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Friday, July 11, 2014

Mr. Mom

I returned from a 6-day trip from the distant island of Bougainville off Papua New Guinea, working on some network and email projects, to an empty apartment.  Julie had left for New Jersey (and her mom) a couple of days before.

We've probably written before about how daily life takes more effort when you're on the mission field.  Those who live in Ukarumpa for sure certainly have it easier than our peers who are working in remote villages.  We have electricity, local phones, a small "company store' for canned and dry goods and some meats.  We have wonderful schools, a medical clinic, a post office, etc.

Still, it takes more time to "live" on the field.  As examples:

  • We walk every place, rather than ride, even if it's pouring or dark
  • Fresh produce is available from the local market but only 3 days a week.  Plan ahead!
  • We have to bathe all our fresh food in chlorinated water right after our purchase
  • We have no clothes dryers.  We hang all our wash on clotheslines outside (until it rains).
  • Our meals are started from the basics.  No fast food.  No restaurants.  No pizza delivery.
  • One of us bakes the bread.  One makes the salad dressing.  One makes the mayonnaise.   Yum!

Now that Julie is gone, I feel like Mr. Mom.  I do all the above.  No splitting the responsibilities.  Plus guess who gets to wash the clothes, sweep the floors, take out the compost and trash?

I miss her.

I know you're taking this wrong.  I miss her not because I do it all.  I miss her because we're married, a team, friends...

Sunday, July 06, 2014

It was time

If you've been on our Wycliffe ministry mailing list, you know that Julie's mom, who lives in New Jersey had been admitted twice into the hospital with serious concerns about her heart.  That was a great surprise to us because mom had spent the winter was us, had received a clean bill of health from a heart specialist, and had seemed in great condition (for a 90 year old) when we returned her to NJ before we left for Papua New Guinea.  We felt confident that all would be fine for the 3 month assignment here.

We kept in close contact with mom and dear friends to jumped in help mom, thanks to email and MagicJack (which lets us call any number in the US over the Internet).  Over a number of weeks, mom got worse, got better, got worse, got better, went home, went back into the hospital, etc.  Several times we tried to find a way to get Julie to her mom but either travel connections failed to materialize, mom would tell us to remain here, or she might improve sufficiently.

In the end, however, mom had more serious problems and God blessed us with a smooth trip for Julie back to NJ.  While we feared that Julie might arrive too late, God brought Julie to her mom's side fine in early July. 

Mom has improved physically and is now undergoing therapy to increase her strength and ability for her drug-damaged lungs to absorb oxygen.  On the flip side, with the loss of independence, privacy, access to her home (too high up a hill to climb) and much more, mom has been quite discouraged, indicating that she's eager to leave this life.  This is hard to hear.

Julie has also sensed a change in mom's behavior and her thinking.  Is mom's body unable to absorb enough oxygen to the point that it's affecting her brain?  All Julie knows is that lately her mom's personality has changed and that mom is not the positive and agreeable person she has always been.

So, why was Julie's trip to NJ side railed so often until now?  Of course, we know God is sovereign, that all that happens is according to His plan.  The short answer is that God provided an ideal  opportunity for mom to be ready to listen to our friend  share about Jesus, read from the Bible, and to pray.  God has opened mom's heart in a way that she hadn't over the many years Julie had longingly tried to share about our God.  Wow!  It was time for mom to open her heart.

And it was then time for Julie to go home.