Today, I have this month's guest post. I have known this missionary mum since 2005 and have lots of fun and happy memories hanging out with her, when we were both single gals with a heart for mission! She met her husband in the same place as I did and is living on the same continent as I am right now. Given the sensitive nature of her families work with Reach Across, working amongst the Muslim community and for 28 Too Many that is as detailed as I am able to get. She has a gorgeous little daughter (see below) and as of last week a brand new son too! Today she writes for me (during a time of uncertainty for us) about a time of uncertainty that her family have had to work through over the last couple years.
Almost exactly a year ago we were evacuated from our country. We were ordered to leave when the political situation meant that foreign nationals were perceived to be at high risk of kidnapping and being caught in any potential conflict.
We had arrived for our first term as missionaries only 4 months earlier with our then 7 month old. We had started language acquisition, getting to know neighbours, culture, house decorating, getting furniture ... all the usual stuff you do when you move somewhere new. I was so excited to finally be where I thought would be "home". I had waited a long time for this. This was where we would be for a good many years, where our kids would grow up, where we would make a life as a family.
It was a roller coaster ride leaving under such stressful circumstances, not knowing for how long, or if we would ever be able to return. The good road out of the country was deemed off limits as it was too close to a 'high-risk' area so we did a 24 hour detour which involved a night on a church floor and some pretty hairy terrain (that was the most fun in those crazy days of packing and travelling to our temporary home in the neighbouring country, especially as I was driving the roughest bit!).
So we eventually arrived at our temporary home and were stuck in limbo for about 5 months. It was a pretty difficult time emotionally and spiritually. The relentless mosquitos were also pretty annoying but the location was nice and at times I was able to really enjoy that aspect of our situation.
Disappointed? Confused? Angry? Frustrated? Lost? You name the emotion, I am pretty sure I felt it.
I couldn't understand why we were going through all this. We had worked so hard to get there. Bible school, learning French (our bridge language), raising the money to go. We had felt all along that it was God's will and he had made it all pretty straightforward even easy at times. So what was this all about? And what about my little girl? This surely couldn't be good for her. As a new Mum I was new to the feelings of utter responsibility for a little person and wanted to do all I could to protect her.
So things seemed pretty bleak at times to be honest. I was really unhappy and felt guilty for not being able to do the ministry we were being supported to do as well as all the other issues I have touched upon.
We returned to our country (not our town yet) in June and have settled in the city for a while, mostly because baby number 2 will be arriving very soon!
The first few weeks were strange and I came to realise that since the evacuation I had been super protective over our daughter, which I also realised was more for me than for her! I had had zero control over most things in my life for so long that the only thing I could control was her routine. This is not very African! So I told myself to suck it up and start embracing life here the way I had planned. Being flexible and as African as possible. Life is short and was not going to be fun if I put limits on our life in that way. Good decision!
So what's happening now? Well, as I said it's one year on. A lot has changed. I have changed. We have changed as a family. I have learnt a lot and been reminded of many things I learnt at Bible school which I know will help me in the long term and I hope will enable me to support others who go through similar situations in the future.
The life of a missionary can be stressful and a very steep learning curve (and wonderful!!)
The life of a mum can be stressful and a very steep learning curve (and wonderful!!)
The life of a wife can be stressful and a very steep learning curve (and wonderful!!)
We live in constant transition.
Home is not necessarily one physical place. It IS one spiritual place.
Expect the unexpected.
Kids are way more resilient than we give them credit for!
Hold on to material things lightly. It's great to make your house a home, but we have to recognise that it may not be home for as long as we hope or expect.
Our plans don't always work out the way we expect. God has really surprised me in how he has used our time in the big city to be really useful despite it seemingly slowing down all our other plans.
There are a ton of other things I could write and even more that I'm sure will come to me later but I hope this may be of use to someone in a similar situation at some point.
It's a crazy life we lead. But I know I wouldn't change it for the world.