Live and Learn

We have heard that the first 1-2 years of living overseas can be a shock to your system: adjusting to new foods, new water, new bugs. Some have told us that the first year overseas was the hardest year on their health. One day, we will have our own story to share. But right now, we’re living it.

It had to get pretty bad to go facebook with my status. I know many of you want to know how we are…really. It’s just hard to think that my needs are worthy of people’s time when there’s headlines of children beheaded and believers being tortured. Plus, everyone’s got their own aches and pains, right? 

Last Sunday, after weeks of being sick off and on, we knew we couldn’t go on like this. I spent most of last weekend either laying down or running to the bathroom. Sunday night the pain and sick kept getting more intense. We weren’t sure if we would need to rush to the hospital in the night, so we packed some bags. Then, we remembered our gas tank was near empty. And gas stations in town wouldn’t be open in the middle of a Sunday night. And Andy couldn’t see out of his left eye at night (after a soccer injury a few weeks before). And then the whole issue of what to do with our 3 sleeping boys in a foreign country.

We really just needed Jesus to show up.
Facebook status. Prayer update. Didn’t matter anymore who thought what. We needed prayer.

I can’t think of what happened next without tears. Monday morning…
I woke up! The sickness held off in the night, the pain was lessened. And my email was filled with encouragement and prayers and concern and care and help. We knew we had been covered in prayer. We have seen the Lord at work in the midst of all the unknowns. He has brought peace and relief and hope! No doubt we made it through because of so many of you praying for us!

We still don’t know what happened. We’re still seeking wisdom for what to do.
Since I was diagnosed with celiac disease 4 years ago, I have been gluten-free and have had virtually no problems with my stomach. However, the doc thinks there are foods here that are upsetting my system like gluten would. I’ve taken possible irritants out of my diet, hoping to figure this out, including coffee. [Living in Brasil right where it is grown, sad day!] On top of that, I was treated for parasites and amoeba. The medicine made me really sick. And, we’re still waiting on test results to see if the treatment was enough.
2014-08-08 15.00.182014-08-22 18.24.09
[Our boys continue to amaze me. Doctor visits mean they either stay in the waiting room OR at home with a movie-sitter. Can’t believe they’re at that age yet, but a giant bowl of popcorn and a movie lets us run into town for a dr. visit. And boy am I thankful for my trusty portuguese translator:) ]

Looking back, we can see better. Wouldashouldacoulda. Probably woulda not chosen the sushi buffet for our anniversary, shoulda not drank the water (we have a filter at home, but wasn’t as careful outside our home), coulda been more careful washing our lettuce (and not eating so many guavas straight from the tree), woulda asked the guy on the street selling meat kabobs to cook mine more, probably shoulda not eaten meat from a guy on the street…
Live and learn.

On a typical day…I get up, hang laundry to dry, walk and pray around the soccer field, make breakfast, homeschool 3 boys, make lunch, wash dishes, catch my breath, study portuguese, staff meetings some afternoons,”passear” (walk and chat with people), make dinner, wash dishes, sweep up the bugs, some evenings we have meetings or family time. Also I’m the school “nurse”, which means people come by for gauze or medicine that have been donated to our school. But these last weeks, some days I could barely teach and make lunch. NO ability to study portuguese, do dishes, clean up…so SuperBabe stepped in. But, he’s got his own load of preparing, teaching, grading, mentoring and all else that comes with living on a Bible School campus.

We try to live life as fully as we can.
But, these days I have felt the full extent of my weakness and helplessness.
When I realize how truly dependent I am upon the Lord, is when I start to I learn…

– Sometimes, when our family is in transition [babies, illness, jobs, moving], things seem to get much harder before they get easier. Looking back, I can see the Lord used times when we felt stretched way beyond what was comfortable and desirable to make our “new normal” not seem so bad. We were able to see with new eyes when the hardship was lifted. That each day is truly a gift! It kinda feels like that may be happening now.

– We came here to serve. I thought that included me learning the language quickly so I could start sharing more and being involved more. I didn’t come to be sick in bed! 🙂 We pray He will give the strength to do what He has called us to do. BUT, the Lord is not surprised by all this. So, we need to wait patiently on Him for what our next step should be.

– There is so much more to my day than how I feel. If I focus on that, I miss so much. I have 3 boys who are as curious and adventurous as ever! I have had some of the most precious moments with them–savoring these ages, their personalities. In all of this, we have not stopped laughing, exploring, enjoying, living and learning. If anything, this has brought all of us even closer. Which is just like our God to work all things together for good.

– Our boys recently had an assignment where they had to write about the Feeding 5,000 Story [John 6.1-14] from the viewpoint of the boy. They asked me how I thought it was for the boy to give up his lunch. You know, it was the first I had ever thought about the boys’ perspective. His momma had packed him lunch. Maybe that was his only food for the entire day. Maybe she knew he needed to eat or would have blood sugar issues. But, here he was in a crowd. I doubt he was the only one with any food, but he was willing to share what he had. He came forward with his lunch. I wonder if he hesitated, not sure if there would be any leftover for him. But, he gave what he had. In doing so, he witnessed Jesus turning 5 loaves and 2 fish into lunch for the masses! I believe the Lord can create something from nothing…like an entire universe! I believe He doesn’t need me to accomplish His purposes and build His kingdom.
The hero in the story wasn’t the boy.
But, we can learn from the boy. To step forward and offer what we have.
Because our God is able to do infinitely more than we could ever ask or imagine.
To HIM be the glory now.
And forever!


3 thoughts on “Live and Learn

  1. Keith Splawn

    Our God is Amazing.
    And I think you are too, Sara.
    I love the boy’s perspective on giving the bread and fish.
    I’m going to share that with my kids.

  2. Lois

    Thank you for sharing, Sara. I love how God has given you a talent for putting words down in print that describes your life, and the focus is always Christ centered. Prayed for you and your family on my walk this morning! God is faithful.


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