|Supporting Tribal Church Planting in Papua New Guinea
|“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” -Matt.11:29
In the nineteenth century there was a famous Scottish pastor named Robert Murray M’Cheyne. He graduated from college at age fourteen, led a church of over a thousand at age twenty-three… and died at age twenty-nine. He had impressive accomplishments, and no doubt the Lord used him, but he let his health deteriorate due to overwork, extreme busyness, and continual fatigue. He said when he was dying, “The Lord gave me a horse to ride and a message to deliver. Alas, I have killed the horse and cannot deliver the message.”
This is a good reminder that in order to do what God has called us to do, we need to obey His commands, including His commands to rest.
We are going on home assignment soon, and so this is the first of a three part series about the purposes of home assignment. Some of you may be wondering why we are coming back for a year, what the purposes of this time are, and what we will be doing. There are three main purposes for our home assignment this year. They are: to not kill the horse, to sharpen the ax, and to check with the belayers.
First of all, we don’t want to kill the horse. As we’ve been in PNG, I have met what seems to me a disproportionate amount of missionaries who struggle with chronic health issues that they have developed since being in PNG. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that the constant stressors of being in a foreign country, doing ministry, and being far from support systems weigh on people, not to mention the different health issues that come up just as a result of being in Papua New Guinea specifically. The Holmes-Rahe stress scale is a common assessment used to rate people’s stress levels, based on changes that have occurred in their lives over the past year. They say that people scoring higher than 300 are at significant risk of developing an illness in the near future. Most missionaries consistently score around 500 on it. Now, I don’t know if all these stressors can be avoided, even by those who are great at keeping balance in their lives. I think that it just indicates that the missionary life is a unique lifestyle that warrants the need for a unique kind of rest.
Therefore one of the purposes of home assignment is to get that kind of rest. As we are back for a year, we will seek to rest emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically.
We will seek to rest emotionally by spending time with friends and family, processing our time in PNG, and getting their insights and encouragement. There is something very refreshing about being with people who really know you after not having that for so long. There is a relational rest to be found there. We will rest mentally by just enjoying being in a culture and language that is our own, enjoying conveniences and the ease of not having to figure out how to do daily tasks in the right way. We hope to rest spiritually by reconnecting with our home church, being invested in by other believers, and being in situations where we get to be the ones to be taught. We will rest physically by intentionally seeking out a slower pace of life. We will also take care of health things that we have had to put off for a long time. Karissa will see a neurologist about her headaches and a dentist about her tooth pain, Wyck will see an eye doctor about his lazy eye, and we will all have check-ups with doctors and dentists.
The message we have to deliver is too important to kill the horse. So, we will seek to rest and be restored, so that when our year of home assignment is done, we can return to PNG ready to do whatever work the Lord has for us.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
There were bins sitting around in our house, so the boys decided to make them into pirate ships
– We are able to return to in-person school on Monday
– The tooth and jaw pain Karissa has been having has been less painful lately
– He provided a speech therapist for Wyck to meet with via Zoom calls
– We bought our plane tickets to return to the U.S.
Karissa has been working hard sorting through things in our house and packing
Our family on Easter Sunday
– for Matt’s work as things have been extremely stressful lately
– for Karissa as she balances teaching some students in person and others remotely
– that Karissa’s teeth will continue to be tolerable until we return to the U.S.
– for all the details to come together as we prepare for home assignment
|What are we supporting? This month’s tribal focus:Praise God for the Menya church, and how they are growing! Ask for God to continue to work in their hearts, guiding them into truth. This is a location where there are believers, and missionaries are still working there to translate the Bible and disciple. Some of the missionaries, the Chappells, recently returned to the village from their home assignment. Upon returning, they went down to see what was happening in the believers’ prayer meeting. They wrote, “We loved hearing them sing, and we made it down in time to hear the Bible teacher Wati say ‘Jesus did not come down to this ground to save us from hardships, no He came to save us from our sins. Even if we are walking through hardships, we should have so much joy and happiness that we can’t help but tell others this Good News.'”