Vacation.Defined by Merriam-Webster.com as ‘a scheduled period during which activity is suspended’. And that is exactly what we as a family got to do a few weeks ago.After figuring that Matt had been away from us for nearly two months out of the year so far and feeling a bit weary with everything, we decided that it would be helpful if we all had a respite from the business of house building and living from scratch.We were able to fly up to Ukarumpa (SIL’s base of operations here in PNG) and stay at their guesthouse where the gracious women who worked there cooked for us, cleaned for us, AND did our laundry for eleven days. And as the definition above indicates, all of our ‘working’ activities were suspended. Well, for the most part.Here are some highlights from this eleven day adventure:
Our kids’ first helicopter ride.
To quote Mary, our 2 year-old, “Oh my goodness.”
The kids had a blast talking to each other the whole way through their headsets.
We ate good food, we played at playgrounds, we had dinner with friends (most of whom were helicopter pilots because that’s who we’ve spent the most amount of time with :)).
We met a man from Nepal here on a three-year contract with a security company and talked to him about seeing Mt. Everest from his house and traveling to Pakistan and India.We sat across the table with a sweet Australian family who lost their fifteen-year-old daughter to brain cancer a few years ago and now travels speaking and encouraging others.We shared the guesthouse with an orthopedic doctor from Switzerland who was taking an 8-week sabbatical to travel through Australia and Papua New Guinea (where he grew up) with his family. (I think it was when I asked him, “So you speak…Swiss?” that I was reminded, once again, how little I know about the world in which I live (*shakes head in shame*). German, my friends. They were from the German-speaking part of Switzerland).We got to eat burritos with another family while our children played on the couch with their quintuplets. That’s right. Quintuplets.We had an early birthday celebration for the 9-year-old twins of another family who do their schoolwork in German with a tutor who is spending half the year with them so that they grow up speaking the heart language of one of their parents.Sometimes, it’s the people who we meet here(and our kids meet!) who make living here an educational adventure!
Always Look After Your Shoes
It wasn’t, however, all new faces and happy memories. There was the day when our nine-year-old’s shoes were stolen while we played on the playground. Her response, taken from a journal entry she showed me later, was the following:“…but this time when I went to get my shoes I couldn’t find them! We searched and searched, but we couldn’t find them. They were lost, gone, stolen. And they were good shoes. All the way home, I was in front of everybody. I didn’t speak; I just watched my feet go over the sharp rocks. I was used to it, but every step reminded me.Oh well! I guess it isn’t that bad. Besides, the other person will probably need them more than I and plus whatever God wills, God wills and it is good. You probably don’t think it’s that bad because in Arizona you can get MORE shoes every time you lose or break one, but here you cannot get any good shoes…”
When Sandals in the Hall Become Perilous
And just in case that incident was not exciting enough for us, two days before we flew home, I decided to get really crazy, trip over a pair of Matt’s shoes in the hallway, and catch myself and laugh about it later, fall down and laugh about it later break my toe.I broke my toe. Walking down the hall. Because those are the perils of living in Papua New Guinea. Or maybe those are just the perils of being me.
In processing this new development knowing that we are in the middle of building our houses in the jungle and Matt needing to be away for long periods of time, here was my reasoning.
- God is in control of all things, including broken toes and sandals lying in the hall.
- He means all things to work for my good and His glory.
- I broke my toe.
- Ergo, me breaking my toe is ultimately for my good and His glory.
Had there been something better God wanted to happen for me, He would have done that instead. So in that, I am content (or trying really, really hard to be!) and trust him for everything present and everything future.We are all so thankful for this time off–even more so now as we look to Matt going back to work more on the houses in November. And while not all activity was suspended in Ukarumpa, enough of it was to make it feel like a lovely family vacation in Papua New Guinea.