Some seasons of serving God are hard and Jag Dunn will be the first to admit that.
“Not a day goes by where we don’t think of our family and want to be with them,” he confesses. “But if God has taught us anything, it’s that His love for people runs deeper than our love ever could.”
God called Jag and his wife, Abby, to minister to the Hewa people in 2012. For the past year, their family has been experiencing what Jag calls “bush orientation.”
Settling into the tribe, making their home among the Hewa people, investing their lives in building relationships while learning the Hewa culture and language—all this is part of God’s call on their lives.
Sometimes this call involves adapting to very new and different smells and tastes.
“The Hewa people go out every year for wild fowl season and collect hundreds of wild fowl eggs,” Jag shares. “We were ‘blessed’ to be given almost two dozen and some of them had already begun to develop.” Jag says he made omelets for himself and the kids out of the fresh ones, but Abby chose peanut butter and jelly that morning.
Kuka is another big season for the Hewa people. “Kuka look like nuts and are toxic to eat until properly prepared. They have to be boiled, steamed, broken open and soaked in water for a month all wrapped in banana leaves before they can be eaten,” says Jag.
After the long preparation process, kuka turns into something a little like French onion dip, but the smell, according to Jag, is quite different—and quite unbearable.
The Dunns are grateful to be settled in their new home in the jungle. They are grateful for the kindness and welcome of the Hewa people. “We have been touched in ways that I wouldn’t have dreamed,” Jag says. “Experiencing hardship with the Hewa people has grown our love for them. We are so thankful that God chose us to come here and has opened our own eyes to so much truth.”
Sometimes missing their extended family at home is indeed hard. “It’s hard to understand why God would choose to have us separated from the ones that we love most,” Jag shares.
But the Dunns know deeply that God’s plan for them is actively at work—both in learning to embrace their new Hewa friends and neighbours, and in living thousands of miles from so many people that they love so much.
“Many people have said to us, ‘I don’t know how you do it. I could never leave my family!’ And the feelings of missed loved ones didn’t go away once we signed up to be missionaries,” Jag admits candidly.
“But we do know God’s love, and it has the power to change even our worst homesick day by showing us a love that was God’s plan from the beginning of time. God loves people more than we can comprehend and that love is changing us and the Hewa lives around us,” Jag writes.
It’s impossible, Jag says, for him to understand God’s ways and His plan. “But we do know that He loves us, and that His love is bringing hope to the Hewa people who need Him.”