Break. We had plans for a break. Eat fun foods. Sleep in. Connect with friends on facebook. Help my mom with her grandkid fix by uploading lots of pictures. I even had some great posts planned for this blog that I have been waiting to write because the pictures tell the best part of the stories. But I can't even open iPhoto because there are so many pictures and videos of our friend, Atipz (pronounced AH-di-paw) and I just can't handle looking at them. I tried today and I got one picture uploaded before I saw a picture of him digging the grave for the boy who committed suicide last month.
It was all I could do to not throw the computer against the wall.
And I can't really eat. How do you eat when images of your friend's body being carried out of the jungle wrapped in vines and tied to a pole, just like a pig being brought from a hunt are running through your mind? Those images permeate every bite and sour my stomach.
And I can't sleep. I can stop thinking about him chasing my kids to make them laugh. Or his singing as he passed by our house every night on the way to his. Or about who is going to live in the brand new house that he built right behind mine, and how am I going to look at it out my back window everyday without falling apart.
I have already had to look out that same stupid window for a month and see the patch of jungle where another boy tied himself to a tree with a dog chain. That is one of the blessings about being in a different place. My eyes can look wherever they want without bringing painful memories into my mind.
I am just so angry. And I feel so helpless. I feel like Satan is robbing us. He is stealing the future of our church by tricking these bright young men to just give up. And to be honest, I am mad at Atipz. We had plans. He was going to teach my husband language and help us spread the Gospel to the hundreds of Hewa men and women who haven't heard it yet. We left our lives and our families and we battle homesickness, fatigue, and culture stress every day to be there to do this work, and it so hard to find good helpers who understand what you need in a language helper and he just quit and left us to fend for ourselves.
But the messed up part of it is that I see every minute how ridiculously hard their lives are. How the curse of Adam weighs much heavier on their backs than it does on ours. I know in their heads they are wondering, "Since heaven is so great, why not just go now?" I know that it is our job as missionaries to teach them to act selflessly, and to LIVE their lives for the Lord even through suffering and hardship so that they can bring others to Him. But I feel like such a hypocrite. Sure that is easy for me to say. How do I tell them this? Where is my credibility? Would you listen to Donald Trump telling you to suffer and persevere?
How do I do any of this? I am the least capable person for this job. I am overwhelmed and feeling completely inadequate. And I could name twenty people right now who are better equipped for something like this, but for some reason I am the one God has placed there.
And I am scared. I think of Seke, Alison, Luben, and Laimon- all boys around this same age and I am terrified that they might consider this as well. Tribal life is so community based and once one person starts doing something everybody else does it too. And what if some of the young girls start to follow this path?
My flesh is telling me to wall up my heart. Stop thinking. Stop feeling. Just go in and get the job done and get out. But "the job" is not just a checklist of taught lessons and translated verses. It is to make disciples by following the example that Jesus set. And loved those people. He felt their pain. He wept with them in their sorrow. And in the end those people quit Jesus. They left Him to fend for Himself. But he didn't have to. His Father the God of the universe was with Him and accomplished His purpose of defeating sin and death.
I know that in reality we are not fending for ourselves either. That the God of the universe is going to accomplish His purpose with the Hewa people no matter what. We are not left alone. He is with us and He will see us through because He is always victorious. In life and in death.
So today, I cling to this truth from His Word:
my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work
enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the
Lord is ever useless." 1 Corinthians 15:58