The missionary adventures of the Stimpson family

Day 9 – Plictiseală… Boredom

We’ve only been here a week, but I’m already really bored.  I have a hard time sitting still.  I start to twitch if I’m not producing something every couple minutes.

Before moving here, so many things had to be taken care of and finished up that we were putting in 12-18 hours of almost nonstop work most days.  I just got used to waking up and going like crazy every day, without much of a break.  Support-raising, language learning, packing stuff, selling stuff, throwing stuff out, cleaning, organizing, planning, making phone calls, sending emails, designing stuff, printing stuff, praying, studying the Bible, preparing for discipleship groups, youth groups, and church meetings…  It was nonstop.  And now basically we’re learning how to survive.

At the height of our busy schedules in Milwaukee, I remember plopping down on the couch as the girls watched “Little House on the Prairie.”  I watched a few minutes of this pioneering family battle the elements, hostile natives, and the difficulties of frontier life.  I remember wishfully telling Jessie, “Wouldn’t it be nice to live like that?  No schedules, no appointments, no full calendars, no long-term goals, no responsibilities beyond survival…”  Now we’re in the same boat and I understand why Mr. Ingalls went right to work building a cabin and planting a crop – you get bored if you’re just surviving.

We’re not being lazy by any means, but we’re doing different things that are harder to measure.  We’re building relationships, learning the language, learning the culture, finding the grocery store, figuring out the city, setting up our house, buying fans and getting yelled at by our neighbors (see previous post), ministering to people who God sends to us.  I had grown so used to meetings and appointments and a packed calendar that all this flexibility and free-time is driving me nuts.

Every missionary we talked to before moving here said one of the hardest things they had to learn was to wait and observe.  My friend Eli told me, “You leave and you think, ‘I am superman, coming to rescue these people,’ but then you have to wait and you have to watch and you have to learn the language.  And everything you do, you have to depend on other people to help.  This is very hard, but you learn to listen to God and wait for Him to move, and this is good.”

On the bright side of things, our landlord Marian is amazing.  He’s going to talk to the crabby neighbor for us, he’s trying to fix our washing machine (still haven’t been able to do laundry), he fixed a bunch of broken dresser drawers, he’s going to paint our bedroom walls, he mopped the floor for us, he fixed the girls’ wardrobe, and he said not to worry about the shelf Naomi destroyed.  He doesn’t speak much English, but he’s trying, and he loves our kids.  He came over tonight to do some work on the place, and it really cheered us up, especially since we had another, even more intense, run-in with our crabby neighbor.

Well, tonight the city is abuzz with soccer.  30,000 Spanish soccer fans arrived for the Europa League final match between Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid, which should begin in about 5 minutes.  There’ll be fireworks, a big-screen projector downtown, and lots of crazed soccer fans.  We might go check it out…

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8 responses

  1. get some Romanian language and Spainish language gospel tracts and hit the streets…. if you can find an interpretor do an open air near the stadium…. I’ve done many in Romania!!! Praying for you… I remember the boredom as well in Poland but you will work through it!!!

    May 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm

  2. Jessie

    I’m a little bit opposite, loving the change of pace. I like learning the culture, language, differences. I’m excited to see what God wants to do here!

    May 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

  3. Michael Fisher

    Jake go have some fun! Go prayer walking and hear what God is saying. Go dancing and see what the kids are up to, see a movie, watch some Bocce ball. You aren’t on a week long trip, so be a part of the culture for a while. It’s all part of reaching a nation. Remember Jesus was out eating and drinking with sinners, and bringing light to their lives!
    I’ll try to get there and help you with the fun side 🙂

    May 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    • Thanks, Michael, that’s awesome! I needed to hear that!

      May 10, 2012 at 4:21 am

  4. I totally needed to read this so I can feel okay here. I am a task-oriented person and it is so hard to not have a comprehensible, crazy agenda. I have to depend on rides and if there’s no room, I don’t go anywhere. Plus, I have to remember what’s happening and when, then figure out who to ask to get me there. I shop everyday even if it’s just for water so I can feel some sort of task accomplishment. Thankfully we are never short of dirty dishes at home or the Center, so I can busy myself with that. There’s a little beast of a dog down the street that has it out for me and keeps chasing me off his block which frustrates me. I’m so messed up with my vowels and also keep saying random, very wrong things in Romanian. I do love this super good advice: “…but then you have to wait and you have to watch and you have to learn the language. And everything you do, you have to depend on other people to help. This is very hard, but you learn to listen to God and wait for Him to move, and this is good.” Amen!!! Thanks for the encouragement. Lord bless your family. It will all work out 🙂

    May 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm

  5. Jay

    Good deal good deal go bilboa 😉

    May 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm

  6. Gabriele

    A golden opportunity to focus on your own children …. I am sure there are no boring moments with them around:)))) They are your gifts from God and I cannot think of a better time to concentrate on the them while you are restless and trying to be patient……..through them you are doing God’s will…….taking good care of their needs while they are adjusting to this massive change in their lives. Will pray for you!

    May 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

  7. Jessie

    Thanks, Gabriele! Yeah, it’s a nice time of refreshing for them since we were so busy just before leaving. They enjoy getting to help set up their room, fix meals with me, and walking to the grocery store across the street with us to get bottled water every day! Today we discovered two giant parks with big playgrounds we are going to take them to!

    May 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm

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