People quite frequently ask Blake and me what’s the hardest thing about our jobs/life-calling as missionaries. There are lots of hard things, but I’ve decided to narrow today’s post down to my top three: (1) being far from loved ones (especially in a crisis), (2) dealing with unsatisfactory cake icing and (3) fundraising.
When I was a missionary intern in Ecuador, my grandfather had a heart attack. That same year a friend of mine living in Thailand lost her aunt in a car accident. Neither of us was able to leave our work behind to be with our families. Her situation was decidedly more difficult than mine, but I think these situations were the first time either of us had a situation that made it so hard to be so far away from the ones we love.
Fast forward six years and it’s still super difficult to be away from family when times get tough. When we found out Silas had died, I just wanted to call my family and have them come be with me. In that instant I just wanted to be a “normal” person with a “normal” support system. Instead, I had to rely on Skype to communicate with my sister while I was in labor or my mother when I was in post-op. I will never be able to full express how grateful I am that Skype exists. Skype let me see the love and concern in my family’s eyes when I would have otherwise been unable to. I can’t help but wonder how generations of missionaries before me have dealt with such tragic circumstances without the instant connection of technology. Anyways, being away from family is definitely at the top of my list—unless they’re fighting about something. Then, I’m grateful I live so far away. : )
You may be wondering about number two on my list. If you’ve ever seen me ice a cake, then you should understand. I’m the kind of gal that makes extra icing just so I can eat it. Plain. When my mother-in-law offered to make me a cake with my favorite kind of store-bought icing (unlike my mother, I don’t discriminate between the two), I happily accepted—provided she use two cans instead of one. My affinity for icing is so well-known that one of my birthday gifts this year was a whole can to enjoy. I opened it last week. It’s nearly gone. I am not ashamed. I’m just bummed that I’ll have to wait until my sister-in-law comes in May to bring me more (that is part of your luggage packing plan, right Karla?).
My love for good icing is hampered by the fact that it does not exist here in Chile. I am assuming that stems from the fact that good powdered sugar does not exist here in Chile. After buying my first sand-like bag of gritty Chilean powdered sugar, I began to question my calling (okay, not really). I’ve adapted. Sort of. I’ve learned to make icing on the stove top using granulated sugar or to wait until that next care package arrives with my beloved gringo powdered sugar. I’ve also learned that Chileans will gobble down a naked cake just as fast as I would one covered in icing.
Number three probably isn’t as surprising to you as number two was. Fundraising is the most difficult part of my job description. I don’t know of many people outside of missions that have to work a full-time job and raise money to pay themselves for that full-time job. It’s not that I dislike fundraising—we have made connections with many wonderful people and churches through fundraising—it’s just that it’s a challenge. I’ve recently re-picked up writing thank-you postcards to existing supporters, but I’m having trouble contacting potential ones. I guess I’m paranoid that people will want to talk about Silas. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk about my son but once that conversation starts, how do I switch to “Oh hey, by the way, would you please prayerfully consider becoming monthly financial partners with our ministry?”
I wrote this blog a couple of days ago and called my first contact yesterday. We talked about Silas, and then I was able to move into my reason for calling. It went a lot better than I had anticipated and I think it may be promising. Then again, the person I called was my own mother…
Hey, a girl has to start somewhere. : )