Remember the old black and white tv show about the peculiar family down the road. The show always started out with that same old snapping song, “They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They’re all together ooky, The Addams family.” I never got to see too many shows growing up, but remembered being amused by the strange reactions from people who came to visit the Addams Family. There was just something a little bit odd about them, something that wasn’t quite normal.
Last week I was out in the village early in the morning and was given a tapiok patty still wrapped in a banana leaf just off the fire. As I brought home the shredded tapiok and and coconut milk mixture that had been hand pressed into bars and announced I had a breakfast surprise, Kylee jumped up and down in excitement when she saw it. This week, on the other hand, we had the rare opportunity to get a hold of some cereal. I pulled out a box in the morning to surprise the girls for breakfast and watched as Kylee’s expression of disappointment spread across her face. I tried to cheer her up by asking if she knew what it was that I was holding. She said, “No, but it’s the stuff you put in milk and it gets soggy.” I tried to correct her by telling her they were called ‘Cheerios’ and that they only went soggy if they sat in milk for awhile. She wasn’t convinced.
With a little bit of fear of how we will be perceived back in our home country, we are headed that way the end of this month. We will begin “Home Assignment” sometimes called furlough and hope to spend time with all of you. Our last Home Assignment was in 2005 and though we have had two short visits back to the States since then we are ready to get back to the America for some time in our own language and culture. Yet after so many years overseas, I sometimes wonder if people will be snapping their fingers and singing some of the above lyrics ending with, “The Aaron’s Family.”
For Kylee, over 4½ years of her 5 year old life has been in PNG and it is all she knows. For Sierra, the thought of going to a “real school” with recess in a gym and extracurricular activities, doesn’t’ compare to being taught by Mom, climbing a tree during break, and collecting shellfish off the reef to boil and eat after school. Avalon, is much more confident, after all during the last Home Assignment she was in kindergarten. I think the fact that this time she will be in 7th grade and that she will have to wear shoes in America will give her a bit of a surprise.
Lori knows much more of what to expect in America, but after only going to the grocery store twice in the last six months and having to cook all her meals, she can’t stop talking about the shopping she is planning to do at the grocery store and the restaurants she wants to try. I myself, am wondering if I will be able to figure out the Face Book, Twitter, iphone world that is quickly passing me by.
So if we seem a little bit “mysterious and spooky” please understand that 80-90% of our girls’ lives have been spent here in PNG and I have spent most of my time the last number of years thinking and communicating in another language and culture. It may take us some time to adapt and fit in, but we are looking forward to it. Here are four things we are hoping to accomplish during our year in America:
1. Rest. We have been so rewarded to be able to see fruit of what God is doing in the Patpatar tribe, but we are tired. The years in the village have taken their toll. We are emotionally and physically exhausted and look forward to getting some rest and recuperation.
2. Reconnect. So many of you have given faithfully and prayed regularly for us and the Patpatar over the years. For many of you it has been years since we have been able to see each other. We along with our girls hope to reconnect with you, our family, and our friends.
3. Challenge. In the last six years here in Patpatar we have seen God do some amazing things. We have also seen some huge needs in other areas of Papua New Guinea. We want to share those things with you. We want to update, encourage, and challenge individuals, groups, and churches during our time in the States.
4. Continue. While in the States we will also be continuing to do some work for the Patpatar. Lori and I will be able to continue to work on some of the steps in translation which can be done away from the tribe and I will continue to write Patpatar Bible curriculum for the Epistles.
We will be doing a fair amount of travel this summer in an effort to see many of you who are further away from the mid-west. After that we will be based in Sioux City and do some travel throughout the mid-west. We hope to see you soon.
The Aaron’s Family:)
Fact: It’s not just our message! In our preparation to go back to America, several of the Patpatar people have given us messages to take back to America and tell all of you.