Next Stop: Back to PNG

June 9, 2023

Erin's speech therapy. Check.
Underlying cause of Nate's sepsis. Check.
Emily's passport. Check.
Emily's visa. Waiting.
Plane tickets. Waiting.

It's been a busy season since Emily was born. Three weeks ago she turned three months, which more or less marked a step for us toward having the bandwidth to get things done. Our minds have already kicked into international-move-gear, and we’ve been making preparations to head back to PNG soon. We have worked diligently and quickly to be able to leave by the end of the month; all that’s left is for the PNG government to approve Emily’s visa. So, we'll leave when God wants.

When the time comes, our plan is to move back to the Goroka area - the same area from which we left - but this time, we'll be living in a different community. We had been living on a support base, Lapilo, but we'll be moving to a church-planting base, Sobega, which assists church-planting works in the Highlands. We'll also be visiting another church-planting base in Wewak, which assists the Sepik region. During our time back in the US, we’ve been having conversations with another missionary family in PNG about partnering together. Things are looking promising, but again, we leave this up to God. This is our next step - to find teammates so we can begin considering unreached people groups and where to allocate. Of course, our desire is to find a tribe quickly and begin learning language, but it is prudent to take whatever time necessary to make sure that we are following God's lead and not forcing our own way. Your prayers are appreciated as our family shifts gears from one culture back to another, and as we seek God and His wisdom in our next steps.

We're wrapping up our first home assignment. In many ways it was great, and in some surprising ways it was difficult. We're thankful that God surrounded us with family and friends who loved us as often as we reached out for it. As Erin's speech has grown, so has our chance to teach her about God and His Word. As our family has grown, so has my recognition of who God has called me to be as a husband and a father. As our home has moved internationally and our cultural identity skewed, even if just slightly, our faith was challenged: Would we draw near to God in the midst of comfort and distractions, as we did when comforts and distractions were few? My understanding has deepened that God's glory must reign preeminent in my heart and mind, no matter the ease or difficulty of life. Strangely enough, it seems easier to worship Him when my cravings aren't being satisfied - cravings for family, air-conditioning, health, food, etcetera.

You can thank God with us for the way He has provided for us, especially in regards to our medical needs. Our bills have been substantial, yet not more so than our support. Thank you to those who give and pray so that our needs are taken care of. We are so grateful. Next stop: back to work in PNG.

Nate and Laura