Experiences in Small Town Ministry
 » post date: 10/1/2015 » back to News Listing
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One thing we’ve learned after two years on the mission field is that life is either busy or boring. There is rarely any middle ground. The paradox is that when we are busy we wish for things to slow down, but when it’s slow we want things to pick up. It’s not a case of being wishy-washy, non-complacent, or high-maintenance. It really is a case of extremes. Extreme busyness, to the point of exhaustion and extreme boredom, to the point of pulling our hair out. We are constantly trying to even things out and find a healthy balance.

We love the town that we live in and if you’ve been here before you know it’s small, safe, and quiet. Too quiet. Not quiet as in noise - there is plenty of that. Barking dogs, cat fights outside our windows at night, muffler-less cars and trucks, loud music, and fireworks cause plenty of noise. No, more than plenty. When you have to leave your windows open all the time, in order not to bake in your house, you hear everything. And, being a small town doesn’t necessarily equate to a “sleepy” town. For whatever reasons, there are parties that go all night, cars that blare all night, and fireworks that explode all night. They love their fireworks here!

No, it’s the quiet of a small town where there is absolutely nothing to do, that causes the boredom. You can only eat at the same four restaurants so many times. You can only watch so many movies in a week. You can only sit and look at each other for so many hours on end. With no theaters, parks, malls, libraries, sporting events, or even craft fairs to attend (yes I said craft fairs), it gets really, really boring. We’ve hiked all we can, swam all we can, watched TV in Spanish all we can, and played games all we can.

On the other end of the spectrum is the busyness. At times we barely have time to rest as we move from one meeting to the next, while hosting consecutive weeks of teams, while counseling with families, while attending every single minor celebration, while training our staff, raising our girls, and homeschooling. Sometimes we are in two meetings at once, with a line of people outside our doors. While one of us is at a conference, the other is managing the office. While one is homeschooling the other is walking in a parade. While one is at a school presentation, the other is presenting our needs.

Our kids either have too much of us, or not enough. It’s comical at times, somber at others. Finding the right balance is an ongoing challenge, but we couldn’t be any happier. The life we chose, the life we were called to, is not one of comfort. Nor would we want it to be. The challenges we face make us stronger and the trials remind us of why we’re here. Yes, we still have some scheduling issues to work out, and yes we need to be content with our circumstances. But is it too much to ask for some unlimited internet, a bowling alley, or a monster truck rally? Monster truck rally? Wow, I must be really bored.

May God richly bless you.

Bryon, Tiffany, Jaqueline, Sierra, and Aramie

P.S. - Please consider joining our support team by praying, giving, and/or sharing what God's doing in Guatemala. 

KID UPDATE

After several weeks of weeping and stressing about being accepted into the University of Missouri or not, Sierra received word that she not only was accepted, but is in the Honors College and being offered the Chancellor’s award. This is the highest scholarship available, but she is still awaiting answers from other schools. Wherever she decides to attend, she will do an amazing job.

The highlights of Aramie’s week at language school was capturing two different pigeons with her bare hands at the local park (completely freaking her mom out in the process). The first time occurred while “taking a break” with her teacher. Just to prove she could, she did it again after school while we were with her. She never ceases to amaze the Guatemalans, or us for that matter.

Jaqui is approaching graduation and spending the month doing her practicum work for school. Because the location is 30 minutes away, she is staying with friends to be closer. She’s loving the freedom of “living on her own”, especially when mom and dad are footing the bill. Though we miss having her close, her practicum is going well, the independence, we pray, is too.


 

Our next goal is to raise an additional $5,000 to cover the expense of Guatemalan residency. This is a step our board and the Guatemalan government require from us as legal representatives for the ministry. Click here to donate.

Thank you to those that have supported our work in Guatemala! This ministry couldn't exist without your help.

PRAYER REQUESTS

1. Wisdom and favor in  tough decisions

2. More staff and missionaries

3. Internet availability

4. Finances and paperwork for residency process

PRAISE REPORTS

1. Sierra has received her first college acceptance letter

2. Aramie is excelling in her studies this year

3. Tiffany was able to facilitate a strategic planning meeting with staff - all in Spanish

4. Our marriage and family is closer than ever

WHAT'S HAPPENING

It turns out we attended language school the same week as a semi-famous reality TV personality. One of the Duggar boys was there too, but never having watched the show we had no idea. We were informed after a friend saw our group photo together.

This sweet girl is Lila. She has the biggest heart of any child we've ever met. She loves everyone big and makes our job so rewarding.

Tiffany spends a lot of time talking with and ministering our children. She has also spent time counseling the girls as they transition to independence.

Marina was one of the first 3 girls we sponsored at Shadow of His Wings in 2006. Now she is in nursing school and serving at the Project. We are incredibly proud of this young woman.