Sunday, September 11, 2011

Riding the Camel

“For I am doing a work in your days that you
would not believe if told.”
Habakkuk 1.5

The Parsonage
This is the sentence that began the letter we sent to our supporters, alerting them to the big changes coming soon. Well, soon did indeed come quickly, and we found ourselves rushing from our furlough in CA back to Guam to pack our possessions into a twenty-foot cargo container. That cargo container is presently on a ship being transported across the Pacific Ocean. We sincerely hope it will make it to us with no further delays (yes, they’ve already delayed delivery by a week). In the meantime, we are living in a beautiful 1800’s era parsonage that has been deemed a historical landmark in Santa Barbara County. We are grateful for the loaned air mattresses and table with chairs so we can sit down and sleep on something besides hardwood floors! We are anxious to have our school supplies, kitchen goods, books, bedding (and beds!), toiletries and furniture so we are ready for the pending school year. Our girls will be transitioning from being home schooled to attending the local public schools. I will be transitioning from being my kids’ teacher to formally teaching only students at Pacific Islands University! I am excited to more fully devote myself to this, and I’m currently preparing for the counseling class I will be teaching via Skype in a week. I am also excited to continue my role as mentor for PIU staff and to provide counseling via chat and Skype. I marvel at the amazing windows that modern technology opens. Too bad there isn’t a way to coach a volleyball team using technology! I am saddened that I will not be able to continue coaching weekly practices with the PIU women; I guess I’ll have to schedule intensive practices during the weeks I am at PIU each semester. In the meantime, I’m contacting some companies to see if I can get donated balls and equipment, and I’m hoping that a Guam friend may be willing to take my place as head coach.

Several people have expressed confusion as to what exactly this physical move means in regards to my work in Micronesia. I will continue to serve PIU and the people of Micronesia with the same commitment as when I was physically living in Guam. The difference will be in HOW I go about my work. To accomplish this, I will rely heavily on modern technology, travel, and I am now blessed to have access to resources that will enable me to do the research necessary to develop strategies to address the tragically high rates of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and suicide throughout Micronesia. Eric will be working full-time as the pastor for adult ministries at Community Covenant Church of Goleta (part of his job description is coordinating the North Park Seminary Extension classes that utilize the church’s classrooms, so it’s similar to what he’s been doing). As his schedule allows, he will continue to provide pastoral training to remote island pastors (currently, we are planning to be in Yap in February), and he looks forward to cultivating ministry among Micronesians who have relocated here to the states. He will also be providing the lectures for the fall class he was slotted to teach at PIU prior to us knowing we would be in a new location!

Certainly, we are surprised by many of the changes that have come our way, but we remain confident that God is directing our course. I had a dream just last night that I think symbolizes this concept well. I was riding a camel (no I have NEVER ridden a camel) and the camel didn’t even have a bridal in its mouth by which to control it! I knew I was supposed to keep the camel moving up a twisting and turning path with many caves and rock formations and hundreds of path tributaries. I wasn’t exactly sure which route to take to get to the top. Was one a short-cut? Was one riddled with danger? Add to this that my camel wasn’t particularly cooperative. The dromedary especially wanted to stop and eat any grass it saw and it often acted ornery. I had to be creative to keep it moving and I wished I had a clearly marked map. As I reflected on this dream, I realized that one thing was certain, I KNEW I was suppose to keep heading up the mountain. And so it is, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24).

Addendum: Since we wrote this, our cargo container arrived and all the contents were transferred into the parsonage where we are living. So, as we type this, there are unpacked boxes throughout the house, and a lot of chaos. We are extremely grateful to God that our belongings have arrived safely, and we'll be even more grateful when they are all put away so that we can devote ourselves more fully to our work.

No comments: