Bug Off!


Since moving to Papua, I have a new afternoon routine with my kids. It goes like this.

Holsten Child: “Mom, can I go out to play?”

Me: “Sure, but do you have bug spray on?”

Holsten Child assumes the position: arms outstretched, eyes closed, as I cover him/her in a cloud of bug repellant. A slight cough, a blinking of the eyes, and they’re off.

And I breathe a prayer: “Lord, please…”

MAF Missionary enemy, the mosquitoI have a new enemy, and it is the mosquito. That wee little creature, barely a quarter inch long, made me fear moving to Papua.

It’s not so much the mosquito, but the diseases it can carry––malaria and dengue fever––and the suffering it could potentially cause to my family, that I fear. And I had to face that fear head on when my son was diagnosed with malaria last week.

Living overseas we expose our kids to risks they would not face in our home country. There are different diseases, parasites, crazy modes of transportation, and good hospitals are thousands of miles away. As a mom, I can be very prone to fear and worry for my kids’ well-being.

I knew a woman whose husband was a pilot with MAF, and she absolutely hated to fly. Yet she had a vibrant ministry in villages interior and had no choice but to fly. She told me that she looked at each flight as an opportunity to trust the Lord.

So I have tried to see living in a malarial part of the world as an opportunity to trust the Lord. We try to be wise and do what we can with bug spray, screens, and zappers, but ultimately my kids’ health and safety––no matter where I am in the world––is ultimately in the Lord’s hands.

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