A lot has happened this year, for me. Many things that I did not have expect... yet now I am in the middle of them, wondering what will happen next.
At the beginning of the year, we had Youth Camp in Sydney. One night I was talking to one of the leaders, Andrew - who is also a pastor at the Croydon Park Church of the Nazarene - and somehow the subject of missions came up. I think I said that I wanted to be involved in missions, somehow, somewhere, some day. He mentioned a short-term Work & Witness mission trip that was coming up later in 2010. He couldn't remember when it was, or any of the details, except that a team would be going to Papua New Guinea.
It was awesome just hearing about a mission trip that was going to PNG, because my old pastor was a missionary there before returning to Australia and pastoring our church, so I have grown up hearing about PNG, and many stories from that country.
Pastor Andrew was really enthusiastic about the whole idea of the trip, and basically suggested that I consider going. He told me he would send me some information / brochures about the trip.
I tried not to get too excited about potentially going on a mission trip - you know, not building up hopes and getting disappointed, etc.
A month, or even two months, later, my Pastor [Doug] emailed me information about this mission trip. I hadn't spoken to him about it, or asked about it, so I was kind of surprised when I received it! [I still hadn't received the info from Andrew]
I then spoke to Pastor Doug about it, and he encouraged me to go as well.
I will still hesitant, because I didn't have a job at that time, and I wasn't sure if I could commit to this trip when I had no idea what my work situation would be by the time of the trip.
Eventually I decided to send an application through to the Work & Witness Co-ordinator. Basically I had to fill in a form with information about myself, what skills I could potentially use, my experience, etc.
Then, I had to wait.
I don't know how long it was until I got a response, but after some communication with the Co-ordinator, I was on the list to go to Papua New Guinea from September 26 to October 10, 2010.
It has taken a very long time for it to sink in that I am going overseas, on a mission trip - something I have always wanted to do - and... well... it has all just been very surreal!
Now, it is just 44 sleeps until I leave. Crazy!!
There are three other people from SA who are going, and others from NSW, VIC and QLD will make up our team of 14. A guy from my church will be going, and a married couple from the Croydon Park Nazarene Church are also coming.
Us four Adelaidians will be flying to Brisbane on Saturday September 25. We will stay at a hotel overnight [and do some sightseeing by day ;) ], and then join the rest of the W&W team at the airport early on Sunday morning. We will then fly to Port Moresby (PNG's capital), and then from there, hop into a small plane and fly way, way up into the mountains, to Mount Hagen.
We will be staying at the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. The project for the two weeks is to build accommodation for volunteer doctors and nurses. So it will be very full-on, hands-on, physical work.
I am really, really looking forward to the challenge! I know it will be hard, and I am also trying to be somehow prepared for emotional challenges as well.
Your prayers would be greatly appreciated. There has already been challenges in our preparations for the trip, and more things are bound to come up! PNG isn't the safest place to travel to, either, so safety is needed - both physical and spiritual.
Hopefully I will be able to share more with you before I go, and upon my return :)