We are constantly perplexed by the question, “What does your life look like? What is a typical day or week for you?” The truth of the matter is, there is no typical work schedule or work day or work week. The most typical thing about our lives is that we wake up every morning and we amble downstairs to get a cup of coffee. And that is where typical stops and ‘real life’ begins. Here are just a few pieces of what ‘typical’ has looked like for us over the past month.
Sarah - school / languages / challenges of travel schedules… Sarah entered middle school this year (hard to believe!). She has a tough course load of 11 classes in a block schedule. She is in the top class in her school. This class has a bilingual curriculum. Students study 3 languages concurrently = Spanish, English, and French. Spanish and English are both considered Sarah’s ‘first languages’, and French is her second/third language. All sciences are taught in 50% English, 50% Spanish. Sarah’s biggest challenge right now is our travel schedule. She must keep up with her studies and take exams upon return. While we are in Texas in November and December, she will have all assignments given to her and she will be responsible for doing them and testing in January. While in Albania this month, Sarah participated in cross-cultural training with her peers in mission, as well as doing her classwork for her courses after hours.
Discipling / mentoring / leadership development… Each week brings an array of discipleship activities, mentoring opportunities, and leadership development. Some of our local friends are in constant disciple relationship with us. We are both active in several study groups and community outreach groups. Via video conferencing, we mentor and work with new missionaries who are preparing and training for their positions overseas. We also meet regularly with leaders in ministry (both local and international) for on-going development and discipleship. The venues are varied - sometimes we meet in private homes, sometimes in coffee shops, sometimes in a church, sometimes in someone’s office, and sometimes via Skype.
Hosting… During this calendar year to date, we have hosted people (overnight guests) in our home for a total of 159 days! That’s a lot of meals, a lot of clean sheets, a lot of sharing about life and ministry! Those include, to name a few, an intern that stayed with us, our mission agency field director coming to learn more about the work in Spain, a couple who came to lead puppet ministry workshops, a family from the USA on a visit in Europe, a family coming to see if they might join our team and serve in Spain, a missionary family in need of rest and retreat and coaching/counseling care… we host all kinds in all seasons for all reasons!
Training / teaching / travel… We traveled to Albania to attend a conference of our missionary peers working in Africa, Europe, Middle East, Balkans, and Asia. It was a time of teaching and training. Laurie taught a 3-day course on Basic Coaching Skills in Ministry. Billy attended a special 3-day course on Leadership and Team Development. Both of us taught 2 classes on Best Practices in Disciple-Making. We also attended several other workshops and training classes for our own development. And we spent several hours using our coaching and counseling skills to serve other missionaries.
Coaching / counseling...While in Albania, we were able to coach and counsel several missionaries from around the globe as they sought help in dealing with issues. We also do this in Spain—Billy has several standing appointments with people whom he coaches or counsels each week. Some of these folks are other mission works, and some are locals from our area on Spain. Some of this work is done face-to-face in-person, and some is done via Skype or video conferencing.
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a Southern Living / Martha Stewart wannabe, a soccer mom, and a short term mission team coordinator / intern director for missions in Mexico... you name it, I probably tried it!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! We have three incredible children... two adult boys who live in Texas, and the Sarah (14) lives with us in whatever country we are serving. I'm still teaching, still taking photos, still leading teams and mentoring, I just do it all in full-time service now! And I'm working hard at giving Southern Living and Martha Stewart a run for their money! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers and immigrant peoples, writing, and trying to figure out what life looks like for a Texas girl serving Christ in Southern Europe. Life in His service is AWESOME! I'm happy to share it with you here... Enjoy!