Missionary Parents Help In Life & Ministry

I have found that the love and support of our parents is an essential part of our life and ministry here.

We aren’t able to talk every day. We might get to see them once a year. They don’t get to be our on-call baby-sitters and sanity savers. They don’t get to hug and hold their grand babies often.

Milestones are hit. Memories are made. And they are miles away. But they cheer on from afar, loving us and our babies in any way they can. They get creative with their Facetime calls, send videos and pictures, and blow kisses that float across oceans to my children’s rosy cheeks.

My mom sends text reminders to take my vitamins. She enlists her co-workers and friends to rally around me in prayer. She shops yard-sales and clearance racks year-round for clothes and toys for my kids. She rejoices with me in victories and cries with me in my in defeats.

My dad sends me “Just because I love you” texts and videos singing “The Cow Kicked Nelly” just to make my daughter laugh. He uses conversations about his daughter’s family and mission to share the gospel with anyone who will listen. That means so much to us.

My mother-in-law sends boxes full of fruit snacks for the biggest sweet-tooth toddler I know and makes regular video chat appointments. She wrangles the dog for the kids to see just because they love it. She inquires regularly about our and the kids’ needs and does everything she can to meet them.

My father-in-law hangs his grandkids’ pictures in his office and prays fervently for all of us. He takes every opportunity to talk about his far away family and looks for ways to improve our life and ministry here.

They all wake up to late-night texts and phone calls and never complain of the inconvenience. They pray for us, keep up with us, and always encourage us. They pinch pennies to visit us here and never mention the things they sacrifice to do so. And when they get here, they deal with all the craziness spending time with us entails and do so with a smile.

This Thanksgiving and Christmas will be different for our parents. Fewer gifts under the tree. A less populated and quiet holiday home. No squishy baby toes crammed into red and green footy pajamas scrambling down the steps with unbridled anticipation for breakfast pie and gifts we know didn’t come from Santa.

Thankfully, my in-laws will be visiting just a few days post-Christmas. We will extend our festivities a little while longer. Certainly, this celebration will be different for them as they navigate the many challenges of this country and its’ unique trials. I don’t think they truly understand what a necessary blessing and encouragement this will be to us.

I’m thankful to God for our parents who love the Lord and taught their children to do the same. Who encouraged us to serve Him no matter the cost and make the sacrifices needed to help us carry out our mission. No doubt it’s hard and it hurts. They feel the pain of loss and sacrifice just as much as we do. I pray and trust that God will give them the joy that we feel too.

Even if we can’t be there, we know they will always “be there” for us just as they’ve always been.

Thank you!
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Do your parents support your calling despite its effect on them?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

How I’ve Found Freedom in My Loss of Independence

I have found that a loss of independence can lead to new freedoms.

I can’t drive here. Well, I guess I could if I took the time to learn how to drive a stick-shift. We have practiced around our neighborhood, but I haven’t worked up the nerve to brave the busy streets of Kathmandu where traffic laws cease to exist.

My husband refuses to allow me to drive a scooter. Though I selfishly fight him on this, he clings to his premise that he would like the mother of his children to live to see them grow up. Seems like a reasonable plea.

Though I have grieved it, I am realizing that my loss of independence provides freedoms in many ways.

I am free from the pressure of perfect meal-planning and execution. Paul does our grocery runs out of necessity, and if we don’t have it I just have to work with what we’ve got. I don’t often serve up something pinworthy, that’s for certain. At least once I week I find myself uttering, “Well, looks like fried rice again.” Thankfully, we are all fans.

Since, I am rarely able to shop, I am free from worrying about what I wear. If it’s clean and somewhat fashionable, I wear it. No shopping around for the perfect outfit-completing accessory or that sweater that fits me like a glove. If I like it I better get it now because it will be 6 weeks before I find myself near a decent clothing store again. Now that I think about it, I better get out and get a coat soon before winter is over.

I am free from the pressure of entertaining my children outside of the home. We don’t have the luxuries of a library or a park. Playdates are a thing of the past. We find our fun at home. My kids don’t seem to mind.

I am free from feeling like I have to find this or that around the city. Many people get meat one place, produce at another, bread somewhere else, and so on. I can’t do this. It is not an option. It’s a one stop shop for us. No running around for me, and I really should be happy about that. More time with these cute little squishies I call my children.

I am free from all kinds of things pulling me in every which direction. I can say “no” to a lot of things because I’m really not lying when I say I can’t do it.

My loss of independence has forced me to lighten up…and let me tell you, freedom feels good.

Have you had a loss of independence that led to newfound freedoms?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

 

All Good Things

I have found that anything that pushes me to lean on Christ is a good thing.

Including this cold I’ve had for the last 3 weeks. Insecurities in parenting. Field-brought fears. Insufficient funds. Insufficient goods. Loss and deterioration of friendships.

I’ve shared many of these difficult scenarios, attempting to point out the good, but the best thing in all: they force me into dependence on Christ.

Those “I’m done” moments give Him the opportunity to work without the obstruction of my hands on the reins.

“I can’t do it anymore” allows me to accept His will as he completes it in my life.

The times I just can’t face the day, I can fall in His arms as He breathes life into my weakened bones propelling me on in service to Him.

And the days I want to hide in the comforting cloak of quiet, He shines His Light in the darkest corners of my heart. He speaks to me in that still small voice that somehow drowns out the lies in my head demanding I give them a home. He provides the peace I can’t find in my most desperate search in a calm and quiet heart.

And when I feel as though I’ve totally failed Him, I know He is pleased with me because I am washed with the spill of sacrifice supplied on a blood stained hill.

I am free of guilt and pressure to perform. I am free from fear and doubt. I am free to rest and trust fully in Him. The fires that fuel me to this realization are all good things. Seeing my need for him, in any form it comes, is a blessing.

For every burden, I have a Buffer who is the giver of all good things.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:9).

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Have you been forced into dependence on Him through trials?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

When Old Friends Become New Fears

I have feared things I never thought I would fear.

Turns out, seeing things you are generally comfortable with outside of the context you are used to seeing them, can suddenly make you fearful of the once familiar.

Dogs. I thought I loved dogs. We agreed we would not get one due to the inconvenience this purchase poses to a missionary, but I have never disliked them. In fact, I had puppy wallpaper in my bedroom when I was a child. Now, dogs are everywhere but not in the cute and comforting wall-paper way. Sleeping on the side of the road. Begging outside of shops. Running in wild packs. Mangy, matted, stinky, probably disease-ridden mutts. There is no way to know if a dog you encounter is a “nice or mean doggy” as we caution Jolynn. When I see a pack, I don’t completely panic but I do tense up and hold my breath just a little bit. This might explain why I don’t sleep well listening to them howl all night long.

Monkeys. I thought monkeys were something you see in a zoo or out on a safari. NOT IN YOUR FRONT YARD. Yet I’ve seen them there on two separate occasions and up on my wall and around my neighborhood on countless others. When seen up close, you realize how big they are. The one I saw feet from my front door was comparable to my big-for-her-age three-year-old on all fours. On a walk-around of the Buddhist temple during my parent’s visit, we were surrounded by hungry monkeys taking advantage of the Buddhist holiday celebrations we didn’t realize we had walked into. The food offerings were drawing them out of their places of hiding in the trees and all around us. Stepping out of the way, I nearly crushed an infant, whose mother showed me her disapproval by a swift but firm swipe at the offending foot. I’ll check the calendar next time.

Cats. Ew…Cats. I am not necessarily afraid of cats, but I definitely don’t like them. They are often mangy and matted like their canine counterparts, uncared for and most often unseen. These aren’t your grandma’s house cats! One night, we woke up to the worst sound I have ever heard. I made Paul check to see what it was because it literally sounded like there was a baby dying on our front porch. He found two cats wailing and whining for who knows what reason. After several half-asleep attempts to get them to “scat,” he threw a brick. Problem solved.

Crows. Do we even have them in America? Maybe I have vague recollections of hearing them caw from afar, but I would definitely remember if they swooped at my head as they have done here. They are the reason we don’t have patio furniture and were afraid to have guests for a while. Nothing says “Welcome to our home” like a crow attacking you. We tried a BB gun, rat poison, and countless other counter-attacks but ended up waiting it out until daddy crow’s baby grew up and he was no longer on the defensive. I still get the sunken stomach every time I hear that familiar call or see those wretched creatures which I’m guessing are a result of the fall and not representative of God’s creation which when He observed was declared good.

So, if I act strangely around your house pets or friendly outdoor guests, I hope you will remember this post and still be my friend. And maybe hold my hand as we walk inside.

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Have you found yourself afraid of familiar things in a new context?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

10 Great Things about My Life in Nepal

I have failed to always recognize the GREAT things about living in Nepal.

A few months ago, a neighbor friend asked me why I wanted to live in Nepal. She reminded me that we have power problems, water problems, and a whole host of other problems not unique to this country but not like its more developed counterparts. And this was before the blockade of goods.

Though exciting, this place wouldn’t be considered to be the most glamorous or comfortable place to live.

I told this friend that I have a tank full of water, and I have a back-up power system. We’re good. But even when these things fail (and they do), among the problems there are some pretty amazing things about living here, that make all the mess bearable.

  1. Some days, I can see the HIMALAYAS from my doorstep.
  2. A place world-tourists spend time is just a few miles away. I’ve walked there!
  3. My children have seen animals most only see in a zoo in our front yard! Kinda scary…kinda cool.
  4. Within a few hours are several great vacation destinations. I haven’t been to any because we are crazy busy, but we love that too! One day…
  5. Our money goes a long way here. We can live, go on dates and family outings, and even do ministry on the cheap!
  6. The Nepali people are kind, hospital, resourceful. We have learned so much about being flexible and content from these amazing people!
  7. Nepali people LOVE children! My kids have aunties and uncles all over this city!
  8. The different people groups here mean we have LOTS of ethnic foods to choose from! And everything we have eaten has been delicious!
  9. We love Nepali style! The women wear modest but beautiful, colorful clothing. Paul loves the mens shoes! Kids wear whatever crazy combinations they can come up with which Jo is totally into. And I just try not to go shopping too often because I want to buy all the things.
  10. There are populations of Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims here. We have a wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ and so much culture and customs to learn from these different people.

I could go on! We are forever getting to try new foods, learn new customs, make new friends, and learn new parts of this beautiful language. Every day is a new adventure with new discoveries to be made. Though this country certainly delivers its fair share of challenges to this new-to-the field family, truly, we live in a wonderful place!

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Is there a good mix of challenging and wonderful aspects of where God has called your family?
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!