Changing Direction? A personal journey

Posted on Posted in Mixed Nuts

By William Butler

It snuck up on us.

Eunice Messersmith, financial leader of PBT-PNG for many years now also serving as our Director, was suddenly quite ill. As she was on her way to see a doctor in Australia, Eunice asked me to temporarily hold things together until she could get back. In God’s wisdom and grace, she never returned.

At the urging of our Acting Director, I continued in the finance manager role until the next meeting of all of the missionaries in January 2011. Prior to the meeting, my colleagues asked if I would consider continuing on while a replacement was found. Wow, big question! Our plans for the year were focused on continuing the progress of the previous two years toward the completion of the Waran New Testament. I knew accepting this role would slow down the progress. I also expected my wife might not be too happy with this change. But we both knew that the next few months would be critical for PBT and would be extremely difficult without someone in the financial role. Faced with a two diverging tracks that would pull us in opposing directions, we took it to the Lord for his wise counsel. In doing so we found peace. Even though it was off the track we had wanted to follow with the Waran New Testament, the Lord gave us both peace with filling the finance role for a time.

A year later we are still here. We really didn’t expect to still be on this track, but that and still is in the Lord’s hands. And we still have peace with being here even though the desire to see the Waran New Testament completed has not diminished.

In the intervening months the Lord has given me a new perspective. Though what we are currently doing seems drastically different than translation and going off in a new direction, it isn’t. We came to PNG to do what the Lord wanted us to do and right now that is manage finances. Our translation track led seamlessly to the finance one and in the Lord’s timing will lead us back to translation. As one author has described it, these are just the most recent steps of a “long obedience in the same direction.” Nothing sneaks up on the Lord.

William and Robin Butler are serving among the Waran language group and is the  branch finance manager.

2 thoughts on “Changing Direction? A personal journey

  1. William, not a day goes by that I don’t think of the huge hole which Eunie left when she departed from us. Many of us fell into it. Knowing you for so long, I can appreciate the difficulty you experienced when confronted with this, hopefully temporary, role change. I am glad that you can express your peacefulness concerning it. You and Eunie always shared a concern about the integrity and accuracy of the accounting system and often worked together (sometimes noisily) to improve it. Perhaps God was preparing you for this time.

    My own experience has led me to a similar situation. I am certainly not doing exactly what I promised God I would do over thirty years ago, but I hope I am still practicing “long obedience in the same direction.” Though my grief will abide with me always and I miss Eunie every day, I am glad for the man she made me and always inspired by her steadfast faith and determination to serve God to the best of her abilities. I’d like to leave this mortal life as she did, with my hand on the plow.

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