I’ve written before about the hardest thing to experience on the mission field: goodbyes. June is crazy here – school is over, so people think it’s a good time to leave for furlough or permanently. It seems like half of our population left (including lots of my favorites) last month, but then the group that left a while ago comes back to fill those holes in, and new people are coming in all the time.
This was my third June here, but the first one that I’ve really experienced the mass exodus (I had just gotten here the first one, and I was in the US for last year). I got a lot of advice on how to deal with it better, even though I’ve been warned that it really never gets easier. I never want to become indifferent to it. Goodbyes are important!
One piece of advice was to go away for a little while once they leave, just to get away and come back renewed, and I took it! I jumped at the opportunity to take 10 days off to go to Cairns, a very touristy, tropical city of Australia, only a 1.5-hour plane ride from Papua New Guinea’s capital city.
My friend, Jude, and I were able to stay with a lovely couple who have spent the last 25 years opening their home for missionaries. I was so happy that my friends, Sarah and Evan, were also in Cairns for most of the time we were there. Together we got to enjoy the beauty of Cairns, the amazing food of restaurants, browsing through all the shops, and checking out the new fashions (hello, shortest-shorts/dresses-ever, printed pants, messy hair, and leggings-as-pants!).
Jude and I snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef! I’ve never seen such beautiful fish. Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll try diving. And I’ll buy an underwater camera so that I can share the amazingness with you!
So I’m glad I took the advice… it seems to be working so far. I don’t miss my friends any less – there’s still that hole they left in my life. But I find it easier to enjoy what God has kept in my life, and even added to my life. He has given me a new housemate, so I’m not so lonely without Leah. I do have great new friends who I am so looking forward to getting to know better. And I’m energized and ready to finish up my last few months in the Finance Office well.
I try to come up with a “word of the year” for myself each year, but I never did for 2014. Better late than never, I guess, so for the remainder of 2014 my word will be “Enjoy.” As I mentioned, God has given me so much. And I want be intentional about enjoying it all… the beauty of this place, the people in it, the work that God’s doing in and through the people of PNG, and most of all falling in love with Jesus more and more each day.
I hope that you are enjoying wherever God has placed you, and the people and opportunities he has put in your life!