Over the past 9+ years that Heather and I have served as missionaries, we've grown accustomed to the GREYness of our job description. I recently was looking over some older descriptions for our teammates, laughing to myself at how we tried to put on paper exactly what do and how much it changes from year to year. My brother is getting ready to head overseas himself this year and it is interesting (and incredible) to watch how he goes from a 9-5 job where you punch in and out to jumping into these GREY waters where in some ways you are ALWAYS on the clock and you have to discipline yourself and prioritize your time. This last week for us was particularly striking - want a peek? Here was Jason's job description for the week:
Sunday: eat breakfast with some of the Christian Church Italian youth in Bari, attend worship service at the Bari Christian Church, drive home to Ancona (5 hours) stopping by to visit one of our church members at his family country home
Monday: eat lunch with staff from local Apostolic church and help translate for 3 Canadian guests; spend 3+ hours translating for Canadian speaker (Graham Powell) during their evening service
Tuesday: go with Brian to visit Scottish family to go over funeral details; return to translate for Graham Powell for 5 hours
Wednesday: accompany Marcus and Brian to the secular funeral for this Scottish family (Brian did the actual service and did a SMASHING job); host Life Group at our house
Thursday: Holiday (1st of May is Labor Day) - spent most of the day fishing with Jacob - not a bite! We then walked around the Patron Saint market with our team, that night was 'Finance Party' at Brian's where we do our monthly finances together (you know, misery loves company)
Friday: went with Brian to meet the pastor of the church in Bologna where Rosa goes when she's away studying, spent some time encouraging, reading Scripture and praying for her; went to dinner at a friend's house
Saturday: this is our normal day off; spent the morning fishing with Jacob (not a bite!) and met up with Maurizio to spend some time talking with him
Around these appointments, this last week I wrote a sermon, maintained email communication, kept in touch with people here via phone calls, worked on figuring out how to transfer money internationally, worked on our intern's schedule and housing and tried to love on my wife and kids.
There are some weeks I absolutely LOVE the pace and the differences and there are other weeks where I wonder what it would be like to have a more 'normal' job or ministry. To those out there preparing to go to the field - it's a wild ride!