From the very beginning my husband started to call our life as missionaries an adventure and I can say that is probably the best way to describe my life as a missionary wife. For when people take an adventure there is always excitement and great things that happen while you are on an adventure. And there is also those hard and challenging times mixed in as well.
I can still remember when our plane landed in Jakarta for the very first time and we looked out the window an saw all the palm trees and different types of landscape for the very first time. I remember the excitement on my children’s faces and the sheer thankfulness of being able to finally get off the plane. Little did I know that those first few steps off that plane would be the easiest part of my journey. And that God was about to walk me through times of great joy and that He was going to allow me to see the world through His eyes and forever change who I was as a women, mother, and wife.
I leaned that I could be a strong women in the Lord but still be shaking on the inside. Like that time when I was driving home and a snake dropped out of the tree and almost landed in our laps. Or when my children are struggling with things like homesickness and they looked for encouraging words from me even though I am was also homesick at the same moment. Or when the drunk man was standing in the middle of the road and really did not want to let me pass through at that moment. It is not the circumstances that have made me a strong women but it was learning to rely on God through every one of them that helped me become a strong women.
Then came the joy of entering that terrifying age of having pre-teens and teens in my household. I think that this was the first time I really needed my parents advice daily but now they were clear on the other side of the world. I could no longer just pick up the phone and talk, because now I first needed to figure out the time difference and hope the internet was working good enough before I could talk. However, I have the privilege of having my Lord with me every step of the way. And now being the mother of a teenager and two pre-teens I am beginning to understand that the only way to get through this stage of life is with a direct line to the Lord that never closes or get’s disconnected. God has walked us through some interesting things with our kids here (homesickness, dengue fever, fear of new things) but God always provides for them beyond what I could ever imagine. That does not mean I do not worry about them or wonder if they are missing out on things because they live here instead of being back home. However, there is peace when I remember that God called us here for this season of our lives and He will help me be the mother that my kids need no matter where we live.
I could probably write a book on being married to a missionary pilot in one of the most dangerous places to fly in the world. I have watched while Greg has worked through times of intense training. Which also added a lot of intense stress and doubts to our daily life. I learned the importance of how to be a true helpmate through prayer, encouragement, and helping him through those days of doubt. And now as he continues to move into the routine of a line pilot, I get to support him through the joyous times when the medivac has a happy ending or a missionary needs a special flight request that he can help with. And through the hard times when the medivac doesn’t end well or flights are cancelled or postponed because the plane is down due to maintenance problems or government documents are delayed and people are left stranded somewhere.
Then there were all those fun things that most missionary wives normally get to tackle like learning about going to the local market. For me the hardest was defiantly getting use to the meat market while in language school. Next was learning where to buy things like medicine and of course knowing what it is called in a different language ( I have learned to write it down and take it with me just in case I am not pronouncing it right). I now keep a journal with all the different types of medicine that we have used and what they were for. Since there is not always a doctor around (normally though only a call or text away) it sure saves time getting what we need. I have also learned creative ways to dry clothes while going through rainy season without a dryer. And I have totally picked up some very bad driving habits through these past three years. As the driving here is in itself a whole other world here. I am happy to report that when I was back home last summer for the first time, all those crazy driving skills were left behind, only once did I catch myself driving on the wrong side of the road.
And since arriving in Merauke I have learned to make sure to check for toads when I open the front door as there is a gap between the screen and the main door that they like to hide in. If you leave shoes outside always dump them upside down and bag them for that is another place the toads like to hide. I am happy to report that I can know cut the feet and head off a chicken and not be totally grossed out, but the boys on the other hand are so not there yet. Oh, I never fold up my clothes rack without looking for tree frogs because they love to snooze there through out the day. Surprising though I still find the ants the worst to deal with, they love to get into our damp towels and if they bite me I really react to them. And sadly I will admit that I miss frozen pizza and just having a Wendy’s or MacDonald’s around. I don’t actually miss it for the taste of the food I just miss having the option of that quick meal on those crazy days when there is just no energy left to cook.
However, at the end of the day I am still thankful for everything that I have learned on this adventure that God has been leading our family through. Life as a wife, mother, and a women can become overwhelming no matter where you are but the trick is deciding on whose power you are going to lean on to help you get through. Will it be your own power or will it be God’s?