You know it’s time for HA (Home Assignment – formerly called “furlough”) when –

  • Nightly insomnia rules as head is too full of what needs done before departure, travel itinerary, people to see,  ideas for HA presentation & messages,  etc., etc., etc.
  • Another something wears out or breaks down nearly every week ………..
  • Visions of dance in my head ……..    
  • Wardrobe of 3 dresses worn 2X/ week for the past 5 years is holey, moldy, faded, frayed, + patched to the max
  • Menus consist of weird combos of what’s already on the pantry shelf – popcorn & / or oatmeal tonight?
  • Cleaning out the pantry leads to major setbacks in the “battle of the bulge”
  • Being in “use it up” mode – except for printer ink which MUST be rationed at all costs!  It’s too late to order more!
  • Finding a battery for my long dead wrist watch suddenly becomes ultra-urgent as I’ll need it for traveling
  • The “pass it on” pile grows to avalanche proportions
  • The mending pile gets re-evaluated for being shifted to discard status 

Yep, it hardly seems possible but in just a matter of weeks I’ll be back on USA soil!  Yikes!!!

Meanwhile at the TRC (Tribal Resource Center) everyone seems to have “one last little (???) project” to be printed before I shut down May 10th.   So far I’ve been able to keep up – but just when I think I’m about finished, another task joins the queue.  Or town power shuts down leaving me twiddling my thumbs.  It’s also looking questionable whether the ink / toner cartridge will last til all the projects are completed!  Please do pray to that end !!!   

There are some answers to prayer as to who takes over for me when I leave: Bible Study with the National ladies who work here is covered!  Lisa Kappeler has unexpectedly had to move out of the bush and into town so is going to take over wearing that hat along with continuing her tribal translation.  The Literacy ministry should be manageable by consultant trainee Sien Luyendyk. No one has yet volunteered to take on the hospital liaison ministry, or the weekly report I write for our missionaries, but God surely has a plan for that as well.  

Hopefully starting May 11th I’ll be delving into the daunting task of packing up EVERYTHING in my house.  Since I never throw anything away, it promises to be a formidable endeavor.  How to “distribute” the booty can also be tricky – making sure each friend gets goodies equivalent to what the others receive.  The neighbor kids are already hounding me for some of my cast off junk.  Anything that goes into the trash will be picked over by the garbage collectors.  That means shredding papers, etc.  Then there will be a final massive house cleaning – ceilings, walls, behind the fridge, stove, etc.  Rather wearing just to think about …. and probably one of the reasons missionaries arrive home with severe jet lag!   


D-date is set and tickets are in hand for flights from Wewak – St. Louis – arriving at some ghastly hour of the “evening” on Memorial Day weekend.  One of my brothers will meet me there for the 3 hour drive on home.   He’s coming from Kansas to help me look for a vehicle (since he’ll inherit it when I return to PNG next year) so I’ll be hitting the ground running – at least until I get my wheels!     

As before I’ll be making Southeast Missouri my home base.

Tentative “Big Picture” itinerary for once I’m home:

  • Mid June – “Enrichment” missions course at Camdenton, MO  
  • Late June – early July:  FAMILY TIME  !!!!       
  • July – Ft. Wayne Indiana – with maybe other stops around Indiana, Michigan & Illinois
  • Sept – November: Kansas, Colorado, Oregon, Montana, Minnesota (?), Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia
  • Jan – March 2014: Florida (?), Texas (?), Arizona, California
  • April 2014:  back “home” again in INDIANA !!!!!!
  • June 2014: back to PNG !!!!! 

Of course God could have other plans, but the above is a schedule that’s worked well for past home assignment times so is something to shoot for this time home, too.  Now we’ll all “sit back” and see what God works out!

Your part in my life, and in God’s work here has been tremendously appreciated.  It will be great to have this year interlude back in the USA to hopefully cross paths with YOU and get caught up with what God is doing in and thru your lives!  

Co-laboring with you for the King,

Hope Sharp