With the exception of last year’s momma’s heart bursting forth putting words to a blog post full of a new song... Mother’s Day usually carries a sour taste like the bad twang of a busted guitar for me. Last year I was exuberantly expecting this grand, fluffy dream of family style meals every day and all the things that go with what expectant mothers expect. And the reality is so vastly different than what I imagined in some good ways and in some bad. I am learning that other cultures just do things differently and I need to respect the differences. Also I am learning that sometimes things change and are completely out of your control. But that’s a little beside the point the point just yet.
Even though Mother’s Day is challenging for me- I typically still get to celebrate my own wonderful mom in some form. But yesterday was different and the absence of that small moment where I honor her in person made me sad and I know it made her sad too (which in turn makes me more sad 😔)
We didn’t just leave behind a whole bunch of physical luxuries and conveniences when we came here—we left behind a slew of moments and opportunities and hearts; beating hearts of the ones we love and miss. We left our chance to be involved in birthday parties and celebrations of various milestones. We left behind so much more than we even realized. And then stepped into a life where you feel guilty all of the time for whatever you do- charging your phone or when it rains because you aren’t getting wet but your neighbors might be, or taking Robenson to the beach because he did so great on his exams but knowing his dad is out there missing him but currently unable to care for him. We feel guilt for so many things and it’s something I have never had to experience before- we live with so little compared to what we had back home but it’s so much compared to nothing at all.
Anyway, I avoided social media yesterday because I saw so many of you celebrating the two things my heart longs for right now: my own mom and my own children. I did my honorary mom post because my mom is my superhero but I had so much more on my heart. I am thankful for those who reached out and encouraged me. Though it seems small and insignificant—it matters and makes a huge difference. To know we are not here alone means the world to us and helps all the hard things here seem not so lonely.
A lot of missionaries here leave every three months for some sort of break and we now see why!! Things just start to get to you- right into your heart and your mind. I also know the Lord calls us out of suffering and into abundance. We are praying and expecting abundance in our next year. We realize there is a stigma that missionaries have to suffer (we put this on ourselves) and have to miss out on things like a working fridge or a regular bed but we realize missionaries suffer enough. We are face to face every day with the effects sin has and face to face with different dangers and corruption that we cannot even begin to explain to you in a blog because the depths go too deep. We face all sorts of unknowns and misunderstandings, all the while sweating our behinds off and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes!! We are starting to grapple with the realization that we need to invest into ourselves and our wellbeing. We are amping up our prayer life and taking time out of each day to pour into ourselves and our marriage. Please be in prayer for us as we learn to flourish here. Our goal is not to barely make it but to FLOURISH and for the flourish to become contagious to those around us.
We are preparing for a trip home at the end of June to do more fundraising and would love to share with you (in person!) what the Lord has done and is doing here. We would love to share with you new visions He has laid on our hearts and all that we have learned. We are excited to be on American soil and have some of what is convenient- warm showers, power all the time, internet that actually works, refrigerators, coffee makers, fast food, COFFEE SHOPS, and creamer that goes in the fridge! Plus a million other things 😂
We ask that you consider partnering with our vision here financially and in prayer! We couldn’t have done all the things we have been able to without people like you back home ♥️ we could also use prayer as we navigate upcoming decisions about the second year and what it will look like- I can tell you it will be quite different.
IF YOU HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR INTO THE BLOG...
let me lighten your gaze with a picture of Robenson soaking up the view of the beach because he earned a beach day! He worked really hard and received an 8 out 9 on his exam! This is the highest any of our kids have done and we encouraged them all with the promise of beach day but Robenson was the only one who arose to the challenge. We are definitely proud of his efforts and see so much potential in him- today was his 16th birthday and we celebrated him well ♥️ Thanks to you guys back home for providing us with the financial means to do these things.
Be blessed friends & as always,
Abide in Love
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw