daybook

I saw this here. Just joining in for fun. And because when I have a lot of things to do, I procrastinate by doing completely meaningless things not on my list.

FOR TODAY

Outside my window… the sun is shining. It’s warm but not hot, dry, nice breeze. DD9 is running around the house with an empty plastic bottle tied to string while DD3 chases her calling her a loser. lol they are so weird {mental note: too many YouTube Recess episodes}

I am thinking… about all I have to do in the next three days before we leave for the States!

I am thankful… for health, for God’s goodness, for friends, for family. For mercies new every day.

In the kitchen… nothing is cooking. Trying to eat all the leftovers and perishables.

I am wearing… blue capris (below) and my husband’s bright lime green t-shirt {now it’s mine}.

I am creating… a list of all the things I need to procure, scrounge up, buy, thrift-shop, beg for, stock up on while we are in the States.

I am going… to church tomorrow morning for the first time in a while. I actually have our only car tomorrow. I really miss having my own car!

I am wondering… how awesome it’s going to be to go HOME!

I am reading… who has time to read?

I am hoping… I can get a Kindle in the States. Maybe then I can read while hiding in my room late, late at night.

I am looking forward to… going to the US Embassy in Buenos Aires. I really am. I cried when I got off the phone with them because they were, like… efficient and had a… get this… easy and quick solution to our expired son’s passport problem {EDIT: son’s expired passport. my son hasn’t expired, just his passport.}. Did you know you can get an emergency US passport in the same day overseas? God bless America.

I am learning… the infinite and abounding kindness of God.

Around the house… uh. not much. Packing? Husband got a three-day weekend job out of town so I’m actually loving being able to get it all done.

I am pondering… uh. not much. Too busy pondering going home. Would it be shallow to say I am pondering all the good, fattening foods I plan on stuffing my shameless face with oh so very soon??

A favorite quote for today… 1 cor. 7-9 i read this morning. “he should do as he wants. he is not sinning… but the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind… this man also does the right thing.” WOW.

One of my favorite things… going home?

A few plans for the rest of the week: heading off to Buenos Aires by way of the coast! Looking forward to meeting Tony’s uncle in Bahia Blanca and seeing an American bloggy friend in Necochea, possibly Tony’s best friend’s mom in Mar del Plata, not sure yet. NOT looking forward to Buenos Aires, although the Embassy might be fun.

A peek into my day… coffee IV, bible, blog post, newsletter I haven’t started, tutored math (one last quiz and boy is DONE!), mothering, laundry, lunch, store, lecture to my girls about how you can’t act like that in the States so please get ready by understanding that you can’t run all over the supermarket like all the other wild children and no you can’t sit on the belt where you put your groceries, tried to pay a bill but the pay booth no longer exists so oh well, printed several important papers at the computer place since we don’t have a printer, it shockingly went off without a hitch, bought some road-tripping food {“treats” like sliced white bread for the nutella that came in the mail yay, and cereal, and long-life milk in boxes}, filled out passport application sitting outside in the warm spring sun, possibly found someone to house-sit which would be great, procrastinated on cleaning the bathroom, hopefully will clean it tonight, dinner, maybe write that newsletter later, maybe procrastinate some more.

had to go back to last summer to find a (decent) picture of me. blue capris. the same shoes i always wear.
el chocón, neuquén, patagonia: looking for dinosaur tracks on a very VERY windy day. :)

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losing internet, sometimes my mind, other updates

this is a rambling, wordy post. may be our last for a while. losing internet next week: have to give the modem back if we don’t want to pay the bill while we’re gone. trying to get a blog post up. so much going on. too many interruptions. not enough time to pay attention to punctuation.

EDIT: since i wrote this yesterday I realized our son’s passport expired LAST WEEK, fought a two-day migraine, lost all our birth certificates, found them, changed plans about five times regarding when and which route to drive the 15 hours to Buenos Aires, sent an emergency email to the US Embassy in Buenos Aires to try to figure out how to expedite renewal of his passport, and got a few more gray hairs. now back to our story…

men’s meeting in the slums saturday went great. tony showed the grace card – they loved it. several new guys showed up, young guys who scoffed and said “i don’t need god” were the first to get teary-eyed during prayer. tony hasn’t taken pictures yet. i still haven’t had time to download the ones on his cell. you’ll have to imagine it in your mind, i guess. such is life. never enough time.

speaking of our projector – it’s been such a blessing. we use it all the time. showing movies has been a very effective tool in reaching the lost for christ here. sometimes the only thing that really works in a given situation. thanks again, you know who you are. thank you to everyone who has ever participated. missions is a group effort. god has really blessed this venture. we have also been able to rent our projector out weekly as well to someone who used to pay $300 pesos for rental elsewhere. we charge $150 (US$40). it buys milk and eggs. it blesses us, it blesses them. we’d love to give it for free, but it’s very expensive to live here and tony only works one day a week at a paid job. relearning to barter here is good.

showing movies at the boys’ home is great, too. tony tried doing bible studies and writing verses for a while, but often falls back on the movies because many of the kids are just not literate enough. they need literacy and writing classes before tackling a bible study or writing a verse. they always ask for more movies. we haven’t exhausted our supply yet and have even been able to find some christian movies here at the only christian bookstore in the city. god provides.

birthday in the boys’ home: crisitian turns 12

we got out the other night – first time in a while as an entire family. a long while. slowly reentering society. ha. friends invited us for dinner. i stood, very cranky, at the stove at 7:30pm eating some reheated pasta out of a skillet before heading out. i can’t eat at 10pm unless i want a migraine. i also have a growing boy who is often “starving”. i {crankily} said i would only go if tony called and made plans for an early dinner. i did not want to eat at 10pm (standard dinner time here). so we all agreed eight (ha ha) and we arrived at 8, stupidly ready to eat. i should have known – the fire was just being stoked up on their barrel grill – the meat not even on yet. i sighed inwardly but smiled outwardly, and thanked god i had the sense to eat something before we headed out. the awesome sweetness of this couple quickly put me in a good mood, the kids had a snack, then played in the dirt with the other kids. our friends, who i love dearly and haven’t seen in a long while – the sweetest couple ever – live in the slums. they are the nicest, happiest, most genuine couple. cracking jokes, ribbing each other, ribbing us, laughing easily. it used to be a toma (slum) where they live (well, still is), but now has running water and electricity service. streets are still dirt – huge potholes after this weekend’s unusual and torrential downpour. kids were playing soccer in the dirt street when we pulled up. got close to running a few over as they chased the ball in front of the van and never looked up.

we ended up having a great time. nothing like good friends to lift the spirits. dinner was served sometime after 10. kids played in the dirt yard until after midnight. our older kids loved the television reception and sat glued to the simpsons in spanish. i no longer care – or at least have ceased to fret over things i used to. like my kids watching the simpsons. i realize how legalistic i used to be. i can’t be that here. christians aren’t either, it’s nice. and their kids still grow up to know and love jesus.

last night at our boy’s basketball practice, in talking with the coach about late dinners, eating as it relates to exercize, why boy gets tired and dizzy and the like, the coach said, “you know what time i eat dinner? 11pm. i come home 6 or 7, have a snack, go for a run, when i get back the kids are already picking a bit at 10, i shower, sit down to eat at 11, then go to bed.”

i will never understand this. never. but, hey, i didn’t grow up here. and neither did my kids. i explained to him, “you know what, martin? at the end of the day we are american. we can’t eat at 10. we just can’t. we get cranky.” he smiled. he already knows how very american my boy still is, he’s been coaching him for a year now. lol boy likes everything in nice, neat boxes. yeah, good luck with that in argentina.

i think i am going through somewhat of a mid-life crisis. tony collapses on our bed wondering why he is so tired and he aches like he’s been run over by a truck. we remind each other we are now both in our 40s (oh god how did that happen!?). we don’t feel like we should be almost 41 and 44. one of the many doctors i’ve seen here said, “after 40, if you wake up one day and nothing hurts, you’re dead“. meaning something will always ache or hurt once you’re 40. the day it doesn’t, it’s cause you’re dead. lol some of the greatest one liners i’ve heard are from argentinian doctors. the best therapy session in my life i got from a doctor here. 99% therapy with a sprinkling of medical advice. how do you know so much? i asked. how did you pinpoint my issue although you barely know me? “i’ve lived many years” he said. “life is TODAY” he went on. “not yesterday. not tomorrow. life is lived todayif you’re tired today, rest. if you feel good today, keep busy. if you want to exercize, exercize. if someone asks you how you are doing and you feel like poop, say ‘i feel like poop’. don’t lie. be real, be honest. don’t keep it all inside. if you keep it inside, put a smiley face on it, and say “oh i’m great” it will boil over elsewhere. high blood pressure, for example.” he looked at me.

yep.

oh, yeah, about my mid-life crisis. i think that must be what it is. it’s hard for me to differentiate between hormones, homeschool burn out, and stress brought on from the missions life. we are both in our 40s now. can’t deny the numbers. everything irriates me lately. it’s like i have pms all month. i don’t want my kids around all the time. they drive me more crazy than not most days. then i realize we have a three year old and we are in our 40s. what were we thinking having a kid that old? no wonder my patience is dwindling. my mom was getting ready for grandparenthood at my age, not toddlers. a generation ago people our age were grandparents, with grown kids. never said we were the sharpest tacks in the box…

tony’s six pack is now gone. lol daddy belly. he held out there a lot longer than other men. i don’t care about his stomach, i find a stomach on a man quite attractive actually (i’m weird like that). i find men who wash dishes attractive, too, but tony doesn’t buy that one. thinks i’m trying to manipulate him or something. i’m not, i serously do.

anyway, i do care about my stomach. i’m gaining weight. i’m very upset about this. stupid metabolism. again, not sure if it’s stress from the missions life (or too many 10 o’clock dinners) or age. i think it’s age. and hormones. that’s why i’m cranky and getting fat. aging sucks, plain and simple. some olive garden and cheesecake in the states will put me over the edge forever. :)

sunday night’s 10 o’clock dinner. oh, and yes, it was worth the wait.

went to my boy’s basketball practice last night. which means the whole family went. can’t leave girls alone at home (unfortunately) yet. tony always takes him, so i haven’t seen my son play in a while. he’s really come a long, long way. it’s so cute and weird and funny ironic to see my oldest in a class of 12-14 year old boys running around with all their street-savvy interactions playing ball in spanish. i have a teenager. oh god i’m old. he’s not one technically yet, but the attitude is all there. i’m not allowed to write about him on the internet. his new passtime is pushing his sister’s buttons all day long, arguing with everything i say, and complaining. he’s bearable only because he’s still a really great kid and we know his heart: golden. would never hurt a fly. loves babies. offered to teach the boys at the boys home how to swim this summer. sometimes does ministry with tony, shows movies, gives us spiritual advice. he’s the reason we stayed when we were about to throw in the towel 3 weeks in to this whole venture. he encourages us and god gives him just the right words, delivered in the most matter-of-fact way. we can’t complain really. can’t. his hands and feet are bigger than mine and he almost looks us in the eye. so. freaking. tall. such a good kid, and only 12.

another young person drowned in the rivers here monday. three young women drowned last week. 21, 20, and 17. we made sure our older kids knew how to swim well before moving here. i didn’t want to worry around all the rivers and lakes. i worry anyway because rivers here are dangerous. they are not allowed to swim in them. one was sucked down by a whirlpool, the three others were swimming in a dangerous section – not sure what happened exactly. when i launched into a lecture (again) to my kids about why they are not allowed to swim in the rivers and how whirlpools form, son interrupted with a much better explanation, complete with hand movements to illustrate.

where’d you learn that? i asked.

oh, i read it in a book.

oh. {cause i know i never taught them that one. didn’t know myself til recently.}

patagonian rivers are dangerous. cold, swift-moving, irregular bottoms perfect for whirlpool formation. perfect recipe for disaster. too many think they can handle them, but too many casualties prove the no pasa nada (nothing’ll happen) philosophy can be fatal.

my girl is done math for the year – finished today! THIS is how i feel as we wrap up this current homeschooling phase of our lives.

we could coast on math until august next year and still be on grade level. it’s nice to have the breathing space. she’ll probably start 5th grade in march, though. boy still hates math, but should be done 7th grade by monday. i am very happy. i so do not want to homeschool anymore. i really, really don’t. i don’t know exactly what happened to me, several factors i’m sure. i never imagined i would send them to school, but i never imagined a lot of what has happenend this year would have happened either. you never know what tomorrow brings.

this, the Year of Worst Mothering Ever. {also the Year of Worst Haircuts Ever. i cut my own yesterday because it looked so awful after the last cut i just couldn’t bare it. i miss you Miss Tracy, best hairdresser ever! i am not a vain (okay, a little), high-maintenance woman, but a good haircut is important you know.}

oh, yeah, year of worst mothering… i won’t elaborate much. i will say i have wondered if i am still a christian more than once this year. aliens have ripped my chest open and lazer beams have shot out of my eyes on more than one occasion. recently i told the kids, “don’t mess with me today! i’m cranky!”

son replies: “okay. Godzilla.”

i need more b vitamins.

i didn’t used to yell at my kids, at least often, until we moved here. i am ashamed to say i do a lot now. they MUST go to school before i lose it completely. i have said sorry and asked them to forgive me more than i’d like to admit or acknowledge. it’s not good. i suck in the mothering department right now and i feel my hormones are betraying me, too. something has to give. i wonder if there are herbal remedies for psycho mommies?

i broke down and joined a gym. walking didn’t work out. i tried. the gym is my prozac it keeps me from hurting others. and it was the doctor’s orders. it really has brought my blood pressure down to normal, and seems to keep it there. i can’t beleive my resting heartrate used to be 91. anyway, the gym is closing from dec. 29 to jan. 15. here’s the proof (if you speak spanish):

after the break it will reopen this summer but be closed for siesta for… wait for it… 3 and a half hours. imagine your gym doing that? would not fly in the states. it does here. forced vacation, folks. forced siesta, too. hope you weren’t planning on working out after lunch! come back at 6! gracias!

i love our cat. i haven’t told the kids yet of my undying love for him – i’m still trying to make sure they know he is still a street cat. i hope and pray nothing happens to him. he lives outside and is free to come and go. he mostly stays right outside the door, though. if he dies or disappears before we get back from our mini-furlough to the States, i don’t want any more crying than necessary. but if he lives, we’ll take him to the vet, clean him up, and call him our own. he’s a lover, unbelievable sweetness and gentleness. and we need love, life here is so much giving out, this cat gives to us and asks for nothing. except maybe some food. sometimes i wish i were a cat with nice owners. such a good life: eating, sleeping in the sun, getting picked up and patted on the head every day. nice.

okay, i’m rambling. blogging takes too much time. glad i’m taking a two month break. gotta get back to packing. we are spreading out our 15-hour drive to catch our flight in Buenos Aires over several days, stopping in at tony’s uncle in bahia blanca, ex-pat bloggy friend  katie’s in necochea, possibly a friends’ mom in mar del plata, then the jungle of buenos aires. ugh, ugh, and ugh. i hate that city. but it’s a necessary evil. all international flights to the states only leave from there. lord help me. make it be better than our last visit there. (i just reread this and, holy crab, we lived through that? i wrote it as i experienced it. and yeah, it was just. like. that. crazy.)

this week’s cell phone dump

This week we had several higlights, several low points (well, a lot. always), and one once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here are the pictures (apologies about the poor quality, I haven’t used our regular camera in a while).

Field Trip with the boys to the Museum of Fine Arts

the new exhibit was: the Statue of Liberty in… cherries?

cutting the overgrown yard at the boys’ home with a weed wacker

At one point the director looked at Tony struggling with the knee- to waist-high grass getting wound up in the weed wacker and said, “Look what you’ve gotten yourself into coming here.”

the yard before (background) and after (foreground)

Somebody’s got to, or no one will do it. The government doesn’t give children’s homes here much money. And they don’t own a lawnmower, nor can they buy one. Tony had to rent one (a big thank you to our supporters we could afford it ~ THANK YOU!).

The boys were so happy with how it turned out. What a difference. Tony was there all day weed-wacking acres of overgrown yard, and only got half of it done.

Another visit to Victor at the hospital. Victor doesn’t know he will not be allowed back at the home. His behavior is too aggressive. Violence is all he’s known. Some of the caretakers at the home were recently fired for beating some of the boys, Victor was one of them.

We hear so many stories here it’s just mind-boggling.

One of the nice lady caretakers at the home came to visit Victor. She is a Christian and always prays for the boys. She is one of the people that reported the abuse against the boys. Fortunately two of the workers have already been fired for hitting the boys.

The path of the Nov. 13 Total Eclipse of the Sun by the Moon.

The purple line is the area where a total eclipse was visible. We were in the partial eclipse zone.

7:48pm and eyes plastered to the little pinhole of light shining through the pin prick in the aluminum foil

Purely amateur, but our resources are limited. We learned that looking directly at the sun or a partial eclipse can blind you because it burns the retinal cones in your eye. You don’t feel any pain because there are no nerve endings in your retinal cones, so you just stare and stare, unaware that you are being blinded. Blindness can be temporary or permanent, and you may not notice the effects until hours after exposure. That is why you should NEVER look directly at the sun! Glad we know why now. Scary.

This is the best my camera could do during partial eclipse. Oh, well.

If you look very closely at the little pin prick of light you can see the moon blocking the sun forming a crescent. Cool!

Paw-paw.

He adopted us, not us him. We can’t get rid of him now. So, of course, the girls are distraught at what will happen to him when we go away. I don’t know, he’s a street cat, I say. This is South America. There are millions of strays here. Meanwhile, we continue to be total suckers and search for someone to feed him the bag of cat food I can’t believe I bought him while we are gone. He really is sweet. They don’t get much sweeter really. He’s just silly puddy in the kids’ hands. I’ve never seen a more docile kitty; he lets them do anything to him. I kind of wonder if he might be half brain dead or something.

a couple killed in the accident

I went to the bank one morning – the ATM we often use. It was closed and there was a long, long line outside. I asked the guard what what going on, he said the building was closed because the same guy who built the defective building that collapsed killing many, built the bank. They had a mobile bank with two trailers parked in the street. If I wanted to use the ATM I had to wait in line. I walked back to the car, making sure I was walking out from under the cement awning which hangs over the sidewalk, just to be safe.

cooling off

The sausage sandwich stand Tony sometimes frequents; the owner wants to visit the boys’ home and make sausage sandwiches for the kids one day soon. That’s Tony… always making friends.

they know our car and often wave to me thinking it’s Tony

a pile of tracts in the car, the 120v-220v converter for any appliances we need to charge, box of Kleenex (good for potty breaks, too), two bottles of Germ Gel (on left. you can never have too many)

a little bit of light

I mentioned last post about how the boys at the boys’ home less than a year ago used to draw really gory, dark pictures of men with axes and blood and death and stuff, and how they now draw pictures of trees and hearts and nice people. Here are some pics from Tony’s cell. Hopefully my kids will stay outside playing while I post this. It’s 8:30 pm and there is still a little bit of light in the sky. It was hot today again; we’ve over 90 every day now.

BEFORE: note men with evil faces and axes dripping blood on top and left

AFTER: trees

nice person and heart

more hearts, by Victor

Victor is 16 years old. Here he is:

This was taken this week when Tony went to visit Victor in the pychiatric ward of the mental hospital downtown. He is not at the boys home at the moment, he’s not doing well. It seems that when Victor’s mom was pregnant with him she did drugs and alcohol, then when he was born they put the stuff in his bottle. Can you imagine doing that to your baby? I can’t. Poor Victor is pretty messed up. The other day Tony got upset with our own kids, they were complaining about something. Complain, complain, complain. He reminded them of Victor. Victor would LOVE to have a family, parents who love him and take care of him, who give him everything, love, attention, Jesus, he would love to have all they have. He would love to be able to change his life. But he can’t. He’s in a mental hospital right now. He saw his Dad kill his mom, then saw his Dad in a casket after being stuck 17 times with a knife in prison. He wants so badly to change and be better and be good and happy, but he can’t. And then there are other people who have everything and they are not happy. They don’t appreciate it and complain. Hey, me included. I need to hear stories like Victor’s, too. How many times do I complain, for nothing?

At least Victor is now drawing pictures of hearts, instead of bad men with bloody axes.

ch-ch-ch-changes

A lot of changes going on around here.

Here’s one really great one Tony keeps telling me to mention here. When he first started working in the children’s home the boys would draw pictures: dead people, knives, blood, hands getting chopped off – really dark things, death, and violence. Now they draw pictures of trees and hearts and people and sunshine. Tony pointed this out to Cristian, one of the boys, the other day and asked him what happened, what had changed?

He said, “It’s because you showed us movies about God.”

Even the psychologist has noted a change in the boys, and for the better. They’re still a rowdy crowd with tons of problems, but God specializes in people with problems.

A little bit of light goes a long way. And that is what we are supposed to be, light in the darkness.

Tony fixing the abandoned pool at the boys’ home (not sure what he’s doing exactly – filling in a crack I think…)

Tony is there today cutting their grass. We prayed before he left that he doesn’t get bit by any black widows. ‘Tis the season, and their grass and weeds are up to his waist. They don’t have a lawn mower, a car, or any money to do anything. We even have to lend them our hose so they can water the garden they have planted. It’s just the way it is here. All over, probably – the government doesn’t give the children’s homes any money to do anything, only money for food and that’s about it. We still have bread crumbs they grated by hand from stale bread that we bought from them to raise money for bus fare for an outing. Hopefully the church here will get more involved soon. If we ever leave, someone’s got to take over or they will be left basically alone again.

Another huge change – after six years of homeschoooling we’ve also decided to put the kids in school. Homeschooling isn’t working here. We did it for the first year, but time for a change. There is no support network here like back home, no other homeschoolers, and Tony takes our only car the whole day. That, and all our illnesses, burnt me out to homeschooling. I don’t want to do it anymore. At least not right now. So we started looking into it – they will start in March (the beginning of the academic school year) if it all works out. There is an unbelievable amount of paperwork, but I am relieved, happy, and excited for them and for me. I think it’ll be good, as a matter of fact, I think it is God’s best for them. I really don’t care how they do academically. I am most excited for them to learn fluent Spanish and to get out of my hair. I’ve been doing this for six years and I need some space! Maybe we’ll homeschool again in the future, I can see that perhaps, but I’m just trying to get through today at the moment. Tomorrow will worry about itself.

Another awesome unexpected change is that we’ll be spending the holidays in the States! We were not planning on it, as a matter of fact, we were planning to only be able to escape to the beach and spend Christmas with the penguins. But the tickets fell out of the sky a few weeks ago (God is good like that). We are not paying a dime of this trip – and neither are our supporters. Thank you, Jesus! is all I have to say because I think we need this break more than anything. I am THRILLED to be able to get away from the 100 degree heat no A/C, the noise, the flies, and lots of other things. Hopefully we can rest and recharge, visiting friends and family and eating and eating and eating all the foods we’ve so missed! Ah, just to back in the States where you don’t have to fear for your life every time you go out. How refreshing that will be. I had hoped to not have to make any presentations and just relax, but people have already asked us. Which I guess is good and might be good for our support issues. But which means I will have to prepare most of it since Tony’s English has gone WAY down hill here. The kids sometimes say to him when he speaks to them in English, “Whaaat? I have no idea what you just said.” And then they all laugh hysterically (except me).We have a 15 hour drive to Buenos Aires just to catch our flight, but somehow that doesn’t seem like a big deal after all we’ve been through this year.

(*By the way, we are still looking for a car to borrow or rent, so if anyone knows of one, please let us know!)

Lastly, I am also taking an internet break. I won’t be blogging for December and January and will only be checking email once a day. I already deleted Facebook – and no, I don’t miss it. I’ll try to post a few more things this month, then we’ll be back in February!

a present I found next to my bed one day…

:)

going political for just one second

Two years ago when I started blogging I decided to never mention politics here.  Why? I had a very short-lived and passionate interest in politics once, which messed with my brain a liiiiittlebit too much, so I gave it up. Yes, I care about what happens in politics, and occasionally find the time to check the (mostly depressing) US and global news, but only to the extent enough to finally get around to googling “absentee ballot/how to vote from overseas” the day of the actual election. (Um, yeah, just a tad bit too late on that one.)

Anyway, I read this today and thought it was very refreshing. A nice and unusual – as in, I’ve never heard anyone approach politics from this angle – way for Christians in particular to look at politics. Amen for the truths in it, which I find freeing.

Any thoughts, opinions? Agree? Disagree?

Okay, going back into my non-political hole again… and you’ll have to guess who I would have voted for. (hint: not too hard)

Advice for missionaries

I think I have just about read every biography on Adoniram Judson ever written. One of my heroes,  he left the only translation of the Bible into the Burmese language ever written.  The following excerpt is from his writings: Advice When Contemplating the Missions Life. I could not have addressed the issues missionaries face better myself. Copied from and credited in full HERE.

{Incidentally, right now I am hanging out at about number 6: longing for the quiet retreat.}

—————————————————————————————————————-

“Adoniram Judson penned many letters describing his work and life as a missionary. His two most famous letters — a marriage proposal to his first wife, Ann, and to a young missionary candidate — are still quoted today. In these letters, Judson lays out what it means to serve the Lord at all cost.

His words and challenges, written almost 200 years ago, still ring true today.  Do you have what it takes to surrender “no holds bar” to the Lord? Read/watch to find out:

Dear Brethren:

… you ask my advice on several important points. … I am desirous of setting down a few items which may be profitable to you in your future course.

You are contemplating a missionary life.

First then, let it be a missionary life; that is, come out for life and not for a limited term. Do not fancy that you have a true missionary spirit, while you are intending all along to leave the heathen soon after acquiring their language. Leave them for what? To spend the rest of your days in enjoying the ease and plenty of your native land?

Secondly. In choosing a companion for life, have particular regard to a good constitution, and not wantonly, or without good cause, bring a burden on yourselves and the mission.

Thirdly. Be not ravenous to do good … missionaries have frequently done more hurt than good by injudicious zeal …

Fourthly. Take care that the unmissionary examples you may possibly meet with at some missionary stations do not transform you from living missionaries to mere skeletons … It may be profitable to bear in mind, that a large proportion of those who come out on a mission to the East die within five years after leaving their native land. Walk softly, therefore; death is narrowly watching your steps.

Fifthly. Beware of the reaction which will take place soon after reaching your field of labor. There you will find native Christians, of whose merits and demerits you cannot judge correctly without some familiar acquaintance with their language.

Some appearances will combine to disappoint and disgust you. You will meet with disappointments and discouragements … which will lead you, at first, almost to regret that you have embarked in the cause … Beware, therefore, of the reaction you will experience from a combination of all these causes, lest you become disheartened at commencing your work, or take up a prejudice against some persons and places, which will embitter you.

Sixthly. Beware of the greater reaction which will take place after you have acquired the language and become fatigued and worn out with preaching the Gospel to a disobedient and gainsaying people.

You will sometimes long for a quiet retreat, where you can find a respite from the tug of toiling at native work – the incessant, intolerable friction of the missionary grindstone. And Satan will sympathize with you in this matter; and he will present some chapel of ease … to slip out of real missionary work. Such a temptation will form the crisis of your disease. If your spiritual constitution can sustain it, you recover; if not, you die.

Seventhly. Beware of pride; not the pride of proud men, but the pride of humble men – that secret pride which is apt to grow out of the consciousness that we are esteemed by the great and good. This pride sometimes eats out the vitals of religion before its existence is suspected. In order to check it’s operations, it may be well to remember how we appear in the sight of God and how we should appear in the sight of our fellow-men … Confess your faults freely and as publicly as circumstances will require or admit …

Eighthly. Never lay up money for yourselves or your families. Trust in God from day-to-day and verily you shall be fed.

Ninthly. Beware that indolence which leads to a neglect of bodily exercise. The poor health and premature death of most Europeans in the East must be eminently ascribed to the most wanton neglect of bodily exercise …

There are many points of self-denial that I should like to touch upon; but a consciousness of my own deficiency constrains me to be silent. I have also left untouched several topics of vital importance, it having been my aim to select such only as appear to me to have been not much noticed or enforced …

… Praying that you may be guided in all your deliberations and that I may yet have the pleasure of welcoming some of you to these heathen shores,

Your affectionate brother, A. Judson Maulmain, June 25, 1832″

when the kids get a hold of my cell

this is what happens when the kids get a hold of my cell

{It’s a YouTube episode of The Penguins of Madagascar. Without TV reception or satellite, it’s what there is. And it’s the reason my kids can be heard saying strange things around the house as of late such as, “German folk music?! NOH! My boo-ty’s one weakness!”

Poor wordly MKs. Ruined for life.}

heat wave, suckers, summer vacay

We are in the middle of a heat wave. Temperatures have been over 90 all week – that would be the “without A/C over 90 degrees”… The holes the hot desert sun bores through your skin is a reminder that summer equinox is right around the corner. It’s HOT. But if you’re in the shade, the temps drop about 10 degrees and it’s really not that bad (yet). And there’s little humidity; I do at least like that about the desert.

We now have a cat. We are magnets for strays. He just showed up one day and started meowing and rubbing his mangey self up against my kids’ legs.

I tried shoo-ing him and forbade the kids from even touching the mangey thing – that has God only knows what germs and diseases. But this cat is phased by nothing. Within two days he was allowing himself to be carried around and petted and called “my boyfriend” by my three-year old. I’m such a sucker. We think God sent him, though. When your nine-year old starts saying, “I just told the cat all my woes. He listened to me. He’s my best friend,” you realize it may be a little more than just a mangey street cat. He is so gentle and mellow, and curls his dirty little self up in their laps for hours. They pet him and talk to him and feed him leftovers and little bowls of milk.

he certainly knows how to work it

I just hope this best friend/boyfriend doesn’t meet any unforeseen demise. Tony and I have reached our limit for pets that die, and we can’t handle anymore crying kids.

In torturous homeschooling news: We are very close to finishing 4th and 7th grade math. Hallelujah! I hate math now as much as my kids. It’s absolute torture for all of us to plow through, so I’m happier than they are that we are almost done for the year. While they’d be just starting 4th and 7th grade back home, they are getting ready the end it here. Our summer vacation starts in December. We can’t wait. We ended up adapting to a southern hemisphere academic schedule. Even though I tried to maintain a Sept-June schedule, it just wasn’t feasible. Doing school when it’s 100 out and no A/C did not work.