Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unworthy Blessings

Missionaries sacrifice.

They sacrifice family, friends, culture and customs. They miss the fellowship of like minded believers. They do without certain frills & foods that define us as Americans and they normally never complain.

I'm not complaining now, but rather sharing with you my blessings.

Tori, fellow missionary wife in Croatia posted recently about No stick Cooking Spray.

What? No Stick Cooking Spray? You ask.

Yep...that's one of the things we wives sacrifice.

We don't have fast food options like you guys do in the states. So that leaves us wives in the kitchen each and every lunch and dinner trying to come up with a meal. Neither do we have the convenience foods that one American family may have their pantry and freezer chock full of. So we start from scratch. And this usually doesn't even include no stick spray. ---I know...ouch!

Tori couldn't buy it in Croatia until recently. Her husband just about sprinted through the store to show Tori his fantastic discovery. She jubilantly filled her buggy full till she saw the price, exchanged it in her head and discovered that each can of "Pam" spray would cost her about $16. So with much sadness the cans, every last one of them, went back on the shelf.

I just about cried when I read this.

To have it so close.......

Not having it at all is one thing, but having it so close and not be able to afford it is another. It's worse I think.

You see Missionaries not only have to keep themselves 'afloat', but most have to pay the rent, utilities and furnishing of the new church plant that may or may not have a few folks attending. For us in Portugal the Euro/Dollar exchange rate is terrible. It's better than it was last summer, but still it's not good.

$16 Pam spray just isn't in the budget. Even if it does make life in the kitchen just a little easier.

My heart goes out to her. She had a friend send her some last year, but those cans are long gone....sniff, sniff.

I too had some cans sent to me at Christmas time from a dear friend. She sent three cans. Liquid gold I call them. One is almost ku-put and I have two more precious cans left. I don't use as much as I did in the States spraying as little as I can get away with. My nightmare is to be without this stuff again. I don't want to think about that....

Hazelnut coffee absolute treat for me!

Chili, Ranch, taco, cheese, and gravy mixes. Ahhhh...the convenience!

Don't forget peanut butter. How do you raise kids without it?

A huge "Thank You" to everyone that sent packages this Christmas. You know who you are, and so does our Lord. May His blessings be upon you!

Monday Michael went in search of portable tables. The kind most churches use in fellowship halls. We were told how difficult they are to find them here. We were so excited and thankful when he found these 6 foot folding tables! One step closer.....

And look at these cuties waiting for school to begin. I better go...

God is so Good!
Have a great day!


Melissa Wertz said...

I am printing this and reading it in GA's tonight. Stop by my blog and email me privately your address.


Oh my! I just saw that photo with you and Lib. You are getting skinny! :D

Pam--in Estonia said...

Since my husband took this job that has taken us all over the world (and no, it isn't the CIA) I have really come to have a deeper appreciation for missionaries. We have those extra perks that come from working for the government, so I can't count myself as having suffered any hardships, but I can understand your suffering firsthand. I pray that I can use this experience to bring comfort to missionaries somehow. There are just so many things you don't think about unless you've gone through them yourself.

The Hat Chick said...

Isn't it amazing how the little things make your world go 'round?

Amrita said...

In India a lot of this stuff is available, but we can 't afford it.

The dollar is very strong against the rupee, so most missionaries can afford to buy such stuff. I have heard my missionary friends exclaim "So cheap" every so often.

In India missionaries can live a very comfortable life, their standard of living is much higher than Indians.

Anne said...

I can definitely relate to this!!! We do have Pam in Thailand, for which I am thankful! But some items we don't have and we sometimes splurge and sometimes don't. Fruits and veggies are very cheap here (a cucumber for 9 cents!) so we realize that some things are "worth" the price:).

Two guys from my church just arrived today, bringing with them some requested items. Our joy turned to disappointment when we realized some "Shout" spilled onto those precious Ranch dressing packets ~ so close and yet now they can't be used. Sorry for rambling:).

Tori said...

Oh wow, I feel like a celebrity, mentioned on Portugal Bound!!!

Now you know I'm drooling at that photo of my favorite Wal-mart brand of spray. Enjoy it!
I have an oder in with my MIL, hopefully it'll be here sooner than later!

Anonymous said...

We do take a lot of stuff for granted here in the States. You know, I never use cooking spray. I don't really know why, but I just don't. Maybe that's why I get so many extra calories.


Starla said...

My friend and I were talking about how we take things for granted. And I told him how I was reading this blog from another missionary and they posted and told how excited they were because they found shower gel. I had to stop and thank God for shower gel.

Jungle Mom said...

HEY, was that me? I found the shower gel!!!
The thing I miss the most is zip lock baggies.
Here in Paraguay some things are cheaper, like utilities and rent, but other things, like fuel and electronics are super expensive. I recently found Pop Tarts and bought a box, which I am saving for my birthday...tomorrow.

Tammy said...

We have had to adapt in many ways to life in Guatemala. Our first term here, I missed Miracle Whip, instant pudding, boxed mac & cheese, etc... A care package now and then helped me get through it. But after a few years, I started missing them less, and we just learned to like what was available, or learned to make substitutes for the convenience foods.

A big plus is that we missionaries eat a lot healthier, since we prepare more of our meals from scratch! ;o)

Sandy Sellers said...

I always tell people that you are the perfect missionary. Love ya

Rob and Deanna said...

I feel your pain. My parents were missionaries in Papua New Guinea for years. The people there eat sweet potatoes, bananas, papaya, pork & brown rice for most all of their meals. We missed white potatoes so much, plus sugar that actually dissolved. The list could go on, but I wouldn't trade the time we had there for anything. It was a Blast! Oh, one nice thing was that the fat on beef was their favorite part so...the lean steaks & burger were the cheapest!! :-) Just so you know, the picture of my pantry that is back together is one I took after I put it all back up. I texted the disaster to my husband, who is a custom builder BTW ;-). Maybe I'll finally get a new shelf. :-) I am not complaining, he has plenty of things to do, my shelf is really not that important. It works, & that is all that matters. :-)

~Heather~ said...

Praise the Lord for your blessings...I can relate. Our family gathers around the suitcases that our friends bring to us...happily pulling out the treasures that we cannot get here. Although, I'm counting my blessings, for it sounds like I may be able to obtain more USA goodies here than some missionary wives can. But I agree, I miss the no-stick PAM spray big time! =)
Have a great day!

Hi! I'm Grace said...

I enjoyed reading your post, Nina.
I am glad that you still have the good food there. God bless you.

Tabatha said...

"Oh, stop complaining!" I am speaking to myself here. Really, just this morning I was making out yet another grocery list and complaining about the rising prices and lowering quantities (the companies really think they are subtle, don't they?) and mumbling and grumbling and helping nothing but making the weight of breadwinning heavier on D's shoulders.
So you know.... I am making notes for future reference. And in the meantime, I'll try to stop complaining!

Love you and all of yours!!!

Anonymous said...

Nina, I learned something from this. Thank you. Without it being spelled out, I did not have a clue of how difficult it is to have the most common items available to missionaries, that are available in the states. I pray the Lord to remind me of this.

btw, your old lady comment box is hilarious!

Jack/Rachel Baxter said...

From Algarve: peanut butter here no problem. Maple syrup- well, just have to look for it and sour cream was easy once I remembered a bit of German.
Cooking spray- so far, also not in Portugal that we know of , but we keep on looking. Was searcing Google and found yr page.
Wishes for success in your Christian work, from other side of Tiber.