Reality of Life on the Mission Field - When Reality Hits

When Reality of Life Overseas Hits

The reality of life on the mission field.

Not always so glamorous, that’s for sure.

“Daddy has a mango worm.” said Elayna when I walked in the door the other day after meeting with a friend.

“He what? Are you serious?” I looked at Jeremy to confirm the mango worm statement.

His face said yes. He did. Gross.

This coming just after a weird, horrible, terrible, awful blister beetle landed on Annalise sometime during the day last Monday and with none of us realizing what happened, the oil of the bug was spread around her arm and face causing burning and blistering for days…

And with rainy season beginning and humidity rising, all kinds of infections and bacteria and diseases are also rising.

With water comes mosquitoes and flies. Mosquitoes, even with perfume as we call it, making me swell up with itchy bumps everywhere {read this} and the flies adding to the mango worm risk…

Jeremy had put Vaseline over the mango worm, hoping it would burrow back out of his skin and needed my help to get the thing all the way out.


A mad, slightly… ok, GREATLY grossed out “what on earth” moment before I put on my nurse hat, nodded my head and pulled a tiny worm out of his shoulder.

I washed my hands and the water ran brown. Ok… add bleach to the dishwater. And don’t wash any white clothes today.

When Reality Hits

Walking back to where the girls were sitting, I felt sand pelting me through the holes in the screens. My laptop was open on the table and I heard the ding of an email telling me that our next malaria medicine shipment is due soon.

My phone beeped with a text message from our neighbor telling us that the fresh milk order arrived sour… so they’ll try to deliver again another day. Back to box milk while we wait…

Reality of Life

Take Annalise upstairs to change out the bandage on her blisters, slather her with ointment, cover her with gauze, go to wash my hands in the bathroom and no water comes out. The water pressure is too low today to make it up to the second floor.

A neighbor stops by and I can’t think of one single correct word in French. Then, I go to the grocery store where the cashier laughs at me because I can’t speak Wolof yet. I want to tell them that I really am an intelligent person who can fluently speak a language even if it isn’t the language they want it to be… but I don’t.

In between researching equipment for audio Bibles, trying to find out when the next container shipment comes in so we can order materials, scheduling culture experiences so we can figure out life here, finding people who will talk with us in French… and all kinds of other random things…

In an effort to connect you to the reality of life on the mission field, I could keep going but you get the idea.

Life is full of new realities.

And it is just hitting me that this IS reality now.

Reality of Life on the Mission Field - When Reality Hits

I was telling my mom the other day that none of these things on their own are all that crazy or bothersome or different. Truly… none of them are all that dramatic or remarkable. Yet, I’m just now realizing that they are all a very real part of my day. It’s like going camping and roughing it or going without or removing conveniences and changing all things normal… and keeping life that way. Never going back home or ending the trip or returning to things as they were…

This is life now. This is home now.

The Reality of Life

Each day, these challenges are a part of our day. None of it is a passing fancy or quickly moving annoyance.

We have to think through how much clean water we have if people are coming over… do we have enough for everyone?

We have to plan laundry depending on the weather or the sunlight left in the day or when clothes need worn so they have time to sit before we wear them.

We have to have all the doors closed by the time the sun goes down so that the mosquitoes don’t swarm the house.

We have to concentrate on every word spoken once we leave our gate… and live in a new culture that easily flows between multiple languages that are not our own.

The life of an expat is one constant place of #getjoy…

Our new normal and these new realities are here to stay.

We are here to stay.

And we love it. We do. The experiences, the challenges, the adventures all pile up in this crazy overwhelming way that drives us slightly insane and happy all at the same time. We fall into bed exhausted, spent and needing sleep. We wake up ready to take on the day and whatever new realities come our way.

I don’t know how to fully explain the place where all of this collides. It is a weird place that I’m learning to navigate.

The culture shock, the first term moments

Always wearying but also encouraging… oh and the dirty feet. every day.

Reality of Life on the Mission Field - When Reality Hits

When new realities hit, I have to take a step back, look upwards, remind myself of why and keep moving forward.

All while spraying more bug spray and making sure the cereal is in an air-tight container.

What new realities are hitting you in your area of the world?




  1. We’re planning a move to Honduras in several years when we retire. Not sure what it will look like exactly, but we know God wants us there.

    Following you, and I’ll certainly pick y’all’s brains along the way. There’s no one here who can tell us anything more than we already know based on our short term missions.

    Thanks for your heart to serve. We’ve been to Kenya a couple times and love the people.

    Joyfully, Loring

  2. Where are you guys stationed? I’m getting ready to find out my mission post (in the next few months).

    A single lady missionary

    1. ah! i am living in north africa right now! i return to the states for two weeks and go straight into training. (lord, help me.) y’all have my whole heart and my daily prayers. thanks for your yes.

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