I’m back in Port Moresby after an extended holiday in Texas. Spending that time with my family and friends was really great. I have to admit I wasn’t too excited about my return to the South Pacific. In addition to missing the rest of the season of Downton Abbey and ALL of Sherlock, I was dreading the thirty plus hours of travel, jet lag induced insomnia (the devil’s playground), the sweltering heat and the inevitable loneliness. Navigating time zones, culture, laws, and especially safety issues also come with the territory when living here. This life requires courage and the acceptance of uncertainty. The re-entry problems that we expats face on a regular basis are challenging.
As providence would have it, my next research assignment upon my return was a passage from Acts 23.
“The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, “Have courage! For as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”” (Acts 23:11, HCSB)
I found solace in Jesus’ words as I struggled with the anxiety of re-entering my Papua New Guinea environment. The life of Paul and his ability to adapt and persevere in daunting circumstances has many parallels to the expat life…really for everyone’s life. Here’s a few things I observed:
- Paul conducted himself as a good citizen with a good conscience (23:1). These qualities gave his words weight when speaking to the people and the religious leaders in Jerusalem (23:3).
- The honesty of his life and his testimony about Christ won him friends, and sometimes supporters from unlikely circles (23:9, 26-27).
- He knew how to communicate and he strove to meet people where they were, in their own language (23:6) – to Romans in Greek (21:40), to Jews in Aramaic (22:2).
- His used his training and he leaned on his experience. This gave him confidence in his convictions and the Lord’s guidance (23:6-8).
- He was passionate and firm in his speech (23:1,3,5).
- When he traveled, his testimony went with him. He trusted completely in the Lord. (23:11).
The events that landed Paul in the Antonia Fortress left him with an uncertain future. Christ came to stand by him and said just what he needed to hear, “take courage, you are going to Rome”. I too, hope for courage from the Lord in the face of uncertainty. I know He stands by me as well.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Port Moresby in the midst of the rainy season. It is cooler, overcast and breezy. Miraculously, my jet lag struggles have been minor. My sweet brothers and sisters in my home group and the companionship of my husband and friends have eased my loneliness and yes, I am very thankful for Skype. My study of Acts 23 has made me feel hopeful, even in the midst of uncertainty.
Benedict will just have to wait…but I do have all the seasons of Foyle’s War. 🙂