Following our calling to the Dominican Republic

A simple question


Today, someone sent me a message that simply asked…

“How can I pray for you?”

I cannot tell you what it meant.  I cannot tell you how long it has been since someone asked me that simple question!

You know what it did?  It gave me PERMISSION to be honest…

…honest with my friend…

…and honest with myself!

You see, I’m struggling right now.

As much as we feel so blessed to be where we are and doing what we are doing, third world living is HARD!  It definitely takes lots of adjusting to not have the modern conveniences that I have had for 40+ years, to adjusting to heat with no air conditioning, to not having clean drinking water flowing freely from the tap, etc., etc., etc…

Even though those things are tough, the things that I am struggling with are:

1) Loss of freedom–  When we lived in the states, and I needed some “me time”, I simply jumped into my car and drove away.  I could get a pedicure…or go to the gym…or grab coffee with a friend.  The closest real city is a minimum of an hour away.  We have a car but I don’t feel safe enough to drive in the Capital yet.  If you have ever visited here (or any other 3rd world country), then you understand.  So, “meeting a friend for coffee” requires much planning and possibly numerous means of transportation.

2) Missing my female support system– As a mom, everyone in the family tends to “dump” on you.  God created women to be the nurturer.  Whenever Mo, Lauren, or Lexie are struggling or having a bad day, I feel it or hear about it.  I love that my husband and daughters feel safe enough to come to me, and I wouldn’t change that for ANYTHING in the world.  However, in the states, I had a place to “dump”.  I could meet with girlfriends and chat about the struggles of womanhood…or call them on the phone without it costing a million and one dollars!  Just as humor does not translate well, neither does trying to explain emotions.  Plus, I would just sound like a spoiled, first world crybaby.  My friends in the village have plenty to complain about but they don’t!  They are made of so much more toughness than I am!!!

3) Missing being spiritually fed–  Luckily, our church in the states has their sermons broadcast live…and saved for future viewing.  Nevertheless, it’s not the same.  I understand more clearly the verse in Mathew 18:20:

For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.

I do feel His presence when I am worshipping in my church in the states with my church family.  As a missionary on the field, my relationship with Christ is much more intentional and purposeful than it was before.  It is more important than ever to spend that time with Him…even when I am struggling to hear His voice.

Before we moved here, I read everything that I could find about missionaries.  Every single thing that I read kept talking about taking time away from your community to recharge…every month!  That sounds easy enough right.  Wrong!  As a missionary, you don’t have extra money to get away every month.

However, when we wait too long to get away, we are less effective to the ones that we serve.

We waited wayyyyyy too long this time.  We were burned out, irritable, snappy with one another and others, etc.  Basically, we weren’t much fun to be around.

We are lucky to live within a 3.5 hour drive to our missionary friends that live near the beach in Cabrera!  This past week, we took 3 days and relaxed with our friends.  We soaked up rays, played in the surf, got sand between our toes, and filled each other with love and support!  They understand the struggles that we have…because they have them too!

Before this weekend, I no longer recognized me.  I had been replaced with a bitter, angry, unloving person that forgot how to laugh.  I missed me!

I am not 100% back to who I was…

…maybe I will never be that person again…

…maybe that is not who God created me to be….

…but, with one weekend with good friends…

…and one simple question…

…I am able to be honest and am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


If you get nothing else from this post, please remember this simple question:

“How can I pray for you?”

This may allow the recipient to take a deep breath and be honest…


For reals…How can I pray for you?

11 thoughts on “A simple question

  1. That’s great Tamara. I love the raw emotion and honesty. So well written i had to read it to my wife! she enjoyed equally as well. Life gets in the way sometimes no matter where we are, but I am sure of one thing that’s evident in your blog. This experience is and has been life changing for you and your family. I am very proud that you all commited to do this as a family, and approached it as a family and will survive this as a family. Be encouraged that you not only are impacting lives in a third world country doing Christ’s work, but you all are impacting folks right here at home as well with your inspirational stories of real life. Proud of you all! When you all get back in town I need to meet your husband…maybe we can all sit around and have a cup of coffee sometime and hear some of your adventures firsthand.

    • Thanks, Jerry! Raw emotion is difficult for me, as I think it is for most people. Thank you for your encouraging words and support. I would love for Mo and you to meet when we come to the states in November!

  2. Thank you Tamara for your openness. Your blog post this morning, made me giggle. This is a question I am working on in my life right now as well. I have been really convicted about looking for the folks that God lays on my heart and truly and genuinely asking, “how can I pray for you” and then being obedient in doing that. I have been struggling with the thought of “really, you want me to do that God? is that REALLY what you want me to do?” Thank your for allowing your honesty to be a lesson in my life! Just like that question was what you needed in your life from that friend…your open and honest answer was what I needed in my life. Thank you and yes, we are praying continually for you all.

    • Thank you, Carrie! I never understood the importance to that question until now…a time in my life that I needed just that! God sends us messages in such ways that we can’t ignore Him, huh? Thanks for reading, supporting, and praying for us!

  3. Tamara, I could not imagine how hard it must be for you at times!! I am here in the states with all the escapes you mentioned available to me & I still have difficulty dealing with my circumstances sometimes, trying to find balance for myself. It is brave of you to share how you are feeling & I’m glad you did. Your story helps me realize how much I take for granted, and it helps you because now I’ve been reminded to pray for you-& I will!! Hang in there and know, God is with you & your friends back home are praying for you. I am still in awe of your bravery and faith. You inspire me to be a better Christian. God Bless you & your Family,

    Amie Fitzgerald

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Thank you, Amie! You have always been so supportive and encouraging. Balance was such a struggle for me when I lived in the states. Life can be busy and tough at times. As mamas, we have to find time for ourselves. Thank you for your prayers. They are greatly needed and appreciated!

  4. Love when you let your guard down a bit and speak directly to us. I will start asking what your prayer needs are versus just praying inspecifically. Love you and your family. You impress me daily. xo

  5. Pingback: In my apartment in the city… | asurprisecalling

  6. Haven’t heard anything lately–is everything OK? Your emails are so inspiring and give us a peek into a world we will probably never see. I truly admire what you and your family are doing and appreciate the wonderful Christian lesson you are giving your children. May God bless and keep you.

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