Making plans….

We had been somewhat removed from the current global situation, with the limited restrictions and interruptions here not directly impacting our daily lives to any great extent. While keeping track of COVID developments online, a posting from an Aussie returning from Spain provided a different perspective.

www.traveller.com.au/expats-returning-to-australia

The article highlights things that returning expats may take time to get accustomed to, even if they are aspects of our Australian lifestyle which we know and love. This reverse culture-shock is often a reality for returning missionaries. The odd sensation of standing in a supermarket aisle confronted by a seemingly endless variety of goods to choose from; travelling on a smooth freeway surrounded by vehicles moving at 100 kmph, all intent on their destination; being in a crowd and not feeling out of place; simply adjusting to the pace, and volume, and diversity of life in Australia.

The writer also refers briefly to changes in Australia brought about by COVID-19, and that the place people are returning to is not necessarily the home they left. Our generation has not known such a time with closed borders, enforced restrictions of movement, and voluntary isolation for all but essential tasks.

Colleagues who returned to their own home countries this year, in the early stages of the global pandemic, have often been unable to travel, unable to meet with supporting churches, and even restricted from spending time with family members living in other areas.

This uncertainty has us thinking about our intended return to Australia for leave in March 2021. Under normal circumstances we would be scheduling engagements, making travel plans, and ‘locking things in’. While we are still working on some of these, now… it all seems to fall into the realm of ‘hopefully’, and ‘maybe’. Our calendars which so often focus well into the coming year now appear fuzzy, and the uncertainly is discomforting. Part of our 12-month stay will likely (hopefully… maybe…) involve spending time at the Wycliffe base in Victoria. This point alone takes uncertainty to a whole new level.

Perhaps it isn’t just the surface things which will change in our country. We may end up being a little less sure of our determined futures, and realise that our control systems are not as solid as we perhaps thought.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Please pray …

  • for our current staff shortage here, and those trying to return from overseas in the midst of confusion
  • that PNG respond effectively to the recent occurrence of COVID cases in Port Moresby and Lae
  • regarding the ongoing impact of the pandemic on our global consciousness – may we not lose sight of the real need for gospel truth as we all look to a vaccine
  • that we maintain our confidence in God for all that lies ahead