On Wednesday, October 9, I left Dallas for my third trip to Papua New Guinea. Want to find it on your globe? Put your finger on Australia and go straight north and slightly to the right. There you will see an island, half of which is New Guinea.
My routing for this 20 hour journey was Dallas to Los Angeles to Brisbane(Australia) to Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby. In Port Moresby I then got on a mission plane (the Quest) and flew to the Aiyura Valley, where the Ukarumpa Centre is located. There at Ukarumpa, Wycliffe Bible Translators/SIL has a large self-contained community. Years ago, Wycliffe’s operated a Summer Institute of Linguistics(hence, SIL), which is now a separate linguistics training component of the larger organization. The compound known as Ukarumpa is home to 700-1000 people and consists of houses, an international school for missionary kids(MKs), a post office, an auto shop, a teen center and a supermarket.
Every year, the missionaries in residence there, have a Spiritual Emphasis Week. A guest preacher comes in, preaches his heart out and provides spiritual refreshment for our colleagues who are involved in bible translation and support services attached to the task of translation. During the week of October 13-18, I preached twice a day and provided music in each service as well. Because it would be inappropriate to let a guest rest too much ( smile), I was also scheduled to spend three afternoons with some local Papua New Guinean pastors, in chat sessions and one outdoor market preaching event.
In the 10 Monday-to Friday services, I explored “The Power of a Simple Question”, a series in which I looked at 10 questions posed in scripture. On the anchor Sundays (October 13 and 20), I preached stand alone sermons. During my twelve days in country, I preached 15 times.
I am exhausted, but it is such a good exhaustion!!
Road warriors say that it takes a day, for every hour of time zone difference, before one fully recovers from jet lag. As Papua New Guinea is 15 hours ahead of Dallas, TX, it will take about 15 days to recuperate. My body concurs.
I feel greedy after this third trip to PNG. Some folks are trying to get there one time and I have been there three!
Ministering to those who labor to put the scriptures into every language group, and all those who provide support services to assist the translators, is an extraordinary opportunity.
I must still pinch myself as I realize that I get to preach and offer music as my “job”.