Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Companions on the Journey

I've had the privilege during this home assignment to be a part of a
weekly Bible study group with a group of wonderful women from our
church. Together we studied the books of Colossians and Philemon using
a study guide by Max Lucado. Paul writes the book of Colossians to the
church in Colosae to encourage and challenge them. He spends most of the
last chapter mentioning the names of saints, men and women, who are
partners with them in their journey of living for Christ.

I can't help but relate this to my own life and all of our
partners/companions in our journey. You who pray for us, support us
financially and simply give us encouraging words are our companions on
this journey. We are joined together in this journey. Thank you for
that. We treasure each of you!

Likewise, we are companions with you on your journey. Colossians 4:12
says, "Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you,
always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect
and complete in all the will of God." As we prepare to return to PNG,
we want you all to know that in the same way that you come alongside us
as companions in our journey, we want to walk with you in your journey
as well. As the verse says, we labor "fervently for you in prayers,
that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." We DO
pray for you. In fact, if we have a "prayer wall" in our home in PNG
with photos of our "companions" The photos on this wall serve as a
reminder to us of those that walk with us and reminds us to pray for
you. If we don't have a photo of you, please send us one.

Speaking of praying for you, I'd like to mention one more
living oversees, we don't know what's happening in the your life unless
you tell us. We have found that people don't share their struggles with
us because they don't want to burden us. Please hear me when I say that
we are companions in this journey. We want to know what is happening in
your life and we want to be able to pray specifically for you. So,
please tell us how we can be praying... we really want to know. We also
want to rejoice with you in the good things, so please tell us those
things as well! Not only does it help us know how to pray, but also
help us feel more connected to our companions, our fellow-laborers, YOU!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home Assignment in Review

I've decided to let the old blog rest in peace (as it has been doing for a couple of years now) and start fresh with a new blog as we prepare to head back to PNG.

Our family is in transition again.  We're packing bags, getting in those last visits with family and friends, and tying up the loose ends.  Now that Christmas is over, it's time to really focus on getting ready to head back to PNG.  Our home assignment is almost finished.  Our jobs, co-workers, home, and dog are awaiting our return to PNG.

As news and magazines often do a year in review this time of year, I thought it fitting to do our "home assignment in review"  So, what HAVE we been doing for the last 6 months? Well, here are some highlights...

June 30: arrive in the US, tired but excited about seeing family and friends.

July: Got settled in our temporary home; went camping with family; Sydney and I had an awesome chance to visit dear friends in Maui.

August:  Sydney and Calvin had a great opportunity to attend summer camp for a week.  Traveled to Oregon to see family and friends.

September:  Stood alongside family as we said goodbye to Grandma Jonnie (who is now rejoicing in heaven)

October: Traveled to Soutern CA and had a great visit with a supporting church, famly, and friends.  We also met some great new friends on this trip.

November: Traveled again to Oregon.  Spent thanksgiving with my family.  The kids got to see snow!

December:  Celebrated with Chad's family and enjoyed the holidays in the US.

Jan 10th:  We head back to PNG for the next 3 1/2 years.

All along the way we have been meeting people, reconnecting with others, sharing formally and informally with others about the work we do in PNG, connecting with churches and other groups of people.  It's been exciting and exhausting at the same time.

While there is a part of me that wants to get back to PNG where I have a schedule and routine and the pace of life is slower,  goodbyes are going to be tough. As we prepare to leave, I regret not spending enough time with many of the people I care about... If you are one of those people, please know that you a loved, even if we didn't get much time together. As we planned and prepared for our return to the US, we had great plans for all the quality time we'd have with people...the reality didn't quite match the expectations, but we have savored the time we have spent with family, friends, and our partners in ministry.  In case we haven't said it in person, we love and appreciate each of you.