Here's a few things that may have made the difference for our stickability...
HAVING FAMILY PETS
Yes, having pets kept me from thinking about leaving the mission field time time and again, because what would we ever do with them. Taking them to the States would have been out of our price range and finding a great family to take them in would have been hard as well.
LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS
We've always lived simply, every since we got married. We most likely have the lowest support level of any missionary in our region, but we've rarely worried about money. We always have enough to eat and I don't think we'd ever leave the field for a lack of money. We've worked outside jobs. We scrimp and save. And somehow God rewards.
LEARNING THE LANGUAGE WELL
Byron might laugh if he ever reads this post! He is an excellent language learner. He basically taught himself Portuguese as a MK teen. He arrived in Brazil when he was about 15. When he came back after college in the States to be a missionary, he breezed through language school in a few short months. I have a high vocabulary and a good understanding of grammar, but my accent is bad and I make frequent errors - but I'm always learning and not afraid to just speak up. I think many missionaries never get to a happy place with a foreign language. Hence they feel stressed and unable to communicate.
We also worked super hard to make sure all of our boys spoke well and could read and write in Portuguese. William even took the Brazilian college board exam - all in Portuguese - and did just great!
MAKING NATIONAL FRIENDS
Hardly a day goes by that one of our neighbors doesn't pass by the house and sit for a bit or help with a project and vice versa. Below is Byron with our nearest and dearest neighbor on the right and a man he met from the far side of our neighborhood because of the old car seen below.
Once an American student visiting in our city while working on a research project questioned whether anyone in our city really knew who we were. She stated rather publicly that we isolated ourselves from Brazilians and were unknown in our town.
We don't know everyone, but we have worked hard to get out and about and make friends, contacts and oh yeah - disciples!
EXPLORING OUR SURROUNDINGS
Especially when the boys were small, we took them to all kinds of places to see and enjoy the beauty of Brazil. As young homeschoolers we studied some of the history of Brazil together. My boys have been all over the valley in which we live and seen more history and geography than their neighbor counterparts.