Last week someone mentioned that “my little vacation” is almost over.
There are different names for periods of time that a missionary is in his or her own country – “furlough,” “home assignment,” “deputation,” or “partnership development,” but “vacation” is not an accurate term.
Please do not interpret the above statement as a complaint. I LOVE the activities I have been involved in since returning to the States, especially time with family, church, and friends. Also volunteering, babysitting, traveling to visit people, and sharing about missions with churches and other groups.
(The only not-as-fun activities have been the paperwork and business aspects, researching taxes and voting and visas and such. And working a couple days a week at a minimum-wage job that is not meaningful and that I do not love).
Overall, the wonderful activities have far outweighed the annoying ones, for which I am thankful.
HOWEVER, this season has been busy. And it has contained very few restful stretches – no more than the average person’s life. Only a couple quiet Saturdays in four months, one weekend family getaway to a cottage on the lake, sleeping in until 7 or 8 a handful of times, but never two days in the same week.
As usual, I frequently pushed myself to the limits of fitting as many people and relationships and activities into a day as possible. God has opened up so many doors of blessing and being blessed, and always provided just enough strength and joy and health and coffee to get through. Yet in the ensuing tiredness, sometimes exhaustion, I have occasionally thought longingly, “Oh! It will be good get back to Brasil, where schedules are emptier, where clocks can sometimes be ignored, where less activities are expected, where people typically make more time just to be together.”
And then I remember that after Field Conference and Orientation I will move to a village of 39 people. There will be no store, post office, road, or telephone. Although I have not yet been there, it is easy to imagine a slower pace, where no one knows or cares what time the clock says, where villagers sit and talk and sing for hours, or go out to fish or harvest or do other daily chores without rushing off to a pressing engagement afterwards.
Life there will probably get busy and crazy and overwhelming in its own way, but I must admit looking forward to the variety. While the hustle-and-bustle of Partnership Development will be fondly missed, for it has been a wonderful and encouraging time, village life might even seem like “a little vacation” in comparison.