About a month ago, we climbed into our very stuffed van and started the journey toward our life as missionaries-in-training. We have already learned so much in these last few weeks that we wanted to share some of those lessons with you before we are off the web radar for a month (see #1):
LESSON #1: THE INTERNET — MASTER OR TOOL? We spent several hours in our Worldview Analysis class exploring the profound and wide-reaching impact technology has had on our culture and the shaping of our Western worldview. As the “grand finale” to our study on specifically the Internet and its impact not only on society but also on the mission field and missionaries around the world, we were all challenged to be part of a 4-week “WebFast” — no social media, no texting, no web surfing, no blogging, no T.V. or movies… the goal? To examine how we spend our time, to spend more time with God, and to engage in real face-to-face interaction with people rather than shallow online interaction. As shocked as I was when I first heard of the assignment (no FaceBook for a MONTH?!?), John and I are excited to be challenged in this way and to truly take a close look at the role the Internet has played in our lives. I will still keep everyone updated on BABY NEWS, and you can call us on our cell phones anytime (Well, not literally anytime, but you get the idea 🙂 ).
LESSON #2: Air conditioning is AWESOME. ‘Nuff said.
LESSON #3: FEAR — JUSTIFIED OR STUMBLING BLOCK? When I asked John about what he’s learned here so far, his answer was clear: NO FEAR! Our teachers and the missionaries here surely don’t sugarcoat the missionary life. The message is clear: there will be hardships, there will be times when you just want to give up. John, as a husband and father, started to feel a lot of anxiety about leading his family into that kind of life. Through reflection and prayer, God brought John to a place of PEACE instead of FEAR — John has to trust in God completely. He can’t protect our family, but God can. He doesn’t know what is going to happen, but God does. Being in a place of utter dependence brings peace. A lesson we all need to learn.
LESSON #4: Everybody says supper instead of dinner. And if someone invites you over for dinner, that could actually mean lunch. But only on Sundays. Seriously.
LESSON #5: COMMUNITY LIFE — BLESSING OR HARDSHIP? I am quite the introvert, and anyone who knows me can attest to that :). Well, living in a close community setting like here on campus has taught me quite a few lessons already on hospitality, relationships, and that sometimes, “pick up your cross and follow me” means something simple like: “invite them over for lunch last minute!”. There are wonderful aspects of community living that I truly cherish… Judah going outside and having other kids (and dogs) to play with, being able to just knock next door to borrow anything from a stamp to a vacuum cleaner (thanks, Jill!), having so many neighbors on all sides and across the street to hang out with… things that teach me to engage more in relationships, to take the time to start a meaningful conversation with others, to not be so set on “my schedule” all the time. It would be a lie to say that it doesn’t get hard at times or that I do sometimes just want to put on my PJ’s at 6 PM and shut the blinds, but John and I see this as part of our preparation for the mission field, and are SO VERY THANKFUL for the circle of friends and the support system God has been building around us in just one short month!
LESSON #6: Watch out for the crazy looking wasps! I’m pretty sure they’re actually tracker jackers…
LESSON #7: LOVE iS ALL AROUND :)! Besides being so very thankful for the people we’ve met and the support we’ve gotten from friends, our families, and our church family, I have found a new appreciation for my dear husband! It’s been wonderful having him home more, and he has been such a help, especially now that the pregnancy starts to really weigh on me (literally). Just thinking of this weekend, John has done most of the dishes, held Judah in his arms for hours (as he had a high fever and was so sleepy), played with him once he was feeling better, asked me again and again how he can help me (I must look pretty pitiful with my huge belly as I waddle through the house), has made me iced coffee, has cleaned out the car… he’s one of a kind, my Johnnyboy :)!