In just a couple of hours most of you will be celebrating the New Year…but I beat you to it! In case you were worried about me missing out, I can tell you America has nothing on the celebration here in PNG. I never would have expected to see the best firework display of my life in Wewak. People were shooting off (big) fireworks all over the city…up and down the coast, out at the point, the islands, the mountain…for HOURS. I may need a nap later to recover from lack of sleep.
What a crazy whirlwind 2013 was! So many times since arriving here, I find myself pausing and wondering “wait a second…where am I and what just happened?!” Especially when I’m at the market and there’s a bat with a 3 foot wingspan being sold right next to the fresh veggies 🙂
This time last year I was two days away from getting on a plane to Bolivia, was working on our church’s big missions conference, planning back to back trips to Costa Rica for a local university and of course, Guyana (and really hoping I’d finally get to move there). And that was all in my spare time. I was also working the 9 to 5 at the marketing firm I’d been at 8 years and barely had time to breathe, let alone begin holding meetings for the trip to PNG I was leading the week after our big conference in March. I’d begun to sense God was up to something, but if you’d have told me that by the end of the year I’d be living in the South Pacific, learning a new language and getting ready for my first extended trip into the jungle, I’d have thought you were crazy!
I look back at all that happened in this past year and am in awe of how God worked…from changing my heart, plans, desires, putting all of the pieces in place, providing supporters (I’m between 80% and 85% supported now!) and everything else I would need and getting me on a plane to PNG, all in a matter of months.
I’ve been reminded that there’s nothing to fear in surrendering to the Lord and that He’ll move in crazy ways to get you where He wants you. I’ve learned that even when your dreams come true, they can never completely fill you with joy in and of themselves. Only Jesus can do that. I’ve been reminded once again that I am nothing without Him and that I must look to Him constantly to know how to love. I was at the hospital the other day visiting our patients and noticed this woman who occupied the bed next to Maggie. This was the third time I’d seen her and though I have no idea what’s wrong with her, it’s obvious she’s really sick. Her half naked, shriveled body just lies there…the only movement I’ve seen being when she coughs violently and spits into a dirty, glass carafe she clings to. As we started to leave, I noticed her eyes on me and rather than smiling at her like I usually do, I felt like I needed to touch her. I reached out and put my hand on her leg hesitantly. Her eyes lit up and she reached a frail hand towards me. Suddenly the germs and disease didn’t matter…I gently took her hand and a huge, beautiful smile filled her face. I wondered when the last time was that someone had touched her and wanted to cry. And again I was reminded that there are people all around us that need love. May we have the eyes to see them and do whatever we can, even if it’s just a touch!
As my days are filled with language study and ministry here, I feel so blessed to be here and can’t wait to see what God has in store for 2014! He’s got a good track record for going beyond what I could think or dream up.
Happy New Year and as always, praying God’s blessings on you!
I’ll list a few prayer requests below for those of you who want to pray for me.
- “Bush” orientation…I’ll be in the remote jungle village of Pukapuki from the 6th-22nd with New Tribes missionaries in order to experience more of the culture and practice language. Be praying that I’ll be a blessing to Tim & Laurel and for safety.
- Health for all of us…so far, so good. But we’re in contact with lots of mosquitos and really sick patients so things like malaria, dengue fever, meningitis, encephalitis, tropical infections and TB are pretty real threats.