Thursday, July 28, 2011

On Foreign Soil

Well, here we are again. Going down memory lane remembering all God has done in the past 10 years. It's interesting because so often in Bible, mostly the OT David and others are reminiscing about what God had done. Even in the NT Paul recollects his encounter with Jesus-always retelling the story. It is a good practice. In the OT, we read much of the good and the bad when it comes to the children of Israel. Right now in the OYB we are reading through Chronicles and that is what the book is about-chronological order of events, kings, leaders, battles, etc. Oh and on a side note, I was once again amazed at how people have such a difficult time believing that women can be evil. Athelia (don't think I spelled her name correctly) was so wicked, so evil, just like her mother! I suppose that subject can be a whole different blog post one day lol!!

If you have read the past couple blog posts, you know I am writing about our call and move to Hungary and then later on to Italy. It's good for me to actually be recalling all of these things and have them down in writing for when I am old and can't remember anything anymore !!! Who knows, I may not even know what country or language I am speaking!

We are at moving day! Moving away from beautiful, sunny CA and a group of friends and my parents are there to say good-bye. Funny side-story. My friend Sandy was going back east to a family reunion so she came over earlier in the week to say good-bye. For some reason we started talking about how rough the toilet paper was in Hungary-see I told you I thought about weird things! Well, we decided to go to Vons around 10pm and get a couple big ole packs of comfy toilet paper and packed it in the big moving truck. I will say that it was quite a nice site when the truck finally arrived in Sept!!!

We arrived at the airport and the airlines had now decided to do something differently with seating. Just a couple months before if you booked your ticket with another person you automatically sat next to each other. Well, imagine our dismay and shock when we checked in and all three of us were sitting separately. It was awful!!! We got on the plane, I am stuck in the middle seat with 'guys' on either side, Marla is a few rows ahead of me and Jim a few rows back. Up until this point, I was still in excitement, is it really happening, mode. It was once the plane took off that the tears began to fall. What made it worse was I had to try to contain them because I was next to strangers. All I could think of at that moment was "what in the world are we doing?" The stewardess asked several people if they would change seats so we can all sit together and noone agreed-finally one person did so atleast Marla and I could sit next to each other. We arrived after umpteen hours in France with a 4 hour layover. I say that because it was the longest layover in life. Finally, we arrive in Budapest and a friend Steve came to pick us up. After all that, we had to go to the church service that night-I remember sitting in the back, Lloyd Pulley was guest speaker and nodding off -not because of Lloyd lol! Oh the exhaustion.
The next day we arrive in Baja-late in the evening and our new landlady was not pleased with us. She expected we would be there earlier and showed her disapproval!! Welcome to Hungary!!

It seemed that once we actually arrived in Hungary, all the emotions that I had pushed aside in my mind and heart were now starting to come out. The fears, the feelings of inadaquecy, already missing those we left in the states-all these things started to make their way to the surface. Our truck wouldn't arrive until Sept so that meant wearing whatever it was we packed into our suitcases when we left. No pots, pans, utensils, no coffeepot!!! No iron or ironing board-not that it should matter, but now that Jim was pastoring the church I had to be sure he had a nice, crisply ironed shirt to wear each week.

I was determined at this point, after hearing so many people put down Americans and how we acted, how inconsistent we are, how selfish, lazy, blah blah blah we are, that I would be the best example of an American missionary Hungary or any other country for that matter would ever know of. My family would become Hungarian. Never would I forget my country, my fellow countrymen, but by golly, this girl was out to become Hungarian. Never mind that Hungarian is the 2nd or 3rd most difficult language to learn, nevermind that I had just turned 40 that past November-I would prove them all wrong!! My daughter, my husband and me-we would be Hungarian. I wanted so much that they would approve of us, like us, want to be friends with us. I wanted them to know that we were going to give everything we had to them and then some. Morning, noon, night-weekdays, weekends, we would be there for them. We would eat what they ate, go where they went, attempt to speak as they speak. Whatever they wanted us to be I wanted us to be that too.

I can tell you as a Mom, I blew it big time! As I look back on it now, I can weep thinking about how many mistakes I made. How my daughter turned out sane is only by the grace of God! I not only put the pressure upon myself to be Hungarian, to be pleasing to the people there no matter what cost, but I put the pressure upon her. I think of all the eye looks I gave know them if you are a Mom-out of the corner, lips pursing, trying to convey everything you want to say to them without actually speaking. My daughter was not going to be one of these spoiled American kids that some in the church would often speak about-nope, Marla was going to be "Miss All Around American Missionary to Hungary child:" Imagine a sash with that title on it!! What a burdensome title to have to wear! If someone wanted her to come to their home, I would tell her she had to go. When cleaning or other things needed done in the church, I would make sure she was doing it. If I saw her sitting, I would want her to stand, if I saw her looking sad, I would tell her to smile. All the pressure I put not only upon myself, but sadly upon her too so that we could become what I thought we needed to become in order to get the approval of the people there.

There is a balance when we have children on the mission field. It is easy to write about it and give advice after you have gone through it and made all the mistakes. Our children are called when we are called. God has a plan for them also-but it is His plan. In wanting to do well, we can sometimes put unnecessary pressure and guilt upon our children. This isn't just on the mission field. I think anyone in ministry has to deal with such things. We have all heard of the stories of pastors' kids and missionary kids-put them both together and wow-you can sometimes feel double the pressure. If someone else's child acts one way-they are going through a stage, if our child acts the same way, they are just a 'spoiled pk or mk'. In all fairness, I do believe there are children in these categories that are spoiled and misbehaved, but not all are and that is true of ministry or not in ministry. Noone knows what the families go through when noone is looking. Ministry isn't a 9-5 job, or at least it shouldn't be. Here we were in a small church and our phone rang at all hours, people wanted to speak to us before 9 and after 5. You can be in the middle of something and then something urgent comes up and you have to attend to that need. I cannot imagine how it must be for those in bigger congregations. Well, I got a bit off track here, but you get the point.

As I look back, I think in the first few months, even year or so, I wanted so much to be whoever the congregation wanted me to be, I wanted that for Jim and Marla too and in the process, it was easy to put the church's thoughts above the Lord's. I was serving Him, I prayed, I read my bible, I did all the right things. However; in trying to please others, I learned I could never really please them. If you pleased one, you ticked off another. Back and forth until before long everyone would be upset with you for one reason or another.
I am not trying to paint a horrid picture where nothing went right! Of course there were laughs and fun things going on-but today as I typed, these are the things that came . Perhaps it will help someone to know my weaknesses and the things I did wrong so that you don't have to do it that way. You cannot please man-you never will! We must hear from the Lord moment by moment. It is His voice that matters, His voice that we need to allow to guide and direct our every move. He is the One who sticks closer to a brother and will never ever leave us nor forsake us. Sadly, the ones we so desperately try to please are usually the ones who end up leaving us and forsaking us!

As women, we tend to be people pleasers. We desire to make everything right and we think that there is just one ingredient missing and if we get that ingredient then everything will be perfect. The problem is that that one ingredient is Jesus-the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts and yet He is often the One we can put to the side without realizing it. We as women are good at making things happen. We are go-getters, problem solvers, and achievers. We want to see things work as they should-or at least as we think they should. It's not usually that simple. Sadly, we can find ourselves putting out so much effort and then not getting the results we expected. We find ourselves disillusioned, saddened, heart-broken and even despairing at times. It is then we fall on our knees and on our face before the Lord and we find ourselves asking Him what we did wrong. Often times for me, His answers was the same-'you spent so much time trying to be good, so much time trying to please everyone else, that you forgot to ask Me what I wanted you to be'. Don't put undue pressure upon yourself or your family!! There are many days I wish I had those times back to do them all over again. Thankfully, God is merciful, full of grace and never giving up on us. His grace covers our mistakes and I am forever thankful for that!

So.....who knows what will be next. I had planned a whole different post for today so maybe that will be next :) I will try to put up a few pictures from the past 10 years throught the posts. I started to make a scrapbook and eventually will finish....yes I will!!!! :)
To God be the glory!

1 comment:

Denise said...

I love you so much! Thank you for sharing all of the life lessons on your journey of faith.... and the great memories! So thankful to know that the trials we go through are their to produce good FRUIT in us .....and we all know it's definitely only by abiding in Him and the power of His amazing spirit working in and through us. You are a fruitful vine. <3