One Missionary’s Four-Letter F-Word

Last year, during one of our stays in the village, cell phone coverage in our area finally came back after three days of being out. Our team manager picked up her email on her phone and discovered that our flight time that morning had been rescheduled two hours earlier. We weren’t ready to go that early.

Our driver hadn’t shown up yet, either. We waited for a while, but finally decided to try to walk close to an hour to another village. We would try to find a boat there to take us by ocean to the town of Aitape, and then try to find a truck to take us the last few miles to the airstrip. People volunteered to carry our stuff. One man carried a heavier piece of our luggage in a wheelbarrow. We set off on foot.

Wheelbarrow with luggage

Turning around with some of our luggage to catch our ride

About five minutes down the road, people called out to us. Our ride had come. The heavy rains the night before had swollen the river, and he had to wait for it to go down to cross it. We climbed into the back of the truck and later found the airplane waiting for us at the airstrip.

Whenever I find “flexibility” on a list of top traits to have as a missionary, I feel quite inadequate. I don’t like being flexible. “Flex” is a four-letter F-word for me. I like plans made in advance, decisions that have some thought behind them, and choices settled ahead of time. We can make plans like that here in this place, but as our former team manager said, “We make plans so we know what’s not going to happen.”

I’m still trying to learn the truth Paul was trying to get across: “But [God] said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (II Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV).” May the power of Messiah rest on us in our weaknesses.

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2 Responses

  1. Sue Schram says:

    Hi Steve and Debbie – Wally already read this, but I just read this today and was amazed at what you had to go through to actually make the plane. I also have a problem with being flexible – I like to be in control and have everything a certain way. Thanks for sharing God’s word as a reminder – He is in control and I want His power to rest on me. Hope you two are doing well!

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