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Look Over Your Shoulder

As parents we are sometimes not even aware of what we have taught or failed to teach our children. 

As our MK’s (missionary kids) transition back to America……some interesting lessons are emerging from growing up in Papua. 

One area is driving.  Here we use our mirrors constantly to check what is going on all around us.  Honestly, there is rarely time to look over your shoulder because if you do, you are very likely to miss or rather HIT the numerous things that could have darted out in front of you during that split second glance.  Which include, but are not limited to, pedestrians, goats, motor cycles, children, bicycle riders, dogs, cars, vending wagons, pot holes and I am sure I am forgetting a few things……ahh yes, pigs.

So, we were actually humored when one of our transitioning sons, mentioned that his driver test personal kept calling out the inaccurate technique of lane shifting that our MK was using.  Fortunately the license was granted and it was noted that in America there is time to glance over your shoulder.

I wonder what else our children have picked up from living here in Papua?   Undoubtedly, so much.  Language.  Culture.  Flexibility.  Adaptability.  Life long friends.  Love of travel and exploring and freedom.  Rawness of life.  Up rootedness.  Grounded in what is important.  A vision for the furthering of the gospel.  Poverty.  Success.  Untouched beauty.  Utter filth and misery.  Unpredictability. Frailty of life.  Hope.  Missions.  And I am sure I am forgetting a few things……ahh yes, pigs and crocs and cave diving and some things they will just have to tell you about!!!

Will they look over their shoulders and wonder where they have come from and where they are going?  Will it mess them up or set them up?  Can parents living oceans away be used for good in the lives of young men who are transitioning?  Why did we have to leave them and be so far?

Sometimes following what we believe is God’s will does not FEEL good.  Even moving here to Papua, didn’t FEEL good and yet when I glance over my shoulder, I wouldn’t do it any other way.  As someone who saw us on furlough said, “Wow, missions agrees with you all”. 

Often there is not time here to glance back while driving.  Refreshingly, sometimes it is helpful to glance back and see where we have come from and what we have learned to recognize that God takes care of the families He calls.  My boys have the best Father.  He is not limited by time, space, distance, oceans, lack of teaching, and habits picked up in a third world.  So once again, I return my children to His capable hands as I keep my eyes on the road ahead of me and all the Papua life darting in front of me.  Ready to embrace what comes and believing that my MK’s can embrace all that has happened and launch it all into much good in their futures. 

Keep driving sons.  And when you get the chance, glance back, and be grateful for the journey you have been privileged to go on as you quickly refocus on the life ahead of you.

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