I screamed and jumped from the chair to run for cover under our bed’s mosquito netting. Not another night of dive-bomb roaches. One of the epic-sized ugly bugs had launched from the wall and glided toward me. Under the safety of the net’s cover, I would read for the evening. This jungle setting was no place for a wimp, and I needed to toughen up fast.
I didn’t know that trekking through the jungle meant hours of muscle-shredding exhaustion or that our firstborn son would overdose on malaria medicine. Who knew that running water would become a luxury? Nor did I anticipate that malaria chills, flights on small aircraft, and watchful eyes would be a part of everyday life. There was a lot I didn’t know, and that was a good thing.
Along with the challenges, there were wonderful things, too. I learned the joy of listening to a tropical rainstorm on a metal roof, the sweetness of jungle fruits, and the beauty of a life changed by the power of the gospel. Living in extreme isolation would mean the adoption of a little jungle tribe who became our family away from family.
My husband and I were young and zealous, excited for an adventure with God but without knowing all that it would require. Choosing to leave the comfort of my Southern roots, I found myself tossed into a primitive culture where suffering was common, and fear of the spirit world reigned. Following God to this remote place seemed like a risk, but it became the “risk that wasn’t” because of the faithfulness of God.
The bougainvillea – a tropical, vining shrub – displays its magnificent color better in times of drought and intense sun than when grown in the shade or heavily watered. So, too, can our difficulties create something beautiful in our lives. As our faith is forged in God, our transformation mirrors his reflection. Come, join me in a place where no roads go, where challenges and change reveal God’s amazing grace.
About the Author
Carin LeRoy and her husband have been in ministry with Pioneers since 1981. They worked in a church planting ministry in Papua New Guinea for almost thirteen years, during which Carin developed literacy primers for that language, ministered to the women and children, and added three children to their family. They have since worked in Orlando, FL, serving in several roles within the Pioneers staff. They continue to visit Papua New Guinea to encourage the church, as the Lord has enabled them. At home, Carin also teaches piano. They have four grown children and six grandchildren.