Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Here is my cape…I am not a super mom…

When I signed up for living oversees as a missionary, all I had was a job description and the knowledge that this was what God had for my life. The job description, however, was targeted more toward David. I think our job was actually for a single journeyman, and we had to get permission from the supervisors to come because the job said “no children”. The job description for the wife part was pretty generic, basically whatever ministry you can find – university work, children’s ministry, prison ministry, etc… So basically, I did not have a clue what I would be doing here. Only that I would be a mommy and wife and a “missionary”. My goal was to be “Super Mom!”

Now that I am here, I still do not have a clue what I am supposed to be doing here. I only know that I am mommy, wife, and “missionary”.

It is pretty daunting, really. Knowing that you have the job of being Super Mommy, Super wifey, and Super missionary all rolled into one. How on earth do you actually do that? I have never done these things before, let alone all at the same time.

At our company meeting last month, I got to meet some really great women who have the same roles that I do. With more kids. A whole lot more. Like, three and four more. Who seem to have everything all figured out. I wanted to hang out with them and learn as much as possible from them. Do you know what I learned? They really don’t have it figured out, either. Sure, they have ideas. But their main point was to fully rely on Jesus.


So, in fact, I can’t be super anything. Not without some serious help. Sunday school answer, I know. But oh so true.

I still really have no clue what I am doing. And that is frustrating. And depressing. Most days, I consider it a victory that I brush my teeth and get dressed that day.

Other days, I get the house cleaned, take the baby to play at the park, have a coffee with someone, and be home in time to cook dinner for David. Those days are few and far between. Let me tell you. That would be my dream day.

Right now, in my short almost nine months of living overseas, I have realized that it’s ok not to know what I am doing. As long as I know that I am a wife, mommy, and that I am supposed to share the Gospel with people. I have also learned that to be a good missionary, I have to be a good wife and mommy. That is my main ministry. That is where I feel God has called me first. And that will be true no matter where I am on earth.

What I do day to day might be different day to day. Some days, I go to the gym and have a coffee date with a friend. On those days, David and Gideon have daddy-son days. And I need to know that I need days like that. And I should not feel guilty. Other days, we stay at home and play in the morning, and in the afternoon we go buy supper or go to the park or go swimming. And I should not feel guilty for not meeting with a friend from Portugal. When people come over from game night, Gideon is getting big enough to play by himself. But when it is time for bed, I miss thirty minutes to an hour by putting him down to bed. And I should not feel guilty. I think that is my biggest enemy: guilt. I feel guilty so often for not doing everything, and often because of that, I end up not doing anything. (That is the depression rearing its nasty head…) There was a resounding theme with all of my friends last month: almost all of us feels like the worst missionary in the world. Or the worst mommy in the world. Or the worst wife in the world. Or, in my case, all of the above. But that is a lie.

No, I should not get complacent in where I am. I should always strive to be a better wife, mother, and share Jesus with as many people as I can. All too often, I find myself blaming other people or circumstances for my frustrations or about not learning language or not getting the house cleaned. But it is at those times, I realize that I am not where I should be with Jesus. I have not spent time reading the Bible that day. I have not sat down and prayed that day. I am at odds with my husband. That is when I feel lowest.

So, I guess those other women are right. I have to rely fully on Jesus. I am not a super mom.

So, you ask how you can pray for me? Just. Pray. Pray that I will be a great helper to my husband. Pray that I will show the love of Jesus to my son and tell him about Jesus at every opportunity. Pray that I will know when to open my mouth and tell people about Jesus. Pray that I will know when I need to step away from my child and have some “me” time. Pray that I will not be plagued with guilt. And mostly, pray that I will spend time in the Word every day. Also, can you let me know that you are praying for us? We love hearing back from people. How can we be praying for you?  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Who says ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers!’?

By David

So, the Café Takeover has commenced. 

Within a radius of about 1 1/2 to 2 km around my house is where I am 'strategically' visiting certain cafes. That’s right people, I used kilometers, welcome to European distances. I have rapidly expanded the area in which I visit.  I am making it a mission to go to cafés so I can improve my Portuguese, but more importantly, I want to sow the gospel throughout the community. 

Here is how the process works.  I sit down at a cafe, hoping I have followed the guiding of the Holy Spirit.  First, I usually read my Bible in English then Portuguese.  At this time I either have worked up the courage to talk to a complete stranger or not.  I then ask a stranger to help me practice my Portuguese.  Some say no, making no eye contact (brings up ol' memories of me asking girls on a date Hot smile and then promptly being turned down Crying face )  However, many have helped, and a few of my conversations have turned into multiple conversations with people.

This atteDSCF3723mpt to get into the community has helped tremendously.  My Portuguese has improved.  I now have the capability to communicate like a 4 year old Confused smile with bad grammar.  Lol, but it has helped. Here are a couple of things I have learned through this process: 

1)  Going to a café is the best place for me to have a quiet time, reading the Bible.  I cannot focus well at the house, but put me in an environment where I cannot understand a single word unless I focus, and it is surprisingly peaceful. 

2)  I am growing more spiritually from reading the Bible in another language than English.  When I read in English, I can gloss over areas because I have read the passages already and it easy easy to read in my heart language.  When I read the Bible in Portuguese, I have to slow down to make sure I am interpreting the words and meaning correctly.  I marvel at the Lord’s ability to communicate through different languages.  I find it extremely interesting how my Portuguese translation might convey an idea differently than my English translation ( the thought never fails to cross my mind, I can solve this conundrum, I will just read the original Greek or Hebrew; that is my inner nerd thinking).  I love the way some ideas are communicated by the Portuguese language.  I found it hilarious that the word Pregar can mean ‘to preach’ or ‘to hammer.’ Lol, I believe to some people those thoughts in English are synonymous. 

3)  Having random conversations at cafés has really allowed me to work on evangelizing methods.  Not being able to speak Portuguese well has actually been a blessing in a certain way.  I have an excuse to talk to anybody I see.  I see an elderly lady, I have a way to start a conversation.  I see a teenager with a weird haircut and baggy pants, I have a way to start a conversation.  I see a guy who looks like he is part of the mafia, I keep sipping my coffee… I have found that needing to practice my Portuguese is my way into random peoples’ lives. The hardest part of a spiritual conversation is starting the conversation.  Sometimes it may take me an hour to gather the courage to speak, while other times I walk into a café with boldness radiating from me.  The Lord has given me a simple way to transition a conversation from normal to spiritual.  All a person has to ask me is what I do for work.  It is that simple.  The conversation immediately turns spiritual.  I tell them what I do for work, and I usually know immediately by the person’s reply if he or she wants to progress with the spiritual conversation.

4)   I actually am able to like coffee, just not he American style. I abhorred coffee in the States. The Portuguese café is more my style.  It is an espresso.  It has a bitter taste, not a burnt taste.  It is small, so I don’t feel like I have to endure a bucket DSCF3735of bitterness to get my caffeine jolt.

5)  Sometimes I feel complacent with accomplishing the good, instead of the Great. A lesson I learned from Lonnie Reynolds is to move beyond the good and not settle.  The good in this case can be ‘just’ having a spiritual conversation. Praise the Lord for a spiritual conversation, but I believe Jesus sent me over here for more.  Sometimes, I feel good about the conversation flowing to a point where I share the whole Gospel with a stranger (believe me, this is no trivial thing considering I normally have to communicate the gospel in Portuguese).  But, great at this point in Portugal would be for a person to want to learn more about Jesus. So I want to move from the good to the great.  I know it is in the Lord’s time, but Jesus said there is a harvest ready to be reaped, and I believe Him.

  • While these words were given to Jeremiah, the Lord has given us all a mandate to share His Word. I feel like Jeremias’ plight with words, not being the ideal person, and lack of courage is what many of us have to struggle with overcoming:  O livro do Jeremias, capítulo 1, vesículo 6-8 = Eu respondei: << Ah! SENHOR, meu Deus, eu não sei falar: sou ainda muito novo! >> Porém o SENHOR replicou: <<Não digas que ainda és muito novo, mas vai aonde eu te enviar, e fala como eu te mandar.  Não tenhas medo de ninguém; eu estarei ao teu lado para te proteger.  Sou eu, que to digno!>>