I (Julie) have been trying to write a blog for a couple of weeks but every time I try to put words to paper I hit a wall. It is almost like there is something trying to stop me from sharing with you all of our blessings and challenges since leaving Canada this past September. So this time I am just going to share with you these past couple of months in a point form that will start from when we get ready to leave Canada in September till now.
- Our trip home this time from furlough was a bit different in a couple of ways. The biggest was that Greg was still recovering from having gallbladder surgery and was not suppose to lift heavy things for about two more weeks. And for those of you who live overseas will understand that this is hard as we try to take a lot of different things back with us that we will need or want for however long we are gone. I was so thankful to be traveling with some nice strong teenagers as they stepped up and did a lot of lifting. And I would say that this was by far the hardest time our children have every had when it came to leaving Canada. It was not because they hate living where we do because they enjoy the city but they miss having friends and other people around them. They enjoyed and soaked up all the time that they could get with other people while back home. And I love the fact that so many people took time to encourage and uplift our children while they were with them. And of course Franklin got to experience his first time of freedom from parents while working at camp and like any seventeen year old he wanted more of it.
- As you have just read about there were a few stressers on our trip back and right before but I want to pause a moment and share with you a special moment that actually happened at five in the morning as we were standing outside the Winnipeg airport. We had just finished unloading all of our bins, bags, and backpacks from the vehicles and gathered around our dear friend for one last prayer together. As our friend Billy is praying a women who was standing outside next to the railing called out and said that it was sure nice to see people praying together and that she could sure use some of that for her self. Our friend politely told her we would once we were finished and then continued to finish what we were doing. As soon as the prayer ended I turned and headed to this lady who I had never met before. And I found out that she had just lost her daughter and she was about to fly across the country to go and pick up her ashes and bring them home. And like most parents she had no idea how she was going to find the strength to make the journey. So while Greg and our family tried getting all the carts heading inside to check in I found myself wrapping my arms around this dear women and praying for her. It was a moment that I shall not forget and I felt so humbled to be able to pause from our crazy time and just encourage someone else.
- After over forty hours in travel time our family made it safely to Sentani but it sure felt very different in a couple of ways. One was that there was unrest and riots that had just settled down which meant that there was extra security everywhere and I could tell our teammates were very weary from the tension. Plus this was are first time back to the city since being there for all the flooding and landslides that happened months before. And even though life goes on the side effects are still everywhere as you drive around you can still see all of the things that are still in process when it comes to clean up. Thankfully our children seem totally unaffected by it and just enjoyed sleeping on beds and hanging out with friends once more. And for Greg there of course was his airplane that he had left sitting right across the street plus a brand new one as well and he was know down to only one more week of light duty before he could fly again.
- So after finishing up all of our things (visa renewal) in Sentani we finally arrived home to Merauke after being gone almost four months. It was great to be reconnected with our national staff who had worked to put a new roof on the hanger and office while we were gone. Plus they painted both the hangar and office as well as take care of both the missionaries houses while everyone was gone. It took about a week to unpack the house, get things working again (needed a new hot water tank), and feeling like it was home once more. And it was always great joy to see our neighbors and different friends from around town. Greg was able to then go and get our old plane and start flight operations once more as we waited for the last little bit of government paperwork to be finished on the new plane. As we waiting more unrest broke out in the Wamena area which lead to our staff (expat and national) to be taking out of the area until things calmed down. Thankfully, our area on the south coast has been able to stay peaceful during these times of unrest.
- About a week after starting to fly Greg received word that all the paperwork was complete for the new plane and he now needed to head to Sentani for about a week of different things before bring the new plane home. Both Jaclynn and Isaac were able to travel with Greg for our planes last operational flight before landing in Sentani. They loved getting to get a tour of one of the villages that we serve a missionary lady and even got to take a small boat ride back to the plane. Franklin and I took the commercial route as this allowed for more weight which was need for some school books that needed to go with us. Little did we know that within a couple days we were once again going to be faced with another challenge. I had noticed that I was tired and my one side was uncomfortable a little but after only being back in country a few weeks that is still a little normal. So when I woke up with sharp pain in my stomach just like the gallbladder thing years ago our heart rates did start to beat faster and our imaginations start to run. Thankfully God had it all under His control and we were near a good doctor who after seeing me told us that it was typhoid. Which can be very serious and can lead to people being flown out to handle it. The funny part was our imaginations had taken off when the doctor starting talking out loud with all thing things she was noticing wrong like an in large liver and so on. So that by the time she said typhoid it felt like a relief and not that big of thing at the time even though it was. She had the medicine right on hand and I was able to start it right away. Thankfully, the pain lessened and I reacted to the drugs well and within the first week I noticed a huge difference. However, it has probably taken a whole month to recovery completely and I am now this past month felt more like my old self. Through it all though I had to laugh at my daughters comment once we got back from the doctors office and told her what it was along with an explanation. She just shook her head and said in a funny but calm way, “Here we go again!! Something tells me this year is not going to be any better then last year.” Also, that same day after being diagnosed with typhoid our family along with all of our Sentani teammates and friends were able to gather around our new float plane and pray together before it began official operations a few days later. Which Isaac had the privilege of being a passenger with Greg for that flight.
- Now our days are filled with school work, household chores, and Greg handling different types of work at the office (flight days, office days, maintenance). Franklin did plant a garden when we arrived home so we have some nice corn growing in our yard. I have really started to use a lot of our local stores which look like small shacks for things so that I am in our neighborhood more. Jaclynn is really enjoying going to Sunday school at our church as she is in the the youth group which has done some fun things like soccer with the little kids and going to the beach for their class. Isaac still seems to be growing some and eating everything in sight however he is not looking for just snack food. When he gets hungry he is now looking for a full meal which has greatly increased my hours spent in the kitchen. Oh, we have also been privileged with getting to meet our new teammates through skype as they finish up their last few units in language school. We are looking forward to them hopefully being with us sometime next spring down in Merauke after they spend some time in Sentani. And Franklin was able to get his motorbike license which you can not get until you are seventeen. So when he can he hops on his mothers bike and goes and gets things for us.