Hope Deferred

Proverbs says that hope deferred makes the heart sick. I’m not sick. That’s exciting. You might remember, back in December, when I first realized that going to Papua New Guinea was a possibility for this summer, that I battled through the idea of whether it was going to Papua New Guinea or following God’s leading that was more important to me (see: Silence). Now, as I face the realization that I probably won’t be boarding a 747 en route to Papua New Guinea in July, I thank God that my hope is in Him, not in going to Papua New Guinea. Apparently, the Lord has given me enough grace to be able  to place my hope in Him alone, not in the dreams and desires I believe He has given me.

Early in this journey, I chose June 1st as a “checkpoint” for determining whether I would really be able to leave in July. In one hour and seventeen minutes, it will be June 1st, and there are a few major items missing from the checklist. My work permit / visa, which I applied for in early April, is MIA (missing in action) and I only have about 40% of the required support. Now, having 40% of support is certainly a reason to praise the Lord for His provision! Even that is a miracle and evidences the willingness of other people to sacrifice in order to be a part of this work to spread the Gospel to unreached people in Papua New Guinea. However, 40% will not provide for basic needs while living in Papua New Guinea, and does not allow me to leave the United States. Do I believe that God could provide? Absolutely (see: Seeing Prayer Work). Do I need to remain under the guidance and wisdom of a mission board? Yes, I believe that I do. Just as God places parents in the lives of children (and young adults) to guide and direct them, New Tribes Mission is a part of the authority structure that I need to respect and trust their experience in making a wise decision in when to leave for the field. Thus, as I review my “checklist,” I see that God has answered prayer. Throughout this journey, I have prayed that God would make His will and direction extraordinarily clear to me (because I’m dense and don’t get subtle hints). There is nothing else I could do to expedite the visa process. It does not normally take this long. That is in God’s hands. I cannot provide for myself financially. That too is in God’s hands.

I believe that God is still leading me to teach at Numonohi Christian Academy in Papua New Guinea (see: Background), however, this does not appear to be His timing. When exactly I will leave is obviously up to Him, but as far as human plans go, everything is still up in the air. I am in contact with the school administration and New Tribes Mission about when would be best as a new goal. I would appreciate your continued prayers for me as I continue to walk step by step as the Lord leads—that He would continue to direct and provide. It is an enormous blessing to know that there are men and women around me, supporting me in prayer, and partnering with me as friends and fellow soldiers in the battle. Thank you all.

-Abby

“And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory” (2 Samuel 23:11-12).
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