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.
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.