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....
~HERE'S MY JOURNEY!!~
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.
Now...here 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 Mommy...is 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 HOME...it 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!  
NOW WE HAD TO LEARN YET ANOTHER CULTURE!!!
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 DIFFERENCES...in 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 life...no 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.
(By the way, THANKS TO ALL THE ADS THEY SEE ON TV, PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD think that we Americans EAT EVERYTHING OUT OF CANS!!! 
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'all.do!
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.    

DOES A MISSIONARY WIFE HAVE TO HAVE HER OWN "CALLING" IN ADDITION TO HER HUSBAND'S CALLING...IN ORDER TO GO TO THE MISSION FIELD?

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! =)

Part 2...THE GLORY OF BEING A MISSIONARY WIFE...coming up!
 

27 comments:

Roseanna said...

I just want to share how encouraging your blog is to me. So much so, that when I was laid up in bed during a 2 mo illness, I went and read your blog archives to cheer me up. As for your decorating, I think you do a great job. You inspired me to do a valentines day tea party for myomere, which she lived. Wouldn't have thought of it if I hadn't read your blog. What an honor to be called to such a hard task :) thx for sharing your heart. Looking forward to seeing you when you swing by Phx.

Roseanna said...

Ps the tea part was for my mom, not "omere" typing on a smartphone while eating salad and looking glamorous isn't as easy ad it used to be....

Gloria Snelling said...

Heather, I know you don' t know me very well, but I want you to know what an encouragement you are to me. I have many blogs on my google reader, but I always look to see if you have posted so I can read yours first. I love your simple faith and how God gives you your simple desires. I hope I get to see you and your sweet family while you are in the US. You amaze me at the enormous amount of things you can accomplish in one day.

May God continue to bless you in His service.

Gloria Snelling

Anonymous said...

Oh Heather - I have tears in my eyes. I should be taking a much-needed nap while the baby sleeps but once I saw your post I had to finish reading it.

I thank you and respect you and applaud you for your authenticity - now and other times on your blog. I have long admired you and probably have never told you why!

I was just bragging about you to my mom the other day....how you have managed to keep home and family as your first priorities even with the challenges of being a cross-culture missionary.

I have relished the fact that you use your God-given gifts to bless others and reach out and communicate love and warm hearts and nurture your family in safety and warmth and beauty.

I have admired the fact that you are consistently purposeful about finding joy. It's just so obvious that you have learned to find joy and beauty - even if you have to create it yourself by hanging lights in your van or creating a beautiful table together! That is something that many who have all the comforts of home and culture never do learn.

You are able to communicate realness without being whiny or conveying a spirit of discontent. But you are real and don't try to sugar coat the challenges. And your clinging to Jesus shines through all of it.

Your joy in being a wife and mama and your spirit through challenge after challenge are refreshing.

He shines in you. That's the best compliment and identity of all.

And..I think someone needs to publish this post somewhere so more people can see it. : )

Love & prayers
Sarah Fry

Linda S said...

Good blog, Heather.

Stephanie Lynn Burley said...

Heather - Thank you for sharing. Your perspective is fresh and honest, and causes me to see things a bit differently/more clearly than before. God bless you as you continue your ministry. He has certainly gifted you for your journey.
Much love-
Stephanie

mmsbryan said...

Little girl of mine, I do love your blog and also the comments that others leave for you. I would say that Roseanna is multi-tasked as would anyone that can type on a smartphone while eating a salad and looking glamorous. I have never typed on a smart phone and as far as looking glamorous . . . well you can never tell that I even tried! ;) Cute Roseanna. Wished I could have met you when Hubby ministered in Phoenix. Thank you to the each of you that took time out for a comment to a friend that is a long way from home, family and friends. Perhaps it is your missionary "OFFERING" of "TIME" in this busy "culture." Some of you are so faithful. I agree with Sarah Fry that someone should put these thoughts in print. As my Moma heart has been a "listening post" for many of these times and they are not new to me they still touch my heart. (One, you never told me about Heather) It does not take much of a change for a wife to feel that she has lost her touch. What would a foreign country be like? God has asked that I stand by my man who has been called to serve in several cultures in the US and Canada and I have found them all differnt. It takes time and effort but as Heather's next part will tell you, THERE IS GLORY IN SERVING. God has allowed me in those places of ministry to meet some of the best people in the world. Speaking of losing a touch, I found out TODAY that after 51 years I can make gravy that is a flop. If you do not believe me just ask Joe and Janelle Carey! :(
But life is still fun. Thank you for giving of yourself, to your man and his calling. Love, Moma

Beth said...

I just read your post, then the comments here. Thank you for sharing. I completely agree with Sarah Fry's notes.

Kimberly said...

it is almost inconceivable that you of all people would be asked IF YOU KNOW HOW TO COOK!!! my goodness! love you, girl, and thankful for the one God has used you and helped you shine your light and His love in so many places....(hope y'all can come here on deputation!)

Kimberly said...

ps: i had not read Sarah's comment but find it interesting that we used the same word: "shine"...because you really do teach us all how to shine wherever we are...

Paul & Esther Troyer said...

Thanks for this post, Heather. We haven't met yet and unfortunately we will miss each other in the coming year since we are leaving the States and you are coming back, but you have been a comfort and encouragement to me. As a new missionary wife, I'm learning all the details (good and bad) and it is good to be affirmed that my experience is normal, natural, right, and good (by God's grace).
Looking forward to the next post, and praying for you!
Esther Troyer

Daryl Hausman said...

Dearest Heather,
My heart has been with you MUCH IN PRAYER during these times. As I re-read my prayer journal each day,(over 5 years now in the same journal, just a sentence or two) often I've noted how I'm asking Jesus to help you in your new challenges and or phases of that day. What an encouragement to go back and read how God has brought us through time and time again! Assuring us always of HIS LOVE! One thought that was my SOLID ROCK while going through our own times of deputation and culture shock was our Lord knows more than we could EVER THINK OR IMAGINE of what it is like to go through CULTURE SHOCK!!!! Leave Heaven and come here for us?!!! Yet He did and willingly gave up himself so that we can in turn reach others with His love and mercy today! Praise His Name! Love ya so much,Your Big(NOT Fatso=) Sis, Laura
P.S. can't wait to chat for HOURS when your my neighbor!

RicKaren said...

I appreciate you sharing your heart like this. I always find your blog encouraging and your family is often in my prayers.

Brittany said...

Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us! I can say a hearty "ditto" to all of Sarah's comments, especially that this should be posted where many people could read it!
Here I was, feeling sorry for myself and my struggles with being in the ministry as a pastor's wife of a very small congregation...but you've helped me so much to put it all in perspective. I pray that God can help me to shine where He's placed me, as He has helped you to shine in all of your circumstances. I've often thought how very hard it must be for missionary ladies to not be able to put down roots - that kind of security is important to most women, so I can just imagine how very hard that must be. I do feel like I know how to better pray for you and your family, and will certainly do so! I pray that God would bless you real good for honoring Him wherever you are, and for sacrificing so much to do His will. You are such an inspiration to me, and I'm sure many others, too =)

lila said...

Dearest Heather, I couldn't imagine doing all you have. I'm glad your faith and trust is in Jesus and He has been with you each step of the way! Your life has touched so many including mine. What a trooper and example of Jesus you are. It is a reward to be working for the eternal kingdom. Can't wait to see your next post. Love you all tons

Angie Davis said...

I love reading your blog, and am excited to think of connecting with you sometime soon in the US! I don't even pretend to understand the tremendous responsibility a missionary family faces, but I think God chose you because He knew you could handle better than me, and I pray for you regularly!

Roseanne said...

Heather Dear,
Many thoughts after reading your blog post...here's a few...
1. love the wooden crate and chalk sign. Very chic and cute. The white daisy flowers make it look very springy or summery, which is a cheery break from winter. Good job on keeping a bit of cheer in the mist of your current chaos.
2. You most certainly have not lost your touch at decorating. Besides decor is so very subjective. Just because someone is doing it and posting on pinterest doesn't mean its right for your home. I think our homes should express us, and I have no doubts that yours always does and will.
3. Amen to Kimberly...that someone could think you couldn't cook. Ha....you should have written down your blog address for her and kindly told her to check out all your yummy food posts. LOL
4. You are an amazingly talented person, and God knew exactly what He was doing calling your man to the mission field. Not many wives could endure what you have with such grace and beauty of spirit. Love ya girl, and can't wait to chat when you get stateside.

Keith and Crystal said...

Beautiful (and very true) post! I was not a wife and momma when I was overseas for 15 years, but I saw my momma go through those things, too. By the way, the kids feel all of those things that you talked about, too. You have done an amazing job with keeping your children's hearts and your home a beautiful one.

Your kids will thank you, believe me...it's true that a mother sets the tone for the family and home and I'm so thankful my mother set a good one....like you are doing.

I agree with Sarah! You are such an encouragement to me.

May God RICHLY bless you, Friend!

PS. If I could, I'd drop in a help you pack. :)

dannyandlizFlowers said...

Oh Heather! You have captured EXACLTY where I am at on our families new, exciting/scary journey to Haiti! Thank-you for being so honest and REAL! I have read your blog and saw God do AMAZING miracles for y'all and it encourages me so much! I know I have told you before, and I will say it again, "You are my inspiration!" I shared this with another missionary wife and mother of 6 who has been on the deputation trail for 8 months and is just 20 days away from moving to their field that God has called them to. We both laughed, shook our heads and got a little teary-eyed as we can both identify soo much! Thank-you again for encouraging, challenging and setting an awesome example for us new missionary wives! Hugs to you my friend! I will keep you in my prayers as you go through the packing/sorting/giving away process once more! I know God will give you exactly the amount of grace and strength you need!
~Liz

Sherry L Dickinson said...

Dear Heather,
I read this post and I must confess, it nearly killed my soul emotionally. I already knew all of these thoughts and feelings of yours because you had confided them to us earlier as the events had transpired but even though they had made me so sad in the past, when I heard about them in this post in one LUMP SUM, I nearly dropped to the floor with grief. I felt so sad that you had to bear all of these griefs and sorrows because of marrying Phillip, and because of him and you trying to do the will of God. I love and trust Phillip completely because I have watched and known him as his mother. Then, we met you, the beautiful, fragile, social butterfly, who was so cute, vivacious, and adorable, and with whom we instantly fell in love. And of all things, you two fell (Well, it wasn’t as quick as a fall, since you waited for 3 and a half years to get married!) in love and got married. Meanwhile, there were times that it would bring sadness to me, when I knew how you were, and I knew how Phillip was, but yet, as I watched your lives meld together, it would bring joy to my mother heart to watch you two love each other in the midst of life’s hardships.


Anyway, the horrible fear that rose in my heart when I read about these hardships was wondering if you felt that all of this was not worth being a missionary wife; although, at the end of your post, you did write that Part II was going to tell of the ‘glory’ of being a missionary wife. I must confess, that did bring great hope and joy to my mind. Ha!

I trust I haven’t said the wrong things in this post. I do feel that Phillip and you are of high rank in God’s Military Service. There are sailors in the Military, and then, there are Navy Seals in the Military. Michael explained to me some of the things that men are required to endure and to accomplish before they are awarded the position of a Navy Seal. I don’t think that I could bear to have one of my sons accomplish that position because of the nearly torture that must be endured. But if a person has attained to that, Oh, what an honor!
To my mother heart, Phillip and Heather are Navy Seals in God’s Military Service.
Love, Mom D

mmsbryan said...

Well written, Mom Dickinson. But please know that your son has made these times of the "Gory" as easy as they could possibly have been with his kind and loving care of our Heather. In fact this Daddy and Moma has often said that he spoils our littliest girl. You have one great son and now he is ours also. Love, Moma Bryan

Bab said...

I am just curious did you ever FEEL God CALLED YOU personally to the mission field? Or did you go because Phillip felt the call and you needed to stand by him?
I think it would help a lot of women who may not necessarily feel God calling THEM but feel they must go because it is their husbands call to know how YOU feel about that.
Either way I feel God has POURED His blessing out on you and your family. You are an inspiration!

The Dickinsons said...

Thank you for your comment, Bab. Great question.
I've answered it with a paragraph near the end of this post.
And I'll post that paragraph here too, so you'll make sure and see it. =)
Blessings,
~Heather~

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

DOES A MISSIONARY WIFE HAVE TO HAVE HER OWN "CALLING" IN ADDITION TO HER HUSBAND'S CALLING...IN ORDER TO GO TO THE MISSION FIELD?

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. =)

Bab said...

Thanks so much for your reply. I think that is truly helpful for women who may not really feel "at peace" about a missionary call or may wonder why God called her husband and not her.
I know of other women who also went with their husbands out of obedience to God (for it was He who has appointed their husbands to be leaders of the home) and I also know of men who waited for their wives to receive "the call" too. I suppose either way is allright. Each couple has to work out what is right for them.
Once again thanks for addressing what I think it is important issue on your blog because I think sometimes thats a part of the "gory".

The Dickinsons said...

Dear Bab,
You are so welcome. I'm glad you asked this question. Right before I wrote this, I had commented on someone else's blog regarding this very subject. I'm glad you mentioned it, so that I could include it in this post. I agree with you, it is VERY IMPORTANT and is a big part of the GORY too!

Blessings,
~Heather~

Beth Stetler said...

Oh, Heather ... I wish we could sit down and talk over this post line.by.line. As I read your words, I nod my head (almost right off my body!!). :o) My feeling the first several years was - somebody just jerked the rug right our from under me! (Try saying that "modismo" in Spanish! hehehe!)Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bab, Your question was a good one and reminded me as we were standing by the Dickinsons early in the announcement of this calling. The children were deciding who they would give their toys to and what of their things had to be sold. When six year old Kimberly realized that she would have to leave her puppy Bridgette behind that just seemed too much. She asked why she had to go as she did not have a call, it was Daddy; could she just stay with Grandma? While this heart cry made all of us smile we hurt with her little heart as well. But that is the "Gory" for Grandma Dickinson, who loves pets, keeps Bridgette and she is waiting for them each time they come home to Phoenix. I cannot imagine Daddy's calling being the success that God has made it without Kimberly's help. I love you, Gram/Martha Bryan

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