Being a Part of Someone Else’s Plan









Sometimes I go to write a blog post about our plans and I shake my head. Because our plans here often end up like pieces of paper thrown in a blender with multi-colored ink: splotchy and jumbled and split in two.

Last week, Matt and our co-workers embarked on their sixth trip into Mawarero, the tribe we will, Lord willing, be moving into one day soon.

We’ll call this most recent trip, ‘The Truck Version’.

This is a significantly different plan from the five times before. Previous iterations of our plans have included things like ‘The On-Foot Version’ (hiking for nine days through intensely rugged terrain, getting fevers, falling off a mountainside (praise the Lord he caught that branch!), etc.), ‘The Heli Version’ (taking a helicopter to fly over in 10 minutes what it had taken them nine days to hike over in ‘The On-Foot Version’), and ‘The Boat-to-Dinghy-to-Shore-to Field Version, Parts 1 & 2’ (everyone’s least favorite version since, well, everything that’s implied in the title).

This most recent trip was pretty exciting for everyone around here in the same way that I imagine the telegraph must have been exciting for folks back when it was first invented to send information from one place to another. They can do that?

For the last few months, our best option of getting things into the tribe has been ‘The Boat-to-Dinghy-to-Shore-to Field Version’ and, after doing this exercise twice, I think we were all ready to think outside the boat/dinghy box to see if there was any other way of getting everything into the tribe.

And, eureka! Trucks! If we could find trucks big enough, we would only have to load our things ONE TIME! We could potentially drive right up to the helicopter landing field in Billiau and unload them all, again, only one time.

Now, droughts are normally a bad thing. And the one that has been happening here in Papua New Guinea has wreaked havoc on many things: gardens, the city water supply, the dam-controlled electricity.

But in the face of this closed door of rain, a small window was opened in the form of a road. A road that is normally washed out by fast-moving rivers, but happened to be open due to the lack of rain in the mountains. It was a window that we were more than happy to try to squeeze ourselves and our 18 tons of cargo through.

This plan had its risks, of course. Would we able to find trucks big enough to hold that much weight? Would the road to Billiau still be open the day we left? Would the trucks be able to cross those rivers, even if they are running low? Would God hold off the rain for just a few more days so that this plan can work?

The uncertainties were high, but the motivation was higher.

We had to base our plan on a lot of things we could not control. The rain, the road, the rivers—we had to hope and pray and wait to see if God’s plan was the same as ours.

And, by God’s grace, we now know the answer was yes.

Saying goodbye to Matt as he takes off in the truck loaded with 9 tons of building materials last week

Saying goodbye to Matt as he takes off in the truck loaded with 9 tons of building materials last week

Yes, we were able to find two 9-ton trucks (true, one of them broke down the day we were supposed to load it so we had to push everything back a day, but, hey, we still got it!).

Yes, the road was still open (even though it rained like the dickens here in Madang the very night they left).

Yes, the trucks were able to cross the rivers (after having to spend the night next to one that was particularly fast-moving and wait until morning for it to die down—don’t worry—they weren’t alone. A couple on foot also had to wait until morning before wading across).

And, yes, God held off the rain (though it began pouring the night they left).

So long story short, they made it to Billiau. In trucks! It was literally over the rivers and through the jungle that to Billiau they went.

And from Billiau, they were able to shuttle in all of the supplies into Mawarero by helicopter and start work on the house. As of today, they have been able to frame the entire second house and will start on the rafters tomorrow.

The progress the guys have made as of two days ago!

The progress the guys have made as of two days ago!



Does any of this sound too complicated? Like, surely, there must be another, easier, cheaper way we can do all of this?

It is complicated.

I have lived here for almost a year and I can tell you that living here is complicated, let alone doing business here.

There are no Yellow Pages or websites where you can find a store or a shop or a business professional.

Every boat our husbands have found they found by walking the docks, going boat to boat, asking if any were available and capable. The trucks they found were obtained going from store to store and asking if we could rent any of their big trucks.

This is not a culture where you call ahead for things and save time. It is not a culture based on efficiency.

It is a culture founded on relationships; thus it is that you make deals face-to-face, trusting a handshake instead of a contract, and being willing to bear unexpected hiccups in the business process with a smile. Like when you only get one truck when you’ve hired two or when the boat you’ve hired suddenly has other plans the day before you’re set to leave.

We make a lot of plans here. It is an ongoing, complicated, stressful process, often taxing ourselves and our families emotionally.

But at the end of the day, it is good for us to remember that that is all they are.

Our plans.

And as such, they have one unremitting, built-in flaw: they are finite.

Our plans are finite because we are finite. We aren’t able to know everything about our circumstances and are able to control them even less, especially in this country.

But the hope in every plan we make that we have to change…and then change again…and then change again is that there is one plan that never changes.

There is Someone who does, in fact, know everything and who is in control of every second of every day in every country. Every broken-down truck or unexpected rainstorm or faulty business deal.

To every piece of bad news that is delivered to us (which seems like a lot sometimes!), God’s plan answers ‘don’t worry—My plan has not changed and it is still good’. All of our plans are but a piece of His and that, in the midst of much bad news sometimes, is a very good place to be.

Perhaps that sounds like it’s easier said than done and it is.

Coming here in the first place required faith to hand over all my circumstances to God–faith that when He says people from every tribe and tongue and nation will believe one day, that they will. Faith that when He says He loves me so much that His own Son died in my place, that that love–love that has been planned since before the foundation of the world–will never fail. Not in the US and not in Papua New Guinea. Faith that if God did not spare His own Son for us, how will He not also with him graciously give us all things? In droughts or sickness or business deals. If and when ‘bad’ things happen, God still keeps His promises to us, though we neither deserve it nor understand it fully, simply because He is God.

Already, my circumstances have changed again.

The drought here is over.

Rain and thunder have crashed down here almost every night since the night our husbands left.That road that our husbands took just days ago is probably washed out now. The drought went on for a long time, too long as many here would say. And though gardens dried up and water sources ran low and people had to walk further for water, it stopped in God’s perfect timing according to His perfect plan.

And so it is that I learn all over again that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

They’re better.






  1. Amen! Amen!

  2. Cameron, I have been reading this blog and the one from the Cann’s. I can’t tell you how encouraging your words are to me. I’m in circumstances 180degrees different from yours, yet it’s amazing how both circumstances have the same elements and solutions. Both take faith, patience, true effort to avoid discouragement, trusting God’s timing and His plan. Thank you for your sharing and encouraging me in my walk with the Lord.

    • It’s true! No matter where we are, truth remains truth regardless of circumstances. Praise God! Thanks for letting me know it was helpful. 🙂

  3. What a beautiful description of all that you are experiencing and learning. Your thoughts on your plans and on God’s plans are so true. It’s so great to follow along on your journey though this blog.


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