Dear Family and Friends,
It is hard to believe that it is May already. While the cold of the winter seemed to last forever, the time has passed quickly. I have been doing a lot of scrap booking this winter, and I have found it to be very relaxing and healing as I preserve all of my Craig memories as well as some others. I have gotten together with my aunt every month so far this year to make a scrapbook page about something that happened that month. As I have looked back over the pages that I have made so far, I noticed that the theme of just about all of them has been friends. I have been so blessed by my friends this year and the way they have stood beside me and encouraged me as I walk this road. I have been able to do a lot of visiting over the winter and it has been such a blessing to connect with so many different people and share about the teaching ministry I have the opportunity to be a part of in Papua New Guinea.
At the end of January, I went to the Heritage Missions’ Conference at the school Craig and I attended. It was hard to be back in a place so full of memories, and to see the students so excited about missions and not have Craig there. However, I am glad that I went and I think there was some healing in the tears. My friend and I made a black forest trifle for the cake auction (all money raised goes towards students going on summer mission trips) at the end of the conference with a tag that said “In memory of Craig Simmons”. They sold it second to last and it sold for $1000 in 3 bids! It was very touching to see how much Craig is loved and how his memory was honoured and respected, and I left the conference feeling very loved and supported by that whole community. It was great to reconnect with students and teachers as well several people from my old jobs, and spend quality time with some friends who have really been a blessing these past 11 months and who have helped me to work through some of my grief.
I worked on some at home projects in February and this is where I had most of my time to scrapbook, as well as organize and catalogue my growing collection of teaching/kids books. I also spent a lot of time working on PNG paperwork. I had to send a number of documents to the Government Representatives in PNG, and then wait for the PNG Government to give the okay to process my paperwork. Nothing goes quickly in PNG and this was no exception. Once that was sent in, I had more paperwork to complete in preparation for the next step. I am happy to say that the paperwork is just about finished. I am waiting to receive my passport back from Ottawa and then I will be able to start looking into buying tickets, which brings the reality of me going that much closer.
I spent most of March down in Iowa with my best friend and her family again. It was wonderful. The time away from home with the busyness here and the seemingly endless paperwork was an excellent break. There are still times when the sadness seems to overwhelm me and it was so healing and comforting to spend time with such a good friend who could comfort while saying nothing at all. It is amazing how time with good friends can slowly help you to heal.
April was my busiest month as I was only home long enough to unpack and repack several times. The month started off with saying goodbye to some dear friends as they headed off to Turkey as missionaries for 2 years. I was blessed to be able to spend special one on one time with both my mom and my aunt and make some great memories. I spent the last part of the month visiting some of my friends in Eastern Canada. I spent a week in Quebec with one of my good friends from Heritage and it was wonderful to see all that she is involved in. I was also able to meet up with a good friend of Craig’s while I was there and over lunch at a little French Café, he and his wife became my friends too. It was a healing time spending a few hours with them. From Quebec I went to Halifax to visit an old college roommate and her family and that was another great time. One of the highlights for me was going to Prince Edward Island for the day. It has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to see the Anne of Green Gables museum, and I even had the chance to dress up like Anne.
I got back from out East at the beginning of May and a few days later headed down to Durham, Ontario for my Pre-Field Orientation at the New Tribes Mission base. This was a really good time and I was excited as it made my going to PNG seem more real. It was a very productive time as I got a lot of questions answered and learned a lot too. It was also nice to be able to meet some of the staff and put faces to some names of people I had been in correspondence with over the past few months.
Looking ahead to June holds some bittersweet events. My brother is getting married on June 11th , I am thrilled for him and I am getting a wonderful sister in Faith Pettigrew. On June 16th it will be one year since my own love passed away. It’s hard to believe that it has been a year already. I still miss him so much, and some days it seems like it will never be okay again. But I do feel like I have healed a little over this past year and the Lord has definitely given me the strength I need, as I need it. At the end of June I will be packing my bags and leaving for PNG to start this new chapter of my life. I am excited as I move forward, but sad as I feel I am leaving Craig behind and moving on without him. However, I feel like the Lord is showing me very clearly that He wants me teaching in PNG next year. I should arrive in PNG in early July and this will give me time to get settled and spend a lot of time in my classroom preparing for the school year. The teachers start July 20th and the 2011-2012 school year starts July 27th.
When I look at the calendar and realize that I only have little over a month left before I head to PNG, I feel a little overwhelmed. However, I have a real peace that this is the door the Lord is opening for me next year, and I am trusting that He will bring all the details together. The first part of Hebrews 3:13 has really encouraged me lately, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’” Most days as I look ahead to what I have on the go it’s almost too much for me. But when I just focus on today, it’s much more do-able and then tomorrow becomes today and those tasks are manageable. One day at a time.
Please continue to keep me in your prayers for:
--> my PNG visa to be issued and my passport returned
--> provision of funds as I get ready to buy my tickets to PNG
--> monthly support for living in PNG for 2 years
--> my move to PNG as I get settled and start this new chapter
Thank you again for your prayers and support as I get closer to moving to PNG to teach. So many people have come alongside me this year as I learn to move forward. I would not be where I am now without all your continued prayers and encouragement. Below are some pictures that capture some special memories made over the winter.
Durham, ON, N0G 1R0
1000 E. First Street
Sanford, FL, 32771