We are very thankful to be back in the UK after a long and uneventful journey. Despite our best intentions to sleep long deep sleeps, we’re still up at 4 a.m. and crashing in the afternoon – but that will come with time. Thanks to everyone who was praying for us, thinking of us and supporting us practically.
It’s disorientating to go so far in so short a time in more ways than just jet lag. The tension of the last month has been suddenly released and we look back with heads and emotions spinning.
How do you even start evaluating it all? Just a few days ago I was so tense I couldn’t sleep, expecting a hitch in the journey that meant we were stuck somewhere with the window to travel closing as Gerdine’s delivery date crept closer. I experienced a deep, stomach-churning fear.
Did I trust God? I find it a hard question to answer. I had moments of strength and weakness during our month of uncertainty. Do you take an average of your emotional state and evaluate based on that?
Trusting God for me wasn’t expecting smooth sailing and no problems. After all, we follow a crucified Lord. God provides and God loves us, but he sometimes asks us to walk hard roads we would never choose. Sometimes he allows the worst thing imaginable to actually happen and shows his power by bringing joy and life out of misery and death – as in the cross.
When God promises that “all things work for the good of those that love him” I believe it. Ever since a helicopter picked us out of Kovol a month and a half ago heading straight for the medical clinic, I’ve been scared it was time to walk a harder road, and now suddenly we’re home.
The uncertainty of ‘Can we get home or not?’, ‘Can we extend our insurance so we could give birth in PNG?’, ‘Can we get to Australia if we need to?’ has evaporated and the gut-wrenching fear is a dim memory. Did we grow? Has ‘steadfastness’ and maturity of character been a result (James 1:2-3)? What am I supposed to feel?
It’s a bewildering experience, but here we are in our little flat settling into a different climate and time zone. No one even checked our Australian transit visa, Air Niugini had already marked Gerdine as a medical passenger (they require special permission for pregnant women to fly 10-12 weeks before other airlines do), our negative covid test wasn’t required (while we flew they decided to make it compulsory for the coming Monday), we went straight through the UK border and our pre-booked taxi was waiting for us right on time. Everything went well. We even had more energy at the end of the journey than we expected and Oscar was running around and laughing still.
Brisbane airport was deserted and our 15 hour flight to Qatar was only 1/4 full so everyone on the flight stretched out and slept on an entire row 🙂 Qatar and Heathrow were still busy though. It was impossible to social distance crammed shoulder to shoulder in the buses and trains at those airports 🙂
Now we’ve got 10 days of being locked in the house before we’re able to go for a walk once a day. It’s our first time under real covid restrictions. We’re able to read up on the rules, but what we don’t know is the general feeling of people who have been under restrictions for close to a year already. We’ve just spent a year deep in Kovol language and culture study. It kind of feels like we now need to start with UK culture study again. We’re once again fish out of water, but we’re looking forward to figuring things out here and building a life again.