Why sometimes it would be easier if it were only a mission trip…

We are in our second month here in Uganda and reality of permanency is kicking in. As much as the kids would benefit from homeschooling and all the benefits that has to offer.  We have been searching for a good fit for our kids to socially adapt to this new world we live in. But that is for another blog, and another time. If you have ever been on any kind of mission trip you know that it is a short period of time that holds a lot of impact. It usually means you get away from your version of reality for a while, usually you are impacted and then you return home. You might be fired up for a while and others are excited to hear about your trip and then after time life goes on. That is how my life was when I went on my mission trips in my youth and young adult life, short impactful trips where I grew and hopefully helped out the people we served. I remember having a week or two just packed with things to do, very little down time, you were always busy and when your head hit that pillow you usually were out fast.

Now a peak into my reality as a FULL TIME MISSIONARY…wow that’s still crazy to think about. Days are different here, there is no one that is filling your day with an agenda of people to serve and fun places to travel to. The food is no longer new and exciting, those cute little kids that always wanted your attention are still amazed that you are there, but are less eager to impress and please. Those adventures traveling in packed vans is now just you and your family dodging traffic to hopefully not have any adventures that day.  The group of friends that you had is now just your family that you love, but could really use someone else to talk to and get away with to talk about life. The family you left behind and called once to let them know you made it and are safe, now you skype for 5 minutes and try and talk about everything in that time once a week if you’re lucky. Those friends you left behind that are eager to hear about your trip, slowly start to get busy with life and seem to forget about you. The people that supported your trip now are wondering how long you will last and if they can really fulfill their commitments to you.

I have moments that are amazing, were I am feeling on top of the World and can see God moving through that moment. There are times that I have so much energy and can get loads accomplished. Days where I am speaking truth and someone actually seems to get it and make a decision to follow that truth. Times when I feel appreciated for the work and sacrifice that I am doing to help them. And then there are times when I feel alone, tired, worthless, unheard, underappreciated and ignored.  It’s a daily balance to keep reminding myself that I have a purpose in life; that purpose is to listen and serve God daily. Serve no matter what I am feeling, experiencing, learning, impacting or sacrificing. I don’t lead a glamorous life in my eyes, but in someone else’s maybe I do. I am just doing what needs to be done to serve a God that I believe in and that created me in His image to do the work of His kingdom.

Some examples of this glamourous life I lead both yesterday and today. Yesterday, I was feeling ambitious I was going to walk as far as I could before Matt caught up with me in the car. (He never caught me) I walked about three miles most of it was dirt road, along the way every single person I passed stared at me. Most said something, ranging from good morning, Muzungu(white), and the always awkward hey baby (to which I always think come on now I am in my thirties and I am married with two children). I was dirty, exhausted, annoyed, but also felt accomplished, proud and confident that I could take on the day’s challenges. We had our weekly meeting, I worked on the program for Saturday, we went to visit a school for the kids, ate some local food and then the teaching began. It started with the usual two kids who were so eager to come in.  We worked on math and after a short time a few more trickled in and then I had a table of fourth graders who were working on material that was at the first grade level. Some got it and others struggled, but the excitement of learning was there. These kids go to the government school where our office is located, it was evident that they could not manage at the grade level that they were placed. They could pick some of my English, but I know it was a challenge. I felt good, but exhausted after about 2 hours of working with a variety of ages of kids. We went home (thankfully Matt drove me) and we were able to see our kids, they gave us big hugs and said “I love you, I missed you.” We made pizza, talked about our day, and went to bed.

Today, Matt left for work even before Jacob got up about 8. Parker was up several times during the night and finally up at 6:30 (late for her). Fed the kids, the dogs, and swept and mopped the house. I attempted to rack the yard of dog poop, but the rack did not cooperate (and Matt didn’t bring the weed whacker home anyway so I was happy I stopped). We started our lesson by noticing that there was some oranges that had fallen, so I brought them in and we talked about why they weren’t ready to eat (besides the fact that they were the color of lemons). We cut them in half and I had the bright idea to paint with them. We had some dried out paint that I added water to and we mixed it up, we were having fun. Then the first spill, then the second spill and then my OCD kicked in and I said ok it’s time to clean up. The kids did their best at washing up (making more of a mess) and I sent them outside to play. I worked on scrubbing the rug and thought, why didn’t I move this before painting. I got most of it clean and attempted to climb our tile, uneven, smaller than your foot stairs and slipped. Paint everywhere, walls, floor, rug (again), face, arms, skirt. In the background kids arguing and screaming at each other. Got that cleaned up and then found some lunch to heat up. The kids had pizza and chips and I had left over noodles, the kids ate all the chips and the pepperoni off the pizza. Back to lessons we learned about the letter “F”, fitting as I wanted to use a word with that letter once or twice that morning. We did it we finished some school work it was almost three, time to nap (Parker) and so it was movie time. I started a load of laundry, due to the paint fiasco and put in the Lion King. We had a surprise, daddy came home early, we popped popcorn to go with our “F” theme of finger foods and I enjoyed some down time (in between the commentary of Jacob, retelling the story as it happened). Hung the clothes to dry attempted to write this blog, let Jacob use the computer instead while I cleaned the rug again. Matt made chicken, rice and snap peas. Parker woke up from nap once in a crazy frenzy, finally passed out again on me, woke up in time for dinner. During dinner, Parker had a tantrum in the bathroom (I still don’t know why), refused to wear clothes, eventually put her clothes on, got mad that she didn’t get dessert (because she didn’t eat dinner), watched some tv attempted to put kids to bed…and here I am writing this blog.

Two completely different days, life is unpredictable and some days I am just barely able to get through it. But in just those two days lives were impacted; in everything that I do I am impacting the world around me. My hope and prayer is that impact is for good and not evil; that the grace and love I give and receive is centered on Christ. The time that I am able to read the Bible and pray is a time that then is reflected in my interactions in life. I have been made more aware these past months that I can only account for myself and my actions. I can’t account for anyone else, however I can impact the choices of others based on what I am doing or saying. Speak truth, in love and someone will listen even if you never live to hear about it. Have a blessed day!

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