Ideal vs. Real
So here is what the “ideal” would have looked like for the past months in Konomala:
After a quick settling-in time, our minds would quickly pick up where we left off in language and culture study.
Then our days / weeks would be reasonably consistent and we would settle into a good rhythm as a family.
Then with perfect clarity, we would attack the tasks ahead of us and make real progress in the Konomala language and culture. All the while, growing in our understanding of what Biblical discipleship will look like in this context.
Here’s what the “real” looked like:
Settling in went fine. But our minds felt like oatmeal when it came to language ability. We knew it would take time to get back to where we were before leaving … but wow.
Our initial weeks were all over the place. We had a bunch of community events happening one after another. It became normal to head out the door in the morning, then an hour later find out that there is an all day event that we needed be at. Actually, it’s surprisingly fun to walk for a while in the sun, then sit on the same piece of bamboo for 9 hours, then walk back … oh wait, did I say “fun”?
The idea of having any rhythm in life felt like a distant hope. We looked under most of the pieces of bamboo we were sitting on … but no rhythm.
That is until the last number of weeks. Even with a couple all day bamboo-sitting events on the weekends, a collapsed septic tank, and some other random fun stuff … God graciously granted us a stretch of time where things seem to have settled down and we can keep chipping away at learning a language and culture.
We are beyond thankful for the friendships that God has given us out here. We have great friends as teammates, and we have great friends within our community. It would be a lot harder to endure on the daily without the people that God has around us.
All that being said … we are experiencing the hardest days that we’ve ever had here in Konomala.
We’ve had stressful times, sickness, troubles with our houses etc. etc.
But none of that compares with the last few days.
On Thursday morning we were startled to hear someone yelling out our names in panic. We rushed to see what had happened.
With no explainable cause, one of our best friends, Token, had woken up that morning at 5:30 a.m., became nauseous, and collapsed at 6 a.m. Ten minutes later we found him laying on the ground without a pulse.
We had just been with him the night before joking and laughing like normal. We, along with all of our friends here, are really struggling with the loss of Token. We’re struggling with the reality that our dear and close friend is gone. We’re struggling with knowing that he probably died trusting in his religious tradition to save him. We’re struggling to rest in our Father’s goodness … wondering how He could have allowed this to happen. We’re struggling to see the bigger picture with the dread of Token’s eternity in the back of our minds.
We aren’t just on some tropical adventure in the Pacific. This is our home where we have deep friendships with amazing people. We have huge dreams about what God could do in all of our lives together. It feels devastating to lose Token.
We are in a war. We have an enemy who will use any and all strategies to destroy the work that God is doing. We don’t know the reasons. We’re heart broken. But we know that God is good. He never designed things to work this way. One day it will all be good again. We have hope. We have purpose. We have Him.
We always knew that something like this could happen. But to Token … this suddenly.
Pray for us and our friends here as we all grieve together.
Pray that we get chances to talk about truth and keep pointing people to real hope.
Pray that people in our community become more hungry to know God because of this.
Pray that we can show love like Jesus did; and that we can offer truth on a heart level like He did.
Natalie has finished kindergarten!
Standing ovation to her and to Kaitlyn! Even in all the transitions, they faithfully kept at it and did a great job. Natalie has really started growing up. She isn’t a little girl anymore. She’s articulate, observant, and nurturing.
Lauren is a bouncy little personality who loves doing things with other people. She loves playing “friends”, where her and Natalie pretend to be friends and go to each other’s ‘houses’ to play. She loves snuggling and being tickled. And now with Olivia stumbling around the world, Lauren has forfeited her title as the clumsy one of the clan.
Olivia is a year old now. She’s walking and squawking all over the place! The problem is she does quite a bit of “squawking” at night. She’s still not doing great at sleeping. We thought we had the whole train-kids-to-sleep thing figured out … obviously we were way over estimating ourselves.
That we would have soft and humble hearts toward our Father as He works in our lives. And that we would willingly sacrifice our own selfish wants for the sake of others.
That God would protect our marriages, our families, our team, and our friends here in Konomala. The battle is real and it’s costly.
That we would lean more into Jesus each day. Especially as we continue to process the loss of Token alongside our friends here.