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Mary Beth (Meyerhoeffer) Snyder ~ CB I ‘00b, SM ‘02, CB II ‘02, CB III ‘03 – ‘08
~ PNG Missionary wife, mom, nurse, baby deliverer
One of the most important truths I learned through CAMP BIMI and SMART is that not only do we need to
be ‘flexible’, but we need to be ‘fluid’. How true those two words are, whether living at sea level on the equator, in a
mountainous jungle, or traveling on furlough. Sam and I served for three years in Kiribati and now have served for
over a year in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. We’ve had some tough times, but as we have been surrendered
to the Lord, He has been faithful to us and led us each step of the way.
We live about five miles from the closest airstrip, one with very unpredictable weather. Therefore, plans can change
quickly. A lack of stores and market foods has required some adjustments and advanced planning, but over time,
we have become accustomed. Logistics are always challenging, but it helps us depend more on the Lord as we adapt
to the new normal. Keeping house in the bush takes longer—cooking from scratch, filtering drinking water, using a twin tub washer, hanging the
clothes out to dry on the back porch, and not having electrical kitchen appliances—but we are very blessed with a nice home, solar power, running
water, and a solar water heater. Sam built us a cooking stove out of an old fuel drum, which we use sometimes to save cooking gas. I also use a small
gas stove with an oven in the house. I enjoy finding or creating recipes with simple ingredients that take less cooking gas and that my family enjoys.
Sam put the cooking drum outside underneath the playhouse he made for our boys. He also made them a swing set, school desks, and made our
daughter a bed. I’m thankful that he is skillful with the saw mill, planer, and other tools used to transform jungle trees. It’s hard when he is out hiking
on outreaches or on a supply buy, but that isn’t very often.
I also learned at CAMP BIMI that motherhood is an important calling. We are thankful for our three children. Teaching homeschool while
entertaining two younger children is definitely a lesson in multi-tasking. I’m thankful for a good curriculum with family cycles. I also teach our
national pastor’s daughter. I enjoy working in the music ministry in church. I get to work as an obstetric nurse in the clinic. The Lord has been
teaching me to have a good balance of cleaning what needs to be cleaned, yet allowing kids to be kids, enjoying our home, and setting a joyful
atmosphere, including reading and snuggling. Children are loud, messy, and precious.
Our children enjoy life here. However, they have needed to be fluid in moving several times, leaving family and friends, and learning new
languages. This has had its challenges, but this stretching has also been good for their growth and worldview. When they feel a part of the team,
they feel valued. Tommy, who is almost seven years old, likes to hike, build things, be around other people, and enjoys life. He also likes to eat
grasshoppers roasted on the fire, something he learned from his village friends. Leland is not an extrovert like Tommy, but he notices details and
helps me enjoy the world around me that I might otherwise not see. Bethany loves to get a songbook, sing loudly and enjoy “reading” books. She laughs
at her brothers and loves to hold our kitty. Although remote, this mountainous rainforest is a beautiful place to live, with some lovely butterflies and
rainbows. My children brighten my day when they bring me beautiful flowers from the yard and photography is a hobby that helps me enjoy
the world around me.
Yes, being a missionary wife and mother takes commitment and sacrifice, but I certainly wouldn’t trade it! I’m repeatedly finding out more things about
myself that I need to change, calling out on the Lord for wisdom, and experiencing the priceless joys my Savior and family bring.
Beyond the Road and In the Bush
Sarah Glover ~ CB I ‘99, CB II ‘08, CB III ‘13, CB IV ‘18
Missionary to Papua New Guinea
Since 2010, I have had the privilege of being a part of the work that God is doing in Papua New Guinea. My roles there
are varied—Bible translation, literacy, discipleship, medical missions, etc.—but God’s love and faithfulness to me have
been steadfast and sure.
I have been ‘beyond the road’ since 2010, but my journey to that place began long before that. There is no time wasted
in preparation, and God was definitely thorough and unhurried in preparing me. Exposure to missions as a young person gave me a deep hunger
to be involved in that type of work. Bible College, years of serving in a church, cultural and linguistics training, and deputation were all part of
preparing me for the journey to the center of His Will.
One vital component of that training was my time spent at CAMP BIMI. My first trip there was in 1999, just a few months after my college
graduation. Two friends and I made the journey from Michigan to Tennessee in a car that only made it over those Tennessee Mountains by the
grace of God. I quickly learned in that first year that everything was done there for a specific purpose and that the Baughmans and their co-workers
were very intentional in every single aspect of what happened. There was as much education and preparation that went on outside the classroom as
there was inside.
It also became quickly evident that it was not just a camp to attend. Whether you realized it or not, when you first arrived, it was a family
that you had been adopted into and that would never change. CAMP BIMI II would come for me nine years later in 2008. I was on deputation
myself at that point. The prayer letter and media presentation workshops were immensely practical and profitable for me. It was also during that week
that I would meet and become friends with a couple that God also had on a journey. Little did we realize that eight years later, God would lead them
to become my co-workers in Papua New Guinea – Sam and Mary Beth Snyder!
By the time CAMP BIMI III in 2013 rolled around, I was considered a veteran missionary. I thanked God for the opportunity to both learn for
myself in class, but also to be able to share my experiences with others there that year. While I couldn’t be there for all of CB IV 2018, the days I
was there – it was ‘coming home’. I praise the Lord for all of those that He has brought and continues to bring into my life as I serve Him ‘beyond
the road’ in the remote bush of PNG.
When ‘Bye’ is Bittersweet
“Torn between two,” the Apostle Paul said,
“To stay here with you or to go on ahead.”
Advantages to both were easy to find,
So to him it was hard to make up his mind.
On the edge of furlough I stood on the brink
With similar struggles to him I think.
My house here is small with no heating or air.
Seating for church is a hard folding chair.
But I’ve made my house ‘home,’
And we approach God’s Throne.
From the floor in the bush,
Church doesn’t really have to be “cush.”
It’s been lonely at times, I will confess.
But national friends I’ll miss nonetheless.
To you they might be a little bit funny,
But I wouldn’t trade them if you paid me money.
Their clothes may be stained, bleached, or torn,
But their smiles and handshakes are ever so warm.
So forgive me. I find that my heart is divided.
Between First and Third World, I’m a bit undecided.
America has its pros, I admit;
But in neither culture do I really fit.
I can speak Pidgin, but I can’t change my skin.
It’s really quite a fix I’m in!
Too simple for one; Too complex for another. . .
At least I can hug my dad, mom, and brother!
If the transition is rough, the roads will be smooth.
Nothing jarred out place will need to be soothed.
But I’m not sure I’m ready for such a fast pace.
On our dilapidated roads, 40 feels like a race!
A 4-lane highway will seem quite wide.
Two’s normal for here, but don’t stay on your side.
If the pothole’s too deep, you have to swerve.
By oncoming traffic, don’t be unnerved!
Life here is different. It’s PNG!
But I guess it’s become kind of normal to me.
So be gracious with me as I re-adjust.
I know adaptability is a must.
The sun will set later, though still in the West,
So to fit in again, I’ll try my best,
But part of me still wants to be weird.
It’s part of my story to which I’m endeared.
So if it sounds like I don’t really want to come home,
Please understand it’s a great unknown.
I’ve been living some fourteen hours ahead,
But after 2 days of travel, I can’t go to bed.
If the terrible jet lag I hope to lick,
And I don’t even know if I will feel sick.
But the Lord has led, and come home I must.
To Him all my future, I must entrust.
And whenever I feel like I do not belong
To draw closer to Jesus, may it make me long.
His power is steady, and He is the Son.
No blackouts with Him. No generators run.
He’s a solid foundation that nothing can shake,
A comfort indeed after our last earthquake!
See ya soon!
MY FATHER’S HAND
Cassy Fleming ~ CB I ‘05b, CB II ‘08, SM ‘09
Missionary to Papua New Guinea
One of my favorite pictures in the family photo album
portrays my six-foot father stooping to take my hand
and guide my unsteady steps when I was only knee-
high. But there came a time when I had to let go of
my earthly father’s hand and begin clinging to the
hand of my Heavenly Father instead.
This time came one Sunday night in January 2005, prior to the
mission’s conference at our sending church, and it was time to make
public what I had already reasoned out in private.
I had often considered my place in full-time Christian service. “Could
I stay in the States with a clear conscience? Why did I want to serve
overseas anyway? For the adventure? To become bilingual?” My
parents had been involved in missions since I was three, and I couldn’t
imagine finding fulfillment in a secular job. But I was concerned that
missions appealed to me simply because it was the only life I had ever
really known, yet I didn’t feel I could stay in the States while there were
still people who had never heard the Gospel in their own language.
Back in the sanctuary, I knew that my Dad would have gone forward
with me had I but squeezed his hand, but I finally slipped out alone,
grateful to be sitting on the aisle near the front. When my pastor
asked if I was willing to serve the Lord wherever He might lead, I
responded in the affirmative, knowing that the Lord might send me
to Africa, the last place I would choose.
That night, when I stepped out without the strength and comfort of my
earthly father’s hand, my Heavenly Father took my upstretched hand
and led me on a lifelong missionary journey. But at CAMP BIMI that
summer, I felt as if my spiritual legs buckled under me. I went
with expectations of taking great strides forward, but I discovered
that I could no more rush God’s working in my life than a toddler
could prematurely walk. The whole week I felt as if I were sitting in
one spot, while everyone around me was moving forward.
After three years of crawling while my spiritual muscles developed more,
my Heavenly Father finally decided it was time for me to take the next
step in the summer of 2008. I was reading through Isaiah during
personal devotions at CAMP BIMI II ‘08 when the confirmation
of my calling seemed to leap off the page: “Thou . . . art my servant
. . . whom I have chosen” (Isaiah 41:8). If I still had any doubt, the
next verse reiterated, “Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee.”
After giving me a black-and-white statement to stand on, my Father
showed me in verse 10 why I hadn’t been moving forward by leaps
and bounds—fear. Though I had grown up in a mission that targeted
tribal groups, I shied away from the bush because I was afraid of
leaving civilization. “Fear not,” my Father whispered seven times in
four chapters, gently assuring me that He would help me and hold
my hand, even to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 41:13-14).
Over ten years have passed since that day at CAMP BIMI II, and
I am a missionary in Papua New Guinea. Having spent time in
several bush locations, I still desire to live in the bush long-term,
learn a tribal language, build relationships, disciple, translate the
Scriptures, and help plant a church. I confess that, at times, I have
hung back like a reluctant child at the many new experiences the
Lord has led me through, but I’m grateful that my Father’s Hand
tenderly leads me forward.