Saturday, January 4, 2014

So long 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, 2013 was a rough year. I still have a hard time scrolling through my iphoto which is full of pictures of the people we loved and lost this year...

A newborn baby girl that (in spite of Susan giving her CPR for an hour) did not survive

Nosem, the boy who committed suicide on July 4th.

Etike, the boy who drowned, with his family (top left in the yellow shirt with red collar and beautiful smile)

Atipz, our sweet friend who committed suicide on August 29th.

Unfortunately, we have so many heart wrenching pictures of this young man because we spent the most time with him. Like this one of him playing with our daughters...

And the absolute worst picture of all- Atipz digging the grave of Nosem. Two months later someone was digging his own grave...

There were so many times this year that we were overwhelmed with grief and loss and confusion. So many days that we had to pray ourselves out of bed in the morning. So many days that we had to remind each other to just breathe.

But each day defined by pain was also drenched in God's tender mercies and loving comfort. Every tragedy brought us closer to our co-workers and closer to our Hewa friends. The cords in the rope of shared suffering are substantial and not easily broken. And I know that is what God wants for all of us. I know He took this ugliness and made something new and beautiful with it. I was once again assured that I can trust all things in His hands even grief, loss, and death.

So I think we as a community were happy to say goodbye to 2013. And the crazy, happy, silly, and very very dirty New Year celebration was just what we all needed to let go of the burdens this past year dumped on our shoulders and look forward to a new phase in our lives and relationships together. To look forward to what God has for all of us in 2014, no matter what that is.

This is a small glimpse of what that looked like...

Thank you Lord that there is a time for joy and a time for pain. And no matter which time we are experiencing, you are there with us.


  1. I thank the Lord that He does give times of joy to lift your spirits in the midst of the hard times. You folks experience so many deaths which are very heart-wrenching for you all. The worst of all, I think, are the suicides. Does the team have any idea what brings young men like Nosem and Atipz to the point of taking their own lives? Had either of them or Etike accepted Jesus as their Redeemer?

    1. The suicides were definitely the hardest for us. With Nosem, we still have no idea. Atipz left a note saying that he was just tired of life being hard, but now we believe it had a lot to do with a girl. All three were professed believers, so that gives us hope!

  2. Jess one of the things I am trying too do is put you on my morning read list and pray over you guys everyday. I know you don't post everyday but it will help me remember. Please know the Steinekers love you guys and we are trying to blanket you and your tribe and coworkers in prayer and love. We miss you a lot.

  3. Thanks so much Catherine! I love you guys too and can't wait to see my "second family" THIS YEAR! :)

  4. I was wondering if there were any specific things you guys need me to pray about right now. I've been praying for comfort and healing in your tribe so that suicides aren't a problem this year and I've been praying for health for all of you as well. What else can I pray for?

  5. Those two are HUGE! Thank you so much! We also need tons of prayer for language learning. It is a long and tedious process, but is key to us being able to successfully teach and disciple!