In September, the week before we left for our Northwest trip, we found out that a missionary transport company would be coming through town and able to pick up our crate and take it to North Carolina. From NC, it would then get on a slow boat and head to PNG. The crate is chock full of items we’ll need for the next 4 ½ years: clothes, towels, sheets, kitchen supplies and tools that Jason has desperately needed to make life in PNG a little easier. Oh and heaps of ziplock bags and cling wrap…I wish I were kidding!
We weren’t expecting the timing of the crate to leave so soon and spent the week making mad dash, last minute purchases. Amazon got a workout from us that week! It was hectic but awesome to see the Lord orchestrate the coordination of it all…down to the final 30 minutes before the transport truck arrived!
That was a Wednesday and we hit the road early Friday morning and headed west. A couple of memorable things happened in that 3-week trip:
-Mal had prayed even before we left PNG in 2016 that we would see snow on furlough. Living in East Texas, snow is extremely rare so we tried to lower her expectations. But wouldn’t you know as we’re driving through Wyoming, it started snowing?! Jason pulled over to the closest rest stop and let the kids run around in the snow flurries. Later that night at our stop in Montana, it snowed a couple of inches and you’ve never seen more ecstatic people. It was such a gift for us, especially Mal as she had seen her prayer answered.
-Our final destination of Spokane, Washington was beautiful. Fall showed off in a big way with vibrant colors and awesomely cool weather. Between homeschooling in a hotel room, Jason’s Kodiak training and visiting some dear friends, we took in the beauty of the Northwest and I was hooked. Towards the end of our visit we went to Idaho and I determined I could live there despite the cold and snow that piles up in the winter.
With Jason’s training for PNG officially complete, we headed back to Texas towards the end of October. Still needing a large portion of our support and partnership, we were unsure what the next couple of months would hold.
In November, through a series of events and through His people, the Lord brought the rest of our support in LESS THAN A WEEK. Only God could work such a miracle. That situation proves as a reminder to us that the Lord is in control over this journey. It also solidified for us that He really did want our family back in PNG another term.
The one ongoing and unresolved issue we’d had most of the year was Jason’s visa. Our plan and prayer for months was to continue on to PNG in January, but do we still keep moving in that direction? We never heard anything from the Lord other than “move forward”, so that’s exactly what we did. Thanksgiving came and went with family time, delicious food and an increasing amount of contentment in our plans.
In December, we moved out of the house we had been in for the year and moved in with Jason’s parents to begin the transition of wrapping up our life in the US and get our minds focused on coming back. The reality of having one foot in each country began and my head was officially split into two places…again.
My work permit had been approved so we sent mine and the kids passports to the PNG Embassy in DC to get visas. The week before Christmas, passports with the necessary visas back in our hands and we could finally buy plane tickets. We knew Jason would just have to wait in Australia until his visa was approved, but how long would that take? The official word was 3-4 weeks, but our seats on the Kodiak to get us home in PNG were booked for January 10th. There wouldn’t be space on another flight until the 19th and school started the 17th.
We kept praying and decided to all travel to Australia together on the 1st and the kids and I would continue on to PNG on the 10th. We would wait to see, again, how the Lord would work out Jason’s visa.
Christmas came. The goodbyes were beginning and the reality of coming back was drawing closer. Another transition was in the making.
We left on the 1st as we had been praying for months. Our travels to Australia were seamless and really went off without a hitch. We spent a week as a family in Australia getting on this time zone and enjoying some down time together. The kids and I left on the 10th to return to PNG and left Jason behind for what we thought would be a long haul.
Only doing what the Lord does, Jason’s visa was processed in a week!! To say we were stunned and thrilled is an understatement. He joined us in PNG on the 17th, just one week later than us.
I know as I type this, it sounds easy. Like it all came together seamlessly and we were just so chill and go with the flow. In some ways that was true, but there were also many hours (days and months!) of waiting, prayer and conversations about what exactly needed to happen. There was the stress of putting everything into motion, packing 5 suitcases and leaving the life we had made in the US over the last year.
But hear me when I say it was all the Lord. He carried us through the last year, made the impossible possible and showed Himself in so many situations that we can’t help but give Him praise and glory for what He’s done.
And if you've stuck through to the end of this update, thank you :) Stay tuned...more coming on transitions, beginning our second term and life here in the Land of the Unexpected!