We are now nearing the end of our first furlough. What is it like to come back to the States after being gone for three years? For one thing, we felt ignorant. In the supermarket checkout line, we were mystified when we swiped our credit card, and it didn’t work. We tried swiping our card two more times before the cashier told us to insert the chip side into the slot. What chip and in what slot? We felt humiliated in front of a line of people.
Life in Papua New Guinea has turned us into aggressive shoppers. We are used to scouring store shelves looking for new food or a long-awaited tool and purchasing three-month quantities of everything. If we see something we like, we purchase it immediately because we never know if it will be in stock later. Perhaps you can comprehend how overwhelmed we felt the day we arrived back in the States and walked into a Walmart Supercenter. We had to keep telling ourselves that we didn’t need 20 pounds of beans or 50 pounds of rice. We could come back tomorrow if we wanted to. How blessed you are here to have so much food variety! To top it all off, there is no waiting in line for 30 minutes to check out. And there are no security guards at the door doing body searches to prevent shoplifting. Best of all, we can walk out to our car without fear of being robbed.
At May River, we have never been invited to a villager’s house for Sabbath lunch. But while on our furlough we have been invited into many homes not only to eat but to talk, fellowship and sleep, too. You have truly made us happy by your hospitality. God Bless all of you!