My Heart Is Aching.

I’ve been struggling. A lot. Packing for PNG has never been so hard.

On the one hand, I have to “plan for the worst”… and plan for everything. I’m a sort of simple traveller: “We’ll pick it up when we get there,” “We’ll only buy it if we need it.” But this time there is no Walmart. There is not even a corner store. This time, what we have is what we’ve got – bar maybe a village shop that sells coca cola and chicken biscuits.

And even that is not so bad, except this time, we have a child.

Someone gets a bug bite? Or a scraped knee? Or a sunburn? Or nappy rash? Or some rumbling in the tummy? We’ve gotta have it all.

I’m an organised person. I like to be prepared. So even though I’m packing a lot more than I normally do, this isn’t even the real problem.

Because its not until I’m  actually putting Max’s hat to shade him from the nasty sun and his rubber boots to keep him from getting the intestinal worms (which are epidemic in PNG and causing malnutrition, stunted growth and minimising mental capacity in children) into the suitcase that my heart starts to break.

The picture in my mind starts out cute. My happy little man running around all cute in his gumboots and smelling like coconut sunscreen… and then I see the dark-skinned, bare-bottomed babies running with him, open sores with festered flies, bloated bellies from worms or malaria.

This is not an if. This is not a possibility. I’ve been there before. This is their life. This is what is happening today. This is what it will be like in just a couple of weeks when we arrive.

I don’t know how to stand there with my little man as protected as he can be (this coming from a fairly relaxed mother!), and watch them suffer? I can’t bring boots for them all and yet I will be choosing each day to put those sweet plastic shoes on the two feet I kiss every day… possibly to the detriment of another child.

Its been a challenge for my heart, and yet I know that it would be just as wrong to give those shoes to another and not do my very best to look after my own child.

Injustice sucks.

And even though I feel heartbroken and challenged and frustrated, I’m using the pain as a catalyst and asking God to help my heart understand in new ways. I’m allowing my heart to explore… to learn to love deeper, to learn to listen more intently, to consider how I can help.

I don’t go naive… I go understanding that they will teach me lessons too. These strong, beautiful women have a lot to teach me.

And I know that regardless of his conscious memories, this trip will shape Max as well. You can’t experience something like this and not be the same. I’m being deliberate to take action that will teach him generosity, friendship, community and service… in simple ways that his tiny mind can comprehend.

These have always been the reasons we are going; but as the suitcase gets heavier and the realities sink in, the resolve becomes stronger.

One more week…!


Seasons Change

I love Townsville, where we live. We are surrounded by the reef and the rainforest, have a view of a tropical island on one side and hilly bush walking trails on the other side. Its gorgeous.

On the other hand, palm trees don’t change colours.

Yes, we are relatively season-less. Around these parts, we have two seasons: the wet season and the dry season. They also may be called the wet season or the wetter season.

Sometimes this is a wonderful blessing. I mean, we have 70 degree weather through most of the year. It is beautiful.

Sometimes, though, I long for the seasons… if only for the reminder that the world we’re in is always changing. Summer is warm, but it gives way to a crisp fall. And when fall starts to look like death, winter comes and makes it beautiful and white and pure. And when winter starts to feel dark and empty, spring brings the promise of new life.

We are in an interesting season right now.

We’re calling it “Seminar Season.” Its three weeks of madness, inspiration, revelation, and preparation.

We’re having reunions, making new friends, learning about the past, considering the present, and dreaming about the future. We’re giving. We’re receiving. We’re converging and convening.

We are seminaring.

There is more going on than we could describe here so have a look into what this means for us:

SLINGSHOT Leadership Seminar – Jared has joined 30 others from 9 different nations spanning every continent to receive some intensive leadership training from some of YWAM’s most impacting leaders. The training is aimed at young leaders who have served within YWAM for a period of time and growing in their vision and service to help catapult them into the future. Jared’s take-home message so far:

“The principles of leadership are not that complicated, but its maintaining the right attitude and perspective long term that can be a challenge.”

YWAM Marine Reach Global Summit is a gathering of YWAM ship projects around the globe. We welcomed around 50 people from Europe, New Zealand, Australia and beyond to celebrate the amazing things that have happened around the world and to also consider how we can strengthen one another in the future. Rebekah’s take home message so far:

“It was so significant to see the ship handed over to YWAM Australia officially. Its also been really insightful to see where our YWAM ship cousins are up to around the globe.”

YWAM Australia National Leaders Meeting is one of our favourite events which generally happens twice a year. We love hosting it in Townsville as we welcome several hundred of our YWAM Aus family from around the world. Its also a chance to open our home to billet guests and really get to love on some very faithful friends who are doing an incredible work.

In the midst of this, we have also welcomed three new training schools – the October DTS, a Primary Health Care School, and the School of Music in Missions.

AND, we’re also hosting some events to thank all of our partners, sponsors and key stakeholders from the community.

Between Rebekah’s trip to America, Jared’s evening lectures, and all of the above, we really are quite exhausted. And yet at the same time, we recognise that its a season… and a significant one at that. If we don’t pick the fruit now, it will go off. And this is definitely a moment in history we don’t want to miss!

So we’re picking the fruit, eating it, and determining to enjoy it. And hey, if you’ve ever been around YWAM leaders much, you’d know there is a LOT to enjoy. This is memory-making of HISTORIC proportions!

We covet your prayer as we enjoy this life, these friends, these moments for all they’re worth!

And when its all over, we’ll covet a hot drink and good chat to hear all about how you are doing… possibly in person! Our trip to America is just around the corner!!

See you soon. We can barely wait! 🙂