It was weird to not have a small person clinging to me or asking me for something every few minutes, but Payton and I agreed that my first trip to the jungle should be toddler-free. I’m so glad it was. It gave me the ability to focus and observe rather than chase and manage Finn.
I had the privilege of attending the biannual pastors conference of a maturing tribal church here in our region. Payton attended a similar one last fall. They were teaching through the Pastoral Epistles and the leaders were asking multiple questions about the meaning of different passages. It was fascinating to hear their questions—ones I’ve never heard asked before. For example, in the case of a charge brought against a church elder, who can be a witness? Do they have to be all from seperate family groups? When should he be brought before the congregation? Can he be trusted again if it’s something not super serious?
One of my favorite parts was being able to tag along with the veteran missionaries who had been there when it all began. They were attending the conference and teaching different lessons. I really enjoyed seeing so much of what we’d studied about in training come to life around me and be retold from multiple perspectives.
Taking communion with brothers and sisters in the middle of the jungle was also a memory I will keep tucked away. As we remembered the sacrifice of Christ together, I was struck by how amazing it was the God called men and women from out of this tribe for the praise and glory of His Name. And I was able to sit and partake in a bit of heaven with them as we remembered our Lamb together.
One afternoon we went on a little jaunt through mostly untamed jungle terrain to check out their hydro electric system—the whole village has power this way—at least 1 light per home, plus they were all given 1 small solar panel to share per 2 families from the government. The house we stayed in was pretty rustic, but they even had a TV! At first when we set out on our hike, I wondered why so many people had decided to follow along…turns out, I think they made sure there was at least 1 of them for each of us! It was probably in the event that we had to be carried back to the village! We did have to cross a pretty swift river several times and hike up a really muddy hill, but it wasn’t terribly crazy. I was very grateful for the help though.
But, again, my favorite was probably sitting on the porch drinking tea with the old veterans as the afternoon rains poured down on the tin roof, hearing how over the years God had worked miracles in their hearts and miracles in the lives of those around them.