Encouragement for missionaries can sometimes be hard to come by.
Have you ever had a day living overseas where you needed some encouragement?
Last Saturday was a hot, sweaty, sandy overseas day.
My girls had been invited to spend a few hours with some friends. Friends that live about a 15 minute walk from our house. A 15 minute walk through thick, deep, sweltering sand. No cement. No sidewalks.
She was car-less and I was car-less. Pretty normal for us overseas moms to be car-less. In our neighborhood, we are also taxi-less. Think little taxis and deep sand. Not good. So, it is pretty rare to see one traveling through our narrow roads. We could take a horse cart, but I haven’t attempted that yet.
I got the text saying the other mom was leaving her house so I needed to leave mine. We were going to share the sandy walk and meet half way. But Zander, our sweet and adorable and sometimes naughty German Shepherd, would not let me leave the gate.
The girls left the gate while I held him and then normally, I slip out the gate too. Well, not this day. I was stuck inside. Zander wanted OUT with his girls and he wasn’t going to let me go without him.
I didn’t want to take him with us because the last time I did, he about drug me down the street on his leash trying to sniff all the trash piles he could along the road. Taking Zander outside the gate without Jeremy is tricky business.
After a few minutes I heard, “Mommy. He’s (our guard) coming.”
Elayna said that the other guards saw the girls standing outside the gate, thought something was wrong, starting yelling in Wolof down another street and then, he came around the corner to help.
I thanked our guard as he took over holding Zander’s collar, slipped out the gate and started our walk.
Sweating in the 106 degree sun while the wind pelted us with sand.
The girls happily walked along on their way to a friend’s house. I cringed inside. I couldn’t even get out of our own gate!
It was funny… but SO NOT FUNNY! An overseas day that created a need of encouragement for missionaries.
Story upon story like the one above.
Feeling unable, inadequate, silly, and in need of help. all the time. Humbled daily with the knowledge that even after 2 and a half years away from the states, I still can so quickly feel incompetent.
Going to the grocery store and having the cashier compare me to a friend who can speak Wolof already and having her refuse to speak French with me until I learn Wolof.
Needing to rely on someone, be it taxi or a friend or Jeremy.
Encouragement for missionaries
Elayna having a simple invitation to a friend’s birthday party but neither I nor the other mom can figure out a way to get Elayna TO the party.
Seeing another missionary friend’s name in a facebook group, think, “oh, I haven’t seen anything from them in a long time!” Click their name and realize you aren’t friends anymore.
Hearing about a break-in down the street during the daylight hours!
Finding out that the driver sideswiped a bus with my girls in the car!
Spending days just trying to figure out how to plan something simple on the calendar.
Having to be home because otherwise the laundry, the water, the food prep, the daily tasks of life overseas pile up and it is terribly hard to catch back up with a tiny washer and a slow dripping filter.
Ants the size of my thumb in the kitchen. And a persistent mouse that tears into cereal bags. Worms in the flour. A cockroach falling out of the hand towel in the bathroom.
Needing to get things done over the phone back in the states, either calling insurance or the bank, needing to wait for them to open, which puts me at lunch time and going into the busiest part of the day.
Just so you know, these things don’t normally happen all at the same time. These things are peppered over our days, building and building, until you just plain need some encouragement.
It is all petty, tiny stuff.
Little stuff. Annoyances. Embarrassments. Struggles. Worries.
Modern stuff. What overseas worker before us worried about someone unfriending them on facebook or how tiny their washer was or calling back to the states?
But for us, the modern overseas workers, this is real stuff. The #behindtheprayercard stuff. The stuff that adds to the frustration of our days.
Stuff that creates a need for encouragement for missionaries.
I wish I could invite you over for coffee and we could share and talk about these things.
Maybe give you a hug, and tell you it is going to be ok.
or send you flowers. Like these.
But you know what?
How about I just remind you of a few things that I’ve been reminding myself of for the past few days.
Offer some encouragement for missionaries that I know you’d give me as well.
He has prepared you for this.
He is enough for today.
Don’t be afraid to take time away.
You can bloom here… it takes time.
God will provide.
He hems you in, behind and before.
God is building a soft strength in you.
You’ll find your fight song. You’ll find a way through.
Tuuti-tuuti. Petite-a-petite. Wolof and then French for, “Slowly but surely…”
How do you find encouragement in your days as a modern overseas worker?
How can you encourage someone else today?
What are ways you can offer encouragement for missionaries?