If we could have known the future we would not have been surprised by the fact that Iris’ paperwork took longer than we originally anticipated. As things stand right now, we will be back in the United States for another four weeks. For certain, the next four weeks will be packed with experiences and opportunities that we would have missed out on if we had gone back when we had originally thought, but as you can imagine all the changes in our original plans have been a bit frustrating. Even with access to Taco Bell.
This is because we are excited to get back. We may not have shared that just over four months ago when we returned from Papua New Guinea. I remember the night we got home to the U.S., we talked about how hard it was going to be to get back. With all the comforts of being here, all of our family and friendships, our church and home town, we felt like someone might have to rip us out of America! Now, here we are past our planned maternity leave timeframe and we can’t wait to get back to Papua New Guinea.
This is because of all that we have to look forward to in being back.
Getting Settled Back In
We are excited to get back and see first hand all of the changes that have been made to our home since we left the country. These changes, though seemingly minor, have been a huge help in our ability to even look forward to going back and living in that house. Even though our “new-to-us” used solar electric system will not be hooked up, we are still thankful that we have it and that some of the electrical changes we wanted for the house in preparation for the system are taken care of.
With all the changes made, Beth is eager to get in and get working at making our village house actually feel like a home to our family. This will involve some painting, making new curtains, hanging things on the walls, etc. As for me, I am excited to get settled into my shed-turned-office! It might not be much, but it is space to call my own and work, and that’s all I need.
As for Jude, we’re looking forward to getting him settled into his very own room, since our whole family has been sharing a room for the last five months!
Hopefully, we’ll have a few weeks to settle in before getting started on our Tigak language & culture study.
Starting Tigak Language & Culture Study
Shortly after we return, its back to the books for us! Well, actually there are no “Learn Tigak” language books in the world, and certainly no Rosetta Stone software to help us! However, we will officially start our Tigak tribal language and culture study.
You might be thinking, “Language study? Didn’t you already do that?” When we moved to Papua New Guinea last fall we began our Papua New Guinea trade language and general culture study. This trade language is used all over Papua New Guinea, and though it is limited, it will provide us with the ability to communicate in order to begin learning the Tigak language, one of Papua New Guinea’s over 800 unique languages.
Not only are we going to learn the Tigak language with the tools provided us through our training with New Tribes Mission, but we will also be involved in studying the Tigak people’s culture, trying to understand their worldview. Culture is incredibly complex and we are looking forward to the challenge of essentially getting to know these people and their way of life as our full time job over the next couple of years.
As students of the Tigak language & culture, among our many other goals, we hope to build healthy and loving Christ-reflecting relationships with the people. We do this by initiating friendships with people, showing respect for them and their culture, being honest and trustworthy in our friendships, and providing appropriate practical help to those in need in various areas. In all areas, we want to reflect Christ, and see people come to know Him.
What’s the Point?
Its exciting to be a part of what God is doing in Papua New Guinea. We’re thrilled to have the privilege of being a part of taking the gospel to places it has never been and to see people come to know Christ intimately. It really is an honor to do this, and in being an honor, we feel incredibly satisfied and fulfilled by the work, even on the hard days. There’s nothing we’d rather be doing with our time and with our lives.
The best part is, it doesn’t take a “super-Christian” to do what we’re doing. It doesn’t take people with the best education or the most outgoing personalities. It doesn’t take people who’ve lived spotless lives. It doesn’t take a special calling for only specially appointed people. (I have yet to find a solid biblical basis for the supposed “missionary call.”) What matters is not your faithfulness, but rather your willingness. What matters is not your ability or inability, but rather your availability. My advice is, “Go as if you’re called, and he’ll let you know if you’re not. Get involved as if God sent you personally, and he’ll let you know if he didn’t.”
Why are we missionaries? Because we want to be. To us, there’s no greater way for us to say thank you to Him other than to live our lives in complete surrender to His commission to go out and make disciples. That’s why we want to be back in Papua New Guinea.