I know what you guys are thinking, “The life of a missionary is not ordinary! Haven’t you read the biographies of some of the greatest missionaries who ever lived. They were far from ordinary!” The problem with missionary biographies is that they reduce the entire life of a person to their most memorable stories and the unmistakable working of God’s hand through their life. Not only would reading about their everyday experiences be boring, but it would never fit inside the binding of a book. Am I saying that I hate missionary biographies? No, actually on the contrary, I love them! They are truly inspiring. But sometimes I am fooled into believing that they were not ordinary people. That ordinary people like me could never be used by God like they were. And the funny thing is that we are currently serving on the mission field.
My average day looks nothing like an excerpt out of a missionary biography. Actually, my average day is very much like my average day used to be when we lived in the states. As the mom of seven kids and a wife, my responsibilities have remained pretty much the same. We have switched to homeschooling, which has been a challenge with 6 of the 7 in school. And our nearest grocery store is now a half an hour drive from here, but nothing interesting enough to write a book about. And since we have been back from furlough, Tim and I share our one car. Most days, I never leave the confines of my own house. So my life is very ordinary. Sometimes, it is so ordinary that I begin asking myself why we are here.
Then, like every other mom, I live a day that is a little extraordinary. A day a little different from the rest. A few weeks ago, my eyes were opened to a whole new area of pain in this country. My friend’s son was stung by an insect and began to have an allergic reaction. Since they have no car, I offered to drive them to the hospital. There only other option would be to take a moto-taxi (a 3 wheeled car that drives incredibly slow) to the end of the dirt road, and then catch the public bus to the hospital in the city. A forty minute drive would have turned into way over an hour. When we arrived at the public hospital, I was shocked by the physical condition of the building. It looked more like a run down warehouse with flaking paint and broken windows. Sanitary and this building didn’t seem to fit together. My friend was allowed to enter with her son and I waited outside on a long concrete bench with the multitudes of others who were waiting for someone. As I began to talk to the people around me, I met a man who had been sleeping on the sidewalk for 14 days because his infant daughter was sick in the hospital. Being three hours from their home, with no work and no family close by left them no other options. Another boy, with a clearly broken arm, was pacing back and forth with his limb wrapped in a piece of cardboard as he wailed in pain. One man told me a story of how he cut his leg and had to have it stitched without anesthesia because the hospital had run out. After a five hour wait, my friend returned with her son and we were able to return home. But my life was forever changed. The boy with the broken arm was still pacing when we left. The faces of the people I met are still clearly etched in my mind. This is their reality! They have no better options! I keep picturing myself as the mother of the boy with the broken arm. How would I help comfort my own child and watch him suffer for such an unbearably long time.
And so our ordinary life continues. We are working with the small local church here as they expand their church property and put up a retaining wall. They are praying to be able to build a bigger building, as their current building is busting at the seams. And little by little we are building our new house. We have moved off the camp property and are renting a house close to where we were living. The adjustment has been harder than I would have expected it to be, and our house being robbed on Mother’s Day didn’t help much. Pray for us! We covet your prayers! For protection over our family and direction of our new ministry
Thanks for your support and remember your prayers matter.