If you’ve ever been on a missions trip longer than a week (or even traveled for a long period of time), you know that there’s that moment in time when the exciting “newness” of everything has worn off and you’re exhausted, but you’ve got too much time left to just try and hang tight. That’s what Caleb and I experienced yesterday.
We were out at the Quechua women’s conference and Caleb was just ornery. That’s actually an understatement. He had been waking up around 3am and screaming for hours for no apparent reason for 4 nights in a row. I could barely keep my eyes open, never mind have patience with my five-month-old screaming velociraptor. I sat in the back of the Land Cruiser with him on his soft blanket and just wrote in my journal, trying to hold back the tears. When Keith came to tell me he was thinking of going to the fútbol match, the dam broke and I just fell apart.
“I’m done,” I told him. “I just want to go home (as in, right now). Things would’ve been so much easier if you had come alone.”
I must tell you, that he is so patient with me; he let my tears fall and my words tumble out, before suggesting we pray together. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, when you are sleep deprived, tired, and not feeling well (we seem to be playing hot potato with a stomach virus), you will do anything to get that baby to sleep. I laid down to pray and cried while Keith asked for rest, for grace, for patience, and for the strength to complete our trip. As I opened my eyes again, Caleb was napping for only the second time in a week. I took the opportunity to nap myself.
I felt much more at peace with a few minutes of rest under my belt and was grateful to chat with Mary for a while. Culture stress makes time alone with someone else who speaks English more precious than just about anything (with the exception of the sleeping baby). Her words were so reassuring that she still experiences culture shock after living in Bolivia for 25 years, so I am not alone in carrying this burden.
Eventually, we got home (after a detour to the lagoon) and I got a chance to Skype with my mom. She definitely has a gift of encouraging people and helping to keep a healthy perspective.
Last night, Caleb slept for 12 hours and I went to sleep assured that God will provide the peace, rest, patience, and strength that I need to survive. And something tells me I may actually have some moments of fun as well 🙂 Looking forward to a few more museums, a trip to the Salar de Uyuni, and some time to explore Sucre and Santa Cruz. I’m also working on a few special photography projects! Plenty to keep us busy until we leave, but working hard to make sure we maintain rest and sanity as well.