Wednesday, May 11, 2011


For those precious few who follow this thing (and you are precious!), just thought I'd let you know that we will be leaving Papua this week traveling back to the U.S. for a 7 month furlough.  Plan is to be back in Papua in January 2012.  We're taking the scenic route, by way of Singapore to let the docs do some poking and prodding on us.  We'll be on the road for two, blogging will probably take a back seat for a while...unless I get bored in an airport somewhere.

I'll leave you with a couple shots from my last flight in Papua...this is the approach into the tight mountain valley of Omban in the eastern highlands.

Clouds and mountains mix for a 'judgement intensive' flight environment.

These poor folks live right on the last ridge on final.
I appreciate their banana trees...I watch them closely
for any sign of wind.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The World Is A Very Safe Place

One Sunday morning, feeling dark and alone, I went to my favorite lonely spot up on a hill to be by myself.  All weekend I had been processing a couple of unpleasant events that threatened to take me out of the ministry I have grown to love so much.

I needed to find God's face in it all.  I wanted His counsel and His comfort...instead, I found Him.  Doesn't always happen this way for me, but I just started to enjoy a sweet fellowship with Jesus and my problems kind of faded off to someplace else.

As I drove down the hill, the issues were still there, they hadn't been resolved, but I started asking myself, if the worst happens, and I have to leave this place, leave this ministry, leave flying, what have I lost?  Well, yes, I've lost some things, but it slowly dawned on me that the experience I had just had, meeting in a personal way with my one could take that from me.  That which is most valuable to me, no one can touch.  Though you put me in solitary confinement, you can't take Jesus from me.  Though you fill me with physical pain, you can't stop me from communing with Him.  You can't touch what I value the most.  All of a sudden the world became a very safe place.

That was over five years ago.  God didn't allow the threats to materialize--we're still here in Papua, still loving this ministry.  That sense of security that I stumbled into that day up on the hill hasn't left me.  The world can be a cold, bitter place.  At times it feels like it has a personal agenda to wipe you off the map.  It's an amazing feeling to look into the blankness of the future knowing that it could hold some pretty rough waters and still feel safe.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fear...And What To Do With It. Part II

Who, then, shall we fear?  

If the 'who' is limited to our fellow human beings, then the answer that Jesus gives us is, clearly, no-one.  Even if they purpose to kill you.  So it would seem then, that we should be fearless, and that fear itself is more or less a nuisance.  But Jesus doesn't give us time to let the mortar of that musing harden--He immediately continues this amazing Luke 12 discourse with these words:

But I will show you whom you should fear: 
Fear him who, after the killing of the body, 
has power to throw you into hell. 
Yes, I tell you, fear him.

So, fearing the appropriate things...this is wisdom.  I think the Bible even says so somewhere.  But most of us in western Christianity have muzzled Jesus on this score.  In the sermons we hear, in the books we read, how often are we loved enough by our teachers to hear these life-giving words of Jesus?  We have made God in an image to our liking and He is not a God to fear.  We have made him a God for us to love and a God for us to be loved by.  Full stop.  We like our one dimensional God.

But almost nothing about God, nor anything that He has created, is one dimensional.  Take waterfalls, for example.

It's really not fair...I get to fly over some of the most majestic waterfalls on the planet.  The mountains of Papua are literally covered with the things.  There is so much rain here that almost every mountain has dozens of huge waterfalls cascading over its cliffs.  Some of them are so isolated that I'm convinced no human being has ever stood at their base, soaking in their beauty.  I love waterfalls.  They fill me with a sense of fairy tale wonder...their pure beauty creates an immediate peace in my soul.  They remind me of all that is good in the world.  I cannot fly by one without those wonderful emotions rising within me.

But waterfalls are terribly dangerous things.  Our home is at the foot of Mount Cyclops.  We can sit in our living room and take in the view of the mountain and its pretty waterfall.  A missionary died climbing that pretty waterfall.

When Cameron was three, I almost lost him in a gorgeous, terrifying Papuan waterfall.  For six months afterwards I would wake up in the middle of the night with a start, heart racing as my dreams had taken me back to that awful struggle against the current to reach my son as a beautiful wall of water did its best to drown him.  I almost lost that struggle.  I love waterfalls.  I fear waterfalls.