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Modern Missionary Mamas

Because your Redeemer lives.

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fear

Nervous flier?

If these pictures have your heart racing and your palms sweaty, maybe you need to read the following article…

Seven tips for the nervous flier

Airline travel is part of the deal for most of us! Is it harder or easier with your kids? Do you share your fears with them or try to hide it?

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Men Whistling at Women

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Susan Evans: Men Whistling at Women

This article is a peek into an unfortunate aspect of life as a female TCK: unwanted male attention. Although one commenter was quick to say that that’s common in the U.S. as well, it’s not the same in my experience. When men gawk or whistle at me in the U.S., I am rarely afraid, because they rarely intend to do anything. Not so in Haiti; or at least, that’s how it feels. That’s not to diminish the experience of those in the U.S. or say that it’s not still wrong. But it had a new dimension of fear for me overseas, because I felt that men were more likely to get away with hurting me than in the U.S.

How do you deal with unwanted male attention, mamas?

Noise: A re-entry story

Hi ladies! I want to introduce you to Liz, who’s bravely decided to share her re-entry story with you as a series. Repatriating or re-entry can be a tough thing; it seems like lots of conflicting feelings are common. So it’s great to have some insight into her experience! Thanks, friend. Enjoy!

It’s mid-morning and I’m sitting in my living room, listening to the comforting drone of my neighbor-farmer’s four-wheeler; he is doing his daily movement of irrigation equipment to water the alfalfa field. I’m happy, with my coffee and my laptop and the chirp of robins out of my large living room window.

But there’s the ghost of fear, tension, and my chest feels a little tight. I gently probe the emotion. It’s raw, it’s hard, and I feel the first tell-tale signs that tears may threaten.

What IS this? What is going on?

It’s been 7 months since I returned from my African-culture overseas post and I’m just now feeling like I can allow myself to feel and explore this tension. Until now it’s been too fresh, too frightening. What if I dig into it and it’s too much for me? What if I start crying and I can’t stop – the homeschool day needs to start in a few minutes. What if it sparks a new wave of depression, and I learn that depression is something I will carry with me longer than my years on the mission field?

But with the comforting lilt of the birds and the fresh spring morning air wafting through the window to strengthen and comfort my soul, I allow the feelings to come. Welcome, troubling thoughts. You may come out into the open, fears and insecurities. I’m creating space for you now.

Flashback to sitting in my concrete block house. Also morning, also coffee. Also noises coming through the windows. But here the light is brighter, harsher, the sounds louder. Motorcycles, yelling. The crackling of fire, roosters crowing. My guard shifting his weight, the plastic chair grating against the concrete. He shifts his shotgun and it’s like an electric shock to the brain: adrenaline hits; danger is out there, possibly near, possibly imminent. Remember the bodies in the street last fall? Thieves are shot dead here. Remember the intruder on your property the first year here?

The Lord is my strength and my shield and I lean into him. My Bible is precious as it sits in my lap, its weight and threadbare cover are comforting to me. I thumb its well-worn pages and cling to the words of my days’ reading. Pink highlights the encouraging, comforting verses. They nourish me and sustain me.

But the fears still lurk, some days. What is that yelling? I can understand the local language when it’s spoken to me clearly at a normal pace, but when slang is tossed around amidst a cacophony of other sound, from the street, at full voice, it’s a discordant, clanging symphony. It’s a club of which I am not a part.

Motorcycles kick up dust and the burning trash sends smoke waves through my house; I tell the kids to go upstairs to play since it’s isn’t so bad up there in the center of the house if you close the guest room door.

I love my ministry, I don’t regret living here. Our family has made a choice and I stick by it; I would choose it again. But when they said missions could be hard, I didn’t understand it would make me feel like this. I’m under assault all day from the dust, the smoke, the repetitive adrenaline activations. It’s a chronic stress and I wonder sometimes how long it will take before my regularly high cortisol levels will start taking a physical toll on my body. I’m already on anti-depressants, thanks to an episode of trauma-induced depression and PTSD during my second year.

I don’t know what the voices are saying and I know sometimes people in the street might wish me harm if they could. Just remember what happened to the neighbors across the lane; they were watched by people sitting in the street and when the right moment arose, those same people brought guns and fists and made their desires known through force, violence. My kids are upstairs and Mama Bear is constantly on the alert. It’s better now that the guard is here, but his presence (or rather their presence, as multiple men rotate through my front yard in the course of a week) just veils the threat.

Jumping back out to the present, as the tears threaten harder now, and school really does have to start soon.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be brave enough to try again.

How do I…prepare for a hurricane? (Part 1: Food) 

Preparingfor

Happy almost June, ladies! Around these parts, that means the start of hurricane season. And as we all know, the second best time to prepare for a hurricane is when there isn’t one coming. You don’t want to be fighting with your neighbor over the last can of spam, for so many reasons.

I used to seriously panic over storms and hurricanes…and maybe I still do, a little bit. But when I know I’m not going to run out of toilet paper, that settles my heart a bit. Mama’s got needs, right? 

So if you need help getting an emergency box started, here’s what was in mine when I went through it this week:

  • Toilet paper (I wasn’t joking)
  • Shelf-stable yogurt
  • A radio
  • Peanut butter
  • Salt
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Gatorade
  • Can opener
  • Sugar
  • Tuna
  • Mayo
  • Matches
  • Chicken boullion cubes
  • Floor cleaner
  • Face masks
  • Wet wipes
  • Dish soap
  • Chickpeas
  • Spaghetti
  • Dust masks
  • Deet
  • Emergency poncho
  • Laundry detergent
  • Honey
  • Peanuts
  • Coconut flour
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cheese wedges
  • Salsa
  • Applesauce
  • Oatmeal
  • Gallon size ziploc bags
  • Yeast

So you may have noticed a few odd things in here: the dust masks are because post-earthquake, the air was filled with concrete dust. The honey and coconut flour are for gluten-free cooking, because that’s how we eat. Governments and organizations often recommend things like spam…but if we don’t eat that normally, I find it hard to believe that my kids are suddenly going to be okay with that, even in an emergency.

Here’s some things I thought my box was lacking:

  • Dry milk
  • Dried mango
  • Dried zucchini
  • Cornmeal
  • Oil of some kind
  • Lemon juice
  • Popcorn
  • Red lentils
  • A bar of soap
  • Vitamins
  • Rice
  • Pinto beans
  • Canned soup
  • Basic spices
  • Plantain chips
  • Hard candy
  • Phone charger
  • Flashlight
  • Trash bags
  • First aid kit
  • Bleach

I endeavor to make this a resource I could take with me in the event of a land evacuation or pass to a Haitian friend in need. After the earthquake, the pilots ended up living communally and at the airport; things like a can opener would be pretty helpful in that case, I’d imagine. That being said, I try to keep lots of dry beans and such on hand anyway.

Here’s a printable list for grocery shopping or whatnot: Emergency Box Supplies. Remember, this is my list; if your family won’t eat this stuff, having a box of food my family likes is pointless, right? So tailor it to yours. I also put a place to note the expiration date, so you can check and see what should be replaced or eaten before it goes bad.

These resources might be useful to you as well:

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/26/atlantic-hurricane-season-starts-june-1-how-to-prepare.html (Although all the parts about insurance coverage probably aren’t going to apply to you…)

https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Helpful, I hope? Love you, mamas. You’ve got this!

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