We’ve been told multiple times that it’s important for missionaries to take breaks. Our training mentions it, it comes up in conversation and many books we read on health and well being whilst working overseas all mention the importance of taking breaks.
Problem is we’ve had a hard time taking them, and it’s not because we’re so busy that we can’t dare to step away – but it’s more from guilt.
Missionary work is constant change and adaptation. We move house a lot, we move between countries and our daily work varies in both what we’re doing and how busy it is. There are times where there’s not all that much to do. As has just happened for example – the helicopter can’t fly us for the dates we’ve booked and so all our plans fall through and can’t continue to August.
When that sort of thing happens we try to keep busy – but the workload is pretty light really. That’s why we’ve not taken a holiday for a long time – we’ve had a lot of limbo, a lot of plans being changed and that’s resulted in lots of waiting.
And then we feel guilty for taking a holiday when we’ve been mostly waiting for the helicopter to be fixed.
We were long overdue a holiday; to the point where the last few days of interface we were really flagging. We’ve discovered that a holiday is a whole different thing. When we’re in a not too busy period we are constantly looking for ways to get involved and be useful. Even if we don’t end up being too busy we’re always looking for work to do.
This past 2 weeks of allowing ourselves to rest – to not look for work or productive things to do at all has been wonderful. No emails for 2 weeks (thanks in part to my antivirus updating and interfering with my email program :)) and lots of time to explore with Oscar.
A holiday with a toddler turns out to feel a lot like a normal day – the routine needs to stay in place, but we had lots of opportunity to introduce Oscar to the beach, to the pool, to the tropical animals and flowers that resorts cultivate. It’s been great.
We started at Jais Aben which is in a really, really nice location. The beach is amazing, and there’s even a WW2 fighter plane sunken 10 meters underwater a stone’s throw from the beach cafe – amazing!
We moved on to Madang resort and enjoyed being treated like VIPs complete with a porter to carry all our bags to our room.
Madang resort had all kinds of tropical fish in aquariums for Oscar to look at, a tree kangaroo and even a loose cassowary about as tall as him.
I’ve been in PNG too long I guess – I see a cassowary and all I think is danger! They do kill people here! This one though was friendly as can be and spent a few days following Oscar around as he walked all over the resort. We couldn’t believe it! Oscar got a walking buddy 🙂
The pool was sometimes a success with Oscar, but his favorite activity was flopping around on all the cushions and pillows on the bed in our room.
Back to work on Monday, but we’re ready for it. Up next is 3 weeks of waiting before we can fly into Kovol for our 2 week milling trip. We’re back to looking for work to do; likely a bit of helping on center, a bit of coordinating the logistics of getting building supplies and builders where they need to go and a bit of thinking ‘how else can we use this time to prepare ourselves better for the upcoming house build and move into the tribe?’ Oh and probably a lot of calling the hardware store because a month now after ordering they still haven’t delivered what we asked for!