We’ve been back in Papua New Guinea for three months now.
We have been living on our main mission center so I can be close to our medical clinic where I have to have blood work once a month, and so I can be close to the doctors if my pancreas decides to explode.
So far so good on that last one.
Overall, my health has been stable and that has been really encouraging. I’ve figured out how to manage the pancreatitis with my diet which is pretty nice, although not very fun.
I am on some pretty rough medicine for my autoimmune disease, and that is also not very fun. It is working really well, it just has some annoying side effects that knock me on my hind-end for a couple of days each week. I take the medicine on Friday nights so that I can still home school my kids (no we are not out for summer yet), and take care of my family during the week. But it does make me one of the few people in the world who dreads the coming of the weekend.
There are lots of new and different medicines that I could try if we were in America, surely there is one out there that will work for me without any crazy side effects, but while we are in PNG I only have this one option that I just have to tough out.
But like I said, it’s only really bad a couple days a week and the rest of the time I get to enjoy pain-free joints, so it’s worth it (I guess. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s Sunday and it doesn’t feel very worth it today. I should have written this post on a Wednesday.)
Anyway, to be completely honest, we’ve gone through an adjustment period being back in PNG, but NOT back in our home in the tribe. I’ve felt so weird living on the mission center, and asked myself (and Jesus) “What are we even doing here?” about one million times.
John Michael has had to adjust to writing lessons without much help or feedback from Hewa friends which is so critical to the lesson writing process. He’s done a lot of comprehension checking over the phone with one of his helpers who is living in another village so he can attend school. We are so thankful that this village has cell service, so he can do this work with at least some feedback.
JMG did get to take a trip into Hewa by himself in April just to check on things and reconnect with the church there. It was a really good time for him, and we all plan to go in as a family in July. He will teach the lessons he’s been writing to the church leaders there so that they can then teach the whole body of believers. Now that we have elders and deacons our goal is to put more and more of the responsibilities of the church into their hands. It is a pretty exciting time for the Hewa church as they become more mature and independent even if it means we don’t get to spend as much time with them as we’d like.
Sigh. One of the problems of trying to plant a “thriving church” is that if you succeed in your goal then they won’t actually need you anymore. It’s a bittersweet thing to be successful in missions.
However, there are plenty of other things that need to be done on the mission field. Which brings me to my next bit of news. One of my biggest concerns in coming back here was what I was actually going to do with myself while my husband worked on lessons and my kids went to school. I felt like I might go a little stir crazy without a job on the center, but was concerned that I wasn’t actually qualified to DO anything. My jobs before “missionary” were high school Spanish teacher and before that part-time youth minister. That’s it. And believe it or not, they already have a high school Spanish teacher at the mission school here. So, yeah, my options looked pretty limited. But the principal of the school seemed to think that my high school teaching experience would transfer to elementary school where they were in desperate (obviously) need of teachers. That and the fact that I have been teaching my own kids for most of their elementary careers. So all that to say, next year I will be teaching several different subjects in 4th and 5th grades. I’m both nervous and excited about it. Thankfully there are lots of teachers here to help me with the 14,000 questions I am sure to have.
As we transition from full time tribal church planters to itinerant worker and teacher, we know that this is the season God has for us now and are very thankful that He continues to use broken people to do His work. We know that “missionary” is a large circle drawn around a million different job descriptions, and no matter which job we are doing, we are doing it for His Name and His glory.