In Sickness and in Health

by mendibpng


Valentine’s Day in the village is a little anti climactic in a way…nowhere to go for a date night, buy chocolate or other gifts. However, when I got up, Ben had already made coffee and since it was Sunday, he and I ate homemade granola together (made by a lovely friend before we left Ukarumpa). On other days, I start the day off rehydrating vegetables, plan out the homeschooling activities, and Ben goes to devotions with the translation team.

But my favorite part of Valentine’s Day came in the evening. One of our translators came asking for prayer for his sick wife. Often when the men come for prayer, they ask for Ben…but he specifically asked for both of us.

We sat across the table as he told us about his wife’s illness, both of us full of emotion and empathy for this man whose wife is a 4 hour walk away, through jungle roads. He told us that he had talked to her and he said many times, “mi laikim em tru!” (I love her very much!) Not being medical professionals, we had no idea what the symptoms meant, but it sounded serious to us.

Ben picked up on a key anxiety our friend had, even though he hadn’t said it explicitly. Did she get sick because of something he or she had done, or because of some problems they had? Or, did someone work magic to cause it? Here in PNG, the cultural perspective is that there is always a reason behind illness or death. People suspect that something or someone has caused this to happen. Ben said, “I know that here, you all have the cultural perspective that sickness happens as a result of problems or someone deliberately caused it. But this isn’t always the case.” He shared story of the blind man….

 The disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”  He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw.  John 9:2-8 The Message

Ben explained that illness doesn’t necessarily mean that they had done anything wrong, and our friend’s face changed from grief and worry to one of relief and joy. I told him that if he wanted to go and take his wife to the hospital in town, we would support him, because, although the work of translation is important, his wife and family are even more so. Ben confirmed what I said, and added that he would stand up for our friend if anyone said anything about him leaving. Also, he added that we would leave the decision in his hands. We both prayed and I sat there, taking it in, feeling like this was the best way to spend Valentine’s Day with Ben.



8 Comments to “In Sickness and in Health”

  1. I love this!! Thanks!!

  2. They say that a cluttered desk points to a disorganized mind. But the desk only looks cluttered to those who don’t know where the parts and pieces on it are squirreled away for that moment in which they are needed. I’ve actually gotten rid of more than 75% of the stuff I had, since the majority of it had already sat unused for two years or more.

    But for my kids, I make a family structure that is filled with relaxation, refuge, and reminders. I tell them I love them every single day, and we often do things together so each has time for individual fun. Our life is cluttered with emotion and laughter.

    We find joy in very small things like homemade burgers, Saturday hotdogs, and repairing plumbing. Because my kids know there is love in the house, they don’t worry about the world much. They know God will help me keep them safe, while God broadens that support by loving us all!

    Being a single parent now, I learned what being Mom and Dad meant, and how hard it could be. The difficulty only lay in being gentle on one hand, like their mom, and deciding things like paying bills and getting the car fixed…taking it to the mechanic. My kids have enough on their plates recovering from the tragedy…but they are quiet and loving when my tears come. Our family recovers together.

    Love. Many ways to show and feel it!

  3. I am SO Glad that you guys went back, to continue these relationships with your translators. They Trust you – Both of you, to speak Truth. I agree; meaningful Togetherness takes many forms, All of them Good and Precious. Thanks for sharing!

  4. ministering together as God planned for you – you’re right, a great Valentines ‘date’!

  5. Now THAT’S ministry in the Good News Kingdom of God. You got it right! May God bless this man’s family and your family in EVERY way that God blesses His dear children. In the Resurrection Power of Jesus, His very life is ours for our body, soul, and spirit. Yes! Love you! Tennessee Mom and Dad 🙂

  6. This was so beautiful, thank you for sharing. My wife and I watch the Baftas the other night and I, personally, found it so annoying the amt of times, the presenters or award winners said ‘Happy Valentines day’, as that’s when the awards were held. Your story is a wonderful example of what real love is all about. I pray that your translators wife recovers soon and that God will continue to use yourself and Ben in moments like these to show what a loving, intimate and personal God he is. bless you 🙂

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