Exploding Ears, Comforting Love”…we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn– conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,” — 2 Cor. 7:5b-6
As we soared over the Pacific Ocean on our way back to the mainland, as others relaxed and enjoyed the beauty, I was wondering if anyone’s ears had ever exploded on an airplane and seriously asked myself whether I’d survive this trip. Why did my ears hurt so bad? My guess is that the pressure from our rapid descent, combined with the beginnings of cold congestion in my sinuses worked together to create an almost unbearable amount of pain.
Have you ever felt like you could handle the struggles in your life if only you weren’t already dealing with anxieties, past trauma, and self-doubt? Paul also knew what that was like– in addition to the struggles he was having from opposition in Macedonia, he also was dealing with his own internal fears. Difficult circumstances rarely take place in isolation; it seems that multiple hard things often come at once, compounding one another. However, God is still able to comfort us in this, and he often does this through the presence of people (like he did in this verse through the coming of Titus).
Two weeks ago our family was able to attend the conference for missionaries in the Islands region of PNG. These are the islands of New Britain and New Ireland that are off the main coast of the country. The speaker for this conference talked about this verse and how we need to fight lies with truth, fears with love, and indecision with assurance of God’s sovereignty. As we talked with missionaries at the conference, this seemed to be a theme, of them dealing with many pressures from the outside, as well as emotional struggles within. We were thankful to be there with them, to hopefully be an encouragement to them through our presence, and we feel like we now are better able to know how to pray for them upon our return.
While there, Matt shared with them about how we want to be there for them in our member care role, and I made a silly video to illustrate the necessity of talking about conflict rather than ignoring it. Matt was also the speaker for the youth, and shared with them about running a good race in our spiritual life, and being dressed with the armor of God.
After the conference, our plane dropped Matt off in another city in PNG, and then brought the boys and me home. Matt spent the last week meeting with the other directors and leaders in NTM PNG to discuss various items related to church development and our mission. He came home yesterday, and we are happy to all be together at home again.
Please pray for us as we deal with conflicts without and fears within, and pray that we can love and encourage other missionaries also dealing with those things.
Till all know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck
At the Islands conference, our kids enjoyed being a part of the VBS program.
We’re so thankful for our aviation department!
– for safe travels
– for good time to connect with Islands missionaries
– Matt’s director-at-large role has been going well
– for the work God is doing among the national churches in the Islands
– for healing as Karissa and the boys have been sick
– for Matt as he is struggling to balance work and school right now
– that Karissa can do a good job in this last term of school
– that we can still focus on relationships amidst our busyness
What are we supporting? This month’s tribal focus: Pray for the Islands Region of PNG. Pictured above are the missionaries who were at the conference. In this region, there are a lot of older tribal works, meaning that there are many indigenous churches that were planted many years ago, and now are self-functioning, and even sending their own missionaries to other villages! There are also many works in which ex-patriate missionary families and Papua New Guinean missionary families are partnering together to reach neighboring tribes! This is definitely a picture of what NTM is working towards in other regions when the churches there are more mature. However, this situation also comes with its own struggles. Without ex-patriate coworkers, many missionaries struggle with the isolation of not having anyone else around who is from their language and culture. Their locations are also more spread out, so to come out to a center with other missionaries is very expensive and happens less often. Pray for encouragement and endurance for these missionaries and good communication with their PNG citizen coworkers. Pray for the churches in this region, that they would stand strong in living for Christ and taking His name where He has not yet been preached.