Nicola and Paul Mangohig, with their children Joey and Katarina, are preparing to leave Darwin to work as Bible translators in Vanuatu with Wycliffe. Their commissioning service will be on 7 October in Melbourne. Here Nicola reflects on the perpetual moving of their final few months leading up to their departure.
We don’t have enough bandwidth to cover everything I’ve thought lately about Vanuatu, leaving Darwin, our “60x60x60” campaign (60 people, $60 pledge, 60 days), our 5000km cross-country drive with two little children, living in limbo as we wait for visas and so on.
The overriding theme I’ve been reflecting on over the months since we got back from Vanuatu in early March is coasting inside God’s will. It’s a beautiful thing to be cruising along in the stream of God’s plans. I’m learning more about the meaning of “leaning into Jesus”, rest and repentance.
“I’ve had to cling to the promises of God. It’s like clinging on a floating branch for dear life.”
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For years, it’s felt like Paul and I have been on the bank of the river, waiting. We’ve been waiting through having Joey, COVID-19, living in Darwin, having Katarina, and Paul being ready to quit his job. It’s felt like we’ve been wading through water – which we wanted to do, but it was hard work!
The moment Paul quit his engineering job and started to live on the generous monthly support from our supporters, we jumped into the fast-flowing, rocky, crazy river of God’s will. We’re finally moving forward in the call he placed on our hearts a decade ago!
In a season of so much transition, two small kids, less than full health, less than 100 per cent of finances, I’ve had to cling to the promises of God. It’s like clinging on a floating branch for dear life. In fact, I’ve had to learn what some of God’s promises were. It got me thinking: how many times do we listen in sermons or read in devotions about his promises, but we don’t internalise them because we haven’t had to rely on those words alone to get us through the day?
The story of Abraham in Genesis has been one I’ve reflected on a lot. Just like Abraham, I, too, have tried to make God’s plans happen in my own time. And it’s been hard, like wading against a current – emotionally, physically, in our marriage and in other areas of life. Abraham failed time and time again, and so do I. Some days, I’m not so good at letting God be God, while I passively float in his river of love. But that’s where I’m beginning to see regular repentance as my way to greater freedom in the cross and in Christ.
“Some days, I’m not doing so good at letting God be God, while I passively float in his river of love.”
Back in 2019, when I wrote my Master’s paper on “rest”, I had only just scratched the surface of holistic rest, as I only looked at the physical aspect of rest in our weekly rhythms (such as the Sabbath). But during this season of perpetual moving and an ever-changing timeline, the Lord has shown me a way to find deep rest in his river flow. That has occurred in the repentance and recalibrating of my identity – seeing myself as accepted, secure and significant. Out of this, a new confidence has grown within me – a confidence in a God who provides, shelters and protects. The closer we get to our field of service, the more grateful I am to have had this time to get soaked in these truths of God as they will protect us from the works of Satan in a country where evil spirits are alive and active.
So while we’ve been logistically preparing and waiting for our monthly support to increase and our visas to be approved, God’s been preparing my heart to seek him more.
“The closer we get to our field of service, the more grateful I am to have had this time to get soaked in these truths of God.”
If you identify with what I’ve been experiencing and learning, I’d like to challenge you to do something radical for people who haven’t heard the gospel’s good news. God wants you to tell his story just as much as he wants Paul and me to do it. Will you consider joining us?
Matthew 9:37-38 (NLT): Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
Truly, the life of one of these workers is challenging, but coasting inside God’s will is so sweet that I am thankful every single day for the life he has given me.