We knew that missionary life would look different from any other sort of lifestyle we’ve ever known. I can remember hearing testimony after testimony, story after story, of how different life looks on the opposite side of the world. But I was never really sure what that would look like for us as a family. I mean sure, we knew that the landscape and geography would be different; we also knew that there would be a new language and culture being introduced to us. But what we weren’t sure about, was how all of this would work within our family on a day to day basis, or how our roles as husband and wife would become different.
The fact of the matter is, is that we’re here for people. We’re not here to live comfortably; we’re not here to have a vacation, or to enjoy the weather. We’re here because God loves people, and we want to be obedient to do what He’s asked of us as a family. We average about 3 kids a day at our door just asking us to give them free stuff, money, or work. We’ve heard our doorbell at 11 o’clock at night while we’re in bed about to fall asleep with friends who want to drink tereré, eat dinner together or talk. We have multiple different people we try to hang out with each week during the day, and we’re all trying to get as many hours in language study as possible. Not to mention the fact that EVERY DAY we need to make time to stop everything to encourage one another, stay rooted in God’s Word, love each other, and just enjoy life as a family together. Needless to say, clean laundry, dishes, functioning electricity, and short grass aren’t always on the list!
The point is, there are a million different jobs to be done, and we constantly have to re-prioritize the important things. As a family, we’ve chosen to say it like this, “God, what would you have us do right now in this moment? What is it You’re asking of us?”
For me, this sometimes means that there’s long grass collecting insects, trash strewn throughout the street in front of our house (because someone wanted to root through our garbage for bottles, or, a dog got into it…), on and off again electricity for a few days with a short somewhere, doing the dishes and watching the kids so that my wife can do language study. For my wife this often means that laundry waits until we’re running a little low, washing some dishes right before eating, and it definitely means that there’s not iced tea in the fridge, flowers on the table, or cookies on the counter every single day! Other times, for both of us, it means quitting language study for the day to rest with each other and talk to encourage one another. Some would probably look at us and think we’re weird. But I wouldn’t want it any other way! Forget the chores, people matter!
The point is this; I don’t want a Susie Homemaker in my house that puts laundry and dishes over family and ministry. And it’s a good thing, because she didn’t marry Tim the Tool-man Taylor! We have long grass, no electricity to our shower head, and a pile of dishes that we’re going to wash together at nine o’clock at night when the kids go to bed as we listen to music together and chat. What matters is that we’re being faithful to do the things that God has asked of us.
Laundry, dishes, yardwork, and electricity don’t last forever. But the souls of men do. Too often we get caught up in the minute, mundane parts of life and forget the fact that life is more important than comfortability. But life starts to look differently when you look at it through the eyes of eternity. The chores can wait, people last forever.