By Chris Urton
After our second term of service in Papua New Guinea we returned back to the USA. Traveling around to different churches we gave reports on what we had accomplished during our term and communicated what our plans were for our next term in PNG. One question constantly resurfaced in our meetings with friends and family. “How is it to be home?”
I often didn’t know how to answer that one. Yes, it was nice to be able to eat a good hot dog and flush it down with a Dr Pepper. Those were things we missed while we were in PNG. But we came back in December, shortly before Christmas, and we had to go shopping to get gifts. I remember being in the mall walking into a store where they were selling jeans that had been washed with coal. They had raggedy holes in them and they were selling them as “new.” Even worse, they were selling them for around $80 and people were buying them. I started crying and walked out of the store. Was this really my home?
Most of the time I replied that PNG was more at home now than the USA.
During another one of our terms in PNG all of this talk of home came to mind again. It was 2005 and our daughter, Stephanie, was graduating from Lincoln Christian College. It should be a time of shared rejoicing, but our son, Ryne, was graduating from Ukarumpa High School in PNG. Two children graduating half a world away from each other. What do the parents do? My wife, Lori, was able to go to the USA to be with Stephanie thanks to a wonderful friend and supporter who bought her a round trip ticket so that she could be there. While Lori was in the USA, I was out in the village of Igoi. It was during that time that I realized home wasn’t in PNG either. Home was wherever I was with my beautiful wife.
But thinking on this even further, as I now make frequent trips back and forth to PNG while Lori stays in the USA, my true home has not yet come. Building 429 has a song named “Where I Belong.” The chorus says,
All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong.
Where’s home? It’s not in the USA. It’s not in PNG. It’s not even wherever Lori and I are together. Home is where my Savior sits on a throne. Home is where I will gather with others to sing praise to our God and King.
A video of this song can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=he32vwlKQPY.
Chris is a Bible translator serving the Sob language group.