Friday, June 3, 2011

A Memorable Memorial Day

Memorial Day is historically a day for remembering. I know I will certainly remember this year’s—though not for the reasons it was originally created (however, a blog post on that will be forthcoming).

My infamous computer.
On Sunday night, I found my computer flashing warnings of a hard-drive malfunction that was reminiscent of a nuclear reactor meltdown. Memorial Day exploded into action as we attempted to control the virus before it ate through too many drivers and began stealing my bank and credit card information Two days, 25 hours of solid work, two different tech guys remoting in from around the country, an entire factory restore, and my computer finally was truly as innocent as it appeared. While two days of lost time may not seem like much, when you only had seven days to start with in which to fit everything associated with starting grad school and moving overseas… well, you can guess what these last days have been like :)

You can see the beginnings of the People Chain in this meeting
But, they would have been much more chaotic if not for the massive team of people that has brought everything together over the past months. In my longer talks, I love using an illustration called “the people chain,” which is able to visually show how many people are needed for one translation to be completed. Although I don’t have a stage to show you, I can type some names. Let me introduce you to the people you’ve been working alongside in helping me get to Papua New Guinea (beware, long post ahead).

Besides the fantastic people helping me this past week mop up my most recent computer mess, I’ve had dozens of highly skilled techy individuals come alongside me in so many ways—many of them anonymously sitting behind the sound systems, adjusting mikes, clicking through powerpoints and fiddling with projectors until everything falls into place. I think of the graphic designers, Caleb and Jennifer, who perfected my prayer card, Nate, who expertly designed a promotional video, and the many others, including Jana, Caleb, Nathan, and CJ, who have valiantly answered my plaintive cries for help regarding my computer or blog.

Speaking engagements are arranged by a plethora of people! Small group hosts such as Doug, Kathy, Holly and Steve, Dwight and Lori, Jonathon and Janet, Jenny, Kevin and Tracy, and Wendy open their homes and prepare delicious food. Advocates, who introduce me with open arms to their churches or groups, include such people as Terry and Cheryl, Gary, Dave, Stephanie, Val, Bruce, Stacy, Craig, Connie, Alyssa, Angela, Karla, Andrew, Nikki, Andrea, Kathy, and Laura. Missions committees, comprised of people like Mark, Tim, Scott, Liz, and Joan, diligently shepherd me through the process. Details are organized by administrative assistants, such as Ericca, Chris, Lisa, and Mary who answer every email with cheerfulness, and then I’m welcomed by such pastors as Marshall, Lanny, Paul, Larry, Dave, Steve, Jon, Mark, James, Vidal, Charlie, Bruce, Gerald, Ron, and Dave who flood me with their joy in the Lord.

I’ve driven thousands of miles, and when I arrive, hosts such as Louisa, Hope, and Mike and Kim’s family provide me with abundantly warm hospitality and clean towels. So many people have walked up and shaken my hand, hugged me, and offered me their love and a cup of water. Thank you—those small gifts are beautiful.

I think of the hundreds of my questions patiently answered by the sales clerks in REI, my travel agent Karen, the doctors who walked me through immunizations for PNG and gave me relief from bronchitis, and Eve and Zoriada, Wycliffe personnel who have organized many of my visa details. And how could I ever forget to mention my most faithful, patient, encouraging and tremendous coach and supervisor, Victoria, who has stood by me this past year? Betsy and Sarah graciously offered their wisdom in packing lists, while Tony, John, and Bruno have been heavily involved in all details of shipping, including the actual cross-country driving. Those necessary items for my life in Papua New Guinea were gathered by a beautiful group of people from my church, in a “sending shower,” which was organized by my sending church’s core support team—my encouraging Barnabas Group, comprised of the enthusiastic Sarah, Kathy, Paul, Elise, and Jill.

All of these people (and more!) are needed to let this woman hold a Bible in her own language

Older missionaries and mentors who have gone before, including Susie, Morris and Wendy, Laura, Betty, and Jacquie, have graciously sat down with me and known the right words to say at the right time. Other new missionaries in the same boat have laughed and sympathized when all I can do is shake my head—you all know who you are! I think of the SIL and NWC professors who have impacted me in ways far more lasting than simply a good education, and I treasure more than you realize all of those emails and notes and facebook messages shouted out by an army of encouragers.

I think of the over one hundred and fifty prayer warriors, including my precious Armor-Bearers, committed in coming before the Lord on behalf of this ministry—and the hundreds more who I don’t yet know, and who still lift me and the people of Papua New Guinea to the throne in prayer. You are our very foundation. Financially, so many of you have sacrificially offered gifts to the Lord, trusting in His provision for yourself and this ministry, and I can’t move forward without you.

I think of my family and the innumerable roles they have played, sacrifices they have offered, tears shed and laughter given... I could just keep naming so many more people that this post might never end (and I haven’t even left yet!). If you don’t see your name or contribution here, it’s not for lack of importance, but simply because I’m running out of room.

It’s good to remember.

And so, I think this Memorial Day is an appropriate time to remember and acknowledge just a few of these people. Thank you for being a part of the team working to place the Word of God in the hands of people in Papua New Guinea!
Image thanks to

Because, sometimes, viruses attack computers, and I need a tech person to help me out.