Sunday, July 28, 2013

His Promise and My Departure

Two years ago, I was sitting on a plane, staring out the smudged oval window as if my life depended on it. Just don’t look at the person next to you, and you’ll be fine, I ordered myself. I fixated on the airport workers scurrying about in their bright orange vests and bit my lip, praying that my red eyes didn’t reveal that only a little while earlier I had been sobbing in a bathroom stall and dabbing tears with toilet paper, the final release after I left my family on the other side of airport security. But, as I gripped the armrests and tried to regulate my breathing, a gentle whisper brushed against my mind, wrapping itself around my frantic thoughts.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Never. A promise. His promise. My hands relaxed into my lap, and I felt the panic disappear, until just the ache of change and letting go settled to the back of my head. Never.

The plane taxied down the runway, taking me 8,000 miles to Papua New Guinea where I would cling to that promise over the next several years as I have served as a linguist and translator with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Tears and joy, love and hate, mountaintops and despair, sickness and health, grief and new birth, anguish and has all been there. And so has His promise.

Departing Ukarumpa in a Kodiak
And now, here I am again, tears and all. By the time you read this, I’ll be sitting in a plane (facing the other direction, this time), and once again the words of my Abba are rippling through my thoughts. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So much has happened—far more than I know or understand at this time (or perhaps ever will).  And once again, I have no idea what is ahead, whether during my time in the US or when I return to my work in PNG... but, right now, I’m okay with that.

Because, even though there is so much I might want to know and do and be and change... it isn’t what is really important, nor is it even necessary.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

A promise from our Holy, Infinite, Almighty Creator. A promise from our Father.

It’s enough.
I’m not certain how much Internet access I have as I head back to the US, but I’ll do my best to keep you updated on my travels (don't forget my Facebook page for quick updates!). In the meantime, check back for more posts and stories about life in PNG. Here’s what I’ll be doing over the next two weeks:

Mon. July 29—fly from Ukarumpa through Port Moresby and Brisbane, landing in Sydney, AU
Tues. July 30—fly from Sydney, AU to Honolulu, HI (I arrive in Hawaii before I leave Sydney, thanks to the International Dateline!). I am spending some time in Hawaii as a mini holiday and chance to rest after the chaos of getting ready to leave.
Sat. Aug 3—fly from Honolulu through San Diego to Orlando, FL (landing on Sun, Aug 4), where I will spend a week at the Wycliffe headquarters in a debrief for returning missionaries
Fri. Aug 9—fly from Orlando to Minneapolis and have a joyous reunion with my family!