Thursday, January 31, 2013

~The GLORY of being a missionary wife...part 2!~

THANK YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU for all of your S.W.E.E.T. comments you left on my last post.  They were beyond NICE!   You have no idea how much your comments meant to me!  Consider yourselves hugged! =)
I don't know that I deserve all the nice things you said about me, but as my Grandmother would say,
 "Lie on, I love it."  =D

And Sarah, Thanks for your suggestion. I would love to print this for the public someday, but I'm not sure how or when. =)
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~The GLORY of being a missionary wife...part 2~
When you move to a new country to serve God, everything is UNKNOWN!
It's just YOU AND JESUS!!   =)
You develop a dependence on God LIKE YOU'VE NEVER HAD BEFORE!!!   You realize that things are OUT OF YOUR CONTROL, but that you are serving a God that is TOTALLY IN CONTROL!
So, you learn to just sit back and watch HIM WORK! (OK, I made that sound really EASY, didn't I?) =D
So, here we were, landing in Colombia, FACING THE IMPOSSIBLE.  Once we got to Colombia we learned that in order to stay in Colombia we had to have a registered Colombian church to authorize us to work here as missionaries.  We had come ALONE to plant churches, so that was impossible.
Just 2 weeks later, we walked into a music store to buy a keyboard, and God let a man named Carlos help us.  The next day, Carlos called us and told us that God wouldn't let him sleep that whole night before.  He just HAD to come and talk to us and find out HOW THEY COULD HELP US! =)
Long story short, His Father-in-law's church gave us the coverage we needed and has covered us the whole time we've been here.  Without them, we would have had to leave Colombia just shortly after getting here.
Carlos' brother-in-law (without even MEETING US) signed our papers so we could rent a house.  Our house was in his name for 3 years, and we just paid the rent.  But, How was he to know that we WOULD PAY the bills and not ruin His name?  He didn't know us from Adam!!!
Only God could create that miracle to let someone TRUST foreigners sight-unseen like he trusted us.
One day before we came to Colombia, Phillip told me that he felt that God had just given him this PROMISE:       
 "Those who don't even know you, will help you!"

~When on the mission field one cannot afford to miss their QUIET time with God each day (even if it's not too QUIET and their children are all around! =)

Sometimes in the human we think that we need to be like the ENERGIZER BUNNY FOR GOD....Just Going, and Doing all the time.

When what God really wants is for us to be like SOLAR CELLS and SPEND LOTS OF TIME WITH THE SON!!!!!     (JESUS!)

In God's Kingdom MORE WORK, AND THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK is done, on our knees in prayer!!

I have taken LOTS of comfort in knowing that Jesus was the ultimate Missionary and He more than UNDERSTANDS when I come to Him with my little woes.
And talk about CULTURE SHOCK...He had it!! =)
~Growing up in a pastor's home my parents taught me that GOD ANSWERS PRAYER and frequently shared answers to their prayers with our family!
So, I took them at their word, and was just child-like enough to think that my Heavenly Father CARES about what I care about!  I have always prayed over everything.little.thing, and still do!!!  I often say, "I LOVE IT, that my Heavenly Father cares about the LITTLE things!"
I have found Him a VERY FAITHFUL FATHER, and He LOVES to answer all of our prayers!

Missionaries as you know live by faith.  The verse "Pray without Ceasing" becomes a LIFESTYLE!!!  So, I've rejoiced that on the mission field, our children have seen FIRST HAND God work miracle after miracle in OUR BEHALF AND FOR THE WORK HERE!

  • In 2009 it was time for us to go back to the USA for deputation.  We had planned to leave on Tuesday, Aug. 4th, and it was already the Thursday before and we had NO MONEY to buy the tickets.  So, we prayed together as a family and presented our NEED to Jesus.                            
  • The next day, money came in, and we bought our tickets!
  •  I'll never forget deputation 2009.  I was VERY OVERWHELMED and having to pack for our family (then 6 of us) to travel around for months.  We were to be gone over 3 different seasons (HOT Summer weather (in AZ too) Fall, and Winter!) , and we would be traveling a lot out West (FAR AWAY FROM HOME and more supplies/clothes!)   We were traveling around in a minivan and I was wondering HOW I was going to fit all our things/schoolwork/missions display/suitcases/etc. in that van for all those months. I just didn't see HOW I COULD DO IT!!!   Plus it was FALL, my favorite season, and my heart was so MISSING getting to decorate for Autumn.  We were to leave for the west the VERY NEXT DAY when at one of our first services some of our DEAR friends offered us the use of their Motor home!  I could HARDLY believe my ears!  So, we accepted their offer and the next day found us rolling our way down the road in their Nice motor home heading west.  AND TALK ABOUT DECORATING FOR FALL.  In our travels, God helped me run into several 90% off sales at HOBBY LOBBY and I got LOTS of Fall Goodies with which to decorate.  Just a coincidence?  NO, our God Cares about the little things! =D
  • End of 2009/ beginning of 2010    As you know we were so NEEDING our own home/place to stay for when we are in the USA, and Phillip felt that it was God's timing to start looking for a house. We don't have any credit history, (from living outside of the USA so long), nor did we want to go into debt.  Long story short, unexpectedly we were sent a check from Phillip's Life Insurance policy. We just put that check into a savings account, hoping to use it to HELP toward a house someday!   Then a little later God sent us our SURPRISE baby Mary, and we knew we would need to go back home (USA) for her delivery.  So, we began to pray, "Lord, if You want to us to have a house, please just DROP IT IN OUR LAPS!!"    Just 2 weeks later...when the house near my sister's house came open (the one we had looked at) God let us get our house for just $14,200!  Our Insurance check and a couple special gifts given Specifically for our family to use...FULLY PAID FOR OUR HOUSE!!! =)
  • 2011 After trying for WEEKS IN VAIN on the internet to find a house to rent before going to Buenos Aires, Argentina, we resigned to having to get a hotel once we arrived.  BUT....JUST ONE HOUR before we left for the airport to go to Argentina, we got an email saying that someone had a house ready for us to rent!!!!   We went straight from the airport to that house!   God's clock keeps Perfect Time!  The main reason we couldn't find a house to rent in Argentina was because we were "too many!" =)  Everyone only rented to "4 people and no more!"  But God found us a land lady that was willing to rent to us for our first week, then after she met us she decided we could stay a month. Later she was so impressed with our family and how we tried to TAKE CARE of her house like it was ours, that she told us to stay the whole 5 months in HER HOUSE!  When we left she told us that she wished ALL RENTERS were like us! =)
  • When we got there, we were shocked with a entrance fee into the country of  $110.00 per person.  But, we knew after that, that we still had plenty of money to pay our rent and deposit.  However, when we went to withdraw money to pay, we were SHOCKED that we didn't have hardly any money in our account to pay rent, etc.   We had been saving money, so we would have plenty of money to pay our expenses when we arrived.  A few days LATER we found out, after checking our bank account on line, someone had been stealing LOTS of money from our card.  (Evidently someone when we were still in Colombia got all the info from our card and was buying hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise in MADRID using our debit card. =(
  • So, here we were in a new foreign country needing to pay rent, deposit, etc. having no funds, nor even Friends to depend on there!  BUT, God moved on the heart of the man and lady (who had JUST MET US) to rent us the house with just a little cash for the first weekend, and then let us pay just what we had/could until we had more money in our account.  
  • Again, those that didn't know us, helped us!!!   Once we realized about the theft, our mission sent us money to pull us through!
  • Then, MIRACLE OF ALL MIRACLES....Later OUR BANK reimbursed us for every DIME that was STOLEN! (And as you know, That normally does NOT happen with debit card theft!)  =)
  • 2012    Like I told you earlier, one of the hardest things for me to part with was my beautiful Amish table, that had place-setting for 14, along with the matching chairs, and the nice deacons bench!  Back then, I told Jesus that I was expecting Him to get me another dinning room table someday.  =) I LOVE to have company, and normally have a House full/ table full when I do, so Jesus knew I was requesting another BIG ONE. =D  As you know, He sent me a nice big table this past that has setting for 15 or so people.  I can't wait to get home and use my table for a little while!   =)
  • Now in January 2013, we were needing money to buy all the tickets to get the pastors and their families here for the revival with Bro. Eisenhart and Bro. Becker.  PLUS, we were Needing money to buy our own tickets to go back to the USA in March.  We didn't know how, but we knew God would help us.  God and others came through in a MARVELOUS way and we got their tickets and ours too!
  • Dec. 2012 After the door seemingly was SLAMMED SHUT when all of our years WORTH of paperwork was STOLEN (see story below)...God created a MIRACLE in giving us our Colombian LIFETIME residencies!  
  • Another added blessing is that now we are registered as Independent Workers rather than underneath the church mentioned above.  
  • Our laptop computer has been "LIMPING ALONG" for the last 2 years. (We always have a little fan blowing on it, so it won't overheat. )  But, instead of buying another laptop, we've been investing into God's work here.   We received an email asking us if we could use a laptop.  We wrote back and told them it would be a HUGE BLESSING!!!  We had never even mentioned our need to anyone!  So, now someone has a new laptop waiting for us when we visit the States!!! 
It is so REWARDING seeing God do the Impossible.  Like with our stolen bag at Christmas time!!!  In case someone didn't hear, on Dec. 19th we had headed to the office to apply for our Colombian residencies, but the office had closed early that day due to Christmas.  On the way home in a VERY CROWDED BUS, Phillip's bag was stolen out of the bottom of our stroller!
That bag had YEARS worth of IMPORTANT documents NEEDED to get our Colombian residencies, our 10 US passports (some were old but still required to get our residencies), Our Colombian visas, our 10 year Argentine visas, and much more.  God WORKED in our behalf and Nearly everything in that bag, including nearly $300.00 was returned to us?!!!!! Those who stole from us, didn't know that God had His hand on His Children and on their bag!  We had THE TRACKING SYSTEM of all TRACKING SYSTEMS!! =)  When we tell this story to Colombians of how we got our bag and things back, THEY CANNOT BELIEVE IT!  They say things like," Do you know that that is a MIRACLE?  One never receives STOLEN CASH BACK here in Colombia!"
We Love telling that story...'cause it brings GLORY to our wonderful Savior!!!

~Being on the mission field draws us closer together as a family.  We are a TEAM, and we are Best friends.  Our kids and us LOVE to just sit and talk and laugh, and cry, and pray, and sing together.  We have been through a lot, but those times have just drawn us even closer to each other.

~I want to take a moment to BRAG on our home church and mission!  These people treat us (their missionaries) like we are ROYALTY!!!  They are always saying kind things to us, telling us that we are some of their "Heroes", etc.  A lot from our church give faithfully to our family and the work here, and the church is always there to take up an offering to help us if we are in a "Bind."   
Our pastors and families, and our mission director and wife ARE THE BEST and are always SHOWING THEIR LOVE TO US!!   CNC is the BEST church in the world.  =) If it wouldn't have been for their WISE ADVICE in how we do things here on the field, we wouldn't have seen the results we have seen.
They love us unconditionally, they PRAY for us regularly...they are OUR CHURCH!!    They give us gifts...which helps our children's hearts/and ours too, for that matter. (For I still LOVE getting gifts!  =D)
NOTE: I would recommend to ALL MISSIONARIES to get a REGULAR HOME CHURCH before you go to the field.  It will give your children and you a sense of STABILITY while on the field.
Every time we come home, we know we are going HOME to OUR HOME CHURCH!!!
To our CHURCH FAMILY that loves us, and understands when we just sit on the pew and cry....TAKING IN...when we've GIVEN OUT for the last while.
I know of more than one very nice missionary family whom everyone loved, but when it came time for them to come off of the field, they felt LOST.  They did not have a HOME CHURCH to go to.  So, all that to say, WE ARE VERY THANKFUL for our Home church and Mission!!

Some of the things that a missionary wife learns:
~You Learn to get less stressed over things, and just realize that God is working out HIS PURPOSE in you!
~You Learn to be more FLEXIBLE!!
~If you don't have the right ingredients, it's no biggy, you just learn to substitute.   There are a lot of ladies who have to have EXACTLY what the recipe calls for including the NAME BRAND sour cream, etc. or they won't make the recipe.  Meantime, I have to substitute in nearly EVERY recipe I make.  It's just becomes a way of life on the mission field!  =)  If I DID NOT substitute, I wouldn't be able to make many American recipes, for there are a lot our cultural ingredients you just can't get in a different culture.
~Each day can bring UNEXPECTED things your way.  YOU learn to PRAY your way THROUGH the day!  I'll never forget when we were leaving Argentina, and as we were ready to board the plane we found out that Phillip's passport had JUST EXPIRED! (You know, A 10 year passport seems like it will NEVER expire, but it did! =)
We had been up ALL NIGHT long (except for baby MARY, who had slept like "a baby" =)   So, here I was (exhausted, worried, and feeling OVERWHELMED)..., waving GOODBYE to Phillip and then boarding the airplane ALONE  with our 5 children.  This was NOT what we had PLANNED.  That day, I and our children had to FLY THROUGH 3 different countries (one of which speaks Portuguese, which we don't understand), and not having a CLUE WHEN we'd see Phillip again.
I kept having "VERY COMFORTING" thoughts like,
"Maybe it was Phillip's time to go and not ours, or maybe it's OUR time to go, and not His."
BELIEVE ME, I spent A LOT of time talking to my Abba that day!
I even asked Him, "Why can't I just have a Normal life? WHY DO I HAVE TO BE THE ONE to travel alone with 5 children, lugging luggage through 3 different countries?
Why can't I just have a simple life of driving to Wal-mart with my children?" =)
I'm trying to learn that God is using the hard times we ALL go through today, to prepare us for bigger usefulness later.

In my first post, I mentioned (quite a bit, I might add =) a missionary's wife has to give up A LOT...but God helps make up for those things in a lot of ways.
When we moved to Colombia we could only bring just a few suitcases (and now we go back to the USA...with EVEN LESS than we were allowed to fly with back then.)
So, of course, I couldn't bring my sewing machine.  When we got here, we had to start from scratch and buy EVERYTHING for our house.  (Phillip and I slept on a mattress on our floor for our first 8 months here; Because filling your house with furniture and appliances costs too much to do it all at once.)
So, that being said, I surely hated for Phillip to buy another thing.  But, I was really MISSING my sewing machine.  I don't even remember if I made it a matter of prayer or not, but one day I got an email from a friend from Florida.
She asked me if I needed a sewing machine.   DID I!!!!
She then asked if I would like one.  WOULD I?    =D
She ended up sending a VERY NICE sewing machine for me with a TLC team coming through Bogota.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!
I have LOVED having this machine and have made lots of fun things with it over the years!
 ~The AMAZING computerized sewing machine that God gave me to use for the last several years.  It did all kinds of wonderful things including embroidery!~
 There was only one catch to this sewing machine.  I had to sign that I wouldn't bring this machine back with me to the States.   The company who donated them, donated them to be shipped to those outside of the US.  So, I recently gave this nice machine to our pastor Alberto and his wife Alba who have a sewing business.  They are HAPPY to have it.
~A missionary's life is an Exciting life.  Really a missionary gets to travel the life of a RICH PERSON!  Always on the go, traveling to new cultures and countries.  Eating exotic (and sometime Not so exotic =) foods, etc.  I have always loved to travel, and my parents made it possible that I traveled to nearly all 50 States in the USA, and I had visited Nicaragua, Canada, and Mexico when I was still with them.
But, I never dreamed that I would live a year in beautiful Costa Rica, spend some of Christmas 2005 on a FUN island in Panama, live for nearly 7 years in Mountainous Colombia, and live in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 5 months in 2011-2012, and soon to live there again after this deputation.
Yes, God has made my life a very RICH life.
~Due to deputation (and my blog =) I have Lots of friends all over the USA.  Not just "Fair weather friends", but YOU, friends who are right there to PRAY FOR US faithfully, and especially if we are in Need of prayer!  Thank you!!  We are looking forward to seeing A LOT of you soon.  The highlight of going HOME is seeing our Family, our church family, and all our friends. 
~God has sent us friends in Costa Rica, Colombian and in Argentina as well.  Not just causal acquaintances, we're talking LIFE-LONG FRIENDS THAT HAVE BECOME F.A.M.I.L.Y. to us!  Ones that have opened up their hearts and their homes to this family of "Gringos" (Americans).  They've acted like we speak the best Spanish in the world, =) yet correct our mistakes so we can improve, they've shared their delicious recipes with us, and have complemented my American food.  Yep, They've pretty much just walked right into our hearts and have stolen a part.  I'm crying while I write this...for soon, oh, too soon, we'll have to say MORE DREADED goodbyes to some of the ones that we LOVE with all our hearts!!  (Of course we plan on coming back to visit Colombia for years to come, Lord willing, but it won't be the same as Living here!)
~It's a common thing for our kids to fly all over the world, when some of their friends have hardly left their own State.  Both Mary and Elijah were only 3 months or so when they flew for their first of MANY times in their lives.
~When we are home we get to travel all around the USA (and sometimes Canada as well) to visit lots of churches, meet lots of new people, and see old friends.  Though deputation has it's stresses, it is an exciting time too.  God and others have often provided fun things along the way for our children, like a horseback ride, or a boat ride, or a ride on a 4-wheeler, one church gave us all gifts, etc.
~As mentioned above: some of our Dear friends loaned us a NICE motor home for our last deputation. We had just had a service in Emmett, Idaho, and were headed to have another one in Montana.  So, here we were, On deputation 2009, winding our way through the beautiful rugged mountains in Northern Idaho, along side of a white water river...taking in the breath-taking views.
In other words...WE WERE "SUFFERING" FOR JESUS! =)  
Our kids were sitting at the table and couch in the motor home trying to do schoolwork.  Phillip said, "Kids, you need to count your blessings, there's a lot of kids that would LOVE to be in your shoes about right now.  Homeschooling while seeing the sights you are seeing."
After we chatted with our kids for awhile Phillip said, "Now, it's time to get back to your studies."
We rounded the next corner and without thinking I rather loudly exclaimed, "That sign said to watch for Mountain Goats!!"
Kimberly pipes up and says, "Wait, how are we supposed to 'get back to our studies' when you say things like that?"  =)
One night in the motor home, we pulled into a dark gas station and parked to the back of the parking lot and went to sleep.
The next morning when we awoke and opened up the curtains, right beside us were snow covered mountains!!!  =)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~The BIGGEST part of the Seeing souls come to know Jesus. ~
Imitation is the highest form of flattery. 
How rewarding it is for us when we see others follow us in that which we try to follow Christ and His Word!
~Ladies start letting their hair grow and soon have beautiful feminine long hair,
~Families start Keeping the Lord's Day holy,
~Others dress more modestly,
~Some begin being more careful of what they allow into their homes,
~Many families are now having regular family devotions.
Seeing those you have grown to LOVE bow at an altar and surrender their lives to Jesus, is beyond AMAZING!!
I think of one of the main guys that helps in the Bogota church here.  When we met him his hair was down over his shoulders.  We never said anything directly to him about his hair.  Of course Bro. Jimmy and Phillip were faithful to teach God's Word as God led.  Not too much time passed when we came to church and he had gotten a haircut.  He is one of the ones that God sanctified wholly in our last revival.
Did anyone mention that there was GORY in being a missionary?  =)
THINGS LIKE THIS ARE SUCH A PAY BACK for the "hard" things we've had to face!!   It is not worthy of comparison.

Seeing lives changed and souls earnestly living for Jesus is WORTH MORE THAN WORDS!!!
One day, I was playing the piano in church in Bogota, and we were singing the hymn,
"When the Roll is called up yonder."
It made me cry when I thought that because I gave up some things and left my home, family, and friends,:
there will probably be souls from South America who will answer "PRESENT" WHEN THAT ROLL IS CALLED UP YONDER!!
I WELL remember when we were fixing to leave to go to the mission field, our missionary director's wife Sis. Becker (who had spent at least 18 years ministering to the Native Americans both in the USA and in Canada) telling me that she was sort of jealous of me getting to go to the mission field.
I know I must have looked at her like she was CRAZY and teasingly told her that she was WELCOME to go, and I would GLADLY stay there.    =D
Now, many years later, I think I see what she was meaning.  The planting and watching of seeds begin to grow is WORTH IT ALL!

God has let our family work in a field where there is READY ground.  Other missionary ladies and their families have worked on fields with A DIFFERENT KIND OF GROUND.  The devil will try to brow beat them and tell them that they didn't see anything happen, that their efforts were in vain...but that is a lie!!!

Psalm 126:6  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Someday these ladies will be rewarded when God lets them see the results, because God's Word will NOT return void.

Knowing that one day there will be souls in Heaven because I / WE GAVE...makes some of the adjustments we've had to make PALE in importance.
The Best is yet to come.  The seed which has been planted will bear fruit.  We are just seeing the beginning of great things God will do in the future.  And to think, He LET little ol' me/us be a part!

It will be WORTH IT ALL, when we see Jesus!
Life's TRIALS will seem so small when we see Christ!
So bravely run the race
'Til we SEE CHRIST!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

~The GORY details of being a missionary wife...Part 1!~

 ~Well, this week, I'm sorting all my cabinets and packing up my things, and giving them away right and left.  In fact, I have lots of bags of my "treasures" marked go to nearly each lady in our church tomorrow; by which to remember me. =)  (The reason some ladies won't get anything tomorrow, is because I'm still using  the things [silverware/dishes, etc.] I plan to give them. =)
When I was taking down Christmas, I had planned to get rid of my wooden box.  But, my thoughtful sweetheart brought me flowers (just in case my heart needed some "cheerin" =) and I happen to set them in front of this box, and thought it looked fun.
So, I wrote "PEACE" on my little slate & it's a bright spot in my life/home right now.  =)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 This post is going to come STRAIGHT from my heart.   I can assure you now, that it won't be all "pretty".   =)
But, if I can help some other missionary's wife with her journey, or help you to know how to PRAY for missionary wives, then I will feel that my journey and the telling of it, will be worth it!

PART 1:  In this post, I'll tell you some of the GORY details of being a missionary wife...
PART 2: in that post, I'll tell you some of the GLORY, that makes up for the adjustments one has to make!! 

SO...What is it like to be a missionary's wife? 

Each missionary wife's journey is different....
Our baby Noah was just 4 weeks old when Phillip broke the news to me that he felt that God was calling us to go the Colombia.  Talk about "Baby BLUES!" ;-)  Noah's birth was my hardest and things didn't go too well...due to his very LARGE size...He weighed 10 lbs. 6.7 oz. was my sweetheart beside me telling me that in just a few months we would end up selling nearly all we owned and head to a country that back then was reported as the Kidnapping Capital of the world!  SCARY!
In the summer of 2004 we began the very HARD process of sorting through, and dividing our things 6 different ways.
1. To Keep.
2. To give away.
3. To sell.
4. To go to Colombia.
5. To go with us to language school in Costa Rica.
6. To travel with us for the 8 months we would be on deputation traveling around telling churches what God was calling us to do. 
It was an OVERWHELMING task to say the least!

My Advice to new missionaries: (For what it's worth =)
Don't sell all of your things.  Of course you can scale down and sell some things, but THINK THROUGH what you will WISH you had kept and Store those things!!!

We spent the next 8 months in our little white van with 3 children (6 years and under) traveling all the way from Canada to AZ...and all the places in between.  Poor baby Noah thought he would spend the REST OF HIS LIFE strapped to a car seat. =)
As a missionary wife/evangelist wife (Without a trailer) one gets to feeling like a BOTHER to those who are keeping their family in their homes.  You lose all privacy and feel like you live in a glass house.  (And now that Jesus has given us our VERY OWN HOME, I'm sure on this deputation, I will find myself wishing I could be enjoying my own home in Ohio, which I haven't been in for over 2 years! =)
In 2004, while we traveled around on Deputation to LOTS of churches...well-meaning souls/friends would secretly ask me, "Do you think that your husband has the mind of the LORD in taking you and your 3 babies to DANGEROUS COLOMBIA?"
I would try to assure them (Trying to HIDE MY OWN ANXIETY AT MY NEW UNKNOWN FUTURE!!!) that I believed that my husband did know God's will, and that I promised that I would STAND BY MY MAN wherever God called us!
(Years later at least one of them was gracious enough to come back and tell me, "I see now that God WAS in y'all going to Colombia, but back then...I thought your Phil was CRAZY!" =)
(SIDE NOTE: You may think that the missionary husband THAT VISITS YOUR CHURCH is crazy for taking his family and following God's leading...but TELL IT TO JESUS...PLEASE DON'T Tell it to his wife!!!  She's already facing enough!)
To Me...Besides her precious husband and adorable children God has blessed her with....what defines a lady as Wife and her HOME!  It's her HAVEN!  She can decorate it, clean it, bake all kinds of goodies, and entertain her friends/family in her home.  THIS IS THE PLACE WHERE SHE SHINES! 
But...When a missionary lady has just sold, given away, or stored all of her earthly possessions, and now has NO is not easy!  She then goes on deputation and walks into each beautiful home...and sees their beautiful things, and it just reminds her of what all she USED TO HAVE!!
So here I was in 2004...traveling around for 8 months STRAIGHT having just given up my home, and my things, and I felt LOST!
I felt that I could hardly relate to other church ladies.  When I got together with them to visit after church, their conversations were like this: "Yes, I just went to Target and found the perfect picture to hang in my bathroom."
Now, that was NOT wrong, it's just that I had just given up my bathroom AND ALL of my decorations, so I felt like I had NOTHING to add to the conversation. =)   (Since we were traveling around during Christmas 2004...We decorated the inside of our van with battery operated Christmas lights and put a TINY lighted Christmas tree on our dash, to help all of our hearts! =)
Driving between services on Christmas day, we felt so lonely, but we didn't want to call anybody for we might interrupt their Christmas gatherings.
A lady normally LOVES to make ROOTS and settle down and make friends for a life-time.  So, when she is called to move...not across town, but around the world, it is really hard for her.  Of course, I have tried my best to make a fun home and new friends where ever God has taken us, but it's not always easy.
I have always been a very confident person.  I never really remember struggling with who I was, UNTIL...I became a missionary's wife.   During those first 2 years, I wondered WHERE the real Heather had gone?!
When I said, "I DO" to my Phillip, I never DREAMED what all that would entail.  As a missionary's wife, one doesn't have a choice.  She just wakes up one day and finds out that God has called her husband, and therefore her and their family to leave everything she has ever known and go to a place where she will have to learn a new language, a new culture, eat new foods, miss her family, friends, and country, etc. 
Now in 2004, as a Mommy of 3 small children, I had NO DESIRE to go back to school to learn ANYTHING!!!  I already had graduated with my BA in church music from God's Bible School (5 years of work)...and now God was calling me to go spend one year in Costa Rica TO LEARN SPANISH?!?  UGH!
I spent quite some time asking GOD to PLEASE GIVE ME A "WANT TO" TO LEARN SPANISH...and a LOVE for this language.
He did just that, and I feel blessed today to be able to speak 2 languages.  =)
That year in Costa Rica (2005-2006) was hard, dealing with a new culture, ALL 5 OF US LIVING IN A SINGLE ROOM (for the first 4 months), studying LOTS of hours a day, trying to communicate with our hostess and babysitter, etc.
When I arrived in Costa Rica, I couldn't even say ONE SENTENCE in Spanish.  There were times that our hostess was CONVINCED that we understood what she was saying, and were just playing dumb.  =(
So I often would just shake my head up and down, "YES" as our hostess would RATTLE OFF things just to try to smooth things over with her.   I found myself HOPING that I didn't just tell her to BLEACH MY PURPLE SKIRT!  =D
In our 2nd apartment, the 2 ladies that ended up being our "landladies", we later learned were lesbians or at least appeared so, and seemed to be involved in witchcraft.  Looking back on it, we think they were trying to use sorcery against us, and they came in and robbed several things from us, including Phillip's credit card!
Then in June 2006, we Moved to Colombia, with ALL OUR POSSESSIONS IN A FEW SUITCASES!  
When we arrived we lived for the first 2 months with a Colombian woman who offered us a room when she met us.
Besides CULTURAL those first 2 months...our kids got Lice and fleas from working with the POOR children in the areas where we were planting churches, and all 3 of our kids got the Chicken pox.  =(
When we finally got our own rental house here in Colombia in 2006, we had NOTHING, and had to start again buying furniture, washer, refrigerator, etc.  I confided in Phillip that I didn't even know if I knew how to decorate anymore. 
Not too long ago another missionary wife told me that she's been off the field for awhile and still feels like she's lost her touch in decorating.
I know that I look ahead to when we get to live in our USA home and know my style will be a mixture of 4 cultures I've lived in; American, Costa Rican, Colombian, and Argentinan.  =)
In 2006, when I first got into our home, I had no CLUE if I could even BAKE here in Bogota.  Having never lived at nearly 9,000 ft. above sea level, I didn't know if ANY of my recipes would work here.  I was QUITE CONCERNED, for I LIVE TO BAKE!!! =)  
But, Thankfully, although some of my "at sea level" recipes flopped, most of them have worked! =)

~Sometimes a  missionary wife has to learn a NEW LANGUAGE!
When one learns a new language, in the beginning she will talk like a little child, and therefore the people in that new country will think of her as a simple child.
You go from saying ANYTHING YOU WANT TO in your own language, to trying to express yourself with the simplest of little phrases like, "I want water."  or "Where's the bathroom?"  
I'll never forget when Phillip was driving when we first got here to Colombia.   An 11 year old Colombian boy was explaining HOW A TRAFFIC LIGHT WORKS  to Phillip.  He thought Phillip was NEW AT DRIVING, meantime Phillip had been driving for YEARS!!
So he sat beside Phillip and explained EVERYTHING to him.  He said, "Now, when the traffic light is RED, you have to STOP!  When it turns green, then you can GO!"
It's sort of humorous to read now, but a new missionary struggles with appearing CLUELESS in their new matter what all they know and have done in their own country.
In the new country the nationals have no clue what they know, and due to their broken speech while trying to butcher speak their new language... the nationals end up thinking that the missionary knows NOTHING!!!
Here recently, on a Sunday, we had some visitors over for lunch, UNPLANNED!!
Each Sunday I normally have my yummy American Sunday meal all planned and made before we go to church, but this ONE SUNDAY  Phillip had wanted to cook so he could show me how to make a Costal meal from Cartagena...for he had just returned from visiting our church there.   (This was the only Sunday in our 17 1/2 years of marriage that Phillip was going to cook our entire meal.)
So here we were, going to TRY TO cook food we'd never cooked before Having NO CLUE we'd be serving that food to visitors FROM THAT VERY CITY OF CARTAGENA!!!   =(((
Phillip had planned to show me how to make "Coconut rice" using a fresh coconut, and a special type of fried fish, for he had asked our pastor's wife there HOW to do it all, so he and I could learn together!
This would be like YOU trying to make TYPICAL Chinese food for the first time and THEN inviting Chinese over for dinner! =)
So, on this Sunday, I just made the salad, and drinks.  One of the lady visitors came into my kitchen and rather COLDLY asked me , "DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO COOK?"
I just humbly told her, "YES!"  But inside I was DYING!  
Those of you who know me, know that I LOVE TO COOK AND BAKE and LIVE in the kitchen.  =) 
But, I couldn't prove all that to her, and she probably left thinking that that DUMB AMERICAN doesn't even know how to cook.
They ask us all the time, "So, in America, y'all just eat pizza, and hamburgers and frozen and canned foods for every meal?!"   GRRRRR!!!  =(
I assure them that there may be families that do that, but there are LOTS of families like ours that the wife makes her own food, and we eat lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and salads, and I bake my own breads, pies, cakes, cookies, etc.)

~A missionary wife has to learn a New culture!  
~We have lived here in Colombia for over 6 years, and are STILL LEARNING this culture!
Here, in the Smaller stores (WHICH ARE EVERYWHERE) you don't wait in line, it's whoever YELLS the loudest, gets helped first!
(Do you know how HARD it was for me as an American, who was trained TO NEVER CUT LINE, ...and now I had to learn to yell from the front door of the smaller stores, "Do you have eggs, milk, & oil?"  If I don't yell, I stand there ALL DAY waiting to be helped!!!!!)
~I'll never forget when my Colombian friend had her first baby.  Afterwards, when I saw her and her baby for the first time, I heard her husband calling her "Fatso!"  I could have DIED!
So, with much concern, I tried to assure her that she wasn't fat and that she was looking nice, and losing her baby weight.
Come to find out later,  IT IS A COMPLEMENT HERE to call one FATSO!!  =D
That means that you are eating well, and "healthy!"  Thankfully, they've never given me that complement.  =)
~A lot of nationals do not complement your decor, food, etc.  One reason they don't complement your things, is that they feel like it would be hinting for you to GIVE IT TO THEM!
I didn't know that for the longest time, and wondered WHAT they thought of our home, decor, etc.
Only a few months ago when we told them that Jesus was calling us to move to Argentina to work, did I find out that a lot of our Colombian friends LOVED my decor and they started naming the things of ours that they wanted to buy.  =)
~Pedestrians DO NOT have the right away in a lot of countries!   For the last 7 1/2 years (1 in Costa Rica and 6 1/2 in Colombia) we have had to RUN across the BUSY roads dodging motorcycles, bicycles, buses, and cars, with our small children!
In Costa Rica we had cars NEARLY HIT OUR CHILDREN ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD....TO MISS A POT HOLE IN THE ROAD!!!  =(  It's like they value their CAR more than life!
~Just when you are really STRUGGLING with being in a new culture and MISSING YOUR OWN you'll have a taxi driver or someone who has NO CLUE ask you,
"So, you Didn't Like America, so decided to come to live here in Paradise?!"  =(
Or, like one national told me, "Colombia is the BEST place in the world, so you shouldn't even MISS your own country AT ALL!"
Now, I want HIM as a Colombian to feel that way about his country, but as an American I LOVE MY OWN COUNTRY and will MISS my culture, food, family, and friends!!
Every where you go as a family, everyone watches every.single.thing.y'!
Well-meaning natives (complete strangers) will get after you regarding how you raise your children, what you should do, or what you shouldn't, etc. (only because you don't raise your children according to THEIR cultural ways.)
One missionary wife in a cold climate had ladies (STRANGERS OFF THE STREET) come up to her and her girls and lift up their skirts to make sure they had something warm on their legs!   =(
Our children get so SICK of being watched when they go out to shop, to church, etc., that they say, "Oh, If we could ONLY go out and NOT EVEN BE NOTICED!!"  (We try to remember -- as much as it drives us crazy -- that their staring is due to admiration, so it's a compliment.)

Culture shock is REAL!!! 
It affects different people different ways.  Some of the ways it can affect one is:

~Some days, you just don't want to get out of bed.   It's just easier to SLEEP than to face the challenges of your new culture.
~You have NO DESIRE to step outside your own door, for when you do...YOU ARE IN ANOTHER CULTURE with its added stresses!
~You feel SAD for no reason at all.

Someone left a GREAT QUESTION in the comment section below. I want to address it here.    


Many may see this differently, but I see it, that when we married our husbands, we said it was for LIFE, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, etc. 
God made us ladies to be special HELPMEETS to our men.  WOW! WHAT A PRIVILEGE!!  =D
So, that includes helping HIM be successful in whatever GOD calls HIM to do.  I married a man who I knew God was calling to be a pastor/preacher.  But, if a few years later, God called him to be a TRASH COLLECTOR TOO, then, I am to help him be the BEST CARED-FOR TRASH COLLECTOR AROUND!!  =) 
So, No, I don't know that I really ever felt my OWN CALLING to go to the mission field, I just knew that where Phillip went, I would go!   And I Prayed for God's grace to Help me help HIM shine through it all.   I am here to STAND BY MY MAN!  =)
(But as you will read in "The GLORY of being a missionary's wife...part 2" God has let me experience the BLESSINGS right along with my wonderful man.   =)

Now...I've opened up my heart and have been honest, maybe too honest.  =)
But, maybe this HONEST POST will help YOU know better how to PRAY FOR those you know who are missionary wives.
My Grandmother often says this quote:  
"Don't judge a person until you have walked in his/her moccasins."  =)
If you have never been a missionary's wife, it's probably best not to try to give too much "knowledgeable" counsel or judge them too harshly, just throw your arms around them and give them a hug and assure them of your prayers during their journey! =)


Thursday, January 24, 2013

~The last of the pics from our Revival~

This morning in family devotions  (after just singing the song, "Read your Bible, Pray every day...AND you'll grow, Grow, GROW!")
Little Elijah prayed, "Oh, Lord, you know that I'm STILL SHORT, cause I don't even have a Bible!"
Bless his heart, He thought that he wasn't very tall 'cause he doesn't have a Bible.  =)
I think we'll have to buy him an English Bible when we get back to the USA. =D
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
 ~This was Friday morning.  Here we were eating My/Kimberly's brunch of homemade biscuits, gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice, and coffee~
~Here's Bro. Becker taking a picture of little Mary in her outfit from him and Sis. Becker.~

~Then we all got ready and rushed to the church where Bro. Becker taught the class to the pastors (and others) that afternoon.~

~And here I am in the back of the class listening/blogging so that y'all pray-ers would have an update.~
~The Lord helped Bro. Eisenhart preach Friday night.  (I actually got mixed up in my last post.  Friday night (instead of Thursday night) was the night that Jesus REALLY came in a special way!~
~Then on Saturday afternoon, Bro. Jimmy and Sis. Farly had all of us over to their house for yummy Skyline chili.~
~We had a really yummy meal, and a wonderful time visiting and laughing together.~
~Then they gave Bro. Becker and Bro. Eisenhart nice gifts to take back to their wives.~
~Saturday night God helped Bro. Becker preach.~
~This was the Sunday morning crowd.~

~Bro. Eisenhart preached a wonderful sermon on Heaven.~
~Then Bro. Alberto and Sis. Alba on your left...and...~
~Bro. Rigoberto and Sis. Ilce on your right, were ordained (or something. =) ~

~The parents asked if all the children could come forward for Bro. Eisnhart to pray for them.  He said that the Lord willing, He hopes that all the cries of the babies will one day turn into PRAISES TO GOD!~
~Bro. Becker, Bro. Eisenhart, Bro. Jimmy, and Sis. Farly, and of course, our Elijah. =) ~

~Phillip, Bro. Becker, and Bro. Eisenhart, with one of the ladies (and her daughters) that got saved from the Beauty Salon next door.~
~Bro. Becker and Bro. Rigo and Sis. Ilce and their daughters, and Bro. Eisenhart.~
~Natalie and Heather Sofia.~
~All of the pastors and us wives and Bro. Becker and Bro. Eisenhart.~
~Adrian and Joel gave Noah and Elijah some gifts.~
~Here I am translating for Bro. Alberto telling Bro. Eisenhart goodbye and Thank you!!~
~Phillip translating from Bro. Rigo telling Bro. Becker goodbye and Thank you!!~
~A bunch of us.~
~L to R: Phillip, Bro. Rigo, Bro. Eisenhart, Bro. Alberto, Bro. Jimmy, and Bro. Becker.~
~Esther, Mary, and Sis. Ilce.~
~Then we came home and I rolled out my French bread, and then made my french bread snack, homemade papaya juice, and served a fresh fruit cup that Sis. Farly gave us, and packed 2 suitcases.~
~Then early Monday morning Phillip took Bro. E. and Bro. B. to the airport and they flew back home.  (They were a HUGE blessing to us and our people...And they even were able to HELP US by taking back 2 suitcases.  =)
Later in the evening, Phillip and some of our children ran and took some goodies/gifts to Bro. Rigo and his family and told them goodbye.  (Kimberly and I were taking down the rest of our Christmas decor, and cleaning up the house.)
Then on Tuesday morning, we took Bro. Alberto and his family out for breakfast before they left to go home.  Here's Silly Phillip (wearing Jhohan's glasses) and Jhohan.~
~Jhohan, Natay, and Kimberly.~
~Phillip, Mary, and I, and Sis. Alba, and Bro. Alberto, Emanuel and Noah.~
~Noah and Emanuel saying goodbye.~
A BIG THANK YOU to those who prayed.  We are still Thanking Jesus for all He did this past week!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

~Thursday of our revival~

Well, the visiting pastors (and their families) have all gone home, but we are still rejoicing in the wonders that Jesus did in the revival last week!!  THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
~When the pastors are all here I normally invite them and their families all over to our house and I make a meal.
I wanted to have everyone over this time, but felt too tired "with all I have on my plate" to cook.
I asked Phillip if I could "cheat" this time and just buy the food.
So, on Thursday the 3 Colombian pastors and their families came over to visit and eat with Bro. Eisenhart and Bro. Becker and our family.  There were 24 of us in our small house.  =) ~
~2 of Bro. Alberto and Sis. Abla's children...Jhohan, and Natay are on the couch.
We had a nice time laughing together...~
~Taking pictures together....~
~Visiting together....and lots more.~
~Saying Thanks to each other....(The blouse that I'm wearing....Sis. Alba had made and brought to me (and she had made my skirt earlier. =)~
~Us 4 pastor's wives!~
~After I invited everyone over for that day, I found out that that was Bro. Rigo's birthday.
So, Phillip bought these 2 yummy cakes so we could celebrate his birthday.~
~Maria Paola and Ilce from Cartagena, and Natalie from Bogota.~
~Lots of yummy pizza (and I made a huge salad to go with it).
Some of them had never eaten pizza in their lives!!  So they were thrilled that we bought pizza.  =D ~
~Here they serve their pizza slices on these nice little card board triangles that bend on the 2 sides.  It's a nice way to hold your pizza while you are eating it.  Bro. Eisenhart thought that they were neat.~
~Bro. Becker and Bro. Eisenhart.
Our family and everyone here LOVED having these 2 men with us for the week.  The Lord used them and they were a real BLESSING!! They LOVE our Colombia people too, and that means A LOT to us!!~
~Sis. Alba and Bro. Alberto from Medellin.~
~Happy Birthday, Bro. Rigo.  Since we didn't know how old he was we used a "?" b-day candle =D.~
~Lots of happy girls in pink and purple.~
~Yummy 3 milk cake and ice cream.~
~The Pastors.~
~Us pastors' wives. (These are some DEAR ladies and our family loves them and their husbands and families to pieces.)~
~Pastor Jimmy, Sis. Farly, and their girls.~
~Bro. Becker and Bro. Eisenhart.~
~Like I said above, we had a great time laughing, talking, showing pictures, eating, etc. but then the Presence of the Lord settled down upon us and we wept, prayed, sang, and cried together.
It was a very SPECIAL time together.  Bro. Becker and Bro. Eisenhart and Phillip and I assured the Colombian pastors and their wives of our love and that even though God was calling our family to move to work in other parts now, we were NOT leaving them alone.  We plan to travel back and forth and work with them for years to come!!~
~Bro. Rigoberto and Sis. Ilce and their family from Cartagena.~
~Then we HURRIED and got all ready and went to church.
Little did we know what God had in store for us that night.~
~Little Mary had had no nap, so fell asleep on Bro. Becker's shoulder.  (Just for the record: Bro. Becker was not texting in church...he was reading his Bible on his cellphone. =) ~
~The Lord REALLY helped Bro. Eisenhart preach.  Bro. Jimmy said it was one of the best sermons he has ever heard.
There weren't too many dry eyes in the crowd, and there were LOTS of people who came forward to pray.  God worked in many lives.
3 ladies from the beauty salon next door were listening in through the bars in the back of the church until their work closed, than they all came into the church.  2 of them came forward and got saved.  Praise the Lord!!!~
~Silly Elijah, and Silly Noah wearing the shirts Sis. Alba made them, and little Mary wearing the new jean skirt Sis. Alba made her.
More pics of the weekend of our Revival to come.~
Yesterday I spent some hours counseling a lady, then later in the day we started sorting, packing up bags to give away, cleaning, etc.
Yesterday I gave away lots of my decorating/kitchen things, and plan to give away more today.
Please keep praying as we sort, sell, pack, etc. and for our children who are working HARD at finishing their schoolwork.  Thanks!   
Praise the Lord, He provided the money for us to get our tickets to fly home.
Lord willing, We fly home to the USA in March to start deputation, and after deputation back to Argentina, the Lord willing, as well as continuing to make trips into Colombia as needed. 
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