|At first I felt nothing. Then the sting intensified as the hydrogen peroxide worked its way deeper into the cut. The bubbles oozed out, more dirty yellow than white. I hadn’t even remembered getting cut. It probably was a small knick or even a bug bite I’d scratched and ignored. But any cut in PNG quickly turns into a problem if it’s ignored. The environment is harsher- there are more viruses and parasites, and there is more bacteria in the soil here- I like to say that the dirt is literally dirtier here. I’ve known people for whom a small cut got infected, turned into a larger wound, and led to cellulitis, an infection that spreads through the blood into other parts of the body. Left untreated, cellulitis can lead to sepsis and even death. So, hypothetically, a person could die from a paper cut.|
Now, I’ve never known someone to actually die from a paper cut, but the point is this: left untreated, a small wound can turn into a big deal, especially on the mission field. This is no less true for spiritual and emotional issues. Some people think that missionaries are immune to spiritual failure, mental health issues, emotional breakdowns, or major relational falling outs. However, I would argue that they are actually even more susceptible to these things. Just like small physical wounds can quickly grow into something bigger on the mission field, so can small emotional wounds, spiritual struggles, and relational issues. Being far from family, dealing daily with culture stress, struggling with uncertain finances, living in close quarters with other missionaries, constant transitions, lack of close friendships, lack of medical and educational resources, dealing with language barriers, struggling with coworkers, overworking, and uncertainties about the future are all things that can lead to a little problem being exacerbated. There are so many things that cause missionaries to struggle or even leave their ministries.
But what if there were people that were dedicated to pouring hydrogen peroxide on those wounds right away? What if those missionaries were having their emotional wounds treated before they got huge?
As we have been making this transition from being tribal church planters to support missionaries, we have been asking the Lord to give us a vision for how he would have us serve here. What we want is to truly be a support to people, and to care for them. One way we hope to do that is through our current roles: housing director, crisis management team, and teaching missionaries’ kids. A few weeks ago we also joined the CARE team, a team focused on caring for our missionaries. We are hoping that through friendships, conversations, making meals, leading Bible studies, and serving others, we can encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ in this hard ministry. This is also the reason that Matt is pursuing getting his license in clinical counseling. Often missionaries have to leave the field to get counseling, and we just think it would be so cool if they were able to get it here and continue their ministry. So, our hope is that for now, we can love and care for people with “small” wounds, and also become more equipped for caring for those “big” wounds.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
|Top/Left: Wyck turned 5 last month! He had a fun party with friends. Bottom/Right: Matt and I got to attend a virtual “Marriage Night” event, and our kids got to go to a fun kids’ program.|
– Some more missionaries were able to return to PNG this week!
– Homeschooling is continuing to go well
– He continues to provide for our needs
– We are feeling more connected to our community here
– We are excited about what God has for us in serving here
– Matt starts his first counseling class this month. Pray for wisdom on how to balance work and his class.
– that Karissa’s headaches will improve. They were really bad last month.
– that we would be sensitive to God’s leading about how to care for people
– that more missionaries would be able to return to PNG
– for the small group of missionaries who have been here all summer and are feeling burnt out
|What are we supporting? This month’s tribal focus: Please pray for the North Wahgi church. (Some of the missionaries are pictured above). This church was born in 2012, and currently has a small group of believers and two Bible teachers. Their New Testament is almost finished, and they are starting some home fellowships. However, the believers also have many temptations and distractions that come from being in an area that is close to a town. Please pray that the Lord would keep them from turning back to sin. Please also pray that they would be faithful in learning literacy so that they can learn God’s Word.|