A Year Ago I Was a Missionary in Honduras…Today I Served Chicken Sandwiches in Suburbia

I’ve been needing to write for awhile.  And not like the I-feel-obligated-to-blog-every-so-often needing to write, but really needing to write.  But for some reason, I just haven’t really been able to do it.  Every time I sit down at my computer, motivated and ready to write, I close the WordPress tab just as quickly as I opened it.

The problem is, this Great Story I’ve been trying to live hasn’t felt, well, quite so great anymore.

By that, I mean that it is not as exciting as my life was several months ago.  This time last year, I was living with Josh and the rest of our team in a small concrete room in the back of a church in Tablon, Honduras.  Our days were filled with walking around the rural mountain town with Pastor Jesus, meeting with and praying for people in the community, gathering at Duma’s house with her family as they prepared corn tortillas, rice and beans for us, bathing in the river (in swimsuits of course), hand washing our laundry and hanging it to dry (for days and days as they got extra rinse cycles from the rain), and going to bed on our sleeping mats on the floor and in our sleeping bags at 8:30 because it was dark and there was just nothing else to do.


Today, I woke up, ate a bowl of cereal and said a quick good morning to my nephew Henry, went to work at Chick-fil-A, hung out with Henry a bit, ate dinner at my sister and brother-in-law’s church, and hung out with Josh at a coffee shop.

My life is SO different than it was a year ago.  But, I’m realizing that different is okay. 

My sister has been doing a 31 day blog challenge, and every day, she writes about a particular lesson learned.  Today, she wrote about cultivating gratitude, no matter what your situation is. 

I’ve been thinking about this topic for the last few weeks, and even though my life after the World Race is definitely different than I thought it was going to be, even just a few months ago, here are some things that I know I am grateful for.

I am thankful that I get to spend this season with my sister who is my best friend, my brother-in-law who always makes me laugh, and my sweet nephew Henry who I am convinced can do no wrong.  The best part(s) of my day is when his face lights up and he says, “Aunt Jen!” when I enter the room or get home from work.


I am thankful that Josh and I have been welcomed into the Central Baptist Church Kansas City family.  This church is an amazing body of believers who love to love you.  They are incredibly diverse, and almost if not every person has been an international missionary or involved in international and domestic missions in some way.  Cheers to having people who understand what it’s like to choke on Cambodian dust while riding in a tuk tuk, or to hear, “Mzungu! Mzungu!  How are you?” every day in Africa.  🙂

I am thankful that the wonderful people at Chick-fil-A Liberty decided to take a chance on me, even knowing that I might not be around in a few months when we (hopefully) move to Georgia to start a new chapter working for Adventures in Missions.  It’s been awesome, humbling, tiring, and an adventure every day.  Not to mention that it’s very nice to have a paycheck after more than a year of not getting those exciting pieces of paper every two weeks.


So, life might not be traveling-the-world-exciting-Facebook-status-worthy right now, but I am grateful for what it is-a season full of love, rest, expectancy, and of course, pumpkin spice chai.  🙂



(I wrote this blog a couple of months ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting it.  African internet is…difficult, lol).


Today I got to stand (actually kneel and stick my head out the rails) on a platform 145 feet above the Nile, and photograph my friends bungee jumping. It was so fun, especially since I love capturing the moment to remember forever.

Jen Bungee Photo 2 Jen Bungee Photo

Although it was so fun to see them freak out, and ultimately conquer their fears all in the name of adrenaline rush, it was also kind of hard. See, bungee jumping and rafting the Nile at Adrift in Uganda is kind of a World Race staple. Ever since Josh and I signed up for the Race over two years ago, I’ve been reading blogs about this very opportunity.

As much as Josh and I wanted to do it, we just can’t afford it. A jump and rafting cost $100 each, and multiply that by two for both of us. It just wasn’t going to happen. So, I settled with watching my friends jump, and being the photographer.

I’ve realized that I have the dreaded disease called FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. It can strike at any time, any day. It whispers in your ear that if you are not at the forefront of what is happening, if you don’t get to experience everything to the fullest, that you will miss out on the most important thing, interactions, and adventures that will ever happen. Or, that if you are somehow not able to do whatever or be wherever, that you are less than those who are.

I had a great time up on that platform. But, as soon as I came down, and saw the faces of my friends that did jump, I realized what I had missed. Then, I got depressed. I’ve been fighting it all afternoon. (It probably doesn’t help that I am also tired from a rough night of sleep last night. It’s crazy how much that makes a difference on your body).

But, the Lord reminded me of something that the dad of one of my squadmates said at the Parent Vision Trip in Kenya. At one of the worship sessions, two of the cooks sang some hymns. First, the woman singing the melody sang, then the other woman joined in with the harmony. Their voices harmonized beautifully.

Later, the dad said something that I thought was incredibly profound. He told the group that he had always felt that because he was more of a quiet, reserved person, that he was somehow less important to the big picture. He said that when he heard the first woman singing, it was definitely beautiful. But, when the second woman joined in with the harmony, it was even more beautiful; it was complete. He realized that the “background” people are just as important as the ones who are front and center in the action. They are the ones that enrich it.

This is such a beautiful concept to think about. God uses us in every role: the preacher, the hearer of the Word, the introvert, the extrovert, the writer, the talker, the missionary, the office worker, and on and on. Some may be more on the front lines and more visible than others, but every role is necessary and important.

So, I don’t have to worry about missing out, because even if I am not “in the action”, it is just as awesome. I got to experience this firsthand when most of the rest of my squad went white water rafting the Nile, and Josh and I, along with a few others, stayed behind. I ended up going kayaking with a few of the other girls at sunset, and it was absolutely perfect.  FOMO conquered. (For now).





Here are a couple of my favorite shots from bungee jumping.