The last month has been a little frustrating. For the last 4 weeks we’ve had at least one sick day a week where we’re taking half a day or more off to rest and recuperate. We feel frustrated both because it means time out of language learning, and also that despite taking the time off when we need it we don’t seem to be resting very well.

We seem to be continually a little run down and getting sick! This week where we’re without team mates we’re now on our third sick day. First Gerdine was down for the day, the next day I pushed to get a morning of language done followed by an afternoon of sleeping and today Gerdine is down again. We seem to alternate, one of us needing to rest and with two 1 year olds and a 4 year old with no play mates or baby sitters around one of us being sick means tiring child-care for the other.

Reading a bit of Rahl Doahl in our reading tent

We’ve been pondering on it and we don’t think we can improve things much. We’re getting 9.5 – 10 hours of sleep per night (minus the occasional baby waking), taking naps when needed, we’ve dropped the language learning hours we’re aiming for each week down a bit and our diet is ok. Maybe this is just the norm for bush missions plus small kids?
We’ve decided that we’re not allowed to say “I am so tired” to each other anymore. It’s the standard answer to the question “how are you” either of us gives πŸ˜€ Let’s just assume we’re from now on tired, haha!

The balancing act between language learning time, time for ourselves, childcare, chores, time with our team and time hanging out with Kovol people without an agenda (which gives them time to raise any issues they want to talk about) is a hard one to get right.

Just before the Hansens left we had to find more time for our team. We have a weekly team meeting, but that’s at 8pm on Wednesday nights when everyone is tired (also when we’re not distracted with child care), but the weekly meeting is taken up with business. When should a helicopter come? So and so is sick what should we do? How much will we sell worm medicine for? etc etc.
We had no time (and energy) to deal with the tensions that had grown in our team from different opinions, feeling unheard and the normal everyday misunderstandings and frictions that develop between people who are different.
I feel I need to add that our team is in no danger of breaking up if any readers are worried!
We made time to get together to talk things through, which was hopefully a time of healing and restoration, but making time for that takes time from other things.

tomond (grandma) making sure Alice doesn’t eat any mud

We were sad to see the Hansens go, but on the other hand glad that the emotionally and mentally draining meetings were over – we noticed that our kids were missing us!

My hope for this week was a good solid week of language learning time, but with 3 sick days it’s been the worst week so far time wise.
It’s caused me to step back and have a think. At what point does it become better to leave the bush and take an unscheduled break to get back up to strength? When are we so run down we’re no longer functioning?
It made me realise that it’ not as bad as I feel it is. We’ve had a rough 4 weeks with lots of sickness but I’m still at 70% of my goal for work time for the month. It puts a more encouraging spin on things πŸ™‚

So I’ll finish this blog and then get back to building lego with Oscar so Gerdine can take another nap πŸ™‚

We don’t want to fall into the other ditch though and not push when we should. It takes a bit of willpower to grab the notebook at the start of a day and plan out another day of language study, and then get out the door and do it. Progress is slow and there’s no noticeable difference day to day or week to week, I only notice progress when I look back on the stuff I was working on a month or two ago!

T was for “treasure map” in school today

I’m really looking forward to teaching literacy and God’s word. I can’t wait! I need to learn the Kovol language before then though and I know that’s only going to happen when I keep putting the hours and days in. Progress might be too slow to measure, but it’s happening a day at a time; and so I find it dissapointing to have a week where 3/5 of the language learnng days (assuming we can pick things up again tomorrow) didn’t happen.

Unrealistic expectations of myself? Maybe. Focus on my own resources and work rather than God’s work through me? Yep. A lopsided value system that values work over relationships? Probably.
Man, why am I the ambassador for Christ here? Oh right yeah, messed up sinners who have been forgiven are the ones God has chosen to reach out to other messed up sinners.


Lois S. · 23/06/2022 at 11:18 pm

I will pray that you can find Joy in the midst of your hard bush missions plus raising young children life, that you and your teammates can find joy in and attachment to each other, and build a strong identity in Christ that you can call each other back to when needed. And I will also pray that you can learn the path to Joy so well, and the presence of Immanuel so deeply that you can impart His life to the Kovol people.

Bobbi Scholl · 24/06/2022 at 6:46 am

I always enjoy your updates! Hang in there. Life with littles can be exhausting especially in the bush I imagine. Praying for you all in Kovol! The Scholl Crew

Gill Watson · 25/06/2022 at 1:59 am

Praying for you all.

Carol · 25/06/2022 at 7:06 am

Praying for you all. Sounds like my normal: a clash between my (carefully-worked-out-before-God) plans and the reality which God puts in my lap. One which I can’t see a way to God’s good in. I have to keep reminding myself that He is wiser than me. But also that he understands my frustrations, He made me and knows my frame, He knows I’m struggling with this reality…and there is no condemnation

Carol · 25/06/2022 at 7:07 am

And your T for treasure map and the reading den are fab.

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