“The house that we have for you guys on the base needs to be painted on the inside. Would you like us to paint it now, or do you want to do it when you get down here?” asked our friend Eben. The question seemed simple enough, and the idea of being able to choose the colors and then paint the house together appeared to be fun. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy getting to make their house feel a little more like home by selecting its décor and then putting a little sweat equity into it? Oh, it was going to be a good time!
We arrived in Pucallpa on March 17th, and lugged all of our suitcases into our cozy, little lake house. They had just finished patching different sections of the interior with wall putty, and there were plenty of spots where the paint was peeling off, but we were here, this was home, and we were going to fix it up a little. That evening we bounced our way on the dirt “road” into town with Eben and his wife Elvia to get some supplies. As we pulled up to the store, we found out that the government had just started a new Covid restriction where the larger stores were required to shut down by 6 pm, and there we were, at 6:30… We jostled our way back home (love these roads!) figuring that we would just have to come back tomorrow to figure out some of our shopping.
The next day rolled around, and Eben had a flight that we were supposed to do in the morning. A couple of the missionary girls who were serving in a jungle village had contracted Covid, and one of them had dengue fever on top of it. I was reminded just how important an aircraft is in this thick jungle region of Peru, as Eben explained to me that they could either take a 17-hour boat ride up the river or take a 30-minute plane ride. What an amazing tool an aircraft is in serving in a dense jungle region of the world. That morning flight turned into a late morning, early afternoon flight, and before we knew it, it was 4 pm, with a half hour drive into town, with the stores that we needed to go to closing at 6. We made the trek into town, and Eben took us to the store with the paint in it. After looking over the color schemes and discussing what would look best where, changing our minds a few times, and waiting for the paint to get mixed, the store was closing. How could it have taken us so long just to pick out a few colors? We headed home, figuring that we would take a few days to paint the house before being able to officially settle in. We could hardly wait!
The next morning, Eben told me that there was a flight for a deceased body, and that there should be room for me. He started working on getting his side of the work done to be able to fly, and I started preparing the aircraft for the flight. We needed 15 gallons of fuel per side, and the preflight needed to be done. I finished prepping the aircraft, and went to ask Eben when we would be taking off. “The body should be coming out any time now.” He told me. So, since I didn’t want to go down and start to get dirty from painting, I waited… and waited… thinking about all of the painting that we could be able to do, and the trips that we needed to take into town, and the unpacking that I could be actively participating in. Finally, the body came, and we loaded it into the plane. Eben got the weight and balance figured out, and we headed out to complete our flight for the day. We returned sometime mid afternoon and since it was Friday and the Sabbath was coming, a trip into town was out of the question, and starting to paint wasn’t much of an option since we would get everything out just to have to clean it up for the Sabbath. So, since we couldn't settle quite yet, we welcomed Sabbath with a messy house. Sunday was coming, and we could get things done then!
Sunday came and Eben reminded me that we needed to complete a 50-hour inspection on the Cessna. By the time I was able to finish my inspection, the day was gone. So, once again, the painting got pushed back. Monday came and we went into town to do a much-needed shopping trip, and once again, by the time we got back to base, our day was done and the painting got pushed back. Finally, the day came, it was Tuesday, March 23rd, and we had some down time! LET THE PAINTING BEGIN!!! And begin it did, but the day came to a close and we hadn’t even finished painting the kitchen cupboards. Days came and went. Some days we were able to paint, others seemed to disappear without us even knowing how we ended up doing what we had done. Trips to town, ear infections, cooking and cleaning, everything but painting and settling. Our fun time, settling into our cozy little lake house, started to truly drain on us as the ability to feel like you were coming home to a clean environment was more of a joke then a reality.
And here we are, just about to finish our third week in our home, and yep, you guessed it, here I am typing up a much-needed blog post while I should be painting. It’s amazing how time slips away. But the more I think about it, the more that I have realized that our spiritual lives, no matter where we are, can have the same thing happen. We have all of the greatest intensions, “this is the year that we are going to read our Bible through,” or “I’m going to wake up an extra half hour earlier to have more time in my devotions,” or whatever our good intensions happen to be. But before we know it, life gets in our way. Good things that need our time seem to overwhelm us, and all of a sudden, our spiritual life seems cluttered and unsettled, much like our cozy little lake house. It takes a power from above to re-orientate our lives in a way that allows us to, like Job, “treasured the words of His mouth more then my necessary food.” Job 23:12. And while I’m by no means planning on stopping eating any time soon, the process of painting our home has helped me to see just how easy it is to have good intensions slip away from you.
We have been doing well these past three weeks, and even though we haven’t settled into our house quite yet (or finished painting), we are finding ourselves starting to learn where to get groceries, how to plan for cooking, what a day on the base looks like, and many other things. It can be overwhelming at times, but God has been good and given us patience and love when we thought we had run out. Jess has started the process of homeschooling Amy, Eben and Elvia’s 10-year-old girl. And I have been painting (or wanting to paint), and doing little things here and there to the aircraft. We both have been figuring out a different pace of life, as things here just seem to take more time. It has been quite rainy, and often our house is surrounded by large puddles that we get to splash through with our rain boots on the way up to the rest of the compound. I have also been truly enjoying the animal life around us. The birds, sloths, iguanas, spiders, geckos, and many other animals have kept me running and my eyes wide open!
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers! Please keep Jess’ ears in your prayers as she has been struggling with an infection. Also, that God leads us as we are planning on constructing a new house here at the compound for us to live in, since the house we are in floods on occasion.