As I piled into the boat with Aaron and my girls, I shook my head and felt like crying. I thought I’d have another week for this transition. I wasn’t quite ready to leave the Patpatar behind yet.
This is just one illustration of some of the things that have been happening in our lives lately. We’ve had some transitions that we expected to make, with some unexpected twists and turns.
Living out of a Box
In November, much of our month was spent in Patpatar with some good times in discipleship and Bible teaching. We attended meetings with the church, went out and looked for them and talked with them about their everyday life, and spoke into areas that were a need. November also was the month that the 6th annual New Ireland Church Conference occurred in a village 3-4 hours boat ride from us. Aaron and Madonna along with 10 other Patpatar believers were able to attend. I was at home holding down the fort with the girls, homeschooling, and hosting people coming through.
The end of November, we transitioned as we made our way up to the northern part of New Ireland to do some consultant work. We spent almost a week with our friends in the Tigak work doing some consulting in language and church planting. We took along with us a married Patpatar couple from the church as well as 4 others to do a Bible lesson writing workshop. It was a profitable time. We were also able to celebrate Thanksgiving with our New Ireland coworkers, and that was a very special and unusual occurrence.
In December, Aaron had more consultant visits to make in West New Britain. The girls and I had planned on staying in town where we normally shop to await his arrival, but a turn in events took us with him to the Island’s center where I was able to catch up with some coworkers there including Madonna, who has been helping in the business office there since November. We got back home to the tribe about 5 days before our older girls came home from boarding school, and there was yet another welcome and wonderful transition of being together again. The girls arrived just in time for some Christmas baking, decorating, and for the annual community event where we play games with the children in the community and tell the them the real Christmas story.
Christmas was a very special day as we had a big meal with the church, and a special service. It was an important day in the life of the church and we enjoyed remembering what Jesus had done…leaving His home in heaven for our sakes. Around this time Aaron was also supporting the Patpatar Bible teachers in the village 5 times a week with evangelistic Bible teaching, and Lori headed out 4 times a week to assist some dear sisters in teaching their daughters the evangelistic teaching.
Our next big transition in early January was to be on staff at the field orientation program in a different location in Papua New Guinea. With this in mind, we had been also packing up our house through Christmas and giving away some of our belongings. We had planned to see the girls off to school and then be in Patpatar a week again, but yet another change in plans was made to attend some field meetings and we were able to fly with our girls to settle them in school. This was an unexpected change in events, but one this Mama is very thankful for as I was able to see my girls in their regular environment functioning well. My heart hurt for the time lost with our Patpatar friends, and all at the same time, was so thankful for the extra time with my girls, as 2 weeks out of 11 just doesn’t seem like enough to me.
Our final transition for now came earlier this month as we settle into the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea and help to prepare the campus for 6 new families and 2 college students who will be doing their church planting internship here. Our family is honored to have a part in the orientation program for new missionaries here in Papua New Guinea. Please be praying for us and our coworkers as we work with these new families and try to prepare them for life here in New Guinea.
We have many more transitions coming up including some more time in Patpatar for working with the church, consultant trips, being involved in the Interface program once again this summer, and finally, our transition back to the U.S. for home assignment late this summer. With being on the move, we are now pretty much living out of our suitcases (or more accurately, out of boxes) which makes these transitions even more interesting.
I hope this give you our support team a better picture of what has been happening, and what is to come. We value each of you. Thank you for praying for us, giving to, and encouraging us as we continue on here in Papua New Guinea. Please be praying for the Patpatar church as well. We are excited to be going back in to see them in the month of March to see how they are doing.
Thank you for your prayers during this time of transitions and adjustments,
Lori, for the family