Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Some thoughts on being back...
Photo: Ian and Andrew and others from Kamkumung Church putting up woven sago palm blinds to insulate the roof of the church, in the hope that this will make things a little cooler in there!
We've been back for a month and three days. Although in many ways, it feels like we never left...
Change, although inevitable, is not always easy. Having come back again from a stint in Australia and Canada, it has taken all of us some three to four weeks to adjust to life here again. For Karlyn this means getting into a routine that fits this context. For Jonathan it means saying good-bye to the friends and family he has in Canada and reacquainting himself with the friends here. And for both of them it meant learning to sleep through the night again. For Nadia and me it is focusing on our life with the mundane stresses of living in a third world culture, but also the burdens that visit us in our work. We came back to a number of issues that took some 'wind' out of our usual optimistic sails. In one of our congregations, the pastor has been caught stealing money from the congregation (collection/donations) and then lying about it. In another congregation, one of our pastors and his wife are dealing with anger issues in their marriage. And in another, we have some tension between the two main groups: the West Papuan line (formerly Irian Jaya who have come as refugees since early 70s) and a Sepik line that is a large province 400 kms north of Lae.
Holidays are a little bubble outside reality...in that you can remain mostly untouched by the stresses back home. Being back forced us to meet them. Coupled with this, my health has not been fully returned to me. Since having malaria in July, I feel I have not fully recovered. Most of you know that I underwent testing in Canada, and no illness was found. The symptoms are curious at best but the overriding one is fatigue: not waking up refreshed and needing to nap sometimes twice a day. The others are lightheadness, general malaise, feelings of numbness in legs etc. These come and go throughout the day. Please join us in praying for healing and strength.
All of this has contributed to a rocky road coming back. Yet, we can say, all of this has also forced us again to find our peace in being here from God. He has already taught us so much about Himself since we have arrived. And the crucible of suffering, however severe, serves only to make HIM more real in our lives. This is happening. Although we could wish the stresses of living here were minimized, the burdens of the congregation removed, and our health fully restored, we know that it is in the midst of all these, we can hear the words spoken to Paul, “my grace is sufficient, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9. We believe this to be true and desire to follow Him as we know He will manifest His power through it all!