Messy Mission Mentoring

I’m not sure why the word, “Messy”, keeps coming to mind???!  Other than, that is what missions seems at best.  Messy.  Nothing is clear cut.  Simple.  The way planned.  Or easy.  Well maybe I shouldn’t say, “nothing”.  Yet, messy, best describes how I feel after just finishing week #1 back in the mission land.

Mind you, it is hard enough to land in 3rd world country, Papua, with 5 men/boys pulling me along.  Trying to get them settled, in a routine, unpacked, fed, listened too.  There are groceries to buy and veggies and fruit to soak in bleach water.  Gone are the nicely packaged pre rinsed 3 times, organic power greens, to make that amazing salad in 5 minutes flat.  And where did this mold come from that is lining all the bathroom drawers?  Yikes, one car would not start……  Yes, mind you, all of that was enough to make me think MESSY, MESSY, MESSY…..but we also landed with 3 young adult girls in tow.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I am delighted that they are here. It’s my turn to pay back mission mentoring time.  I’ve been reflecting a lot this week on my mission mentor (in between driving to school and buying food and wiping mold and feeding 9 hungry mouths frequently).  Dawn.  Dawn was brave enough to take Michelle and I in for our student mission year.  She also was just returning to the jungle of Palawan, Philippines.  With a husband, and two little girls, one of whom was just 2 months old.  But that jungle living, in a bamboo hut, with no indoor toilet, a 3 hour hike into the jungle, makes my world seem like a dream of ease.  I am so humbled, because, I have never fully paused to appreciate what Dawn did for me that year.

She taught me how to be a gracious woman.  How to live way outside of my comfort zones.  Also, how to learn to like rice and to cook in very humble settings.  She taught me how to make bread over a fire, by steaming it.  Dawn was not a nurse at that time, but she knew so much about tropical diseases.  I could write paragraphs about the things I learned that year.  It was such a formative year in my life.  I am positive that everyone, included Ray and Dawn, gave more to me, than I to them.  And just when I was getting useful, really useful, it was time to go.

There have been more mentors along the way.  I think of Penny and Bryan, when we landed in Bandung.  What do you do without these lifeline people? Bryan you found our language school.  Penny, you fed us for 10 days.  That is a long time.  And Jan, when we arrived here.  You patiently took me shopping and to the market, over and over again, while I tried to navigate life in Papua.  You fed us many amazing meals, while we tried to gather our bearings.  You answered all of our endless questions, along with Bob.  Who built us our beautiful home and tired to impart to Darron his dreams and visions for the work in Papua.

Maybe when I/we arrived to each of you, life was swirling around in full mission spin and it felt messy to you.  However, when I look back, my heart is only full and grateful.  Seeing how all the disjointed puzzle pieces, settled into a beautiful picture.

So I am praying that I can be a loving, nurturing mentor to these girls that God has placed in our lives this year.  That I can pay back a portion of all the gorgeous “not-so messy” mission mentoring that has been given to me.

For one week down we have had to deal with a messy school schedule for the girls (they will be teaching science at the International school).  Now that is all sorted out.  Then we had to wade through the mess of finding them a nice safe home and get it furnished and stocked.  We’ve made great progress, but we are still lacking some furniture.  There is still the messiness of language learning, transportation, cooking and living independently.  But smothered in all this mess is THREE GIRLS, coming and going from our home.  Bringing female delight into;this male world. 

It’s messy mission mentoring time.  I’m looking forward to this year.  It’s going to be as good as that chocolate bar the 4 of us girls shared on the way home from our big MESSY shopping trip, yesterday.  The chocolate was melting in the crazy hot mission mobile, but it sure tastes better with 3 girls to share it with.  Here is to: Mentoring.  Here is to: Missions.  And here is to: Messes!  Let’s do it girls!




  1. I thank God every day for you and Darron. KD and the girls couldn't have better mentors. May they be a blessing in return to you as well!

    1. Thank-you for your vote on confidence. I know the girls will be and are already a blessing. Good has ordained their days here. Thanks for your sacrifice of letting go!

  2. Ruth, Thank you SO much for your post! I am SO grateful for your willingness to care for and mentor these girls, one of which is my niece! (Miss Paige) It's hard to believe that she's a world away!!! But I grateful that God put her under your caring arms of love! Grateful too...for your story of being a mentoree! ...for your generosity in mentoring these girls (our girls!) ...for the fact that they can be a blessing in your life this year!! Blessings to you all! Aunt Lisa

    1. Dear Aunt Lisa.... How fun to have your Paige with us! She is learning much and embracing life here. Many exciting things are ahead. Thank-you.

  3. Thank you for allowing God to use you and your family to mentor these young women for His Kingdom!!


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