by Rhonda Hayward
January 1, 2011. Here in PNG, a New Year has arrived (the U.S. is still anticipating that yet as I type). I am not a big New Year’s resolution person. A good idea, but I believe sitting reflectively and talking to God about my life & His ideas for growth is not to be limited to once a year. However, a friend challenged me with a timely end-of-the-year question a few days ago, “Why was I born?” A profound question that few of us actually verbalize. I was intrigued…how would I answer that question? As I stood washing dishes, this quiet answer formed in my mind, “To know God & be loved by Him forever”. Yes. That is why I was born. That is why I am here in PNG. And I celebrate that this first day of 2011.
I have a second submission as New Year food for thought: Have you considered going on a mission’s trip? True Confession: until recently, I have not been totally sold on church’s sending teams to visit missionaries. Shocking, I know. One reason is, the penny pincher in me has risen up with this concern, “Wouldn’t it perhaps be better to forego the mission trip, take all the money that would have been spent to send visitors, and donate it to the mission work?”. You must also understand that until last year, we have never had a supporting church send anyone to visit us. Then, in October 2009 & October 2010, we had two sets of visitors from two of our supporting churches. Let me tell you, I have had a conversion of heart. And I have to tell you, that as much as we enjoyed their company, I was not prepared for the way their visits impacted the Tay people. Over and over again, we listened as the Tay people expressed. how significant it was to them for churches in America to go to the effort and expense to come all the way around the world to meet them, eat with them, hike with them, work with them, pray with them, and share God’s Word & encouragment with them.
Their visits were powerful “in-the-flesh object lessons” to the Tay people of God’s love and the love of other believers in a distant land. We have told them for the nearly 30 years we’ve been here, that the churches in America cared for them by giving money and praying for them, but until someone actually stepped off of that single engine Cessna plane and smiled at them and shook their hands & “shared life” with them, I think the American church’s love was just a vague reality to the Tay people. Perhaps the dawning of a New Year is a good time for you to ask God for a special opportunity to be an “in-the-flesh object lesson” of His love. You may find yourself at an inner city soup kitchen, or in a nursing home, or stepping off of a single engine Cessna to embrace a brother or sister waiting to meet you on the other side of the globe. Hmmm…an “in-the-flesh” object lesson of God’s Love…didn’t we just recently celebrate Someone doing that for us?