18 September, 2015

Adjust: it's a missionary's middle name*

Our prayer card.
Adjusting. That's a theme for the modern life, isn't it? We got used to CDs, and then there were iPods. Now we're just used to one version of Facebook and another turns up. Just when we get used to one teacher for our kids, the school year ends and it's a new teacher and a new schedule.

Adjusting in the missionary life is more frequent and often the adjustments are larger. For us this year we didn't just get new teachers and new schedules, we got a different school in another country. We've adjusted to a new house, new diet, new transport, new language. Of course, thankfully all these things for us aren't completely new anymore.

I just did a search of my blog using "adjust". I found lots of examples. Here's one from our time of adjusting back to Australia last year. These are the questions I mentioned in just that blogpost:
  • Where are all the people? 
  • Why is the iron so hot?
  • Why isn't it turning on?
  • What size are my kids, for that matter, what size am I?
  • How do you cook with an electric stove instead of gas?
  • What's my PIN number?
  • How fast can I drive?
  • What month is it again?
Just a couple of months ago we said goodbye to a whole fleet of friends and have been saying hello to a bunch of Japan-based ones. And made some new friends too. All of that takes adjustment.

Colleagues are constantly changing too in this cross-cultural lifestyle. My "boss" called this morning and asked about how we were. In the course of our conversation she mentioned these people who are in our team:
We’re missing Martin, Helen, and Wera at the moment.  Wera will return and then Mike will shift sectors when he deputises for Rosanne’s HA, so it is all comings and goings.
This is just a small slice of the change that characterises our work. Adjust, a missionary's middle name.

I don't pretend that that makes us special people, in fact I rather think it accounts for some of the high stress and attrition of our occupation. 

But I think it also helps to make us more flexible. Retired missionaries are, in my mind, distinctly different to those who've spent their whole lives in the same town. They've had a lot of adjustments to make in their lives and their characters are beautiful as a result.

*This is a writing theme prompt for this week on Velvet Ashes' The Grove, an online community of Christian women serving overseas.


Danielle Wheeler said...

Sorry, I'm late in getting to read this. But your list of questions made me laugh. Because yes, there are SO MANY adjustments in our lives, from the major to the minor. The list is long! I really appreciated the end where you say all the adjusting makes characters beautiful. Thanks for linking up at Velvet Ashes!

Wendy said...

Thanks for dropping by Danielle.