I have been wanting to write down the story about what God has been doing in our lives. Until now, I did not feel the freedom to write. Now, I do. So . . . today I will begin.
This chapter of our lives actually started way back in 1990. Well, probably farther back than that. I’m sure God was working much earlier than that. But I’ll start in 1990.
I was almost 18 and had just started my freshman year at King College. One of the first weekends — maybe even during orientation — I was with a large group of King students at a local restaurant and met two students who had been on a mission trip to Morocco the summer before. They told me a little about the trip, and I was hooked.
One of those guys, David, and I started spending time together, and he told me more about the mission trip. I had to interview someone for a paper for freshman English, so I interviewed him about his time in Morocco. He told me funny stories and he told me how they walked around a city praying because they couldn’t freely share the Gospel.
Early in the school year, the chaplain shared one day during chapel about an upcoming mission trip to Papua New Guinea. I felt a nudging, as if I were being drawn to this trip. David, who by now had become my boyfriend, was planning to go. And though I know God used him as an influence toward missions and this particular trip, I did not choose to go only because a boy I liked was going. I felt compelled to go. I joined the PNG team and began to raise money for the trip.
In May of 1991, our team of 18 traveled to Papua New Guinea, where we spent one month. Another student named Patrick (now, my husband) was also part of this team. He and I were not particularly good friends at the time, but it is really amazing how God worked it out so that both of us experienced PNG.
In that one month, I fell in love with the people of Papua New Guinea. I fell in love with their singing, their generosity in spite of poverty, their laughs and smiles. Somehow, I even managed to fall in love with the smell of PNG. Later, when I was home telling stories of my trip and showing my photos and jewelry and bilum bags and string hat to family, I held the string hat up to my face and breathed in the smell. “This still smells like PNG,” I sighed with a big smile. My cousin took the hat and smelled it. “Ewwww!” He yelled. It smelled like smoke and body odor and probably beetlenut. But that smell took me right back to the people I had come to love.
I have written enough for now. I will continue this story in Part 2.