1…3..campouts, heat and love

Flower-girl and the blur of the boys getting ready for their night outside
Flower-girl and the blur of the boys getting ready for their night outside

We’ve been in South Sudan one month. We’ve been on the African continent only three. Right now all four kids are sleeping outside (because it is soo hot inside) in tents with dad and I am inside not liking the little gnats that are flying into my ears through the mosquito net and the sweat dripping down my neck.

There are many things I love about being here, community, the challenge of a new language, the way my kids love being outside, new friends, learning to cook new foods, the beauty of parts of the world I’ve never seen before, donkeys as background noise and sunsets over the water.

But I’ve been plagued with a gnawing sense of guilt that I don’t love being here all the time. See there are things I miss too, friends that I can easily share life with without a language barrier, knowing what to do in social situations (well sometimes), feeling cold, showers where I could choose the temperature, running water, family, paved roads, quick meal options…I sometimes find myself wondering what is wrong with me

…here I am in the country we have longed to be in, learning Arabic. Here we are in the place God has clearly told our family to live and sometimes I find myself hot and tired instead of filled with joy.

This struggle mirrors one I have in parenting. I love my kids. But I don’t love being a mom to four under six all the time. Some times I am tired, the questions seem old and the messes seem endless. I feel guilty, I love my kids, this time goes so fast why am I not enjoying every minute?

Sweet boy awaking from nap time.
Sweet boy awaking from nap time.

I find myself facing here in Melut the same questions that I faced halfway around the world in a bedroom that was cold on a mattress that sagged a bit in the middle where a net didn’t dance around the computer

Will I embrace today and all that it has, will I seek the face of God today or will I focus on regrets or frustrations. Will I love Africa not because of what it gives me (which is much) or hate it for it’s frustrations or will I simply embrace the moment that I’ve been given because in this moment I can know God more. Will I seek the face of God here?

The kids are loving tonight. It is hot, it is muggy but they are sleeping under the stars. Before bed PJ told me, “mom I wish it was cooler outside but aren’t the stars pretty?”. Yup the stars are sweet one and we are enjoying them because it is so hot. I love the stars, but not the heat, I love the view but not the bugs,I love communicating small things in Arabic but not the work it takes to do so, I love where God has brought our family but not each moment. I love what I have been given because in this place I am being refined to know God more, to seek him with greater passion and to know more of who He is. It is ok that each moment is not joyful as long as each moment brings me closer to the greatest joy there is, knowing God more deeply and being refined in Him.

It is gazing at the stars and seeing them more clearly because of the heat.

Hot night sleeping under stars
Hot night sleeping under stars

 

 

 

We seek to empower our children, our teammates and our Sudanese friends to love and know more of who God is through acts of loving service and biblical teaching.

5 thoughts on “1…3..campouts, heat and love

  • 15 March, 2013 at 10:01 pm
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    Beautiful, honest, authentic, and all so true. Many truths transcend distance and culture, and are true here as they are there. Constantly praying for you, Jon, and your sweet children. Love that PJ could see the good, even in the midst of discomfort!

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  • 16 March, 2013 at 7:50 pm
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    This truth really does transcend cultures and continents: thank you for the reminder. I am about to return from my own coffee date (no cobras were invited to mine!) and as think of the mess and the laundry and the many loud questions that await me, I’m going to do my best to seek God even in those frustrating things. And thank him for the time to recharge first! Love you, Amie! May God continue to bless you abundantly and show himself to you ever more clearly!

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  • 18 March, 2013 at 1:12 pm
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    Today, my Cross family bookmark parked at Psalm 136. Praying for you. Kudos for treading on the serpent. In the harvest where laborers are few, hugs to the few. Grace to yourselves. Our Father will NOT say “perfectly done”…but, “well done, good and faithful servants.”

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  • 20 March, 2013 at 1:49 am
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    As I read your newsletter tears coome to my eyes. My heart is full of love and thankfulness for your faithfulness and obedience to God. Your family has stepped into the refiners fire and from this you will be blessed with knowing our Lord in a most intimate way. His glory will be revealed to you. I am humbled to know that you are a woman after God’s heart. Your thoughts are so transparent and true. I pray for continued good health, peace and God’s supernatural covering as you walk with Him in this mission. Bless you all!

    Reply
  • 8 April, 2013 at 3:44 am
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    “This too shall pass.” was a mantra of my mother’s. Perhaps for all she had been through. In my life the first six months of any change have always been the hardest.. A new country, ministry, separation etc. Thanks for being honest, although I can’t feel the heat and bugs, I’ve done a few. I’m copying the story of the bees to my b. study ladies. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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