slowing down…

by mendibpng

This was what the car looked like loaded down with our family's cargo for a four week village stay. Ben and the big kids sat in the bed of the truck while the babies and I sat up front with the driver!

You may see me writing on transition a lot—that is because we deal with it on a constant (if not daily!) basis…

So these past few weeks we made preparations to go to the village. I went through spreadsheets and decided how much rice/sugar/dehydrated veggies, fruit and meat I needed. This last week I had a few panicky moments, thinking “did I buy enough oatmeal?” or “did I dehydrate enough carrots?” for instance. After sitting down once again with my lists and comparing everything, I had finally satisfied myself that we would have enough to eat for the next five weeks. This week my shoulder and neck froze up and a friend of mine here suggested it might be because of the stress…and I think she might be right. Getting ready for the village is a big task. We take everything we need for the stay because there are no stores or ways to get supplies if we forget anything. Occasionally we leave something behind but it would be terrible to run out of Toilet Paper for instance!

Last night, my husband Ben and our teammate John decided that our family should not go out to the village next week. This is due to the fact that we don’t have a working septic tank for the men’s toilet block—there is only one working toilet and it is not sufficient for twenty-two men. We had supplies and people lined up to come out to help with this project but we learned at the last minute (yesterday) that we simply don’t have enough supplies and there is no way to get enough out there to our remote location before the next workshop. So, since John is rather good at making lemonade out of lemons, he suggested that the team that was behind in translation could come and get caught up. This means that Ben will be able to focus on checking Luke, Acts and 1 Timothy.

So I’ve been processing this news for the last day and a half…I had already started the countdown “this is the last time we will make/eat ice cream for five weeks” and arranged who would pay my yard man while I was gone so that he could still feed his family…

Don’t get me wrong…living in the village is hard for me. I home school three children in three separate curriculums. We don’t have a refrigeration system so we cook everything from scratch every day. I don’t have a house helper like I do here at the training center to help me hang up clothes, take the babies for a walk, or help with the dishes. On the other hand, I was looking forward to being out with the team, especially getting to know a prospective team member Jessie, and I had been creating space in my heart and mind to be out there. Not only this, but I had the Wewak managers buy our village food (20 kgs of flour, 12 kgs of rice, etc.) so what to do with all of that? So it is a disappointment.

On the other hand, there are a few things that are good about us staying at our training center here in Ukarumpa:
 Ben will be able to get loads of exegetical checking done, which is really useful to the team for future workshops. He plans to work full time on that. This week he has been taking a week long typesetting course.
 I will be able to reclaim my house after the Christmas break (I’ll have to find a space to put all the village food: 15 boxes of cereal, for instance!)
 Jenny Beth has been waking up 4-6 times a night. Her pediatrician confirmed that she really should be able to sleep through…so…SLEEP training, something not possible in our village home. I have been sleep deprived for 16 months and it is starting to take its toll on my sanity
 I’ll have time to enjoy my babies while their older siblings are in school. When I am homeschooling the other three in the village, I am usually trying to find ways to keep the babies out of our hair and from eating our pencils/destroying papers, etc.
 I will have time to catch up with my friends, several of whom just arrived back from furlough, yay!
 I will have time to process some ‘Hard Stuff’ from the last few weeks, namely things that have happened to friends here. Sometimes we get so busy it’s easy to let things slide. But they have a way of sneaking up on us when we least expect them.
 I get to finish a couple of books I was going to return to my boss (they are on mentoring and communicating well).
 My older kids are all happy about staying at the center. I am really thankful that God gave me flexible children!
(Most of these benefit me personally but isn’t there a saying “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?”)

Often in transition, the best way for me to cope is to first think about what I’m losing or what I’ve leaving behind…but I cannot live there for too long. It turns into self pity if I let myself stay there. So the next step is to start thinking about what I might gain from the ‘new’ reality. As I mentioned in an earlier posting about transition, it’s all about choosing for me.

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2 Comments to “slowing down…”

  1. Having just had a couple of whammies myself, I can’t write a LONG message but I LOVE YOU, Mandy Hobbs Pehrson!!! And I will pray that you don’t sit in that wallowing place long. I think you are right in looking at what you are gaining–a chance to visit with returning friends…and to READ MORE! (-:

    Much much love!

  2. your courage to look at disappointment, grieve, and then continue on with gratitude gives me joy. it also gives me courage. thank you for writing.

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