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The Romantic Missionary Life

Magdalena and her family will be some of our neighbors in El Rosario.  Her kids always show up to the academy when classes end so they can play soccer.  I see a lot of late afternoon soccer in our future.    🙂

I think the “idea” of being a missionary is romantic. The idea of living a life, sold out to Jesus, loving and serving the poor, (maybe even) living in another country, seems pretty amazing.

Before we left the States, I had coffee with a half dozen pastors. After the meetings, more than one of them said they envied what we were doing. That was weird for me. Why would they “envy” us? I wouldn’t have even noticed but THREE pastors said the same thing. One pastor has a congregation of more than 5,000!

In July we’ll celebrate 5 years of missionary life in Guatemala. It’s been a blur. We’ve had hundreds of people visit and I often think about those pastors. What they were thinking that day? What part of missionary work did they envy? I have to imagine some of our visitors have felt the same way.

∗ Most people don’t know the struggle of living in another language.

∗ Our ministry has had MASSIVE growth in the last 18 months. MASSIVE. That growth has led to actual, physical burnout.

∗ Every time I go to the ATM I wonder if I’ll have a gun put to my head.  Every, single, time. (I’m not trying to be dramatic, we’ve had it happen to multiple friends)

∗ Most people aren’t surrounded by poverty 24/7.  Some days, I don’t know how my heart can take it. But at the end of the day I always ask God to continue to break my heart. “Lord, I don’t ever want to get comfortable with this.”

∗ Most people don’t know how hard it is to continually have our hand out. We’ve asked, and God has provided, new block homes, new clean air stoves, the boys academy, food for families in crisis, countless doctor visits, a medical clinic, water filters, a library/computer lab, computers, a team house, a mission home (our home), food on our table, a new (to me) truck AND THE LIST GOES ON!

∗ Most people don’t know the struggle of a 3rd culture kid. Making and keeping friends is a constant and very real battle.

∗ EVERY SINGLE TIME my wife drives outside of a 15 mile radius she keeps in touch. It’s something we started when she got her tires slashed and her credit cards stolen.

∗ We do our best to communicate with our partners in the States but we ALWAYS feel like we fall short.

∗ We often feel alone in this country. We rarely get together with our best missionary friends because we’re all trying to keep our heads above water.

A good pastor friend of mine wrote me last week, “You make it look easy. I know it’s not, but you rock it.” That meant a lot. It was super encouraging.

I told him “I feel like a duck swimming on top of a tsunami wave. Calm on the outside and those little duck feet paddling their ass off.”

Living a life, sold out to Jesus, loving and serving the poor, and living in another country, IS an amazing life. It’s probably not as romantic as you might imagine, but it’s pretty amazing.

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Momma’s walking home after stopping by the academy to weigh their babies and pick up PediaSure, fruits, vegetables and eggs.

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  1. I appreciate your very honest and heart felt post. I’m currently living in China. I don’t have nearly the challenges you are talking about. The kids I’m working with are some of China’s elite–the ‘new rich’. But it’s amazing the pressure they feel to succeed and make their parents proud. Some of them live with extended family or with an ‘auntie’ or maid while they study intensive English so they can make it into the ‘best’ schools in the US. These are middle schoolers! Different life and different focus of ministry, but I feel I could work 24 hours a day and not meet all their needs. Good thing God doesn’t expect that of us, even if we put that pressure on ourselves. But I understand that feeling of barely keeping your head above water, and I don’t even have to do the support raising part!

    I pray for you and your family every time God brings you to mind. May you feel all our hands holding you up. You are doing such amazing work and loving so many in Christ’s name. May you feel loved and lifted up in some little way today.

    1. Janet, thank you for your incredibly kind and uplifting note. I often wonder, who’s more “poor”? Those with a lot of money or those with little. I’m leaning toward the ‘new rich’.

      You’re doing good work. <3

      Is there anything you want more than to hear, "well done" come from God's lips? Not "well said" or "well thought out" but, "well done." - Francis Chan

  2. Thank you for your honesty, and for helping us to understand better what your life experiences there are like – physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually – the daily “reality” stuff we can’t imagine. Thank you for being the channel for God’s great love to flow through to the precious people of El Rosario.

    1. Celeste,

      Thank you for partnering with us! We couldn’t do it without an incredible team around us. All for God’s glory. We’ll see you in October! <3

  3. I believe (I think lol) I’ve been with you from the start since my friends in Colorado had told me about the family they knew who were starting a mission in Guatemala. I looked you up and here we are today. Bro, I’m with you all the way! I know we’ll Skype but I will get over to visit SOON to meet you and your amazing family. And to meet my amazing wee sponsor kid Neftali. I’ve said it before, exciting times ahead George, exciting times and it’s gonna get bigger and better because God is in it and the heart of your family and yourself is true! BRING it on bro. This silly Northern Irishman is excited lol.
    Be blessed and yours in Christ 🤗

    1. Byron,

      YES! You HAVE been with us from the beginning! AND WE’VE NEVER MET! It’s incredible to watch God’s ministries grow, side by side, thousands of miles apart. I’m privileged to call you my brother.

      See you soon!

  4. Thanks for sharing. You guys are real and down to earth

    1. Hannah,

      Thank you for your kind words. We’ll be back in Colorado late October and YOU are the fist person on my list to visit. I’d love to speak at one of your small groups. I owe you. Let’s keep in touch!


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