My mission agency, World Team, has put the 22 minute video, “Bad Legs” on their YouTube channel. It’s a very short summary of God’s story in my life – a whole lot shorter than my memoir will be! The p,oject was not my idea originally, but I’m glad that it was done. The video can go places and reach people I can’t. See it at
Tomorrow the 22-minute video, “Bad Legs – Elinor Young, a Missionary Story” will be launched by my mission agency, World Team. See the one-minute trailer at:
One of the things I love to do the most is talk to the next generation. Usually that is in a college class setting. Whatever the venue of a presentation, it takes some days to get my body ready, and some days to recover, but I am SO grateful I’m able to! Helping to spark, stimulate or encourage another generation of future missionaries to persevere and go is a use of my limited energy that will last for eternity. What can top that?! I am already getting ready for a road trip into Oregon in September to speak at a Christian university. Fun!
March 23, 2008 (Easter Sunday)
I’ve been excited for days. Special friends were going to (and did!) join me for church this morning and for lunch afterwards. Not special because we see each other often. In fact, I haven’t seen them for years. Not since I left Papua 17 years ago, except for Barb. The guys of both couples were pilots who flew other missionaries like me across the vast swamps and over the dangerous mountains. There were not many of us non-indigenous folk and we needed each other. Pilots depended on accurate weather reports from us on the ground. More than one died due to bad weather conditions in the mountains. We depended on them to get us safely in and out of the little outposts where we worked.
In a dozen other ways, no matter what our role we had each other’s back; supported each other. That dependency alone is enough to forge deep ties, but there was more. Something even deeper and stronger. We had the same supreme purpose, no matter what our specific task was. Whether pilot, translator (like me), community developer or whatever – we were there in answer to Jesus’ commission to “make disciples of all nations.” (See Matthew 28:18-20) We didn’t speak about it much, but we understood that we all felt the same joy and fulfillment of a purpose that outweighed the risk and what others would call hardship. That is a very, very profound bond indeed.
If you are not a classic Christian as I am, this may sound a little strange. Other-worldly. Doo-doo, doo-doo. Bizarre. Wacky. I happen to believe, though, that far from being wacky, it is as true as it gets. That authentic reality is found is found only in the perspective that relationship with Jesus gives. Here I could launch into my rationale for saying that. I won’t, but I will invite you to contact me (click on “comment” below) if you’d like to talk about it. Doesn’t have to be publicly posted. Or you can read a story I wrote that relates to this. It’s simply called “Life!“. Check it out!
Not all that many years ago I would not have titled my Weblog “Polio, Jesus and Me.” Call attention to the fact that I had had Polio? – Never! Mind you, my body did. It couldn’t run, jump or walk up stairs in a normal manner. I couldn’t even ride a bike. And my walking gait had a pronounced “galumph”. But I did everything I could to make people either forget that I was different (I also would not admit to being actually “disabled”), or at least get them to look at my polio-caused differences on the same level as color of eyes or hair. Descriptive, but no big deal.
So why the change of heart? Why do I now put “Polio” right up front in my title? Because I now understand, with actual gratitude, that polio had a profoundly positive affect on my life and in fact is the central factor that shaped me. It made my mind sharp, always having to search for alternative ways of doing and being. It forced me to think deeply theologically – did God play a cosmic joke on me, or was His plan to make something intensely beautiful from what appeared to be ugly. Something only He can do. Just look at what he made from a handful of nondescript clay. From that statement you know the conclusion I came to. I wrote a some of articles about these musings. Check a couple of them out and tell me what you think. One is “Faith Healer Experiences” (Yes, I even explored that). Another is “What I Learned About God When Things Crashed” And “Good-By to Irian.” On a lighter note, there is “God’s Secret Weapon“. Any come-back?
I have long resisted entering the Blog World, but finally here I am. I don’t see much use to the “stream of consciousness” stuff, but I do think I have some helpful things to offer the world out there. For one thing, I have had unique experiences in two arenas. What I have learned from those may be helpful to someone.
One arena is polio. I am a polio survivor. Having polio at the age of five means I can’t even remember what it feels like to run, skip or ride a bike. Medically I am a quadripregic (significantly but not completely paralyzed in all four limbs – note the difference between “..pregic” and “..plegic”.) My torso and breathing muscles were also affected. Therefore, the other arena of my experience is an amazing surprise. I worked for several years as a missionary in one of the most physically rugged areas of the world. WHAT?! I told you it was a surprise.
So now you see why I am going to have to give some thought to where to begin. Stay tuned. For now, you can read some of my stories about these experiences by going to my formal website.