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Six Years In Review

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Happy Sixth Anniversary!
Can you believe it? Six years ago this month, I started my journey towards Papua New Guinea! I thought the best way to celebrate and share the joy with you would be to do a "six years in review" photo journal post. Thanks for taking this journey with me, the people of Papua New Guinea, and especially with God!
Enjoy dear friends!  

Orientation and initial training feels like it was a thousand years ago, instead of six. Last year I was able to visit the Wycliffe headquarters again and reconnect with many people there. The above picture was taken for me by Mark Borland and was the picture for my first prayer card (2014). 

Papua New Guinea was an unknown country for me. I'd been to the other side of the island before, but I'd never set foot in the country of Papua New Guinea. I felt a bit like Abraham, obeying God by going to a country He would show me. When I arrived in Papua New Guinea I didn't know a single person other than via email or Skyp…

Spring's Reminder of God's Faithful Love

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Pink and white plum blossoms open their delicate faces towards the brilliant blue sky. Crocuses stretch out of the dark brown earth and daffodils nod their approval, as a sun-warmed breeze blows the scents of flowers and earth past their little assembly. Spring is gently beginning to assert itself; creeping over the ground in little clusters of green stalks and flower buds wrapped and ready to burst, running its fingers over the trees as tiny shoots and new blossoms shake themselves loose from the hard, stiff bark. I’ve always loved Springtime, but this year, maybe because it’s my first time seeing Spring for 3 years, it’s having a much more profound effect on me. God is using Spring to remind me of His deep love and faithfulness that is as constant and trustworthy as Springtime, and as reliable as the rising and setting of the sun.

     It’s funny how easy it is to lose sight of the ever-present and incredible faithfulness of God, even when His handiwork and love are so evident …

First Impressions of a First Furlough Missionary: "It's the Wrong Trousers!" and Other Tales of Commonwealth English Hangovers

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You may not know this, but sometimes spoken American English is very different from the spoken English used elsewhere in the world. In fact, since moving overseas, I spend more time around those who use what’s known as Commonwealth English, than those that use American English. You can image my challenge then when I came back to the USA and was all mixed up. It was once again “ground beef” not “mince”. Someone was wearing “pants” instead of, “trousers”. You go to “college” not “University” or “Uni” for short. And you take a “vacation” instead of “going on holiday." I felt like I was in an episode of that silly claymation series Wallace and Gromit when Wallace wails to his dog, “It’s the wrong trousers, Gromit!”

Some days, my English is not the only thing that seems and feels different. I struggle to remember things that should be innate to me as an American and I either don’t remember or it takes me a long time. However, it does remind me of a spiritual truth. When I decided to …

Mindful of Me

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Gossamer cathedrals drape from post to post, festooned with crystal dew drops.Mist curls up between tall spires capped with a cacophony of greens. Across my path sprawls a riot of orange sentinels, nodding their heads at me in the morning gold. Life. It drips from every leaf and petal and stalk and fills the blue air with its heady perfume. 
Today I was listening to the Psalms as I got ready for work and my heart and mind were arrestedby Psalm 8. “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place. What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your …

Transition From Home to Home

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I sighed and closed my eyes. Although the tension had been draining from my knotted shoulders for a couple of weeks I could feel the old familiar twinge cramping it's fingers around my muscles. I should write. I should say something. I should introspect and find something profound to say, something profound to think. I should really be thinking more intentionally about where I've been and where I'm going as I transition from Papua New Guinea back to the USA.

I breathe again, slowly pulling air into my nose and forcing it out of my mouth between pursed lips. So complicated. How do I begin to unravel the last few years and my first term as a missionary in Papua New Guinea? How can I even begin to contemplate what the next, few brief months will bring before I start my second term? How do I even start to process them both and describe them both and share them both? I want to, I just don't know how.

So, here I sit, writing about how I don't know how to write what…

Saying Goodbye to Say Hello

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Clouds pile up against the shoulders of the mountains. The rippling call and response of the unique birds of this country pierce the early evening. The scent of bananas mingles with cooking fires and the earthy, moist clay of the dirt roads. I breathe it all in, stop and try to taste it, to live it, to truly see it and hold it in my mind’s eye. Then I realize it; I’m trying to say goodbye while at the same time, I’m trying to prepare myself to say hello.
For over four years I have lived here in Papua New Guinea. It has become my home. I have chosen to immerse myself in its people, its culture, its food, its life. I have become a different woman. No longer fully American, neither have I fully become Papua New Guinean. I have learned to love this country and its people. I’ve also mourned with them, rejoiced with them, and rise and fall with them to a certain extent. They’ve become my family, my friends, my mentors and spiritual leaders. And they’ve allowed me to become the same to them.…

The Canvas of Years

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Waves of memories washed over me. The smell had snapped me back like a time machine to the little sink in the entry to the dining hall. Suddenly, I could hear the chaos of over 30 men, women and children awaiting their food. I could feel the heat and humidity run their clammy fingers down my spine in rivulets of sweat. I felt the raw excitement, adventure, apprehension and loneliness all over again.
All at once, I was under a bucket shower, cooking over a fire, processing sago, swimming in the ocean, dancing under the stars, wondering what life held next when life already felt so full.
I opened my eyes and twisted the sink knobs. I looked down at my dripping hands as I slowly returned to the present. The scent of soap had sent me tumbling into the past. And, oh, how much had changed since that moment at the sink; that stepping onto a plane to go away from all I’d ever known to step off again in the place I thought held all that I would become.
Memory is a funny thing. It’s almost like…