and our Christmas tree. I know that sounds dumb, but I am a little sad that we won't have a Christmas tree in our house this year. There is always the possibility of chopping down something in the jungle, but please remember that this is the rainforest and the trees are huge and full of scary and disgusting living creatures. Who knows, maybe I will just draw a tree on my wall with a sharpie. We can't paint right away anyway, so I might as well...plus I will not be the first one to do it, I can tell you that (cough cough, Courtney Shontere).

I know I will feel better once we just get in there, but then there is the realization that I will basically be living in a shell of a house for a year (at least). Our goal for the work team is to get the roof, floor and walls up, and to get our plumbing and electrical going. There probably won't be any inside walls (except for the bathroom) and no kitchen cabinets. Our entire house will be wrapped in tarp like this...

And honestly, if all that gets done I will be one happy, Mama. My dear, sweet, and wonderful 3N1 will be working on the house every Saturday to try to finish it, because during the week he will be trying to get in a minimum of 40 hours of language study so that we can learn language a.s.a.p. in order to disciple believers and go with them to reach their neighboring villages. Sigh.

So, do I still seem crazy? I mean, honestly there are things to envy. And there are things to pity. But overall, I still think this is the best job in the world and there is nothing else on this earth that I would rather be doing. Except for maybe being a Cirque du Soleil performer. Nope, nothing else.