10 Years Ago

It was exactly 10 years ago, in the first week of January 2001, when my family stepped out of a 20-seater plane onto the rich brown dirt and sprawling green hills of the Papua New Guinea highlands. Many would describe the place we had entered as paradise on earth, a gorgeous country mostly untouched by modernity.

But I saw none of that beauty. As an American adolescent, moving to a third world country was, in my small realm of existence, the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I have vivid memories of bawling my eyes out on my bed, both before and after we made the big move.

At point, one of the first days we were there, I remember walking with my family around the CLTC campus, through the cow pastures, by the smelly chicken sheds, across the sports fields where kids were kicking an old soccer ball. I turned to my mom and said “Is this really where we have to live now?” I didn’t think I was going to survive.

The campus of the Christian Leader's Training College

But 10 years later, and here I am… Happy, content, and grateful to be living again in the developing world. Back to being the only white face in a crowd, where kids wave excitedly to me as if they’ve never seen blond hair and blue eyes before.

Back to equatorial seasons with a constant sunny-with-a-high-of-75 forecast, tropical thunderstorms, and an abundance of clear starry nights. Back to eating bananas and pineapple for breakfast, sweet potato and cassava for lunch, with Cadbury chocolate and PK gum for snacks.

Back to church services filled with rousing harmonies and clapping choruses, but where prosperity gospel/cargo cults threaten the integrity of the gospel. Back in a land where AIDS, tribal animosity, and government corruption attack the roots of society.

And I love it all. I love living life in Africa. And it all started 10 years ago, when I first stepped off the plane in Papua New Guinea as a bratty 12-year old.

One of the few surviving pictures from 10 years ago.

So thanks, Mom and Dad, for dragging me halfway around the world, even though I hated it at the time. Thanks, Papua New Guinea, for teaching me the beauty of living in a different culture. Thanks God, for the life you’ve given me to live. It’s far better than I ever dreamed of 10 years ago!




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8 responses to “10 Years Ago

  1. What a lovely testimony. Although I was never an MK, I totally relate to your gratefulness to God and enjoyment of the cultural, geographic and spiritual experiences he has given you with people who are far ‘richer’ than us in many ways. It reminds me again that I believe God has made me one of those people he wants to use for cross-cultural ministry. I think you are too! How much the Lord has done in and through you in 10 years! I think the next 10 will be very exiting! What is very depressing for me is that even by then you’ll still be 6 years younger than I am now – but you will also however be nearly the age Rach and I were when we came to be your hostel parents!! Plus, in 10 years I will nearly have 4 teenagers of my own -aHHHHH! Lotsa love from all us Donovans

  2. Dad

    You are a blessing to us!

  3. Junella Hagood

    What a beautful way to honor your parents on this Saturday morning.

  4. Ben Goller

    Growing up is hard but it’s great isn’t it?

  5. Eric Binion

    Love this post!

  6. Matthew Pfaff

    I Love it Krista! So glad (and slightly jealous) for the adventures you’re going on. Awesome to see how God’s led in both our lives.

  7. Lori Johnson

    OH… that made me cry! So good to know that God changes our heart. God has given you the cry of His heart- His people to ‘love on’ unconditionally. Continue on!

  8. Laura Pearce

    Krista, I’ve been really enjoying reading through your blog posts from the beginning and hearing about all that God is doing through you in Uganda. This post reminds me a lot of when I first arrived in PNG and all that that random island in the middle of nowhere has come to mean to me. Thanks for the reminder of God’s sovereign care for His children – wherever they might be.

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