I’ve been asking myself, “what made it the best of times?” In a place where I felt adversity on all sides, I found a vast supply of things to be thankful for. I still struggled with self pity and frustration at times. In the worst of times, that is when God poured out his grace on me.
God’s strength always becomes apparent when I am weak. I would love to run my home efficiently and never see my children suffer or fight with each other. Oh and let’s just add ‘obey me every time’ to that list. A few weeks into the village stay I stopped working long enough to hear God impress on my heart that I was relying on myself. I was going to get it all done. I had been here before, and I could use my strategies and trick myself into not being overwhelmed or depressed. Nope. God was singing over me (Zephaniah 3:17) and waiting for me to let Hm rescue me. It was finally at this point that I could see the good things in the midst of the hard ones.
Very Little Culture Stress
Not only did we have few confrontations (ie no extortion attempts or threats as we had in the past) with our village neighbors, but both Ben and I had opportunities for personal ministry apart from our translation project. The mother whom I mentioned in my last post was still estranged from her son when I left, but when she came to see me before I left, I asked her if I could pray with her. I stumbled through my limited Tok Pisin and asked God to soften her son’s heart and help him control his anger outbursts. She broke in and prayed as well, and we both asked that God would help her forgive him for hurting her.
My (older) kids HAD to learn how to get along with each other, living in a small space and rarely having breaks from each other. They eventually played soccer outside or climbed trees with their neighbors. They spent HOURS upon hours reading since they didn’t have movies or other gaming options (I teased them that they were ‘detoxing’ from wii, computer games and movies!) I relished the moments when I saw Noah reading out loud to Ellie, or Joe helping her with a math problem. They gladly helped me with taking the little ones on walks or washing dishes. I frequently heard them calling, “mom, look what Jacob/Jenny Beth is doing now…isn’t it cute?”
All three of my older kids decided to help me with the printing and stapling of the Luke primer. Not only this but they each wanted to take a sample of what our team produced to their classes at school last week.
Because of Ben
If my husband came home to a stressful situation, he readily stepped in to talk to a child who needed some extra direction. He did what he could to help with household tasks, especially doing laundry in the twin tub washer which sometimes makes me crazy. He also made me laugh. But the best thing he did for me was to pour out grace, knowing that I faced probably the hardest village stay so far. I never felt criticized or judged by what I couldn’t accomplish in a day.
Our new teammate Jessie quickly became a member of our family.
My teammates Beth and Jessie also provided some ‘sanity relief,’ They would come by for a cup of coffee or invite me to come over and watch a show or a movie at the end of the day. When our radio e-mail worked, our friends from Ukarumpa and back home sent encouraging e-mails, standing with us in prayer.
The translators willingly translated the questions and directions needed for the primers I constructed. Beth helped me find amazing pictures to use. Beth, Jessie and Ben all helped me with editing, formatting, printing and stapling my primers. I couldn’t have pulled this off on my own.
Another ‘Best of Times’ aspect is how people enthusiastically received the literacy primers. When I first began planning these books three years ago, I had no idea how they would go over. I wanted to make something that would help people read the newly translated scriptures. If it was possible, I wanted to reach both fluent and beginning readers. We just learned that they sold out in Malol, Sissano and Goiniri Onnele so far! This tells me that there is a huge felt need for Literacy. Please pray with me for God to send a literacy person to come and help me with this work!
In the beginning of this post, I mentioned how God impressed on me that I couldn’t do everything on my own. I still had my ‘meltdowns’ at various times, BUT my hope stayed intact and made it possible for me to get through each day with a better attitude.