As we travel around visiting friends and raising support we talk a lot about why we need your support to get to the field (in our case Alaska) sooner rather than later. We mention the growing engineering ‘to do’ list that awaits Scott’s arrival there and his limited ability to fix things over the phone/internet despite the amazing technology we have today that can allow remote access to equipment. However, there’s another side to our need to get to Alaska. Our family needs a place to call our own.
School: I mentioned briefly last week about my struggles in planning for school this next year when a lot of the curriculum that we would normally be using this next year are packed in boxes and waiting for us in Alaska. (The teacher’s books for Kara’s and Ben’s next levels in math, the history book for Matthew, etc.) The uncertainty of where we will be next month, much less 2 or 3 months from now adds to the struggle of planning. When we set off on this support raising adventure last year I did my best to make our homeschool portable, but this has meant not doing a lot of the ‘fun’ stuff like history projects and science experiments because we just can’t haul all those supplies around with us. Never mind the awkwardness of trying to do a science experiment in someone else’s kitchen or not having a place to display that history project.
Babies: I have a 2-year old little boy who is constantly getting into everything. Pretty typical, but how many of you have dealt with that in other people’s non-childproofed homes? I don’t mean for a few hours or even a weekend, but for months on end. His favorite activity right now is getting into bathroom cabinets and playing in the toilet. Normal interests for a 2-year old. You’ve probably dealt with this in the past or are currently depending on the ages of your children. I’m sure you employed such methods as child locks on cabinets and baby gates to guard certain areas of the house. That doesn’t work when you are living temporarily with someone else. I can’t install child locks on other people’s cabinets and we don’t have the room to add baby gates to our luggage. He ends up spending far more time in the playpen (which is getting smaller as he gets bigger) then I would like for him. Plus just as he gets used to a new place with its unique set of things he can or can’t touch we move on and the battlefield changes. He is also leaving behind the world of baby toys and looking for things that do more than just rattle and squeak. We have plenty of Duplo’s, sorters, and other toddler toys, but of course they’re all packed in boxes waiting for us to get to Alaska.
I also have a very active 7-month old little girl who started crawling and pulling up on the furniture this last week. This morning she pulled the box of school supplies off the shelf spilling it and dumped the kitchen trash over on herself. Again, par for the course with a little one; but I can’t rearrange your house or replace your furniture to make it more baby proof. Adding her to the playpen makes it even smaller. Another struggle with a fast growing baby is sleeping arrangements. She has no more growing room in the travel bassinet and can climb out of it if I don’t get to her as soon as she wakes up. We have a nice crib – packed and waiting for us in Alaska. She is also starting to eat solid foods. Making your own baby food is much cheaper and healthier, but not an option when you are traveling. I have a little baby food grinder to use to turn whatever meal we are having into baby food. Can you guess where it is? Yup, packed in a box waiting for us in Alaska.
There are so many other things I could talk about: trying to satisfy my engineering-minded 10 year old’s need to create/invent things without being able to collect cardboard or other random items for him to use, helping my 15 year old deal with the difficulties of leaving behind friends and not being able to do normal teen stuff like get a job or learn to drive, my 13 year old’s need for physical therapy to help with her severe scoliosis, or my desire to ‘nest’ and make a home for my family.
Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.
-Ancient Words by Michael W. Smith
These lyrics have been in my thoughts a lot lately since they do a good job of summarizing how I’m dealing with where God has put us right now. He is teaching me a lot about relying on Him and being content in all circumstances. I count my blessings and am thankful that He is meeting our needs each day. Yet, just like finding joy in all things doesn’t mean that life is always great and you’re happy all the time, learning to be content and thankful doesn’t mean circumstances are not difficult. Yes, it’s possible to live out of a suitcase for an indefinite period of time, but the mental wear and tear over time is significant.
So I ask that you take some time this week to really appreciate the home God has given you and to ask yourselves is $20 a month too much to ask to help get us to the field? 100 people giving $20 a month would have us fully supported and heading to Alaska. I could make comparisons like it being the equivalent to one coffee each week at Starbucks or a trip to the movies; or point out that it’s only 65 cents a day. Our ministry may not be as glamorous and providing children in Africa with clean water, but the need to provide people in rural Alaska with Living Water is just as real. We can’t get to Alaska, we can’t fully engage in the ministry to which God has called us without your financial partnership.