Back in December I mused that “DISAPPOINTMENT is usually the STOWAWAY on the trip to ‘going back’ to anywhere”; be it REUNIONS, HOMECOMINGS, and maybe even NEW GUINEA. That was like a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.
Son, Nathan, and I spent over three weeks there, revisiting what was our home for 10 years.
THERE WERE DISAPPOINTMENTS. Even though I knew there would be, it still SURPRISED AND SADDENED me. I think that says something about how we can work things out INTEL- LECTUALLY, but not EMOTIONALLY… or the HEAD may call the tune, but the HEART isn’t going to the dance.
One of the HOUSES we had lived in was a shambles. It used to be lovely. The native high school the MISSION had established was a show piece 30 years ago. Today windows are broken out, fixtures missing and buildings in disrepair. The main building at HIGHLAND LUTHERAN SCHOOL was burned down in fighting a year ago. Violence seems escalated. 30 years ago, TRIBAL WAR was fought with spears and arrows; now it’s guns. Fences surround the HOSPITAL, the school our children attended and the SEMINARY at which I taught. No fences in the ‘old days’.
BUT THE BRIGHT SIDE: and there usually is one. The native CONGREGATIONS seem strong at the grass root level; the seminary is looking to begin IN-SERVICE EDUCATION for older pastors; the church-at-large is SENDING EVANGELISTS into areas of New Guinea previously untouched by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It was HEARTWARMING to be remembered and greeted by FORMER STUDENTS now in their 50’s, and see them STILL ACTIVE in the church. It was a real HOOT to travel with son, Nate and see how much he enjoyed himself and how well he adapted to the life there. Being together that long opened up yet ANOTHER WINDOW IN THE FATHER/SON RELATIONSHIP.
So there is still MUCH FOR WHICH TO PRAISE GOD, not the least of which is that we ARRIVED BACK HOME SAFELY.