Every Day Has God’s Purposes

One of the main purposes of flights for Yajasi (name of the Indonesian Christian organization we fly for on Papua island) is to provide transportation for workers who translate the Bible in remote villages.

Here, Courtney flew some friends of ours. They are a family of five and have lived in the interior village for over three years now assisting in church planting but primarily in translation.

This day was a refreshing reminder for me of why we are here in Papua and why Yajasi is flying. Many of Courtney’s flights are for public passengers and food/supplies. Not every village we fly to has a Christian worker.

At the end of the day when I commented to Courtney about this, he didn’t think it as remarkable. He reminded me that every flight has purpose and God has His way of showing His glory – through average days, through flights with public passengers who need Jesus, through delivering supplies that were ordered, through any way He chooses. We can’t rate the importance of one flight from another. All have God’s purposes in it.

May you also seek God and ask that He will be glorified in your lives and His light spill out to those around you!

Table of Contents

What’s on or around your dining table? Does yours get as cluttered as mine? Our table is not only a place for dining, but a collection spot. It’s a table of contents.  Its contents are varied and multiple. 

The contents that must stay on the table (and be re-supplied) for our family are:

  • napkins (but if those are out of stock in the store, then simply use Kleenex), 
  • soy sauce (goes good with rice. Kikkoman is the only brand for us!)
  • fried red onions in a jar
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar for tea time
  • Chocolate sprinkles for toast in the mornings (yes, a splurge, but better than sugar bombs cereals)

On a usual day there are school bags and homework, books and empty lunch sacks, water bottles and school shoes underneath. All of which must be removed before we can start dinner. Important papers and ‘ready to throw away papers’ all get piled here too. 

There are unusual contents on the table, at times, such as a child’s bug collection dumped on his way into the house.

Always fun to find a Goliath beetle or rhino beetle! Somewhere in that plastic container is a caterpillar too. Or did it crawl out in the night?

It’s not only the children that supply contents.  Just this last week, I found a plastic bag of rocks while clearing the table before dinner. When I asked whose they were, I was surprised (but not too surprised) that my husband said they were his and he collected them from the village he flew to that day. They were on the side of the airstrip.

He loves nature and interesting things. Black, flat, and somewhat sparkly, these rocks are different and interesting, aren’t they?

I suppose I add contents to the table too. But mine hardly count because I clear it off the table myself. ;) 

This is what my table looks like today. What’s with the hygienic mask? Whose is that?

If I’m looking for my lost cell phone or anything misplaced, I may find it there….at the table of contents.

Old Meets New

This picture was taken at a college on orientation day. New students were assembled for chapel and I was invited by my Papuan friend to go. It’s always interesting where one finds “old meets new”. In developing countries the people hold to the past while embracing trends and technology of today. What struck me is the traditional, tree bark string crocheted bags from the remote village that is now filled with books and cell phones, and for some, their shoes.

This event was an opportunity for my friend to share the gospel at the college through a Campus Crusade for Christ program. She graduated from this college years ago and first came to the Lord her freshman year, during orientation. She is passionate about investing promptly to the incoming students knowing how her life has been impacted. She asked me to follow along and pray in the back of the room.

Above: my friend is sharing her testimony to a small group

As I saw “old meets new” in a cultural sense with the string bags and cell phones, I also saw another “old meets new” in the spiritual context. God was making a place for these young people to meet Jesus Christ.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.”

—2 Corinthians 5:17–

There are Bends in the Pathway

I like paths. I like pictures of pathways and trails.
I like taking pictures of paths.
I captured several while hiking Silver Creek Falls.

DSC_0365

I like it because it speaks of our journey in life. The course is set ahead of me. I’m moving forward. I’m leaving behind me what has been and continuing ahead.

DSC_0361

Just like the photo featured here, there are bends in the trail and we can’t see clearly what is ahead. That’s how I am feeling lately. While we have plans to return to Papua, Indonesia around late January or in February, it’s just not set and scheduled yet. I can’t see clearly when we will arrive.

God placed that bend in the path. He didn’t need for me to see what’s ahead just yet.  

There are many things that need to come in line and first is receiving our visa from the Indonesian government allowing us to live and work in their country. Once we receive the visa, we submit it to the US Consulate. When they sign off on it we then have 90 days to enter Indonesia. At the start of that 90 day count-down we’ll get our plane tickets booked and get serious about packing with plans to leave as soon as possible (not waiting out the 90 days). So, it won’t be until later on that we’ll know when we go. I’m challenged to be okay with that and not be overly concerned.

I’m quite happy to be in the US and to enjoy all that is around me – my family, my home churches, my dearest friends ever, the outdoors and landscape, cooler weather, and the holidays here at home! And I’m quite happy to be in Indonesia as well with the friends there and the work we do. It’s the timing and temporary living that gets unsettling. Transitions are undoubtedly ahead and I can’t ascertain when they’ll be coming!

But the Christian walks by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The journey of walking with Christ is what it’s all about.

I want to walk well today, in faith, with Jesus Christ when I don’t see what’s ahead.

God placed that bend in the path. He didn’t need for me to see what’s ahead just yet. Same goes for you! ;)

Out With The Old

It’s time to say good bye to this tired back pack.809

It has served us well, but I have no regrets putting it aside. It’s frayed and torn up in places, the grip handle on top is broken, and one strap doesn’t adjust anymore. The strap is tied in a knot to fit Courtney’s strong build.

This back pack was a gift to me for my bridal shower in August 2003. My mother-in-law gave it to me and it was the back pack I registered for, actually. You might think it an odd wedding gift, but it was practical and just the one we wanted!

Courtney and I spent our honeymoon in Hong Kong and hiking Lama Island nearby, then joined our church’s missions trip to the Philippines to serve at a children’s school located in the mountains. This back pack has been put to use since then.

When I emptied the back pack for the last time after one of Courtney’s recent trips, I thought back to all the places this back pack has been. After the initial trip, it has also been with us to Java, Papua (and while in Papua it goes with us to the beach, to the mountains, to the city, to the immigration office and grocery shopping, and Courtney is usually using it while riding a motorcycle), Bali, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, and of course, the good ol’ USA.

It’s held up through hundreds of metal detectors, conveyor belts and searching. It’s been through pailfulls of sand, miles of road debris, and gallons of sweat soaking through it.

It’s carried a laptop, spare clothing, baby diapers and wipes and bottles and pacifiers, groceries, Starbucks vias and our most important documents.

I thought back to old traveling trunks that have tourist bumper stickers labeled on them.  I used to think they ruined a good looking trunk, but now I can see why someone would decorate with the reminders of where the trunk has traveled to. Most importantly, where the traveler had been with their trusty luggage.

Image result for travel trunk stickers

It amazes me to think of where my back pack and I have been these last 12 years along with my family too. I wonder where the next 12 years will bring me and whether I should start collecting city stickers.

Anne’s 8th Birthday

When planning your birthday, it is quick and easy to think of your favorite ten people you would like to invite. That is, for most people. It can be a little more challenging  for a kid growing up in constant change. I sat down with Anne to begin her birthday party invitation list. It was easy to come up with three friends and then when it took some thought on her part, the conversation went something like this:

“Is ____ in town?”cake

“No, she is on furlough in the states.”

“Oh, ya. Well, I really want to invite ____ but she is gone to the states.”

“No she’s back already. Remember, we had her family over for dinner last week?”

“Ya! That’s right!”

“How about _____? You had her over last year.”

“Who’s that?”

At this point my heart just sank. Anne has not really yet known what a good sustained friendship looks and feels like. Some of it is due to our life as we transition a lot. I was relieved to see she didn’t seem disappointed. She is used to this coming and going and having to flow with the changes around her.  Once again I felt the pain in the disconnect that we often feel in our relationships. Our family and friends in the states are an ocean away. Our  friends we have made here are meaningful but can change frequently. Our Indonesian friendships aren’t quite as close as we would really like them to be. We can often feel like the missing puzzle piece that’s not in its box.

On the day of sending the invitations, I prayed that the Lord will show Himself in a wonderful and personal way to Anne; that as she grows in Him she will sense His friendship and how near He is  to her, closer than any earthly friend.  I praise God that even though we sense some sacrifice in this area of friendships, our family has drawn tightly together. We enjoy being together. The children are thrilled when daddy is home on weekends. They play best with one another and are each other’s best friends. We have a bond that I’m not sure we would have if we hadn’t taken this path in life.

The party itself was a lot of fun and we could tell that Anne really enjoyed it. At the end of the party a friend thanked Anne and greeted her goodbye with a hug.  Adelaide wondered about the hug and asked if that friend was going away to the states soon. I guess we don’t hug our friends enough!

anne's 8th birthday party cake Anne reading new tintin book

Singapore

I was in Singapore for 5 days in the mid-August for a mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy and to consult my oncologist about a mass I have. We just learned yesterday that the mass is benign and are relieved for that news, and also that another trip to Singapore for treatments isn’t needed. Praise be to God!

Having had cancer 13 years ago (non-Hodgkins lymphoma), doctors have cautioned me to be more vigilant about getting examined regularly. It’s possible that the effects of the cancer treatments could cause other cancers or simply that we know my body hasn’t resolved cancerous cells in the past and may not in the future. Living in Papua isn’t accommodating for regular check ups as there are no imaging machines (except ultrasound) or medical specialists to consult. When I talked to an American missionary doctor we have with us here in town she said there is nothing that can be done for me on this island. She suggested I get a flight to Singapore soon and due to the fact that I have a history of cancer, I should not wait until our scheduled furlough next Spring. I feel grateful that I am able to go to a qualified doctor and also humbled that many of my Indonesian friends are not able to afford it.

This discussion with the doctor occurred on a Sunday evening Wycliffe family meeting and the next morning Courtney began making plans for my trip. By Tuesday afternoon he had the flight, hotel, doctor appointment and imaging completely scheduled. Though, at the time, I felt it was all moving too fast for me and I wanted more time to process it all, by the end of the week I was looking forward to going on the trip and getting the exams done.

Singapore is a 3,ooo mile trip requiring an international transfer through Jakarta. The most daunting part of the trip was to travel alone though I don’t feel it is dangerous or a bad idea for a woman to travel alone here. For one thing, it’s quite a bit more boring. Also, I’m not the keenest one on finding my way through airports and getting in the right lines (this is why it’s great that my husband is a pilot!). I asked a few friends whether they could join me for the trip, but nothing worked out. God was showing me He was with me through it all and I could face it with Him by my side. And, of course, it all turned out fine. During the first flight I realized once again how different things are in Indonesia. One passenger a couple rows behind me was loudly singing his Islamic prayers on the plane. Even among other Indonesian passengers it was quite awkward and others shared some looks and chuckles. Another person was smoking a cigarette during flight. I didn’t see it, but could certainly smell it. I couldn’t imagine a petite stewardess confronting a man about it and hoped the situation would resolve soon. Fortunately, it did. But just a while longer another cigarette was lit again.

Visiting Singapore was a welcomed change into the Western culture from the Indonesian culture. Streets and the air are clean. People have order, politely stand in lines, and businesses everywhere provide free wi-fi. I felt refreshed just to be back in a culture more familiar to my own (and it included some great Indian and Asian foods!). The appointments for the mammogram, ultrasound and doctor’s went smoothly. Things are done efficiently in Singapore compared to the USA. Imaging was done at noon and my results and discussion with the doctor was at 4 pm the same day. Seeing that there is a mass of 2cm the doctor wanted to do a biopsy which was scheduled for the next morning. After that appointment, we agreed I could obtain the biopsy report via email and I could travel back home to Papua.

My return flight was two days later after the doctor appointments concluded. It was refreshing to have time to enjoy some rest, quiet, time with the Lord, reading, extra cups of hot tea, neat walks in the Botanic Gardens and orchid gardens any time of the day and visits with some other missionaries staying at the guesthouse. I happened to ride business class for the same price as economy because it was the last seat on the plane. This is especially nice because it was a 6 hour night flight and I had room to sleep. Another benefit of business class is picking up your luggage from the front office and not having to retrieve it from the baggage carousel. I didn’t know of this and I waited til the end watching every other passenger collect their bag. I was anxious to get out of the airport and the pushy, noisy, clamoring crowd. I was only five minutes to arriving home once out the airport doors and I just couldn’t see my luggage come through. An airport clerk saw I was looking for luggage and asked for my boarding pass. He led me to the nearby office to get my suitcase and I was swiftly on my way home. It reminded me of Psalms 103 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His holy name. Forget not all his benefits…” I wondered, how often do we not fully know the Lord’s benefits and not utilize what’s available to us as His children? Lord, may we not forget!

20140823_143906 2

 

 

Praise God for more Bibles arriving!

cb492955-2f63-4fa3-9874-f891a7f86b99

Lots of whopping and hollers full of cheer were the shouts of praise on the people’s lips offered to the Father as they unloaded the van. Boxes of newly printed Bibles being stored in the hangar would soon take flight to a remote mountain village. Praise God for his provision and the many people who take part in bible translation projects – giving, going, praying. All for His glory!