Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Challenges of Starting Over

We have been here for four years now. Abby celebrated her fourth birthday a few weeks after our arrival. Having just turned eight, she remembers little of our former life in “the outside world”. Miriam was born after our move and knows nothing of that life. Sara, at 11, is the only one who carries any real memory of our pre-Arctic existence. Much has changed for Warren and I as well.

The ebb and flow of plumbing difficulties dominate my memories of the first year, back when everything about village life was a novelty. At least once, I believe, we were unable to wash clothes, dishes, or ourselves all at the same time. There was a few weeks last winter when we had to use a honeybucket (a 5 gallon bucket toilet) for the first time. At the apartments they were stuck using honeybuckets most of the winter, so we got off easy. It is probably part of my personality, but I found these problems more amusing than annoying.

Learning to squish the remnants of our 1400 square foot home into 600 square feet was another part of the novelty at first. Later, having boxes stacked to the ceiling and sitting on beanbags was not so fun. But through gradually reducing our excess belongings, we gained the room for our place to become a home. A cast-off couch covered with a blanket also helped a lot during family and worship time. Finding out how few things I really need has made more room in my thoughts to just enjoy life.

I have been growing a lot and learning to show love to my family better as I have grown closer to God. As I have decided to place our school time much lower on the priority list, the girls have been much more helpful. I have more time for Warren and more patience with the girls. And the school work is also getting done. God really does have the best answers.

When people ask me how I like it in Selawik, I tend to say how beautiful it is here. And the beauty is more than I can absorb at times. But even more than that, I can't bear to think of leaving the people here. I want them to see all wonders of life with Jesus that I see. Even when they (mostly children) do things that hurt us, I just don't have it in me hold it against them. I know the hurts they face daily and I want so much for them to have Jesus in all his fullness to heal them.

At times it feels we are in the wrong place, that we are not the right ones for the job. But today it comes to me that perhaps the radio project that has occupied the largest part of Warren's time is the main reason we are here. And perhaps more people will begin to trust us and to see Jesus in us the longer we stay. We have begun to see God working in new ways. We are very excited about the recommitment of one of our members through baptism. He has a lot of growing to do and things haven't been perfect since his baptism last month. Still, we are encouraged as we are praying for him to have God's strength to deal with all the challenges of his new start.