Missionary Life, what what?!

missionaries

This was a reflection I wrote while in Honduras in March, first published in July, 2014.

We’ve settled in our home in Honduras for the next few weeks, which is the Missioners of Christ John Paul II Center for Evangelization in Comayagua, Honduras. What that mouthful means is that we are living with a bunch of missionaries from the United States and Honduras in a comfortable but simple facility in a neighborhood in Comayagua, a city an hour away from the nation’s capital.

Life here is fun, difficult, unexpected and joyful all at the same time.

For slightly extroverted Jing, its fun to live in a house full of people. We pray, learn and laugh together. I have been learning how to make Honduran food, how to wash my clothes by hand, and how to express myself using the limited Spanish I have acquired in my short time here. I love it.

Life has also been difficult, with random hiccups or uncomfortable situations at every turn. I have been bitten by every bug imaginable, and therefore itch from head to toe. Every time I visit with a local family, I experience the overwhelming sensation of awkwardness at not being able to express basic niceties without a deep stretch of my mind in searching for simple words in Spanish. Finally, living in solidarity with a mission community with limited resources can be frustrating for a person who loves efficiency and hates wasted effort. I like to think I can solve any problem with just a little bit of determination and planning, but the truth is that I am still learning how to maneuver through a country where nothing is guaranteed, not cleanliness, nor safety nor comfort. You learn quickly that you have to rely on a God who sees a bigger picture than you. There is a learning curve to starting a new job or coming to a new country; I’m swimming through both, and I feel it heavily sometimes.

The unexpected part comes in what you learn about yourself when you take yourself outside of the places and things you are used to. The past few years I feel like I’ve shielded myself from self-examination by maintaining a contentment with busy work and distractions. Living here has cleared my mind, and I’ve made discoveries about the kind of person that I am with a clarity that can only come with a simplicity of life and hours of prayer. I can’t elaborate; I can only say that I didn’t anticipate seeing so clearly here. It’s not a finished process, but only beginning.

But life is joyful here. There is a deep peace in knowing that no matter what befalls you, you are standing in the exact place that you are meant to be at the exact time you are meant to be there. I don’t mind the discomforts, I cherish the blessings, and I look forward to what comes next.