But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children's children . . . Psalm 103:17

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Really, they're actually going? Why?

Though I've not recently heard anyone directly question me about our return to Papua New Guinea, I have heard that there are some people who are concerned that we are returning with all these children, and more specifically, with Seth who has had so many troubles.

First of all, I do understand the concerns that people have. I, too, have questioned and wondered whether this is the correct step for us to take.  God has made it quite clear to us in many ways that this is what He has in store for us at this point.  We have seen piece after piece of the puzzle come together pointing us toward returning "home" to  our work in Papua New Guinea.

We have had questions and concerns about the health of the babies, funds for daily life there, proper housing in Ukarumpa, and other small, but significant things.  One by one our concerns have been allayed more quickly and in ways we never would have guessed.

Seth's health is by far the biggest concern and we would definitely not be going if we did not have the blessing of his doctors.  The pulmonologist here in Texas who has been following him since his initial discharge as well as the one in California both agree that they don't see any reasons that he cannot go to PNG given the level of health care that can be provided at the clinic that is less than half a mile from us.  Our doctor in PNG has agreed as well that they are happy to have us, and more specifically, Seth, return to live there long-term!  That is a huge affirmation for us.

Missionaries (and most anyone else who has made a significant, life-changing decision to follow Christ's leading) will tell you that they almost always see Satan working hardest against them when they are preparing to go back to the mission field. The last few weeks before departure and the first few weeks there often are full of challenges and unexpected turns of event's. Interpreting these as God answer of "no" versus Satan's spiritual attack is not always an easy thing. We are trusting God and the Holy Spirit's leading that we are following him in the steps he has laid out for us.

Many people think we are returning to a life of hardship and struggle and living overseas for us is a real test of endurance.  In some small ways that is true. There is the constant stress of cross-cultural living (which is a healthy thing, but an added stress nonetheless).  We experience increased awareness/anxiety about the security situation, the severity of which waxes and wanes in its own seasons.  We have much more limited access to supplies, entertainment, family, and other niceties that we enjoy in the Western world.

All the above is true, yes, but we truly love living in Ukarumpa and PNG!  We have many close and caring friends and a wonderful, supportive community that is joined together for the same purpose.  We have fulfilling work that is done in support of an eternal cause.

We are surrounded by so many Papua New Guineans there, many of whom may have never seen Christ's love acted out in real and meaningful ways that may help point them to Jesus and produce a changed life by the power of the Holy Spirit.  And a large number of these people have never heard nor read the Word of God in the language they grew up speaking.  We have the joy of being a small part of that work!

I hope no one thinks what I am saying is belittling those who don't go overseas as missionaries.  Not everyone is called to be a missionary.  If everyone was supposed to be a missionary, who would be left to send, support, and pray?  God has given each of us a role.  It is our responsibility to respond to it.  Every Christian, no matter where they live, has the Christ-given assignment to live out the love of Jesus in their lives and to allow the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in and through them by His strength alone.    (See Romans 13:14 and Galatians 5:22)

We leave in three days!  And we are excited!  We are going home!  We love you all and are eternally grateful to you for your love, care, prayers, thoughts, gifts, words, letters, etc.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

(I would add pictures, but I've got to get back to packing!)

Gavin

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

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