I grew up in a foster family and as a result of many wounding experiences, I didn’t feel like I had a family of my own. When I came to Townsville to do my DTS, I made friends from all over the world that became family to me. But that wasn’t the extent of redemption that God had for me. There was more… I’ve come to find that with God, there usually is.
My DTS outreach was in Papua New Guinea. It was by no mistake or coincidence that I went to a country where I discovered that community and family are held as the highest value, above all else. My whole world was shaken when I went to PNG; mothers embraced me and loved me as their own daughter. I didn’t do anything, they barely knew me, but they loved me so wholeheartedly in a way I have never known. The hospitality they provided was selfless and generous – they gave our team everything they had even if sometimes they didn’t have very much- that’s how big their hearts are!
I was amazed at the way they would go to extreme measures so that you can share your testimony and the love of God to others who might need to hear. For example, one day I was walking on a wobbly boardwalk over the ocean to share my testimony to houses on the water. I almost fell through the boards but an elderly woman and a group of youth reached out for me, without hesitation, risking falling in themselves. Their concern was me, they cared about me with such selflessness! I was so impacted by these moments throughout my time there. I met so many families who were raising children who were not their own but treated them as if they were. Having grown up without this, it moved me deeply to witness. My heart was filled with a new revelation of God’s love that I had never encountered, but will never forget.
Thank you Papua New Guinea for what you taught me about love and family! This has been irreplaceable for me and I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend time in such a lovely place, with such a wonderful family. You truly showed me love.