Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My human condition

I'm not going to sugarcoat this.

This is not for the people who are merely curious on life in the South Pacific, or interested in seeing Americans roughing it in Tonga.
Check my other posts out...they are more informative in that area.  This one is a bit more emotionally driven.

This is ME is pouring out my difficulties and struggles to the genuine few who have asked through the year and a half how we're doing, how i'm doing and have offered up your prayers, thoughts, and financial support to our family.

ahhhhh! let me just get this off my chest!  I don't like for people to see me this way.  I don't think people like the idea of a fairly emotionless, christian, missionary girl being an emotional wreck.  I know i'm not comfortable letting this all out.  I'd prefer to keep my emotions all tucked away nicely and neatly and throw on a brave, awkward smile.

You see, i didn't know what to expect when we packed up and moved out here with $2,000 US and zero financial support at the time.  It was exciting and courageous feeling at first.  I thought I was a stronger person.  I'm married to a man with outstanding faith.  He trusts in GOD with all his heart, soul, and strength. He inspires me.  My mistake was and is to hope this will carry me.  This isn't about my husband dragging me into hardships.  I went willingly.  This is about what these hardships revealed in me.

I found i'm weak, exhausted, and emotionally spent.

The first few months were fine.  The newness of it all was fresh and kept me motivated.  Within about 6 months i moved into a state of bitterness, anger, and depression.  But we made do, Chris spent that first year sharing the gospel with everyone.  And we have seen the fruit of living this unique lifestyle we have been called to.

But like i said.  I found how weak and wobbly my faith is.  My bitterness has been damaging to our family.  I'm seeing the toll it is putting on everyone.  Not to say their hasn't been great moments of joy, but theirs also been anger towards God and tears during worship songs.

Currently, I've moved past the bitterness, coldness, anger stage and am now an emotional, teary-eyed, physically exhausted ,disaster of a missionary.  The stress has started to effect me psychically and everyone has been picking up the slack with chores and clean up because I've become almost incapable of handling daily chores and sibling feuds. My husband takes these burdens on him and they weigh on him.  I hate to see him juggling between doing what God has told him to do and caring for the emotional and spiritual well-being of his wife.  But he does and he's doing a great job.  I find it hard to believe you could find a man more committed to his GOD and his wife and kids.

But i need to unload it somewhere else.  So here it is.
I need a break!  I'm extremely human right now.  Living for this past year and a half on a hundred dollars hear and there, the strain of living with little encouragement, seeing my husband take so much undeserved crap from other people,  the difficulty of the most basic things in life, being so alone, being hungry, no running water, not having access to good clean water, living in unsanitary conditions, now living in an unfinished house with holes and the company of massive spiders, 9 inch centipedes, 3 inch cockroaches, and a floor swarming with ants, dealing with a son who is extremely hard to discipline, hyper, intense and trying to home school 3 unmotivated kids with some days no paper or pencils, feeling trapped on a tiny island.  Our goal is to reach 2 years before we come back and visit,  which would be the beginning of May.  I still feel that is the right timing.  But there is no plane ticket back.  It is hard to feel relieved that our two year mark is not to far away, when there is no way back.  Every day i wake up with a pit in my stomach, a headache, nausea, sadness, and fight back constant tears.  Please pray for me. I need this break. I'm hanging on by a thread.  I know I love God and theoretically know He will do something good in me from this.  Because somehow God is using us still despite me. I had a dream i returned April 26, so i looked up the plane tickets around that date and they actually are a good deal.  Around $4,200 for our family.  I hate the part about the money.  I'm not telling you my sob story so now you feel bad and give me money.  There are plenty of better sob stories out there.  I'm saying this so the people who love us and what to know what's going on can get a glimpse and pray for us.
  Lamentations 3:1-33

Thursday, September 5, 2013

We built a house

          My daughter Ariel motivated me to write when she wrote a post on here.  If you get a chance check out her thoughts on "travel with ariel".    We've moved since my last post.  Within about two weeks Chris and I built our house.  Not a finished product.  But finished enough to get visitors stopping to come in and take pictures.  I'm starting to notice this becoming a habit.  With our bikes first and now this.  I don't see being "normal" in our future.

Here's how we did it.  
Chris built the frame out of small local trees and the roof from bamboo.   For the walls we layered chicken wire and then mixed 3 parts cement to 1 part sand.  In my mind this seemed simple.  Just finding the right sand here took several trips (they call it dust, how was i supposed to know?). Water had to be brought about 250 ft. from a well in buckets.  Then I got the ratio wrong at first so chris had to mix and mix more and more cement and water than humanly possible.  Meanwhile there's about 12 kids grabbing our tools and cement while we're working.  And the cement didn't adhere as well it did in the pictures I saw online.  But we managed to perfect it a bit while getting our hands eaten and torn raw from the cement.  Then when it got dark we biked 2-3 miles home and started again in the morning.  I'm pretty sure i lost a few pounds in this process and Chris and I had more fights in the 2 weeks than our 10 years of marriage! 

 Our first night sleeping in our abode was interesting.  Only half the walls were built and the rest was either open or covered loosely with a thin plastic.  It was sooo windy those first few nights and the plastic roof and walls kept flapping in the wind, I kept waiting for the roof to lift off in the middle of the night!  We definitely had a good breeze going through.  At the time i found none of this humorous...
first night

My brother Mike arrived right after this and decided to stay until December.  It's been an adjustment for him but we are encouraged to have him here and have someone who understands us.  Part of the walls are still not finished but much more secured than our first night here.  During the cool season here it can get chilly at night and the moist cold air goes right through to your bones.  So we bundle up the best we can with blankets, sweatshirts, socks.. Normal chores require a lot of work.  Water has to be brought from the well for dishes, flushing the toilet, showering, and laundry when our rainwater runs out.  Plus, the rainwater is brown because of the palm leaves on the roof and is starting to smell funny so i prefer the well water.  Laundry means throwing clothes in a bucket and stomping on them and then squeezing and rinsing.  I do my fair share of complaining...haven't got that part down yet.

Chris has been able to put together some beds and bunk beds for our neighbors in the back yard which has been an encouragement for him.  They have been sleeping right on the ground for who knows how long and it make us happy to see them happier.  The funny thing about our house and homemade furniture is how happy it makes the Tongans.  They all say it reminds them of how it was growing up and they can't believe a couple of palangi's are living with so few comforts.  God has been using this for the Tongans to respect us and connect with us better.  I do not enjoy this way of living, but it won't be forever.  And right now Chris is tiling our bathroom floor, one more step towards it feeling a bit more sanitary and nicer.

We hope to visit the U.S. in 2014, until then we are working on finding and applying for grants to start bringing in skateboards and building a transportable skate park to reach the kids here.  Everything takes time and patience.  Especially here, nothing is done fast.  So we take one slow slug step at a time.  A few back.