7 years

We've lived in Papua New Guinea for 7 years now. We arrived in March
2007. It is time for some reflection.

Q.What have we given up?:
-the birth of a nephew
-multiple funerals: three uncles, two grandfathers, two grandmothers, an
aunt, friends and more
-the birth of twins
-the birth of a friend's only son
-visiting sick loved ones in the hospital
-a good friend's wedding
-church Sundays and community events
-countless hours with loved ones, time with grandparents, moments that
we can not regain, celebrations with friends and family that we did not

and today, a very close friend of mine experienced the birth of his
first child, a boy, and I was not in attendance.

You'll notice I didn't list foods, amusement parks, clothing that fits
and other modern conveniences. It's true we've given much of that up,
but it doesn't cut to the heart like missing life changing moments with
loved ones.

Q.What have we gained?:
-moments like this video describe (start at 6:10 for the quick version)

-or testimonies like this one: (start at 00:24 for quicker version),
the story of how 1 man reading his Bible, changed a community.

Q.Was it worth it?:
Yes and No. Maybe I could wax poetic here about the worth of a single
soul entering into heavenly gates. But that's God's economy, not mine.
My selfish economy says to me that no, it in fact wasn't worth missing
out on the most wonderful moments of life with those I hold dear. I
battle with my more spiritual nature and say 'but surely your reward
will be in heaven', but to be honest I'm not seeking a heavenly reward.
I don't deserve one, I'm still a selfish human being with sins that get
forgiven. No I really really want to be alongside those I love for
these events. I really really want to be an uncle, a brother, a son,
and my wife and children want to be in their relational roles as well.
We want to be able to go and be with those we care about. To hug, to
cry, to comfort, to cheer, to celebrate to LIVE together.

But we aren't and we don't. God has seized our hearts and put a vision
and burden on them so that we can not be happy unless we are pursuing
that vision.

The act of taking the things we've missed out on, and making our
attitudes that of a generous giver, and then giving them, as a sweet
smelling sacrifice to God is how I worship Him.

On the days when I would rather be in a hospital room in California than
standing on a muddy road in the rain in PNG, I am worshipping. Because I
can honestly say I don't begrudge God that I am called to PNG to do this
work. I am sad to have missed something special back home, but I am not
sad that I get to participate in this wonderful ministry God is doing.

I won't put a candy coating on it, missing out on things hurts. It cuts
deeply to know you are missing out on lives that matter most to you, and
trading it for souls that matter most to God. I can not love a perfect
stranger as I love my sisters, but God can instill that in me.

I am rather certain God would tell you it's no contest. He seeks after
the lost sheep. He tells us to depart from family.
I on the other hand, would tell you it's a daily contest. One that
requires daily sacrificing my will to God's to continue doing this work
with a cheerful heart. And I can honestly say we have accomplished
that. We don't live in constant homesickness or regret. Instead we
live cheerfully.

Some days are harder than others. But we don't view our time on earth
as ours any longer. Our time belongs to God, He's asked it of us, and
we've given it freely and obediently. When our attitudes stink, we pray
and work on correcting them.

And then, from time to time, we get to return home, and be with those we
love. For a short while. There is much work to be done here, and we
feel the urge to return before long.

We are a people caught between two places. Where we call home - our
heart is with our family, and where we live home, our mind is with our
work. And what better analogy for a people who are not to see this
world as their home.

a song we sang as children goes:

"Oh Lord, you know, I'm just passing through, my treasures are laid up,
somewhere beyond the blue.....I can't live at home in this world anymore."

Don't we all feel a constant tug in two directions. It seems to be the
way with life.
Heaven and hell
Selfish will and God's will
Temporary home and permanent home
Men Mars, Women Venus

Tugging, tugging always pulling. When we make a choice, to do that
which honors God, it is worship. When you choose to depart with some
money to support us, to depart with what you're doing at the moment to
pray for us, to depart with valuable free-time and email us, you are
making a choice and acting and that is worship, because you choose to do
it to glorify God.

Read Ecc. ch 2 some time. This way of living is the only way that makes
sense to us. This constant battle of wills and choosing to please God.
And make no mistake, we aren't the only ones doing it. Everyone who
knows us is doing it, in one form or another. Whether they like it or
not... they're making a sacrifice.

To everyone who has ever said 'I wish Chad and Kendal were here right
now to see this...' your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.

We miss you, we're excited to see you soon!
It's been a crazy 7 years, and I wouldn't trade a moment of it.

Why do I say all of these terribly honest things? Because I know that
there is someone out there like I was 7 years ago thinking 'God has
burdened me with becoming a missionary, and yet, I am finding it very
hard to leave my family. Aren't I supposed to get some supernatural
power that allows me not to miss my loved ones, now that I've committed
to going where God is sending me?'

You can ask for that. The Lord knows I tried to at first. But it
didn't come. It tore my heart out at first, it was painful. When
return on furlough I'll be reminded of that pain when I try to catch up
on lives I've missed out on, and when I have to say goodbye again. But
then I realized, the act of giving this cheerfully in worship to God
shapes you and benefits you and I believe God takes it as a sweet
smelling offering and is pleased with it. At least I hope He does. For
those in that position I was in 7 years ago, I have this to say.

Your life will never be as fulfilling as when you are doing what God has
burdened you to do. You have a choice. You can seek your own comfort
and pleasure as Solomon did and find that it brings only temporary
happiness. Or you can give it up to God and find that your life is
permanently fulfilling. Missing family is a small blot of sadness on an
otherwise fulfilling life. If God has truly impressed a burden on your heart, then choosing to ignore God's calling would mean
your family/friends becomes the center of your happiness, and would be a large
portion of happiness on an otherwise lackluster life. It's your choice to
make. We made it 7 years ago.  Not everyone gets the opportunity to make that hard choice. Consider yourself fortunate that you have such a cross to bear.

To all of our friends and family whom we miss and who have missed us....
we thank you for your sacrifice as well, and we look very forward to
seeing you soon for 1 year in the U.S. come June 2014.

At this time we're praying for a house to stay in for that year, please
join us in prayer.