Another week disappears into what is now the past and the present rolls on, consuming second after second, minute after minute, and the planned interval for sending out newsletters stretches from a couple of days late, to a couple of weeks late. And time rolls onward.
The last month and a half have seen some pretty big events happening within City Mission, and within our family.
Obviously, there was the disruption of having to bundle Cheree, Madison, and Makenna onto a plane for Cairns, to sit and wait, and get Makenna’s visa sorted out. Sure, there were times of frustration for us, as things which once were allowed, are allowed no longer, while we thought they still were, and as we tried to wrestle with the idea that perhaps being here was not an effective use of our time (or sponsor dollars), and as we faced the great unknown. Moments of tension when we remembered back to the first time we went through the process, and had a rather lengthy wait in between hearing that all was approved, and actually having our visas printed. But in the end, all was over and done in a very short time – even though it felt like a very long time to me (Dave). Needless to say, we’re very thankful that it is all done, and back to normal. Cheree even seems to have managed to catch up on the homeschooling which I inadvertently missed, so on top of being thankful to have my wife and daughters back, I’m thankful for the gifts my wife was given. I’m fairly certain that one of those gifts is patience, and I can’t promise that I’m not often accidentally testing the limits of her gifting there.
That also brings with it thankfulness for the people who helped her along the way – for the lady who held Madison while waiting for the delayed flight, and who helped get everyone on board; for Pete and Maddie in Port Moresby for making sure everyone got transferred over to their next flight without incident; for the nameless man who helped Cheree get luggage through the airport on her way back; for the Church community in Cairns who organised to have Cheree picked up, and transported around, and fed, and watered, and entertained (I wont mention your names, but please know we are extremely grateful for the love you poured out on a stranger).
Following this came the official news that the CEO of City Mission for the last 6 years is retired, and currently there is no-one taking his place. Fortunately, Cheree was back in country in time for us to be able to meet with him for what is probably the last time on this side of eternity, and to share our thankfulness for the work he has put in over the years, and to wish him well for whatever the future holds.
And now comes the part where I must be intentionally vague. “Well, why mention it then?” you ask. And the answer is simple – we don’t really know what the future holds, and we don’t know how many times this rollercoaster we’re jumping on is going to twist, turn, plunge, climb, or loop, and it is the source of much prayer on our side. Even if you don’t know all the details, we think that your prayers on this matter too are invaluable.
As I mentioned above, currently the CEO is not being replaced. We have been given some details about the plan for the interim, but it should suffice to say that the workloads for the general managers is increasing and/or changing, and that there are many variables which hang in the balance. One thing which this does change, is that my role is also expanding and changing a little, as I take up some of the work which Bob needs to drop to free him up to do what needs to be done. Really, we need your prayers on two fronts: first, that the void is filled quickly, with a good solution, and second, that Bob and myself are given the wisdom to run City Mission in Lae, in a way which is beneficial to all involved.
In the meantime, City Mission Madang also had its launch, which is a good thing, but they also need your prayers as they face issues with trying to find staff, trying to get vehicle up and running, and are having some difficulties with the process of making purchases which need to be made (I may be wrong, but as I understand it, the trend in Madang is moving away from cheques, which is the primary method of operation for City Mission in the other two locations).
Apart from all of that, we seem to be doing ok. Everyone is healthy, everyone is happy (generally), and while our neighbours are missing from the compound at the moment, we’re thrilled to see our two oldest boys spend more and more time with their noses in books, or to see them go and join in the soccer games with the young men from City Mission. We’re also excited to see Calvin start to learn to read, and to get excited about the idea that one day he’ll be able to spend the day with his nose in books. And Madison… Well, let’s just say that toilet training is not without its moments of fun, its moments of pleasure (hearing her come up with her own little song with the not at all repetitive lyrics, “Me did a wee, me gets a lolly!”), and it’s moments of having to clean up messes you’d rather not have seen in the first place.
Projects continue, as projects do, and as we near the end of the children’s centre (albeit with a little scope creep thrown in), we look towards the mountain of possibilities and try to figure out which bit to tackle next. But I guess the adage holds true: how do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.