the long and the short of it

We’ve had another great week here in the land of red dirt.

And we’re starting to realize the massive difference between a very-short-term-come-without-your-family mission trip to Africa versus pack-up-everyone-and-stay-awhile mission trip to Africa.

The two ain’t the same.

Not that I’m touting myself as a long-term missionary…I would never insult the LTM by comparing their work with our five-week little weaksauce jaunt. Nor am I criticizing the short-term missionary who comes over for a week and goes non-stop, full-force till they fly back home.

However, whether it’s five days, five weeks or five years…when you’ve got your little kiddie poops with you, you’re forced to live…well…life. You don’t get the luxury of simply toughing it out all by yourself, living from Clif bar to Clif bar like you do on a short-term mission trip. You’re forced to find a rhythm in an unfamiliar, inconvenient setting.

Not that I’m complaining…I wouldn’t trade it.

But there are definitely moments of I-don’t-want-to-wash-one-more-dish-by-hand-in-cold-water, and why-are-there-muddy-footprints-all-over-my-bathroom-floor, and I’m-too-tired-to-bathe-my-kids-but-I-have-to-or-their-sheets-will-be-filthy.

Those kind of moments.

Just keepin’ it real, people.

On the flip side, however, is seeing Jane and Addy take notice of all the extra work that I have to do in order to keep up. And in their noticing, they’re actually pitching in and lending a hand. You should see how adorable they are ironing all of our clothes (you really should iron all your clothes here…when they hang on the clothes line, the flies lay eggs in them…which in turn, will get into your skin unless you iron your clothes and kill those suckers…GROSS!). 

They’ll even wash dishes, dry them and put them away for me (Jane and Addy, not the flies). And don’t get me started on how they like to mop.

Those crazy girls. I would have never seen this had I been back home with my hot water and clothes dryer.

This week I haven’t been holding orphaned babies, evangelizing, or changing the world. I’ve been home, trying to figure out how to take care of my family and run a household in Uganda while Lucas goes to work each day. There have been several failed meal attempts and one or two (or twenty) impatient moments.

But at least in this moment, all four of my children are fed, bathed, and sleeping happily underneath their mosquito nets. The dishes are all dried and put away, the laundry is put away on a pile in my bedroom (at least it’s clean and ironed!) and my bug bites and jimmy-rashes are all sufficiently covered in steroid cream.

And now I’m off to bed.

G’night, folks.

See? I told you we have monkeys. (crazy sun got in the way of my picture)

JennaZ - June 10, 2012 - 3:01 pm

I’m lovin’ these updates, Colleen! And how you ‘keep it real.’ So important!! Your Minnesota friends are praying for you guys! :)

Anna - June 10, 2012 - 4:52 pm

Yes, yes. Finding our purpose in dishes and laundry. And yet, there is purpose there. And God is continuing to open my eyes to it more and more. I totally emoted with you for a moment…until it came to the part about the flies, ironing and the monkey. :)

Erin Martin - June 15, 2012 - 11:28 am

I just stumbled across your blog, and I’m so glad I did! I have been reading through some of your older postsand am blessed by your story. May God be near you!

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