Back when Billy and I were teachers in the USA, summertime meant a time for a little rest and recoup, a time to recharge our batteries, a time to
go see family in far off places or take a vacation. As a teacher, many are also gearing up for the next school year, starting to look for new lessons,
new classroom management ideas, and new books for the students. As a mom, many spend lots of time trying to keep the peace, keep kids moving
and entertained and NOT sitting in front of the TV, and keep all of the family cool in the Texas heat.
For our family, summertime back then meant moving our base of operations to the Texas Mexico border. We were mission workers to the colonias
in Reynosa and Rio Bravo, Mexico. Our summers were spent in the Mexican desert heat, facilitating bible school in neighborhoods and helping
in a relief effort that built shelters for families that had none.
Nowadays, summertime looks a lot different. Our summers look a lot slower, which is a little odd for us. In our part of Spain, it is HOT! Most
homes do not have air conditioning. If they do, it is only in the living room ‐ not in the rest of the house. Spain is always serious about siesta
hours, but they are MEGA SERIOUS in the summer… absolutely nothing occurs between the hours of 2pm and 5 or 6pm because it is just too hot.
Last week, we hit 106. That’s hot, and with no air, it’s a killer. So, life here gets VERY slow in the summer. As for activities, there just aren’t many.
Many businesses and organizations cut their hours in the summer. Some only work until 2pm. Some close down completely for the
month of August. Most jobs, by law, require a one month vacation period. Unlike in the USA where vacation time is earned, vacation is mandatory
by law and is usually a full month. So, in our area, due to the heat, many decide to take their month in August and completely close their businesses,
giving all employees their mandatory one month then, as well. In July, people just try to survive the heat and hold on until August.
So, what does that mean to us? Well, yesterday in church, overall attendance was less than half. Our adult bible study class that we teach is
down by a third. Our youth class is down from 15 kids to 5. In August, there will be no classes at all and no ministry activities ‐ only Sunday service.
My Thursday bible study group is down to 3 ladies. Our Thursday morning group is off for the summer due to travel and kids out of school.
Basically, nothing is ’normal’ and everything feels out of whack. It messes with my work‐oriented mindset because I keep feeling like I’m not doing
enough. But then I remember that when I was teaching in Texas, this is what life looked like, too, and that was okay. So why do I feel like this
is NOT okay? The slower times are tough for me; it’s tough to slow down my rhythm and focus on what I can do and what is happening, and not
focus on what isn’t happening. Things ARE happening...
We just finished hosting a pastor on sabbatical and his family for several days as they came to visit us. Next week, we will be hosting a missionary family who work in an area with high security issues (so I can’t give
names or locations) as they come to spend some time in rest and relaxation, as well as a time of coaching and counseling and debriefing with us. We will also be helping them with dental appointments and doctor appointments
while they are here. Last night, we hosted a cookout and fellowship for other ministry workers who live in our area. So, part of our ministry in these summer months is not necessarily ‘local ministry’, but it is a ministry of caring for other ministry workers as they need rest and refreshment and a listening ear and a
community of other workers who understand their needs. Billy continues to meet weekly with local pastors and workers as a coach and counselor.
So, school is out and things feel a little slower, but there is definitely
still a lot going on in the summer!
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher 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 princess Sarah (13) 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 el campo in 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!