The longer I am a “missionary” the harder I grapple with “Romance”in the field. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not dissatisfied with my spouse of 20 years. But honestly, dating and being romantic, in a third world country is daunting. It’s not that we haven’t made valiant attempts at it, but drunk men on the road with long knives, a very long tiring drive to a decent restaurant (3 hours round trip), the lack of easy safe places to go, just take it out of us. We won’t mention (or maybe we will) the hot weather, constant non stop demands and pressures, and the spiritual warfare that is never ending. UGH! Romance?!
On our summer trip to America, a church friend asked, “What is the biggest challenge you are facing in the field right now?” Never good at hiding my honest feelings I blurted, “Romance!” That got a few passer-by eyebrows raising. Hopefully it got a few more saints praying!!!!! ha ha
A few days after that fantastic church conversation, someone gifted Darron and I to a week alone. Honestly, the accommodations were nice but not exquisite. There was not an abundance of activities that we would indulge or get distracted with. It was simply time alone. Lots and lots and lots and lots of it. Uninterrupted. Uncomplicated. I relished in the fact that I could turn the AC off and open the door in the middle of the July warmth and allow my Papua blood to adjust. I basked in preparing simple meals with fun, clean, cheap, easy American options. And a dishwasher. We hiked trails and more trails and more trails. We watched a marriage series of DVD’s that was so sharpening to both of us. I drank deep of being alone and being still together. ROMANCE? On the scale of romance it would probably rate a 5 or 6 out of a 10.
Positively, I LEARNED something. That romance and love have different seasons and different ways of expressing itself. I discovered that it was completely enough to be alone with the one I love. That we didn’t long for great eateries or parks or shows or entertainment. We just needed to carve time for each other. In Papua I longed for places to go and nice things to do. Yet in reality, when we were In America, we only chose to hike and eat out occasionally.
How does romance look now? Now that we are back in mission world? Well, its back to life and pressure and not enough time, but 2 weeks in a row we have carved out several hours in the middle of the day. Thanks to one of our “”girls” who has offered to manage the younger ones. Yes, we are completely alone, in our room, with the door shut and the phones off. Is it highly romantic? Nope. But for this season, I now know, that this is exactly how we can have TEN, yes a score of 10, in Mission Romance.
So to seasoned “Missionary Mary”,who told me that this is how her and her husband have survived many many years here. To all the other couples here and flung around the world, serving. May your soul be fully satisfied with the one whom God gave you to love. May your cup overflow with ideas toward each other, in how to be intentional. And may you grant each other the time (quality time, not falling into bed exhausted time) to be still and know that you both still love each other deeply. Keep praying my dear eye raising church members because Romance in the Mission world is a lot of work! Thanks for asking good questions.