By Lori Witham
There are without a doubt negative experiences here in Papua New Guinea. But in Philippians 4:8, Paul instructs Christians to dwell only on what is excellent.
Let me tell you of a day I had long ago in 1995, after I had lived in the country for only two years. It started early in the morning as I drove up to the office, when I noticed a flat tire on my 4-wheel drive Jeep-like car. So I started a pot of coffee brewing then went to ask someone to put the spare tire on. By the time I went to get a cup of coffee, the pot had been emptied. I started a second pot. While waiting, I talked to my boss about how much my battered car was worth since I was planning on selling it. He suggested I first find out the cost to repair the body at a body shop. Before going, I went to get my coffee. The second pot was already empty.
I took my car to a body shop run by a Christian mission. I told the shop manager I was selling the car, and he said he was looking to buy one. So with me along, he test drove my car to his house in order to show it to his wife. He tried out the four-wheel drive, which I had never used. But it worked fine, and he parked the car, shifting it back into two-wheel drive. Or so he thought. Then he said they would buy it.
As I got back into the car, I found he had actually shifted the car into neutral, and now it was stuck in that position. He got in to try his hand and ripped his pants. After an hour of effort, he called his body shop to tow us to an auto shop. After another hour, he discovered his tow truck keys were with him. So I called the PBT office, but they were in a staff meeting for another hour. By now it was 3 pm, so I was offered lunch. I was looking forward to the cup of tea placed in front of me, when right then someone pulled up. We towed my car to the auto shop, I asked the mechanic to repair the car and the flat tire, and I headed to work at 4 pm. That’s when I remembered the PBT ladies were going out to lunch that day, and I had missed it!
There were plenty of negative experiences I could have dwelt on by the end of that Monday. But I chose to think of the positive. And that was that I sold my car, for twice what I was expecting, to a missionary family who needed a car and paid exactly the amount they expected.
In Philippians 1:14 Paul says, “Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” Follow Paul’s example, and whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
Lori is the administrator of publications.