At the end of August (2001) I completed two years at the Lutheran Church College in Banz, Western Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). After spending the fall and early winter in Canada, I will be returning to PNG in February of 2002 to begin another two-year Short-term Missionary assignment in Lae, Morobe Province. My new position will be Administrative Assistant and Training Officer for the Finance Department of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in PNG.
At the beginning of August, just before I left Banz, I finally received my home congregation's Advent/Christmas/Epiphany 2000 newsletter. This quote from a Chinese proverb was on the front:
I said to the angel who stood at the gateway… "Give me a lamp so that I might be able to go towards the uncertainty with a sure footing." But the angel answered: "Go rather ahead into the darkness and lay your hand into the hand of God! That is much better than any lamp and surer than even a well-known road."
I thought to myself that this was the right time to have received the newsletter since the quote summed up quite a few of my thoughts at that time of transition.
A cross-cultural experience is often a time of uncertainty. However, as I prepared to come to PNG a second time in September of 1999, I didn't experience any of that uncertainty. After all, I had already experienced PNG for 18 months at Budun. And I thought that I knew what I was in for. In retrospect, I didn't know a thing.
I have had some dark days indeed. There have been some new friendships, some joy and happiness. At the same time, the real value of mission work—hanging in there, continuing to live and work with people of another culture and place, and trying to live in peace—has become clearer to me. And I know, too, that the only way that I made it through these last two years has been through the grace of God, through God's hand always holding mine tightly—and sometimes even pulling me.
And that brings me to those of you who have supported my work over the last two years. Thank you so much for your prayers, financial contributions, care packages, and letters. To me, they have been invaluable and more appreciated than you can ever know. Please rejoice with me in the news of my new work and continue to remember me in prayer!