So a few ppl seem to have a misconception of what it's like serving on an island...
In particular St. Kitts.
Now, you've been seeing all the positive notes, and blessings that there are here, right? That's all I've sent you...the positive.
Well, after giving this a lot of consideration, I thought it would be beneficial for you to taste some of the "not so sweet" side.
The negative... :( :( :( :( :(
You see, a lot of ppl might be thinking, "man, they're living on an island, enjoying the beach, rum, and all they have to do is preach."
Just in case there are some that think it's all peaches and cream, let's clear that up...
This will affect you in one of two ways, 1) you will say, "wow, Jehovah is helping them through all that?? I can do it too." or 2) you will never want to do what we did
So for those that are easily discouraged, this post isn't for you.
Btw, don't think I'm "venting". Let's call it "being informative".
Where do I start?
1) For one I don't even want to BEGIN to describe the difficulty of leaving a well paying job, very comfortable home, my friends, and family (oh, and my basketball goal). The difficulty of leaving Summer Spanish congregation...my last meeting there was TERRIBLE! I thought I was going to die that night because of my grief. I walked into the hall that following Sat to drop off my key, and with all the lights off, only the outside light partially illuminating the hallway, I just stood there...
and stared around...and remembered...
Too hard to describe.
So let's touch on the challenges of the island itself; what we are facing right now.
1) Culture shock is REAL!!! To arrive somewhere and not recognize anything, anyone, and have very very few ppl to relate to is tough. The first 3 days I was here, I wanted to come back home. I was sitting on the bed, staring at the floor in silence. Candace looks at me and says, "are you ok??".
You know, Candace and I had the option to use our money to either visit first, then scrape the money up again to come back, or just use that money to come.
Jehovah knew what he was doing...
He knows that if I had visited first, I probably wouldn't have come back.
However, although St. Kitts is not at all what we expected (primarily in terms of high poverty and RIDICULOUS food prices, amongst other things), we're learning to overcome those things...Candace is learning that faster than me.
2) Although the heat is not as intense as Memphis heat, the humidity is insane.
W.E. A.R.E. A.L.W.A.Y.S. S.W.E.A.T.I.N.G.
Example...right now, I'm laying on the bed typing...not moving.
If I get up and walk to the fridge, drop something, bend down to pick it up, I'm sweating on my chest, back, and face. Like...dripping sweat.
It's so irritating. You can't really run the A/C either, b/c electricity is insane here too.
So you have to learn to live with only a fan. And Candace has eczema, which is worsened by the heat.
Where do I begin? What do you spend on groceries back home every 2 weeks?
Well if you come here, DOUBLE THAT...IN US DOLLARS.
We are doing everything in our God-given power to live as simply as possible. We put like 12 things in our grocery basket the other day, and it was $138 US.
Those things won't get us near 2 weeks. As a head, what do you do? I just prayed to Jehovah like 15 minutes ago...I told him everything, how I feel, how I don't want to be forced to return too fast, how I'm determined to fulfill my vow to him to pioneer (btw I'm regular auxiliary pioneering), and how I'm scared...
Yes, scared. For the first time in my working life, I don't have the "security" of knowing I've got a paycheck. That's very scary...
Matthew 6:33, 34
Matthew 6:33, 34
Matthew 6:33, 34
The only time we get to treat ourselves is when someone brings us fish or a family invites us over to eat something special.
We've eaten oatmeal for breakfast for 2.5 weeks S.T.R.A.I.G.H.T.
Look them up. They're hideous, they're fast, and they sting, even when not provoked. They even get you in the bed. The medium sized ones are so gross...you DON'T want to see a big one...ughhhhhh
They make roaches (who just run away) seem like sweet little yorkies.
5) Being out in service in the heat with a 3 year old...nuff said.
The water is not drinkable here...FORGET what the St. Kitts website says. It's cloudy, and tastes like sweat. You think I'm joking??
You have to boil the water (which makes the house hotter), refill the jugs, and put them back in the fridge to cool until next use.
You know how old that gets? You can NEVER get enough water here...ever. So we run out all the time. So please stop taking for granted your ability to just turn on the faucet and drink, not only safe water, but water that doesn't taste like monkey sweat.
7) Cold showers
Now, I'm actually starting to get used to this one, just because of the heat.
Our first few days, we'd all have to take cold showers, because the water wouldn't have heat.
So I'm in the shower, shivering out of my mind, praying, "Jeehho--vvvaahh, pplease help me get tttthru thissss"...because by this time, I'm kinda mad...
Now many times, our water would run out. I don't mean "hot water would run out", THE WATER would run out, mainly at the same time everyday.
Therefore, knowing what time it would happen, we'd have filled up bottles of water ahead of time.
Once we get home from the meeting, sure enough, the water is out. We'd then take showers with the bottles of water.
1) Pour a LITTLE bit of water on the towel
2) Do your thing
3) Rinse off with the rest of the bottled water
4) Get dressed, sweat again.
Jesus said, "never be anxious about the next day"...
That hits me way differently than it did back home. In a way, it may be beneficial where we look financially...if we were set, would I have to depend on Jehovah the way I am trying to now?
Candace and I are at the dinner table one day talking about needing to get groceries: "we don't have anything in that fridge, we need to go to the store soon"...
So literally, as we're speaking, a brother shows up at the door and says, "hey, I brought you guys some fish"...
Did you watch the Youtube video, "Preach to the fish"?
That was the fish the brother brought us. So for that day, Jehovah provided.
Jehovah knows what we need. I don't know how he's going to get us through this year, but it's only going to be him, and not money.
I hope to come home and bring with me a newfound confidence in Jehovah's sustaining power...I'm seeing it everyday here. It's still very tough though.
I'm learning that it's ok to be scared...
As one good friend put it, "Remember when Jesus said about someone, 'never in all Israel have I seen so much faith'? Well, Jehovah and Jesus know what they're capable of...
But they are so impressed when we see it too."
Our goal is to make it a year with Jehovah's help, but as the C.O. here mentioned to me, if after reasonable time, it becomes evident that it's too hard, then your decision is before you.
We mentioned to another need-greater couple from the States, "what determines if we failed here? Like if don't make it here as long as we intended?"
The wife says, "if you left tomorrow (don't), if wouldn't be a failure. I mean, how many ppl back home just "want" to do this? You guys just got up, left everything, and came here to help out of your love for Jehovah, and you did it with a kid...
So no, it wouldn't be a failure at all".
Those were some of the most upbuilding words that I'll always take with me.
And it's things like that that bring back to my mind Joshua 1:9:
"Be courageous and strong. Do not suffer shock or be terrified, for Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go."