How I was feeling last week

I am feeling much less lonely now, but I wanted to share this post anyway. I think that being lonely is something that everyone feels once in a while, and I feel like it’s also a natural part of moving to a new country.  I’ll share what happened to help me slap out of it tomorrow.  Or whenever I next have reliable internet 🙂

I have hesitated to write this post because I’ve been concerned that I would come off as ungrateful or whatever, but I’ve decided that this is a huge part of what I’m dealing with right now, so I’m just going to put it out there and not worry about what other people think about it.

First off, let me say that I love my life. I love what we’re doing, I love how we’re called to serve here in Nicaragua and I really do feel so privileged to be able to do what we’re doing because we are so passionate about it.

That said, I’m terribly lonely. It’s been a rough week at the Farm and I have been struggling.

I’m trying to serve others while making sure that my kids’ many; many needs are being met satisfactorily
I’m trying to figure out how the chain of command works.
I’m getting used to working outside the home.
My kids and I are getting used to Nicaraguan food, for reals this time.
I’m learning to drive different vehicles on roads I’ve never driven on, with a different set of rules, and going places I didn’t know existed.
I’m dealing with bugs that leave us itchy.
The power was out so I’ve been dealing with sweltering heat all day and all night long.
Theo started school so I’ve been trying to get him up and out the door. And he has homework. A three year old with homework isn’t a great match.
I’m doing my best to acknowledge Tate’s feelings about life here without going crazy myself.
Mine are the only ears my kids have been getting lately, as I’m one of the few native English speakers around. They have a lot of words for me to listen to.
I’m trying to implement a new exercise routine.
I’m working to build relationships.
I’m trying my best to avoid getting lice.
I’m trying to learn to speak and understand Spanish better.
I’m learning to answer the phone when it rings. If you have called me in the past you know that answering the phone isn’t on the top of my priority list. Now, though, a phone call may mean that there’s a child we can’t locate, a team member that needs something, or a kid that needs some encouragement.
Mark is gone and I’m feeling alone in that I have no one to process my feelings with.

These changes are [mostly] good [I really wish Mark was here], and they are all a part of adjusting to life down here. And I do love it. But I miss a lot of things. I miss being able to call my mom just to say hi. I miss calling friends and making plans and laughing about stuff that happened a long time ago, and having that history with someone. I miss knowing how to interpret certain sayings, looks or customs within the culture…I hate wondering if I’ve accidentally offended someone.

With the power out and Mark gone, it’s been easy for me to have a pity party at the times I’m feeling most vulnerable. One of those days was Thursday morning, when we were having a staff meeting. We were praying together and I felt very self-conscious about praying in Spanish in front of everyone. I know it’s silly, I really should have no pride left, but I couldn’t help but listen to the eloquent prayers and feel frustrated with myself for not being able to communicate how I wished I could. How I know I can in English. I started missing my family and the familiarity of life in the US, and as I’m going down this road I pull back a bit and focus on one of the prayers that Rina, one of the house moms is saying. I don’t remember it exactly, but she basically asked that God would help us to bear each other’s burdens as we are a family here. We are each other’s family, we live together and we are all relying on God as a family to make the difference in these kids’ lives. That combined with a comment from someone else about living in community has really made me re-evaluate how I’m feeling.

Yes, I have given up a lot to be here. I have to acknowledge that before I can grow here. In this acknowledgement I feel profoundly grateful that all I have been given to be able to “give up” to come here. I’ve been blessed with an incredibly supportive family and the best friends a girl could ask for. I miss them terribly. But, really, how blessed am I that I have those things in the first place?!

There’s a lot that I miss, but I’m focused now on making good friends and family here. We are living in community. As I was asleep last night in the team center, I had to laugh that I had a ton of different people’s stuff being stored in my room. A kid came in and took my picture while I was sleeping (to use as a weapon in the future, I’m sure). But that same kid greets me every morning with a hug and a, “Good morning mom. How did you sleep last night?” and routinely takes the boys on bike rides, makes sure they are eating their veggies if I’m running around, and picks up Theo from school if I can’t make it on time.

I’m blessed beyond measure. I am part of a family here. It’s a bit unorthodox, but it’s what we have. I just need to invest in this family, make some new memories and start to put down some roots.

About mjstearns

We are Mark, Jenni, Tate and Theo Stearns. We currently live in Beaverton, Oregon, but are planning to move to Nicaragua within the next six months. We'll be serving as missionaries to Verbo Church, a non denominational church with several Nicaraguan locations. Specifically we'll be working at Casa Bernabe, an orphanage run by the church, assisting in vocational training and transition programs for the older boys.
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2 Responses to How I was feeling last week

  1. Debbie McMillin says:

    Transition is hard!! Thanks for being open so we know how to pray for you guys. Love and hugs to you!!!!

  2. Anneke says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m sure you made your mom cry when she read this! Everything about what you are doing is such a huge change, and definitely hard to understand unless you’ve been through it. I pray that God will bring people into your lives to be an encouragement and support when you feel this way! Miss you too, but thankful for the internet!!!

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