Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eggs In A Thin Aluminum Basket

A few weeks ago, as I climbed up into the Pilatus Porter, I was warmed by the lighthearted chatter coming from the cabin behind me.  The six guys in the back were ribbing each other with the ease that comes from decades of working together and perhaps from being well acquainted with each other’s foibles.  The easy goodwill and camaraderie were palpable.  I smiled as I went through my pre-start checklists on the airplane.  Andi, Demi, Yuli, Enos…what a group of heroes.

Yapil was my last stop of the day…a day that felt a bit like driving the city bus.  I’d been to the mountain villages of Kosarek, Nipsan, Omban, Okbap, and now finally Yapil.  At these stops I gradually collected the team of guys that has been working on the Ketengban Old Testament translation.  As I started the airplane in Yapil, it dawned on me:  I’ve got all the eggs in this basket.  Lord, we’re always dependent on you for safety, but this would be particularly devastating to lose this group of guys.

As I thought about that flight, bringing the entire OT team out to Sentani for a couple weeks of checking their drafts with their translation consultant, I was struck by how tenuous this whole thing is.  Suspended 10,000 feet up in an empty sky, a single engine pulling a pair of wings over a seemingly endless stretch of impenetrable rain forest…it was easy to feel incredibly vulnerable.  All our eggs in a fragile aluminum basket. 

This endeavor of reaching the remotest parts of the earth with the Good News of Jesus feels just like that most of the time:  ridiculously fragile.  The only way this work will ever succeed is if God undergirds it, protects it, and prospers it.  But it is His work and it will bear fruit.  

The Ketengban Team had a great session of checking and the Old Testament should be finished early next year.


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