Skip to main content

Balancing Act

My twenty years of service in Brazil have been full of many joys and quite a few heartaches when it comes to helping individuals.  Seems I'm always investing my time and energy to help others, but often don't see the results I expect.  As a mother/wife/homeschool teacher I'm always limited in how much time I can use in assisting others.   I learned the hard way that running all over town to help others usually meant that my boys and home were not receiving the needed daily attention they deserved.  It's a definitely a balancing act.

These days I'm left with my last homeschooler, no more diapers and babies to supervise, no more toys to pick up from all over the house.  My last homeschooler is finishing up his ninth grade work for the school year.  I'm glad we found the right niche with the right books and a great system.  He does his work mostly independently with several self checking subjects.  Home life is a breeze this year.

But then, we needed some extra funds and I got a job or two!  Two days a week in the big city teaching English and some private English students here in our little town.  It's amazing how it all adds up to stuck the energy of a person right out.  Riding the bus into town for an hour and a half each way doesn't help much.

And what about ministry?  With the necessity of a "real" out of the home job {my other work isn't real, btw :)}, I had to consider what gets priority in the church work during this term of service.

I chose to stick to:
  • one discipleship person, one day per week (preference for new converts and women)
  • substituting for others for Sunday school (recently this has been every Sunday)
  • taking care of the nursery during Sunday worship (the littles ones were being neglected without a structured nursery)
  • weekly evangelism with the young people (I have to admit this one often tires me out with all the walking, but I do enjoy it and I'm working to make it happen most weeks)
  • ministry of prayer for our youth.
Every once in a while something unusual comes up. It's like a real fire for firemen in a quiet town. They work to keep the firehouse clean and trucks ready, they train and practice and take classes, and then a call comes in.  That call messes up the routine of chores and training, but that is what they are there for, right?

A month or so ago we got such a call.  While on my normal weekly visit to do a Bible study with a newly converted young lady, it was obvious that something was going on in the house.  The young woman seemed upset and there was a constant flow of traffic in and out of the home and on the sidewalk.  Finally I stopped and asked if I should come back on another day.  Then I asked what was going on.  Seems a close cousin had been arrested that day and had just been released to come home.  He was a seventeen year old, drug addict, smoker, out of school and had just robbed a store the night before to get money for his addictions.

My "disciple" asked if I would walk with her to her uncle's house and pray with the family.  I did.  It was all sort of crazy, reminiscent of events with one of our boys, and very chaotic.  I had to listen to many stories of the same event by all present.  Finally I asked to pray for the boy and  the family.  There were no church people, they were not good Catholics, they just wanted someone to ask God Almighty for help.  I did.

After that first contact, I made some calls and got information about a Christian drug rehab about an hour away.   We volunteered to take the family and fellow to visit if the boy wanted.  It was better than thinking about the state home for delinquents so he agreed to go and see the place.  The family was happy and liked the center.  Plans were made to make an official visit to apply for acceptance.  Another trip, more fuel, another full day used up.

To actually be admitted there were medical exams to take care of and documents to be gathered.  We gave pointers and made some calls to get the ball rolling and told the family to let us know when they were ready.  No call.  It's a hard decision to make on one hand and they began to stall.  Finally all was ready - people and documents - and a day set to go.  We took the fellow with his parents and an adult sister and his belongings.  Another day, another trip.

fellow in red shirt

Two days later, the boy left the program and the family brought him home.  He cried to come home.

Over the years I've invested my time, money and prayers in many individuals.  Sometimes for good and many times with no visible results.  Was my time wasted?

That night when I sat with the young lady for our Bible study - the night we ended up going to see her uncle, she had yet to make a personal decision about Christ.  That Sunday after our interrupted study, she asked to receive Christ as Lord and Saviour. She told me that my concern and love towards her uncle and his family showed her something about God.   Was my time wasted?

Please pray for this young man and his family that each one pictured and others in the home might come to know Jesus Christ personally and that the whole house might be changed.  Pray for the newly converted cousin that she might be a catalyst in reaching the whole household.

John 4:53

So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.


  1. Beautiful testimony that our perspective is not always God's. None of a Christian's experience is wasted.


Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by! Leave me a message if you would.

Popular posts from this blog

What's Next?

That seems to be the question every one asks us these days since we've arrived back in Sobradinho.  What's next?  What are you going to do now?  Where are you going?  A few people ask about how the boys are or things about my grandbabies or parents.  But not too many.  This week three people asked when I could start teaching English to their children again!

So what is next for The Athas in Brazil?  If you were able to attend one of our furlough meetings, hopefully you have some sort of idea.  If not, I'll try to give a brief answer to the big question.

Remember that trip we took all over interior Bahia back in the fall of 2017?  We visited over 200 communities over the course of about two weeks all within a few hours of where we live.  You can back to my post about it and review some of the details here...

Bahia Road Trip

Byron and I plan to begin evangelizing some of the nearest and neediest communities that we visited on our trip.  We came back with evangelism materials.  By…

Pressing On - Marriage on the Mission Field

That's us on our first furlough in 1998.  Byron was 33 and I was 32.  No gray hairs, no flab, two cute little MK's.  We'd been married for about 10 years and on the mission field for 4.  We stayed in Winston-Salem that year at one of the mission houses of Pleasant View Baptist Church.  We stayed for a whole year.  Byron worked some for a friend with a automotive repair shop that year and I stayed at home with William who was almost 4 and baby Dalton who turned two while we were there. We traveled together to visit all of our churches that year and made several big trips to Georgia and Maryland to visit with family.

Our first term of service on the mission field had been rough.   Language school, learning the ropes, figuring out how to deal with colleagues, two new babies, low finances.  Somehow we had made it through together.  We were okay and things were alright.  Now we were first term survivors on our way back.

Byron and I had met in Bible college.  We had some classes t…

Our Graduate

This Friday evening the youngest of our clan will finish up high school and move on to the next stage of his life - summer!  Oh, and then college and what not.

It's been an incredible eighteen years...

Greyson was always a cutie-pie with his blonde hair and blue eyes in a country where that was a rarity.  Word is that when he was around five or six years old on the island camp people would ask to take photos with him and that he would oblige for a small fee.  Cute and knew it?

For the most part he's been a joy, even though he doesn't comb his hair very often and making his bed doesn't come easy.  Perhaps his musical right sided brain could never deal with the structure of making a bed each day?  I'm hoping he'll learn at college!

As the last in the nest, Greyson enjoyed a few years of being an only child.  Byron and I got to take a long awaited road trip around southern Brazil with Greyson in tow.  We made some great memories and enjoy some sweet bonding moments...