Last July we were in Cairns and as we wandered around the shops and looked at all the things it is possible to buy for a baby, we felt overwhelmed! How did we know what Reuben would like to play with this time next year? It was hard to choose and I remember thinking, "We live in PNG, we need to get this right now! Who knows when we will be here again!" In my 'I want my child to have the best of everything' head, it felt like anything less than instant access to a toy shop was a sacrifice.
So fast forward a year and as I have already written about, it's June and some dear friends and neighbours have just returned to their passport countries. I think I established in my last blog that this is a sad time. But this year, we have experienced a very surprising silver lining. The truth is that people who are leaving need to get rid of most of their things and Reuben (and we) have been the recipients of some incredible generosity.
Reuben is now the proud owner of his own little table and chairs, new books, a huge crate of 'Thomas the Tank Engine' Duplo, a box of about thirty cars and a bag of shoes in the next few sizes. I look back at myself feeling sorry for him and laugh. As he played happily with a friend in a muddy ditch this afternoon I laughed again. Covered in mud and grinning from ear to ear he did not look like a child suffering from lack of proximity to shops. So thank you, friends - for your willingness to share toys and things that have been precious to your children and yourselves. You have made a little boy and his parents feel loved by you and by a God who provides in ways we rarely have the faith to imagine.