|The girls saying goodbye to their Daddy on the day he left|
Our plan was to go back in as family on January 4th, but as that day neared our village leaders told John Michael that they were worried about us coming in at that time. He then suggested that he come in alone and feel things out before the girls I come in. They liked that idea a lot so that is what we did. After being in there a week, he said he feels like it is ok for us to return and the village leaders met separately and decided that it was safe as well.
Since my last post there have been two more murders. None of them happened in our village or to any of the people that live close to us, so we feel like it is a good sign that the violence is moving away from us rather than toward us. Things are still chaotic all over our side of Hewa territory, but our village has turned into a refuge for those looking for safety from the violence. An entire neighboring village has moved into our village because they felt they were too close to the enemy.
Because of all this, we really feel like this is a crucial time for discipleship. The believers need encouragement to stay out of the fighting and to hold onto the Lord for hope in such turbulent times. To leave them on their own in this could potentially be harmful to the church, and we feel like the risk to the Body of Christ is much greater than the risk to our physical bodies.
I promise that I would not risk the lives of my children if I thought there was a real danger to them. I love them more than you (I'm talking to you, grandparents!) so trust me when I say I would not lead them into a situation that I thought would truly bring them harm. Of course I can not predict or control everything, but I think I am placing my kids in the same amount of risk as you are when you just check your phone real quick while you drive. Just kidding. None of you do that right? Ok, so I'm placing my kids in the same amount of risk as you are when you drive them on the same roads as all those other people when they just check their phones real quick while they drive.
But seriously, please keep praying for us, for the safety of our village, and for peace across Hewa territory. I honestly have no idea what will bring resolution at this point. The police have told us that there are no funds for them to come in to help at this time. And in their defense, I have no idea if it would do any good anyway. When they came in to arrest the murderer in the second witch killing, he simply fled into the jungle as soon as he heard the plane coming. He has since killed two more people, and everyone is afraid of him.
So really and truly this is all in the Lord's hands. Hope is not coming from anywhere else. But we can't sit around and wait for a perfect situation to continue our ministry. And I'm encouraged when I read God's Word and am reminded that God did big things in some really desperate times.
God led His people with smoke and fire, and parted the Red Sea while a Pharaoh whose anger was fueled by grief, shame, and fear stormed after God's people with a mighty army.
Elijah's victory in the contest with the prophet's of Baal was with a huge target on his back by an evil pagan queen.
Daniel served the Lord in a foreign land where jealous and murderous people in high places despised him. This led to him spending an entire night with lions and angels and having an evil pagan king declare the Lord was the one true God to his entire kingdom.
And Jesus birthed His church in Roman occupied Israel where coming as "king" was an automatic death sentence from Rome and coming Savior led to betrayal by His own people because He wasn't the kind of "savior" they had in mind.
God always has and (always will until this world endures), worked in and among harsh and horrific conditions...among war, poverty, plague, death, and evil acts of evil men. This world has not recently "gone crazy" as some seem to believe. This world went crazy the day Adam and Eve sinned and will continue in chaos until Christ returns for His Bride. But we can rejoice in this. This day that we know is coming and we can work, strive, sweat, and bleed to let as many as possible live in this Hope that we are so blessed to already have.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19
Firm. And Secure.
*please forgive all typos and grammatical errors in this post as my wonderful and, dare I say, strikingly handsome editor is in a remote jungle and cannot proof. Thank you.