As I said in my last entry, we have experienced darkness here too. There have been battles with battles of sickness, fatigue, loneliness, homesickness, rebellion… many tools of Satan have been tried against us. And for a time some have worked, but God has always prevailed. And He will ALWAYS prevail.
We, well, I, a, currently experiencing another bout of homesickness (another reason I am grateful to have our Bible Study – I know they – as well as you out there – are praying for us). Also, there has been a series of events recently that weigh heavily on me. Which I think is one reason why I am up writing this.
First, two black dogs, owned by SIL members, have disappeared and now are most assuredly dead. Black dogs are especially feared by the nationals here as they are associated with magic. However, while under normal circumstances black dogs would be avoided at all costs, they are occasionally procured, sacrificed, and eaten as part of a spiritual ceremony when the village "spirit man" wishes to perform a spell that is particularly strong and/or bad.
It is believed this is what happened as it was later reported the dogs were seen being "greased" – which means being given food and being made friends with by nationals. And, these dogs would have to be taken off their chains and made to follow.
I think I am particularly disturbed by this as not only am I a dog lover, but I knew both of these dogs. One, I had walked him for nearly a month not long after we arrived here for the family who were caring for him. His name was Buka (boo-ka) and he was an incredibly sweet lab. The other was named Shadow and he was a sweet dog when he wanted to be. He was strong and very protective of his family.
Two days ago there wa a road accident on the highway between here and Goroka. I cannot give many details here, but the main thing is that because of this accident which had several fatalities SIL members are advised not to travel to Goroka.
Finally, a little girl aged six years, has passed away in Tairora village. This village is on the edge of Ukarumpa. The little girl was somehow related to our yard man, Mattias. Kinship ties are sometimes fuzzy. One thing I know for sure is that Mattias is greatly saddened by the girl's death. His own young daughter used to play with her he told me. He is a gentle man who loves children, including my boys and I could see today in his eyes the sorrow. It broke my heart.
As I lay tossing and turning not knowing why, I finally realized that not only am I affected so because I am a mother, but it reminded me of so many emotions I felt when my niece, Charlotte, passed away. All these deep wounds that never quite heal over. It makes me ache. I want to put my arms around the family of this girl I don't know the name of and cry with them. It also makes me want to see my family.
It is events like these that make me want to leave and yet, it is because of events like these that motivate me to stay. Without the light of God's Word, His love continuing to press in to this country, to these beloved people, their lives would be so many sorrows with no hope for light at the end of the tunnel.
Our neighbors, Mandy and Ben, are translators in the Sepik (a region down on the coast). About 10 years ago or so, there was a tsunami in the area the work. It devasted the coastline, sweeping out to sea forever about 50% of the villagers living there. Those who were left moved in-land. They had the Bible that had been translated into their heart language. When the tribes in-land saw this, they said - "We want this too." and it was the start of what Wycliffe calls a "cluster project". Related languages are brought together to work together and produce Bible translations faster.
Out of great tragedy can come great triumph. Like the pheonix bird.
I don't know what will come of these recent events. But I hope you will pray with me that God will be glorified in it. That comfort, peace and joy will break through.