Showing posts with label missionary life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label missionary life. Show all posts

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Once Upon a Time- Paradise Lost

Being a missionary is really sort of a heartbreak assignment. When you’re on the field you miss your loved ones at home, when you’re at home you miss folks from the field, there is always change, transition, goodbyes….

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time I realized this, long before I realized I would be a missionary. My husband came home from class in seminary one day with the campus newsletter in hand. “I’ve found our calling!” he said.

A church of 35 people in Hawaii wanted an intern for one year. We called them and four weeks later, we were on a plane. When we arrived, we were greeted by church members, who presented us with leis and chattered excitedly using many strange words that we didn’t understand--Likelike, Kamehameha, Liliuokalani (I later found out these were street names).

Something inside me said, “You will never be as happy again as you were a few minutes ago. While you are here, you will miss home. You will fall in love with these people and when you go home, you will miss them.”

I never got over leaving Hawaii….

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is funny.

Our kids do grow up with an amazing knowledge of technology these days.
On the way home from music class today, Parker and I were singing that 10 Little Indians song.
You know, One little, two little, three little Indians,
Four little, five little, six little Indians,
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians,
Ten little Indian boys!

Parker decided to change it around a bit:
One little, two little, three little Ipods,

oh my!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

High Tech Tools for Missys - part 1

(Missy being missionary, not necessarily young female).

Our planet is getting smaller and smaller. Gone are the days (Praise God!) when missionaries packed their belongings in their coffins and sailed off over the horizon never to be seen again. Gone are the days of waiting a month to get a response to the letter you wrote yesterday. Gone are the days (I HOPE!) of annual missionary prayer letters!

In order of importance:
1. Skype If you don't know what skype is, I don't know what rock you live under, but you need to crawl out from under it. It does require broadband, but you can access it from a lan house. Free calls computer-to-computer, cheap calls elsewhere. It is actually cheaper to call Jeff's cell phone using skype than using our home phone, or my cell. Chat is also available if you don't want to commit to an actual voice conversation (or if you need to be quiet when kids nap).

2. Facebook is not much of a tool for those of us with kids still at home, but it becomes invaluable when you send a kid back for college. You can spy on them and their friends, see pictures, write notes. Of course, it goes without saying that if you have a kid on facebook, you need to be on there spying on them. And, of course, anyone in youth or college ministry needs a presence there. I have enjoyed it mostly for keeping up with missy colleagues around the country who are on there spying on their teenage children.

3. Blogging I would think blogging would be an absolute necessity for any missy raising funds and wanting to keep their ministry before their supporters. Even though as IMB missys we don't solicit funds, my husband uses his blog to solicit prayer support for our ministry. We have blogs for each of our boys to give them some writing/computer practice and to give the grandparents some photofodder. As you can see here, my blog is for mostly therapeutic purposes.

4. Strategic There are a LOT of missy resources on strategic network, but the two we have used the most are the e-groups and the missiology articles. With Jeff working on his doctorate long-distance the articles on this website have been a tremendous help! For a small yearly subscription fee, we have access to the major missiological journals.

The e-groups feature is how we send out our prayer letters. With all the SPAM blockers out there nowadays, it's very hard to convince all the email servers that you are legitimate if you're sending out 500 copies of an email message. We were getting blocked not only by our server for sending too many messages, but by the recipients servers, for looking like SPAM. So, we set up a group on Strategic networks with everyone's email and then we just mail one message to the group. Everyone gets their copy and we don't get blocked by spam blockers. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but it's well worth it to be able to be in touch with the folks who pray for you.

Friday, May 09, 2008


This video is a great portrayal of how sometimes we missionaries feel at the task looming in front of us that is so much bigger than ourselves.

In the end we just have to hold to God's promise in Isaiah 52:15
Those who have never been told of Him will see and those who have never heard will understand.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Once Upon a Time - Like Last Month

I promise this is true.

One year ago, I began physical therapy for some back pain I was having. The pain was really getting worse and I finally gave in and began PT, which in Brazil is an endless endeavor.

Anyway, so I worked hard and STR-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-ECHED and really enjoyed getting to know my physical therapist who, I thought for awhile there, was going to get saved in the process. BUT,

I spent so much time on her treadmill I got hip bursitis. This happened in September and I got really discouraged. I couldn't do anything, it was pretty much all I could do to hobble around and get my work done at home. My back was feelling somewhat better, but my hip was ruining any joy I had in that.

Months went by.

In November, I really began to discuss this seriously with God. One day, I was praying about it and I heard Him say, "You need to clean your own house."

Of course, I thought He was talking about the falling US dollar and the ever-increasing amount of money I pay to have a lady once a week clean the house. With a move to the South of Brazil and the fall of the dollar, my ability to support a widow and her family of four on Coke money and pocket change was gone.

I thought God was just changing the subject on me. BUT, I wasn't sure.

See, the main reason I still had a maid was that I was afraid to try and keep my own house. I was afraid I couldn't do it because of my back. My mom had given me a little booklet in which the author says God told her to clean her own house and not use her health as an excuse not to. SO,

I decided that, as soon as my hip was better, I would clean my own house. Anyway, all my maid's other employers were at the beach for the Dec-Feb summer, and she was totally dependent on me for her income in those months.

I changed doctors (twice), changed physical therapists (twice), and took a series of injections for the bursitis. Some small progress was made, but I finally gave up on all of them. By mid-March, it seemed I would have to clean my own house in pain. I told the maid how much I liked her, how pleased I was with her work, and blamed it all on the value of the dollar (remember, I still thought God had changed the subject on me).

The following week, armed with a new ironing board, US-branded cleaning products, and MUCH prayer, I set out to clean my own house. This was also the day the last of the injections wore off.

The first day of cleaning (it takes three mornings and one evening to clean the apartment--things get dirtier here), my hip pain went totally and completely away.

Gone. Completely Gone.

That was March 20 or so.

Hasn't been back since.

I feel like Naaman.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eric Reese-Braving Bullets

Eric and Ramona Reese are IMB missionaries serving in Rio de Janeiro. They have a beautiful rapport with Brazilians. They love Brazilians, the Brazilians know it and love them back.
One thing I didn't realize about the Reese's ministry is the dangers they face in the slums of Rio. The IMB recently featured their ministry in this video short that is part of their Commission Stories series.

HT:Pascal and Amy Stowell

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


And we're off!
We're off to our annual South Brazil IMB Missionary Thanksgiving Retreat in Florianopolis (SBIMBMTRIF-motto: "Nothing says Thanksgiving like a tropical beach paradise filled with Argentinians").
I don't think I will have internet access at the hotel. If I do, I have drafted a host of postjunk for your holiday perusal. If not, I may backdate it when I get back or just "keep moving forward".

Here are some pics, just to rub it in:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Urban Jungle! II

In an attempt to make it through NaBloPoMo, many folks are googleearthing their homes.
Here's ours:

And closer up:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Urban Jungle?

These are pictures taken from our apartment. I like to pretend I live on Coruscant.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Warmest Aloha

Early in our marriage, my husband and I spent a year in Hawaii. As a result, I have three pieces of advice for you readers:
1. If you ever move to Hawaii, never move away, and,
2. If you have to spend only a year in Hawaii, make sure it's at the end of your career and not at the beginning. Nowhere else compares.
3. If you've never seen Hawaii, FIND A WAY! Swim, if you have to. Every human should see Hawaii in their lifetime.

Some of the best things about Hawaii you could only experience by living there. The business culture in Honolulu was one of the most frustrating, and most rewarding, places I've ever worked. Like most tropical areas, professionalism is pretty laid back, if it's there at all. Then again, you don't have to be very skilled or accomplished to rise quickly in the companies there. We actually had a friend who was a high school graduate go from working as a maid to being a fairly high ranking banking executive in just a few years.

The church atmosphere was also frustrating and very gratifying at the same time. People were always leaving, so we were continually saying goodbye to someone dear. The church we served lost half of it's elder board the first two months after we arrived. Yet, this same frustration made it easy to give the church the "personality" that it needed to have. There simply was no "old guard" to battle with over the "way we'd always done it."

I'll never forget our arrival in the Honolulu airport that June night of 1997. I knew the minute I stepped out of the gate that part of my heart would be forever broken. I knew I would spend a year missing home and friends and family. I also knew that as soon as I left I would carry with me an ache for Hawaii and the friends and church family we'd leave behind.

I suppose that's the missionary's dilemma anywhere she happens to go.
I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Too late? NOT!

As missionaries, we spend one year of every five in the states recuperating, sharpening our skills and soliciting prayer support for our ministry. One thing that really surprised us was how very many people had felt called by God to be missionaries at some point, but never made it to the mission field. Almost every church we visited had someone who fell into this category.
I always wondered how they felt about this. Did they spend their entire life thinking they were one the wrong track? Did they feel guilty, or somehow inferior or inadequate? Did they think they had just heard wrong or imagined it? And, if they did feel like it was their imagination, why would they still be talking about it years later?
Here is the story of one lady who felt God's calling the missions as a child and now, years and years later, is on track for fulfilling it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Life

I got an email yesterday. A potential future missionary wife asked, "What is your life like?"

Ever tried to answer that question in a couple of paragraphs? It's hard. Took me a whole day just to realize how simple the answer is:
"My life is a lot like that of a housewife in the states."

Just like any mom to a preschooler, it can be mind-numbingly repetitive. I'm currently watching Barney plays Radio City Music Hall for the 1,000,000th time in 6 years. Then again, a numb mind can be a good thing sometimes.

My life's a little isolated. With laundry to do and kids asleep at 8:30 p.m. (Praise God!), I don't get out much at night. Then again, Jeff's office is here at home so, while he's out during second shift doing church planting activities, he's here during the day. That's really nice and good for the kids, too. Probably the language barrier makes me a little more isolated than I would be in the states, also.

I have chosen to make cooking a hobby, since it takes so much of my time anyway and my family loves to eat food "from home." So a lot of my time goes to trying to make American sauces and dishes with Brazilian ingredients.

Some things are better than they would be in the US. I can afford Pilates here (this doesn't mean I have, just that I can). I go to the mall once a week to get a cappuccino--twice now that we're in summer holidays. I have preschool for the two-year-old from 8:00-11:30 am starting in March. The ingredients that I can get for cooking are incredible (tomatoes with taste, fresh pearl onions, cinnamon from China, fresh buffalo mozzarella, Amazonian fruits--Alton eat your heart out!). I have granite countertops (see photo). My kids have year-round swimming and soccer.

Yup, that's my life. Sorry to cut this short, Barney's singing, "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" and it's my favorite--gotta go!