This is my constant burden when I see young gals and even some older women preparing to leave for the field…I have always wondered, are there veteran missionary wives sharing their hearts openly, honestly, candidly with the younger women? There has to be a balance - because it’s not all woes and sadness…. I hate the song “SO Send I You…. to labor unrewarded, unloved, blah, blah, blah… - THAT is not the truth either. God does give us rewards as we obey….. God does send unexpected blessings …. God does give us inner peace - but, yes - the first term on the field is tough.
Guess what? I met a veteran missionary wife at Christmas time - by accident - that’s a long story. But when I told her we were really enjoying Taiwan, she asked me how long we had been here. I told her 3 and ½ months. She looked at me and said, “You are still in your honeymoon period. When you hit the 6 month mark you will begin to hate everything - the dirt and filth, the lack of manners, the lack of American goodies, the politics among the missionaries, etc… etc…“ I thought to myself, “She obviously doesn’t realize she is talking to somebody who was in Singapore nearly 18 years.” But, guess what? Today marks six months…and I’m tired. And, once again, the pressures of settling into a new country/language/ministry have taken their toll on our marriage…. I feel lonely - don’t quite fit in YET with the church folks and other missionaries….I feel so far removed from our daughters, Sarah and Rebekah - and with a 14 hour time difference we have a tough time making phone calls…we are hounded with hundreds of mosquitoes…. The Chinese language is tough…. Everything is super, super expensive…. We really, really miss the food of Singapore (NOT America!) Some of the stuff they eat here is abominable… (You told me to be frank…) We are trying to care for a ministry on top of homeschooling and language school and that was not such a brilliant idea… We have a communication barrier here that we never had in Singapore…..
However, the people here are absolutely precious! The winter here has been colder than we’ve ever experienced before in Asia… but the temps are back up to the 70’s now - yippee! I am spending several hours a week in school with my teenagers - wow! What great bonding time! We are going to have our own secret code now when we go back to the US - we were always so jealous of families such as the Hayes - they could say all kinds of nasty things without anybody understanding them. The other young missionary couple from NBBC that is here short term have become great friends with our Daniel and Julia (though things aren’t always peachy-creamy!) I’m thankful to have our kids out of the USA for their teen years…. God has showered us with all kinds of unexpected blessings from unknown ravens, meeting all of our needs…. I really like the home God provided for us - nicer than any home we ever had in Singapore…. I thank God for Skype and e-mail and relatively cheap phone calls - things we didn’t have my first term in Singapore!
…Over time God will indeed knit your hearts to those of the people HE has called you to.. I can’t explain it… I can’t give you a time frame…. but it just happens. And you know what? Gradually, those people that you live with and minister with become your family and your best friends…. To the point that your own family and friends in the US no longer understand you…. Hard to explain. Make sure you are keeping your family a priority. Spend time with your children! Love them! Teach them! Have fun with them… Enjoy them! All too soon they will be gone.