change, growth and choosing…

by mendibpng

“Life is change.
Growth is optional.
Choose wisely”
K. Clark

It has taken me a couple of weeks to pull myself together since getting back from the village…I thought I would write a few thoughts on transition.

Our lives are full of change–going and coming from our village to Ukarumpa for several reasons: 1) our children’s education (there is a great school here in Ukarumpa, and we take materials and lesson plans to the village to home school) and 2) Ben teaches Greek and Biblical exegesis here. He can also do preparation and checking in Ukarumpa with less distractions.

Transition is disorienting, and takes an unknown period of time, depending on where I’m transitioning from and what I’m transitioning to. Sometimes I can transition over to a new place or a new idea in a matter of minutes. Other times it takes weeks or months because I’m grieving the loss of something I left behind. I remember when I first learned about being pregnant with twins…seeing that I hadn’t planned on having any more children, this was a biggie. It took a few months of grieving and dying to self for me to realize that God was doing something GOOD for me. I remember sitting one night listening to a worship song and for the first time feeling both of the babies move at the same time—it felt to me at the time that they were responding to the music and to worship, and it was hugely comforting. (photo above: our family’s first trip in the new Kodiak airplane!)

Coming back from the village this time was really disorienting. I spent a few days trying to figure out where I was, even waking up wondering where I was. My life here in Ukarumpa is different from the one I have in the village. There, I am more isolated from the outside world. I never have to grocery shop because I’ve packed food for the entire trip. There is really no where to go, except to wander around the little hamlet in the jungle while people stare at us. In our early years here, I struggled with anxiety and depression every time we went out there, even to the point of having anxiety attacks. It was devastating to me to realize that this was not going to be the utopia I had imagined. I mean, we were going to live in a jungle and bring God’s Word to people who hadn’t ever had it in their own language! I suppose I had never voiced it, but I thought I would see people grateful that we had come, opening up their hearts to us and sharing their lives and ultimately being changed for the gospel. In the years that followed, I realized that Ben has had a lot more influence in these areas, with people coming to him for advice and prayer. In short, I never thought I could live there with any measure of contentment…at times the grieving was difficult to bear, even though I tried to put on the ‘good missionary’ face for others. But then…a few years later, I had learned to live with the slow, quiet pace of life and have even begun to appreciate it! I think sometimes when there is a huge life change—including culture stress and living conditions—it just takes longer for me to figure out who I am in that context. Missionary women, I think, often have a special burden to bear and often end up slipping through the cracks.


One Comment to “change, growth and choosing…”

  1. Mandy,
    Thanks for sharing your life and thoughts about transition. I really appreciate knowing how you are doing. It gives me a better idea of how to pray, but it also makes me miss those days when we could just walk across the hall and have a good chat! I have to say, I feel the same way about transitions. Sometimes I need a day to transition from a simple 2 hour road trip! Just remember God knows you need transition time, its probably just as important as rest.

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