This past week I had to make a difficult decision.  I had been frustrated with “I” for quite some time already; years in fact.  Knowing how difficult her life has been and how dysfunctional her home life has always been, I decided to work with her and try to help her.  Over the past half a year, things have gone in a downhill direction instead of uphill.  It became evident that she could not work independantly and there was also the issue of funds having gone missing.  I had confronted her on more than one occasion regarding the missing funds but she denied it each time.  However, it’s not possible that it was anyone else as she was the only one in our home.  I wanted with my whole heart to believe her but I also know how good the local people are at telling falsehoods.  It’s sad but true.  On more than one occasion “I” had told me stories of how she had lied to others.  This only makes it more difficult for me to believe her.  Talking to her about the ethics of this type of behaviour seemed to have no effect.  Then there was the issue of timely arrival at work.  For the local people here this is a difficult thing.  I had been quite flexible for a long time but slowly over the past year have tried to make things more concrete.  This had proven difficult for “I” and just added to my frustration.

Anyways, I let her go and gave her more than 2 weeks severance.  However, her neighbours told her that that was not nearly enough.  Legally, I am not required to give her anything, but I decided to give her some anyways.  She came to ask me about it on Saturday and I told her that we were firm in our decision.  I do not want to set a precendent where behaviour such as hers is rewarded.  In fact, I am not the only one in our area who has experienced some difficulty of this type.  Later I received an sms from “I’s” husband saying that if I was to get another helper, he would take her life.  Nice…

I feel very sad and disappointed by this situation.  I’m sure I made mistakes along the way, but I did try my best to do the right thing.  It is so hard to know how best to help the people in a way that will produce permanent positive results.  In the meantime, I have no helper and I need to wait until things calm down before even seeking out another one.  “R” has been helping me a little which has eased my stress level immensely and also made me aware that I don’t need someone to help me every day, but maybe just three days a week.

Please pray for this situation and pray for wisdom for us as we try to figure out how best to help the people here.


About Erica Feunekes

Myself, my husband Hugo and our five kids live and work in Sentani, Papua, with Mission Aviation Fellowship.
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9 Responses to Helpless…

  1. Uncle Keith says:

    Could you hire a man? We always had male helpers in our days, and were happy with their work. I know how difficult it can be to make a wise decision that considers the culture and brings glory to God.

  2. Carole Flegal says:

    I know this was a difficult situation, Erica. Sometimes you just want to scream at how deep the cultural “norms” are and how we struggle to do the dance between respecting those norms and asking for more from our helpers. Sounds like you did all the right things. Wish I could give you a hug! 🙂 Praying for you and missing you all like crazy!! Love ya!

  3. JamesB says:

    Frustrating. certainly sounds like you tried to do the right thing… wishing you much patience.

  4. Audrey says:

    keeping you in our prayers.

  5. Rob Schouten says:

    Hi Erica: I’m not in any position to give advice but we will pray for you that a good solution can be found. We prayed for you and your family in church yesterday. May God keep you all in his grace. Rob and Janet Schouten

  6. Jane says:

    Hi Erica,
    Wishing you and Hugo much wisdom in this situation, knowing that all things work together for our good. May our heavenly Father bless you and give you peace…and safety!

  7. Kacie says:

    I wish that good intentions always led to the changes we are working towards. It doesn’t always, clearly. It’s so sad to see things like this, though. Perhaps this is just what “I” needs to take a look at her life and decide she really must take action.

  8. Lee B says:

    So sorry to hear how things went, Erica, I can feel your frustration. We’ll pray for you and about this situation. We wish you the Lord’s strength.

  9. Mrs. M. also known as Nancy :) says:

    Sorry to hear this sad news Erica, we will keep you in our prayers.

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