You are very much missed and loved!! Ok, I had to get that out... I just got access to email yesterday, and I feel like there's already so much to say!! I won't overwhelm with every detail, though it is tempting... Hopefully I can send some pictures in the future. I'm too tired to deal with that right now though :).
First, Thank you to those who came out last Sunday to Jess's place- that meant so much to me!
I can't even tell you in adequate words what I felt flying into Goroka. And coming up the bumpy muddy rocky road to ITF... It didn't take long to unpack and get settled into my little round house (no cabin this year). And now- I am where and as I've wanted to be since I left this place last year. My feet are dirty (had to wear the rainboots today!), my tummy's full, my bug net is up, I'm wearing skirts, and cooking constantly (can you even imagine!?). I am HOME. I am so happy, and feel so blessed to be here! Again!
With that feeling comes another, of contemplation I guess... Good thing I'm in our Father's hands. I will say though- I covet your prayers on my behalf in regards to decision making and future missions involvement.
My time here at ITF will mainly be spent helping in the Kitchen- we cook for 45-60 people at a time, plus have to prepare things in advance for Side Trip (when the students visit a tribe). They've also got me running the Kai Bar (snack bar) between classes, and doing little office jobs too. I am thankful that God has allowed for ample time to spend with the students- this is such a good group! They're who I came to serve, and I'm really enjoying doing so, and getting to know them. I have lots of time to spend with Sally- my favorite staff person here, and her husband Dave- both very good sources of encouragement and wise counsel.
I've been to the villages once thus far- haven't seen my old language helper, but heard she had a baby. Lots of familiar faces, but it's hard to put names and faces together quite yet... The ladies who help in the kitchen remembered me, which I thought was kinda cool.
On Sunday, the speaker during church talked about having a passion for God, versus inadvertently having a passion for other things over God. It's so easy to forget that love for God is more than just knowledge OF Him, more than just obeying rules we think will please Him... It's the most important thing! Paul prays in Eph.1:7 that we would be blessed with wisdom and revelation, so that we would know God better. Paul is referring to an experiential knowledge here. I hope each of you grows in this type of knowledge of Our God.
I do have some prayer requests- some are kind of silly, but still they're requests!
1. For the teaching in the Bena tribe- they heard the Gospel in 2006, but seem to have a very low level of spiritual interest, and lots of "lotu-ism", or "playing church" without true belief. This area has been very "missionized" in the past, by people who had good intentions, but didn't communicate the message in an effective manner. The result now is very mixed beliefs, and real reluctance to any different message (including the Truth).
2. (this is the silly one) I really would like to go on Side Trip with the students! This would be a total bonus for me.
3. For finances to continue to come in for me- especially since I want to go on sidetrip, because that's an extra $200 or so (since we have to fly into the location).
4. For health to maintain- Last year I wasn't sick at all, and I've already been sick after just a week here...
5. For stamina- it's easy to want to nap in the sun, or on my breaks, and I want to be as helpful and involved as possible. Jetlag stinks...
6. For the Spirit's control over my mind- it's easy to think about situations I left behind, and it's very easy for me to get homesick. It took 4 days for it to kick in last year, this year it took a full 8- so that's improvement! I just pray that my focus would be on Christ first, students and staff next, and the surrounding Bena.
I love you all, and wish you could be here too! I wish you could witness the beauty of this place. You'd never want to leave either. Please send me your prayer requests, if you have any- that I may pray for you more effectively.