Here We Go!!!

It’s January 27, 2011.  Today is the day!  By the time you read this I will be on my way, or already arrived in Los Angeles.  This will be the first of four legs of my journey to the mission center I am heading to in Papua New Guinea.  I will go on the midday flight to LA and then rest for about five hours in a hotel before boarding the 14 hour fight to Brisbane, Australia.

I arrive in Brisbane on their Saturday morning around 8 a.m. and head straight to a small motel where I will rest for a day before flying out early on Sunday to go to Port Moresby, the capital of PNG.  When I arrive there, I will go to a mission Guest House and rest for another day.  On Monday, I will board a small mission plane (which will hold about 8 passengers and cargo) and fly up to the mission center in the highlands of PNG.

I will travel by myself to get over there, and then Jill will follow a few days behind me.  We have done this a few times now, and we have seen that every airline has done a great job of helping me with wheelchair assistance.  And the concierge and managers at the hotel, motel and Guest House know me very well by now, and they too take great care of me.  For this I am very thankful, and give thanks to God that I am still able even with my muscle disease to be able to travel around the world.

So this answers the question that some people have asked us about whether or not it would be better to have Jill travel with me and help me at the airports.  What we have seen sometimes is that it is actually harder to travel together.  They see that Jill is with me and so they think, “Oh, he has a wife.  She can take care of him then.”  And they leave her to try to push me and lug or push all of our luggage at the same time.  How smart is that?  Duh!!!!

So this trip will take me four days to get to my destination.  But because I have taken rest stops all along the way there, by the time I do arrive I am fairly rested and in good shape.  And by sleeping during the three nights leading up to my arrival there, my body has had a chance to adjust to all the time zone changes and I don’t have too much difficulty with jet lag.

Jill on the other hand always opts for the fastest route to or from PNG.  Partly this is because she likes to get there and not make stops along the way, but also with her nursing job back in Calgary, she has to try to not waste her time off with overnight stops or long layovers.  I am so thankful that she is able to come and be with me to help me with my needs while I am working in PNG, but I do get concerned for her with her pushing herself hard for about 34 hours before she can rest at the Guest House.  She will sleep there one night, and then fly up the next day to join me in the highland center.

This trip will be the longest one I have taken in almost four years.  Usually my trips to PNG have been five to six weeks long, but this one will be nine weeks long, just over two months.  Each time we have traveled to PNG for me to do this Bible translation consultant work, we have learned something more about how to make the trip and the work easier and more comfortable for me to be able to do it.

But even if I were to say that we have become “smarter” about how to do these trips, I always recognize that it is God ultimately who gives me the strength to be able to do this work.  I think that Solomon said it well in Proverbs 3:7-8

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.                                 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your  bones.

In addition to thanking God for His sustaining hand, and thanking Jill for being my help-mate, I want to thank all the people who hold us up in prayer to God.  I am thoroughly convinced that the prayers of God’s people make a difference in the real world we live in.  So please accept our thanks to all of you who do pray for us, and please do not stop praying for us.

Given what I just said, we ask you to pray for us in the following way:

  • safe traveling and good rests for me from January 27 until I arrive on the 31st
  • strength, energy and minimal pain for me throughout the journey
  • for Jill not to worry about me as I travel  : )
  • safe traveling and smooth transfers for Jill from February 1 – 4
  • that all the team will be ready there to start the checking of Ephesians when I get there

There are certainly more things we could ask you to pray for us, but these are the most important items for us.  While we are in PNG, I would like to keep you updated on how our Scripture checking is going, and so I will use my Thursday postings to tell you of our progress.  I will also try to share interesting stories that arise in our checking sessions.

I pray that you all will be blessed by these stories I write, but in all things I pray that God would get the honor and the glory.