Today as I looked over the stats of our joint blog, I realized that I end up writing a lot more than Ben has a chance to. It’s easy for me to quickly write something down about my daily doings and thinkings. So this is an attempt to explain what Ben is up to when we are not in the village. Here are [some of] the tasks he works day [and night] on:
- Researching and implementing ongoing big projects like buying computers and solar equipment for our project.
- Reporting to the funding partners back home who provide the funds for our project
- Planning the calendar of workshops and travel for the entire year to submit to the funders.
- Arranging travel for the majority of our team going to and from the village, often with the options of helicopter, plane and road trip.
- Completing his translation consultant training (yeah!!)
- Recruiting new teammates and supervising them through meetings and emails.
- Dealing with ‘hevis’ (problems) that come up in our project. Last week he spent hours on the phone talking to community and project leaders about a big hevi.
- Organizing building and vehicle projects for the whole team, which involves conversations with many experts: architects, mechanics, funding partners, etc.
- Responding to requests for updates and filling in yearly evaluations for our churches in the U.S.
- Skyping with the translators and helping them fix computer/translation software problems.
- Talking to translators about their personal problems. This includes giving advice when asked for it, and praying for them.
- Organizing typesetting (putting Acts into book form) and doing his share of the paperwork for that.
- When he isn’t busy doing all of the things above, he works on translation, checking the Arop translation (currently Titus) and three Onnele translations (currently 1 & 2 Timothy).
If you look at the [above] list, it might be apparent that there is more than one person can do in a normal ‘working’ week. For the last two years, since Ben took over managing our project, this has been the case. We have at times teetered on the edge of burnout. We’re trying to address some of these issues, and the addition of new teammates promises to help with the workload as well…but in all honesty, this has been a rather difficult stretch in our career as missionaries. I could write a whole blog post on burnout but it’s a raw subject and frankly I don’t have anything ‘uplifting’ to say except that we are working on it. It feels like a roller coaster–we get to a good place and start a nice ride downhill where everybody is getting a good night’s sleep and taking weekends off….and then suddenly there’s a bunch of things due at once and we are back to going uphill again. I suppose the one thing I can say is that we have to take responsibility for ourselves because we are the ones who have to choose to live in a healthy way. I am trying to navigate how best to support Ben with all of the tasks he is responsible for but also to be transparent about how our family is doing. In a couple of weeks, we will have 10 days as a family vacationing on our way to the village–I think this is a good start!