Stepping into the boat to cross the muddy jungle river felt in some ways like stepping back in time to when we lived in a village not too far from the one I was about to visit. Last week the Lord gave me (Jennifer) the opportunity to travel back to our former island and help give a stage 1 evaluation to a family who is learning a small ethnic language in the jungle. This was my first experience helping to give evaluations in a language other than the national language. There are some extra steps involved in the process since we, the evaluators, don’t speak the language we’re giving the evaluation in. The only other time I’ve seen that process is when I was being evaluated in Hobongan. Thankfully my coworker, Kathryn, has a little more experience. We were both encouraged that the results were clear, the family has made great progress so far, and we were able to give them some direction for how to keep progressing.
While I was gone to our former island for 6 days, DJ was home taking care of the kids, shuttling them to and from school, and keeping up with his own ministry responsibilities. He and the workers he oversees moved the furniture and appliances out of another rental house that we are returning to the owner since we don’t have any more new families coming this year. Keep praying for new co-laborers here. We hear that there is renewed interest in our field among those who have recently finished missionary training and are currently raising support, so by next year we should start getting at least some new families again. In the meantime, only having a few families here right now has given me opportunities to work on some long-term curriculum revision projects as well as to travel and get more experience in other areas of consulting.
Speaking of traveling, next month I’ll be striking out on my own again, this time for nearly a month. I’ve been asked to attend some culture & language acquisition development meetings in Missouri from May 22-30. And then, since I already have to fly to the other side of the world for the meetings, I’m planning to fly home to Texas for 2 weeks to spend some time with my family. This will be the first time I’ve been home since my Maw Maw passed away, the first time I’ve ever been home from the field without DJ and the kids or for such a short visit, and the first time we’ve been apart as a family for this long (almost a month.) So you can imagine there will be quite a few emotions on all sides. We’d appreciate prayers for that as well as for the travels, logistics, etc. We’re very thankful that our mission’s international ministries team is paying for my international tickets as well as for food and lodging during the meetings. So we’ll just need to cover the trip to Texas and incidentals.
This trip does mean that I will miss Areli and Galilee’s 6th grade graduation, as well as Tyndale’s 9th birthday. It was a hard choice to make about whether or not I should even go, but it wound up becoming very clear that it was very important in order for us to understand and contribute to the direction our mission is going in providing good consultant help and culture/language learning direction for our coworkers. I’m the only consultant who can attend from our field, and this is probably the only year where the workload is light enough here in our location for me to even consider a trip like this. All that to say, we do believe the Lord is directing me to go, but please pray that the kids will be able to understand and still enjoy celebrating these milestones in their lives. Also pray for DJ as he takes care of them and keeps up with ministry responsibilities, since only one other of our teammates will be on-location during that time.
Thanks so much for praying.