Remote locations can be challenging to missionaries for many reasons. Take, for instance, the Luse family’s recent adventure to visit their co-workers’ distant village.
The journey started with several hours in a pickup. After that, they parked their truck and their family went bouncing along in a small fiberglass boat for two hours. Finally they hit dry ground—if you can call a muddy bog dry ground—and they hiked for six hours across logs and streams and over ridges, making their way slowly toward the village where their friends and fellow missionaries live.
“Our girls … zipped along the trail carefully dodging tree roots, holes and other obstacles,” Aaron writes.
When their final destination came in sight, the cold river at the end of the long trek “brought welcome relief to sore feet, tired legs and aching shoulders.”
The Luse family made this journey to bring their missionary friends, the Mitchells, some encouragement. This came not only in the form of fellowship, but in the literacy primers they brought. They were also able to share insights about how to begin in the task of teaching the people of their village to read and write and give some guidance about preparing Bible lessons.
After both families were refreshed by the fellowship, it was time for the Luse family to head for home.
The return trip to their truck was much easier. Aaron and Lori and their girls were able to skip the 6-hour hike and 2-hour boat ride in favour of a 20-minute helicopter flight. Four times a year the Mitchells’ mail, supplies and fuel is delivered by helicopter and the Luse family was there on the right day to hitch a quick ride back to their truck.
They were making great time on the return trip.
Once at the truck, the family hopped in to start the last leg of their journey home. They had been travelling about an hour when suddenly a large pig bolted from the side of the road directly in front of their truck.
The impact jarred the family and killed the pig.
“Our family was fine, but our truck was not,” Aaron explains. As darkness began to fall, he was able to determine that what he had first thought was only the plastic fender being damaged turned out to be not only the fender, but the grill, radiator and oil coolant assembly.
After compensating the residents of a local village for the loss of their pig, the Luse family left the truck behind for repairs and started for home.
The remaining two-hour trip stretched into two days. Aaron says that it included some challenging transportation issues like “six hours in a minivan with 19 people without air conditioning,” motion sickness and riding on a flat bed truck.
In the end, the Luse family did arrive home safely—minus their truck, which remains near the scene of the mishap, waiting for parts. They are thankful to be back in the Patpatar village where they live and minister. Their hearts are knit in love and fellowship with Patpatar believers and they pray faithfully for their friends, the Mitchells. “Pray for the Mitchells … they have had to deal with some difficulties,” Aaron requests.
Ministry can be challenging and difficult, but Aaron and Lori are focused on a goal that reaches beyond the challenges. In teaching the Patpatar people and seeing them grow in Christ, the Luse family is invested in ministry for the eternal glory of God.