This evening was my last Apprentice Wives meeting. For most of the time we've been living in the States, a group of us have met two evenings a month to share, encourage and learn from one another, while our husbands have been training in the MMS hangar.
As this was my last meeting I was asked to share what I have learnt over our time here. When I started thinking about it, there were lots of useful (and not so useful things) that I have had to learn over recent years, so I started to make a list!
Some of these things I've been learning since my first missions trip to Iringa, Tanzania, back in 1997 (15 years ago!) and that continue to be relevant. Some I learnt to expect from my studies at All Nations and have now had a chance to put them into practice. Some are from personal experience and some are from observing others. Some are sensible and others are not ... but they are all things I've learnt since I started my journey into missions!!
In no particular order ...
- How to drive on the other side of the road
- How to raise and maintain support
- To appreciate Fair food Stateside ... deep fried oreos, funnel cake, corn dogs
- The differences between having a baby in the UK and the USA
- To be content whatever the resources and circumstances
- How to plan and enjoy long road trips with little munchkins
- To speak a different language (American English can be very different)
- That the more you give (time/money/resources), the more you receive
- To always clarify the details when asked to do something (over and over) ... what you understand someone to be saying might not be what you’re being asked
- That God is interested and faithful in all the details
- Not to come with expectations
- That Americans will never fully understand the expression ‘A nice cup of tea’ in the same way Brits do!
- To look for where you can be useful, you can always make an important contribution
- That new culture’s aren’t wrong, they’re just different
- That your family comes first, if you want to remain on the mission field
- To find ways to extend hospitality to others because they often won’t extend it to you
- How to shoot a gun
- To take time to get settled as a family before getting involved in too many things
- That God really does supply all your needs, often in unexpected ways
- How to survive on very little sleep for prolonged periods of time
- To be intentional in making friendships
- How to be a mum to more than one daughter
- To enjoy iced-tea and endless refills of drinks at restaurants
- That when you invest time praying for difficult relationships, God can really turn them around in ways you couldn’t even imagine
- To appreciate some of the ‘cheesy’ American Christian movies and literature
- That we are blessed with the full support of our family (even though they’re a long way away)
- Small town America is not the America of the movies
- To live for the last week before payday every month with no money
- That it’s important to find yourself replacement ‘family’ where you live
- That everyone deals with transition in different ways, don’t take it personally
- How to make a quilt
- That God continues to see the bigger picture and has got it all worked out perfectly, making time for him, helps you ‘sweat the big stuff’ less!
I look forward to learning even more stuff as the journey continues!