Learning to Be Still

I have had enough, Lord,” Elijah said… Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. —I Kings 19:4-6




Good food, a chance to get away, encouragement in a peaceful setting. All these things scream ladies retreat to me. Spring of 2012 was the last time I had been able to step away and be a part of one of these special weekends. I was looking forward to having time to breathe, reflect, share victories and defeats, and feast on His Word with fellow soldiers—some MAF wives and other expatriate missionaries from the little mountain town of Wamena, Indonesia.

The WOW group (Women of Wamena) at Ibele.

The WOW group (Women of Wamena) at Ibele.

An MAF airplane delivered our group to a beautiful village called Ibele. As I stepped off the plane, I was picturing delicious food, sweatpants, long walks and laughing, but what was creeping up in my heart was a night of soul freeing crying. I still felt like the newbie here, and the weight of loneliness was rising up in me and spilling out my eyes by suppertime. “Breathe, Debbie. Don’t cry in front of these ladies; you don’t really know them yet.” That’s what my head was telling me, but my heart had other plans. I tried to hide, but they found me. This sweet group of warriors who have walked this lonely road so many times let me cry, prayed with me, and reminded me that feeling this way was normal.

I love how the Lord cares for us. Even in the midst of ministry, He longs to minister to our hearts, just like He led Elijah to rest, eat, and then rest some more.

In the stillness of Ibele, God spoke to my heart to be real, and then provided what I needed to move towards true rest in Him.


In the stillness of Ibele, finding true rest in Him.


  • Be still and know that I am God comes to mind. It is times like these, one really needs to know contentment. Times like these ask the Lord to fill your complete being! Listen. Do you hear him?

    • Debbie says:

      I hear Him and see His hand in all that is around me. Thanks for the encouragement…it is easy to forget when life gets busy.

  • Audrey Neild says:

    Praying for all you MAF folks in Papua!! We are so very thankful for the work you do and sacrifices you make to serve the people there and other missionaries like our kids. The CLaussen’s. We have been there and hope and pray we can return again for a longer period of time. Our hearts are in Papua.
    Audrey Neild

    • Debbie says:

      Thanks so much for praying for the work God is doing here in Papua. Thanks too for your obedient hearts to be wherever He has you and His perfect timing for all things.

  • Lisa says:

    So glad you had those ladies to comfort you. Wish it was us with you at that retreat. We’d have cried AND painted our toenails!
    There is comfort knowing Who is going before you every day.

    • Debbie says:

      Such great memories I had of our ladies retreat with you all and missing our times together in the Word. Looking forward to the day we are face to face again. Miss you!

  • Mary Young says:

    I’m so thankful for you who go to the ends of the earth because our Father said go…prayers for the lonely times…He is always in our midst to listen and comfort. God bless each of you and your family members.

  • Julieann says:

    You blessed me in that way the first time I met you, at the back of the church, when a kind comment brought me to tears and you hugged me and understood me and prayed and walked along side me before the Lord. God bless you, sweet friend.

    • Debbie says:

      Awww, Juliann, I so remember this, and how you also reached out to my kids. So thankful for your friendship.

  • Jean Wunsch says:

    “The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all
    He has made. The Lord upholds those who fall and lifts up those who are bowed down. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all he has made. The lord is near to all who call on him. The Lord watches over all who love him.”
    Dear Friend, rest in the truth of Who our Father is and know you are engraved on the palms of His hands. He will be faithful because that is who He is!!!!

    • Debbie says:

      His Word is so powerful and a comfort to speak directly to our lives. Thanks for your constant encouragement Jean and for your service.

  • Ridwan (Abepura) says:

    Hi Ibu Debby. I don’t know the good words to encourage you, I just want to thank you for your kindness, especially your husband, Pak Chris.
    It began with a little chat with Pak Chris at Mall Jayapura and he invited me to play basketball at HIS. Probably it means nothing for you, but it means a lot for someone who just moved to Jayapura and could find new community. I won’t forget that meeting 🙂
    My prayer always be with you & your family, please send my greeting to Pak Chris.
    Tuhan Yesus memberkati ibu dan keluarga…

    • Debbie says:

      Dear Pak Ridwan,
      We remember that day well. We were also new to Papua, so we are so thankful to make new friends. Chris misses living in Sentani and getting to meet you all for basketball and fellowship. Hearing from you is an encouragement to him and I will pass this on to him. Thank you Ridwan! God is Faithful.

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