Living overseas as definitely had the effect of making me feel less patriotic. While it’s usually easy to find flaws (if you are looking) wherever you are, I have found the being removed from a situation tends to reveal different flaws. So while I never thought the US was perfect while I lived there, being overseas has made me realize more of its shortcomings. However, I’m not writing to complain about the US (not today anyway).
When I realized Independence Day was coming up (it’s easy to forgot holidays here), I made an intentional attempt to put aside critical thoughts and think of some reasons that I am grateful that I am a US citizen. One of the first things that came to my mind was the ability to be here in Papua New Guinea working on Bible translation. While there are many countries other than the US that send out missionaries as Bible translators, there are many that do not. So I thanked God for the privilege of being born in a country that enabled me to go overseas to translate the Bible without a huge number of obstacles.
After realizing that Independence is part of the reason that I am here, living in PNG, working on Bible translation, I got excited about celebrating it. So, I hosted an Independence Day party for my teammates. I created a secret message for the children to decode, we played patriotic-themed bingo, and enjoyed lentil soup and frozen yogurt. No hamburgers, hot dogs, or ice cream here. Thanking God for the freedom I enjoy—from both the US and PNG—that allows me to be working on Bible translation.
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Rom 13:1 (NASB)