Not So Picture-Perfect

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”    – 1 Samuel 16:7

Debbie’s house at sunset.

I’d posted a picture on social media of our home in Papua, and it looked so peaceful. I remember reading some of the comments and agreeing, but wishing that people could truly know the three-dimensional version of the place where we live. Just recently when a friend from the states came to visit, she was able to verbalize what I had been feeling. She thought she knew about where we lived, but until she could hear, smell and live in it, she truly could not understand it. If only the pictures included the sound of loud motorcycles or voices shouting, the smell of garbage rotting, the people pushing and staring …the heat. Our house at sunset looks peaceful, but the truth is there is often unrest on the other side of the fence. I am thankful for the safety we have inside the walls of our base; going beyond those walls takes trust and grace to step outside. It is sometimes challenging to live in a town where residents still settle arguments by warring with each other. You can’t let down your guard when you are out and about.

Pictures can rarely capture the reality of life—the smells, the sounds, the feelings. Thankfully, God knows the real picture; He knows my heart. I’m learning to rely on that—to let it be enough. I’m also trying not to judge a scene or situation by what I see on the outside, but extend the grace that He shows me moment by moment.

I am thankful for His grace and for the friends and family back home who are praying for us. It gives us the courage to step beyond our “picture-perfect” home so we can continue to reach out and be His hands and feet to a hurting world.




  • Ludmilla says:

    So so true…Since being at Mindy’s, when people ask questions, I find myself replying at first with a blank stare. Then saying there are really not words to describe it.
    I keep you all in my prayers and close to my heart.

    • Debbie says:

      I am so glad you were able to come and see where Mindy lives and that I got to meet you. Thanks so much for praying!

  • Mom & Dad says:

    Praying for safety and peace for you, Chris, Sarah & Benjamin

  • Linda Trinidad says:

    Thank you for clarifying your life in Wamena for us. Your home still looks so peaceful and serene. But now we know a little more of your real day to day life there. We can pray more specifically for all of you now. We love you and may God continue to bless you and your ministry to others there. Thank you so much for keeping us updated. I love that we can be connected with you this way.

    • Debbie says:

      I love it too….thanks always for your love and encouragement and we look forward to heading your way in 2018 sometime and seeing you face to face. 🙂

  • Kenneth Heitz says:

    Your words and the picture sort of brings everything, well almost everything into the right perspective.
    Mary and I really enjoy your emails The last one with all the pictures was great, everybody looks so happy. I guess you cannot let the children go out and play in the street like we did when I was a kid, a long time ago a real long time ago.
    Well it is almost 11 o’clock and
    I have to get to bed.
    lLord bless all of you.
    Ken & Mary

    • Debbie says:

      Always great to hear from you both. We still remember the time we got to come and visit. Thanks so much for your love and prayers. 🙂

  • Marcia Whetsel says:

    Thank you for sharing so we can pray more specifically. We love you and are praying for you. It’s only by his grace daily. You are such an example to so many of us. The daily challenges are so great for your precious family. On our knees for you.

    • Debbie says:

      By His grace daily….amen my friend. So thankful for you both and for the light you are to those around you and to us. Can’t wait for the day we get to see you again! x o

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