A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to take a small boat with a few Fijians out to a small island off the main island of Tupungato. It was beautiful. Quiet, secluded, everything I imagine a tropical island to be. Chris might be helping build a backpackers resort so we were checking it out and he was taking measurements. The water is so blue it's almost hypnotizing. On the boat ride back my seven-year old son Indy did something kind of funny. We were probably 20 ft. from shore when he handed me his shirt and asked me how deep it was. I said it was over his head, but not to deep. I turned my head for a second and he jumped! Indy is just beginning to learn how to swim, but he was keeping up with the boat! Thankfully, the guy driving the boat cut the engine and Chris pulled Indy back in. It completely surprised everyone and we all were laughing about it for a while.
It made me think of the jump our family took 4 months ago. It's scary, we're in over our heads, and we barely know how to swim. But it gives our faith in Christ a chance to grow. We make every attempt to "walk worthy of the calling you have received " (Eph. 4:1). To "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and work out his good purpose." (Phil. 2:12,13)
I suppose it's harder than I thought. Adjusting to a new culture, being stereotyped because of skin color, the kids constantly getting sick and having skin problems, not living a comfortable lifestyle, waiting for the skateboard and bike camp to begin...
And i realize the pictures can be misleading. We're not sitting in some fancy or luxurious resort enjoying island life. We live just like the Tongans do. In a small fale, with holes and mold in the ceiling. With buckets all over when it rains to catch the drips. With spiders, massive centipedes, mosquitos, and streams of ants. No screens on the windows, and some windows missing the glass panels. We sometimes eat pretty good and sometimes not. Some days i don't know what we'll eat or we skip a meal so we will be able to eat at dinner. It's easy to trust God when our belly is full, it's harder when we're hungry. But God is good and providing for us. One day at a time.
But we wouldn't have jumped if Christ wasn't worth it. I see the trials we face because of the choice we made to follow Jesus and i have to constantly be reminded of what Jesus said, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. What is a man benefited if he gains the whole world, yet loses or forfeits himself?" (luke 9:23-25) So we shouldn't surprised at difficulties...Jesus did offer a cross. "I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ[a]—the righteousness from God based on faith." (Phil 3:8-9) I forget this so much and so often want to just give up. Nobody will think we're weird if we never jump, actually, we might even be thought wise and a good steward if we play it safe.
But there has been a lot joy. Starting friendships and growing in Christ with our new friends Dennis and Ilima. Being able to share homemade pizza, muffins, and cookies with our neighbors. Chris building a coffee table and giving it to our neighbors (they didn't even want to use it because they said they've never had such nice furniture!) Praying out at the wharf with Ron. Talking and sharing Christ with murderers, thieves, and drug addicts. We are so thankful for all these opportunities God has given us and allowing us to become a part it. I guess we can jump knowing that our Dad's right there to grab a hold of us and say "wow, you did a good job swimming, you kept right up!"
|Tonga Holiday spent at the beach with Dennis, Ilima, Agnes, and Nio|
|family singing and prayer|
|Our boat driver to and from Makaha'a Island|
|Chris and Dennis|
|Sammi is usually at our house before i get up in the morning|
|watch out for this kid|