What's normal?

POSTED ON 2013-02-15
  by Cathy Drobnick

The rainy season brings its own predictable routines to missionary life.

It’s that time of year, writes Lynne Castelijn. Following the annual missionary conference at this time of year, it’s time to return to the tribe.

They attempt a first flight back, but the sky quickly fills with heavy clouds and rain, making the crossing of the mountain range impossible in a small plane.

So they turn around and head back.

“That’s OK,” Lynne writes. “Not abnormal for this time of year.”

Delays mean extra flight costs, but that’s normal, too, Lynne says. “We’ve learned over the years that God always has a purpose and provision. It’s normal for Him.”

Lynne and her husband, Albert, are grateful for highly-trained, skilled pilots who can discern what is too risky to attempt in flight. “They are willing to make the call to turn back even though we were looking forward to getting home.”

And Lynne adds, “Having abnormally excellent pilots is normal for us.”

The waiting game is normal, too. In fact, Lynne calls missionary life “transitory.”

They wait for hours at the hanger for the weather to clear, playing games, listening to the rain pattering on the roof. It doesn’t clear—which is normal. At the end of the day, they head back to the guest home to sleep. At 4:30 a.m., they are up to try it all again.

Finally, the weather is beautiful, resulting in a successful flight back to the village.

Crossing the mountain range, they see something that is not normal. It is the aftermath of the December typhoon. Sadly they survey landslides, fallen trees and decimated landscape.

Returning to the tribe, the Castelijns find everything normal. Their house is moldy from being left for a month in the middle of rainy season. Things are damp and musty-smelling. Rat-holes need to be re-plugged and droppings eliminated.

The water isn’t working—and yes, it’s a broken pipe. And Albert has it repaired quickly.  All normal, Lynne says.

Albert hits the ground running when they return and Lynne needs a few days to readjust to the humidity, culture and crowd of people gathered on the porch. But it’s all normal.

The kids pitch in to unbolt the shutters and mix up cement to repair the steps that washed away. Rainy season normal routines, Lynne explains.

Other seasonal norms are massive tropical downpours, flooding, landslides, and more intense prayer for the safety of tribal people who live on farms or in forests of outlying areas.

Yet God’s grace and goodness are obvious everywhere.  They are, Lynne says thankfully, normal for Him.

Discover how you can live in a new normal as a missionary.

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