Context: Finished this off as the wife was cleaning jewellery which had gone mouldy whilst in storage in Papua New Guinea.
In the missionary-lore of Papua New Guinea, the Andersons stand out as one of the success stories. Against quite difficult circumstances, they completed the New Testament translation of the Folopa language in 2007, a job that took over 30 years. While the usual missionary memoirs are full of tales of faith and fearless endeavour, Carol’s is simply about what happens when a normal person goes off into the wilds of PNG. We liked it for its honesty.
Carol describes how she became a Christian out of a very troubled childhood – in fact pretty much in spite of it – and then went on to meet her husband in whose shadow she seemed to spend the next few decades. Using him to slipstream behind, she went on to join Wycliffe Bible Translators (we know someone else working for them) and head out to PNG.
Life was far from a bed of roses. Apart from all the normal stuff that makes life uncomfortable there (cockroaches, spiders, the entire population of a village camped out in your living room 24/7) she nearly died through illness, nearly saw children die through illness and then entered a period of depression that felt more like death than actually dying through illness.
But here is where she found a reality of God that made the whole thing, if not worthwhile, at least more valuable than it otherwise would have been. She finishes the book with the hope that reflects the fact that God has promised that he will comfort us even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
It’s a good read for anyone who thinks that finishing the work that God has for us is for the equipped and the able and it’s also a good read for those who think they’ll be fine because they’re equipped and able.
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