Monday, February 18, 2013

Learning Curve-10 Things my Trip Taught Me

1. Traveling with kids (overseas) is hard. Adjusting their bodies to time changes. Keeping them on their best behavior for weeks on end. Adding kids to the mix means that each minute a flight is delayed is another gray hair on my head. (well, maybe that is a stretch=)) More luggage to lose. More kids to lose. Maybe I should just say-more people to keep track of. Two words...bright colors. Brightly colored clothes make them stick out, and thus increase their visibility. Which makes it easier to keep track of them.

Tired Meres. She has been a trooper. I love how she is holding her toys while sleeping.
2. Living with someone else for several weeks is hard. Meshing unfamiliar life rhythms, rules, schedules, and ideals is not easy for anyone. I think the next time we travel we will maybe stay in hotels.

3. I am a homebody. I love traveling. I love seeing new sights and the places where history happened. But, I love quiet times at home. I love my coffee mug, my rocking chair, my bed.

4. I think I am an introvert. I need quiet. I need space. I need downtime. I need time with just my husband-no kids or friends. I need time with just our small family. I need time with just the Lord and my coffee cup.
tired LC

5. Living in a foreign country is hard. Not impossible, but definitely a huge challenge. Living this life for a few weeks has given me a profound respect for those who choose to live in another country and face those challenges.

Challenges like gathering rain water to drink, and then filtering it so that it is drinkable.
Challenges like how to transport a big family in little vehicles.
Challenges like crazy traffic and curvy roads. They totally don't believe in going through the mountain here.
Challenges like having the shower in the middle of the bathroom-no tub. Wet toilet.
Challenges like having to line dry all your laundry between downpours or in the freezing temps of winter as there are no clothes dryers.
Challenges like going to many shops and markets for groceries as there is no Meijer, Super Walmart or Target.
Challenges like cultural differences-to wear or not to wear shoes-that is the question. To wear long pants as a sign of respect for the ones you are rubbing shoulders with.
Challenges like smallish houses practically on top of the neighbor's house.
Challenges like being on the opposite time frame as most of your loved ones and friends.
Challenges like flooding, and earthquakes. Radiation and tsunamis.
Meres' first pedicure. I see many more in her barefoot future.

6. I'm an American through and through. I love the United States of America. I won't apologize for that love either. Yes, there is excess and hugeness. But, I think it is the best country in the world. We have freedom, and convenience. We have good roads and clean water. We are blessed. And I unabashedly, unashamedly say, "I'm proud to be an American."Oh, and while I am happy to visit foreign countries for weeks on end-I have no plans to move anywhere.

7. People are people-wherever they are. Oh, and missionaries are just people too. Smiles are the universal currency. Not money. Not Visa. Smiles bridge all languages and cultures.

view off the front porch

8. No matter how much you prepare for going overseas, there is no getting around culture shock. Things are just very different.

9. Ministry and serving God is a battlefield-wherever you are. In the States. Abroad. Satan does not want lives to be saved. Lives to be changed. Lives to be free from the bondage of sin. And he fights, fights, fights against God's work.
you can definitely tell who the photographer of the family is. 4 pics of Mr. Hippie teaching. None of me.

10. I still don't like snakes. And I am so thankful that the only one I saw so far (knock on wood) was in a cage. And that one wasn't your garden variety of garter snake either. It was a nice black and yellow python. But, lizards aren't that bad. At least not chichucks. They are everywhere, and you just kind of get used to them.

We are preparing to leave tomorrow. It has been wonderful being here. I am glad to be heading home. Our conference with the kids went so well. I can't say that enough. We felt the prayers of all our friends. I pray that it will forever impact their lives.

We have made new friends...2 families in particular. I look forward to continuing to grow these friendships. Both between the adults, and our kids.

Will we ever come back? I don't know.

That is the bittersweet thing about coming to a new place, and investing in new people. You leave a chunk of your heart behind when you move on.

flooding for Noah's Ark. Hands down favorite lesson.

I think I would be willing to come back again. To serve these missionaries again. I would love that. I would love to love on these kids again. They are the future. Future Christians. Future missionaries.

For now, I have a lot of people to add to our prayer list. We have seen the challenges, and we know better how to pray and how to support our friends.

This Barefoot Hippie Girl has been changed. Maybe not in huge ways. But, my world view has been altered.

Have you ever been on a mission trip? How were you changed? Tell me about it in the comments.