Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You're Where??

[what’s brewing: not sure, letting it cool off before I swallow]

Although I felt a bit vulnerable in our new environment, I was sure I could manage on my own while my husband took a three-day trip to the capital city to purchase our vehicle. That sounded reasonable to me. I was willing to skip the 18-hour bus ride there, a day of paperwork and legal processes, and the 18-hour drive back. I would gladly try my hand at managing the affairs of the Children’s Home with my basic language skills for a couple of days in order to avoid the inevitable carsickness that plagues me on road trips.

I was a bit uneasy sleeping alone at night. My awareness of each creak in the house and scuffle on the sidewalk outside was heightened, but I managed to keep my imagination under control and drift off to sleep eventually. My confidence increased with each taxi fare I negotiated, each meeting I conducted and each phone call I understood. (Phone calls remain my biggest nemesis – somehow it’s so much more difficult to understand another language when I can’t see the mouth moving with the words. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?!)

I was feeling good about my time flying solo until I received a late night phone call from Jason.

He was about half way into the 18-hour drive back when the drive shaft fell off our newly-acquired car on the highway in the middle of nowhere. He was sure that he would be back on the road within a day or two, but his cell phone was going to die soon and he wanted to let me know he wouldn’t be home by morning as we’d anticipated. This extension was not part of my plan. I wanted to cry out, “What? You’re WHERE?,” but instead I remained calm and said I would be waiting for his call in the morning.

I had mentally prepared myself for a couple of days on my own, but I was not ready to do this for another week. The confidence that I had built in the previous three days melted into nervousness. I began to think of the appointments and meetings we had scheduled for the rest of the week. My stomach was in knots thinking of handling all of that on my own without having Jason there to fall back on. He knows the language, not me. He’s familiar with the legal processes and cultural considerations, not me.

I don’t want to do this!

And then I begin to think. What is my problem? When did I become so dependant? I have many single girlfriends who are in missions and they face these types of challenges every day on their own. They don’t have a crutch to rest on when they don’t understand what’s happening, so why do I feel so overwhelmed by this? How have I come to rely more on my husband’s cultural confidence than on the Lord for the strength I need to walk this unknown journey? I didn’t even realize that shift was happening. Oh Lord, how quickly I put my faith in things I can see. Keep me dependant on you and you alone. You are the source of strength my soul draws upon.

Stay tuned for next week’s post to see how I fared.


CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

The telephone thing - I couldn't agree MORE with you! We manage "quite fine" (that's to say we aren't fluent, but we are VERY conversational speakers), but you should have heard the discussions that occurred when the time came to order the pizza over the phone! :-)

Rodger and Lynne Schmidt Mozambique said...

I still phone conversations in Portuguese after 5 years!

Hang in there girl, you will do fine until he comes home and after you have managed on your own, you will feel like the strongest woman in the world! Your faith will be stronger too and that is worth everything!

Praying for you,

Ellie said...

Yeah, phones! You lose your eyes which help you quite a bit in knowing if what you said makes sense. I hate it , too.

You can make it. And when you do, you'll feel much more "at home". It is like a jump start to independence and confidence.

I was only in my new country two months when my husband and team members all had to leave for a month. I was scared, but we survived. It was what actually got me to go and learn how to drive on the "wrong" side of the road. Yes, I was so nervous that I hit guy at the gas station - it was just a little bump! :( Thankfully, he was not angry, and I eventually learned to put in the clutch before I turned the key.

But because of being forced to face all these first steps early on, like you will be this week, I was much more independent and confident early on than I probably would have been without it.

We'll be praying, and God knew when your husband drove away that it would be for more than three days. It is a great source of comfort to me that God is never surprised. We sure are sometimes, but He is not.

Tundra Mom said...

Yeah, I am with you too--I linked to your blog through WOTH mag. I enjoyed your artical there and your gradual change of perspective. We are in our third year of service and I am so with you. The phone is a bummer-- our first sentence was, Sorry you have the wrong number!" It is the same when buying/fixing a car here. Home alone while he battles in the capital to get things done. I usually haul the kids with him now b/c I enjoy it more than the waiting! Thanks for your honesty here. I really appreciate it. It is good to hear real life stories and not the m biography polished version!

Libby said...

I sometimes feel like you are writing some of my experiences! I could not talk on the phone for a long time and even now (6 years in this country) I struggle with understanding some people and find myself really sweating as I get through a conversation on the phone. I also struggle with staying at home without hubby. I appreciate what you are sharing...I think God has been really talking to me about this area too and it's good to hear what other's are learning as they go through similar situations.
By the way, You are doing a great job with this blog! I am really enjoying it!!

Coffeegirl said...

Hey ladies! Thanks for all of your encouragement and confirmation that I'm not the only out here dealing with these things. I appreciate your comments and enjoy "seeing" many of you here each week. Tundra Mom mentioned that she appreciates the honesty here, that it's not the polished stories we tend to hear so many times about women in ministry. I am a big believer in the saying, "Honesty begets honesty" and have hoped from the beginning that together we'd be able to create a place for candid conversation here. Thanks to each of you for your part in this. So far, so good here as the Lone Ranger - thanks for your prayers!

cindyb said...

Have a good weekend, CG! Thanks for your ongoing story.


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