Somedays, do you just wake up and think, “God, you have done amazing things!”? It’s been like that for us the last two weeks or so and we’re reminded, once again of the bigness, the kindness, and the goodness of God. He’s like that, you know?
This is Jess and I’m writing to you from our air conditioned bedroom in our new Tarakan house. The house is, of course, not new. Only, new to us. It belonged to at least two other MAF families (and good friends) before us and I think a total of 5 babies were brought home to this house. (Somehow missions work and childbearing years seem to line up for many of us.) The house is lovely. Simple. Comfortable. Cute. And, roasting-make-you-wanna-climb-inside-your-freezer hot. So hot, in fact, that I’ve developed three random new habits (in addition to occasionally hiding in my air conditioned bedroom) which are: putting my Burt’s Bees facial wipes in the refrigerator so I can wipe the sweat off my face after cooking supper (the hottest part of the day) just before Phil comes home and still kind of feel like a girl. Second, is taking cold showers. On purpose. And the third is an unending slake for ice cubes.
Our crates from the U.S. should arrive in just one more week which will mean I have an oven once more and will no longer be cooking on the floor. I’ll also have my own pots and pans, plates, cups, bedding, decorations, and my treasures: my books.
It takes a whole lot of work and energy to move in to a new place and there are lots of little quirks to be worked out. Some of those pesky quirks will simply take time and effort. Others are just our new way of life, and we will adjust. I am encouraged though as I’ve been cooking three meals a day for my family and found it tremendously enjoyable. Easy? Nope. Convenient? Not even. There are a few very (very) small stores here and you will never get all you need at one or even two stores and quantities of what you want may be few or “habis” (all gone). So, when it comes to food, I feel a bit like a forager, ever and always hunting for a little of this and a little of that and hoping we don’t run out of what we need. And when we do run out of it, I pour myself a glass of ice water (emphasis on the ice) and make PB and J’s. My people are easy to please and life goes on.
Phil and I are truly the happiest we’ve been in years. Not that happiness is the goal or even a guarantee, but, we are both doing exactly what we love. Phil is having a blast learning the ropes in the MAF hangar. He comes home each day with dirty hands and a happy heart. He’s doing the thing. And, let’s face it, ministry and airplanes is a stinkin’ awesome combo! I am homeschooling my kids which is my most favorite thing ever. Getting to be their teacher and getting time to influence and shape their little lives fills me up to overflowing. Ministry will come for me too, I’m sure, but for now, my world is nice and small and that’s exactly what the five of us need.
A few days after we arrived in Tarakan, it was my birthday and my precious friend Laura made me brownies. It was a package from the States so you know for sure she likes me! 😉 I had a great birthday and the MAF wives gathered to celebrate me. 33 feels amazing! I feel totally alive and other than being over-warm most of the time, I have no complaints!
Please pray for our assimilation into Tarakan. It really is a strange and beautiful place. Speaking of the beauty, my favorite moments here are when I get up for my quiet time and the tropical birds serenade my quiet soul. It’s truly amazing. Or the flowers! One of the wives before me was a very capable gardner and my yard is filled with beautiful flowers.
A word from Scripture I’ve been focusing on these days is, gentleness. I have so far to go in this area, and mostly with the people I cherish most. I daily ask God to make me more like himself, “…for he is gentle and humble in heart.” But, a pastor I enjoy recently encouraged us just before communion, to continue to live a life of repentance. I think that’s a really good place to be. A humble sheep, knowing full well our heart’s propensity to wander, to take, to sin, but through repentance choosing to stay hidden in the protection of the shepherd by way of a repentant heart.
I pray for you, too. That whatever it is you are asking Father God to do in your heart, that you will see and know His faithfulness to make you new. And may the people near you who have no hope, see that our only hope is in Christ and perhaps, even now, they will long to know Him.