Sunday, November 04, 2007

How we are

We're at an interesting place in this process, we're able to communicate (which makes life much easier), but we're also aware that another huge move is only 6 weeks away. As such, on the outside, we're happy and content; while on the inside, we're fairly anxious. I’ve observed how all of us missionaries have responded to culture shock, and I've concluded that it is a horrible experience no matter how prepared you think you are. Anger, anxiety, depression, low self esteem and negative interpretation are the daily fare here--and they're confounded by the late night hours spent doing homework. After 9 months in Costa Rica, we're beginning to feel more comfortable. But, it is a short lived comfort, since we’re moving to Peru in January. I no longer think it will be a smooth and easy transition. I suspect that we’ll have a repeat of some of the same emotional and physical responses. It's ironic to feel stress when the weather is so nice. I've learned here that being a missionary in a lovely place is still very stressful. No matter how beautiful the place, the missionaries still pay the price of being far from family and friends. You can't quickly replace friendships that were forged over 20 years. So, beautiful weather aside, being a missionary is emotionally costly. If we didn't have a personal relationship with the living God, then it wouldn't be worth it. But, since our call to Peru has been so miraculously confirmed, then we have to believe that these light and momentary troubles will produce eternal fruit!

On the bright side, I preached my first Spanish sermon for the students and staff this past week and it went so well that I was invited to preach at a church this Sunday. Just before I went up to preach this past week, I became emotionally overwhelmed. The reality of fulfilling our call felt very near. We received the call to Peru four years ago. Preaching in Spanish became a realization of the nearness of fulfilling that call. By grace, it was a great experience.
(The picture, above, was taken just after my first Spanish sermon (this week). I'm chatting with one of our professors, Rosita. Lena is behind me, chatting with our friend and fellow missionary, Sherri Mattix.)


Anonymous said...

Dear Bill and Lena and family,
Your family touched my life a few years ago at Hope Harbor Church in Murray, KY. You have been in my prayers since then. Especially since last January. I have no idea what it must be like for you all...but I have done things that I believe the Lord desired, only then to still have mixed emotions about it. I thank God for you all. God sees and does not forget or leave unnoticed what you have left for Him. Much grace, peace, and love to you all...
jenni w and family

Ruth Chowdhury said...

That is so exciting that you preached your first sermon in Spanish! I am proud of you guys! God bless you & we are praying!

Deb said...

Hi Bill and Lena!

I'll keep you in my prayers. I totally understand the culture shock aspect having lived through and watched 3 of my kids not only live through it, but also grieve leaving behind people they loved.

The end product, though, is always so lovely.

Dave said...


Congrats on preaching your very first sermon in Spanish! I remember receiving my Spanish Fire Bible at the commissioning service. I wondered, "Will I ever be able to understand this?" Preaching from it in Costa Rica was a moment of fulfillment that I'll never forget.

BTW, It was great to see Rosita teaching again. How's her husband?