We celebrated 29 years here in May! And while our years here have not been easy, we would tread this path all over again. For it’s been a good life in which we have seen God’s faithfulness. But missionary life is joy mixed with sorrow. 

Unable to attend the funerals of Mario’s parents and my grandparents, the needed closure took much longer. And until we finally met our new grandchildren, usually when they were already 2-4 years old, our empty arms ache and have ached.

We’ve missed many milestones in our children’s and grandchildrens’ lives, from graduations to first dates, as well as marriage engagements, weddings, and most special holidays and birthdays. It’s hard not being there for our loved ones. And it’s hard missing their major events.

“So What makes you stay?” you ask, and rightly so. For it must come across as complaining sometimes. But trust me, it’s not. It’s just the reality of the situation. Facts are facts, and we are but human. Not Super Saints.

We stay because this is where we need to be.

And because it’s worth it if we can touch just one life. So many faces flash before our eyes. Those whose hearts we’ve been able to encourage. And lives we’ve seen transformed by God. For them we stay, and that makes it worth it all!

And we stay because God keeps his promises.

Jesus said, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News, but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life.

Mark 10:29-30 WEB

So though at times our hearts are heavy, ours is a tale of rejoicing! For we have a good and loving Father, who does far beyond what we could ever think or imagine!

Like the incredible story of how we came to own a summer home!

One home for folks who have never earned above the poverty level seems ludicrous…but two? Yes, for we have inherited Mario’s ancestral home — the very house he was born in! And though he owns it jointly with his 3 siblings, they’re in the USA, so we’re the only ones (for now) who use it.

Our children loved that village, which we call Beyond Forgotten, where they roamed freely and even rode on donkeys! And we visited often until my father-in-law passed away.

Then as Hubby’s older siblings could no longer visit from New York, and not wanting to the old place to decline, they asked us to keep it up. “Not everyone has a rent-free home!” they said, and even generously paid for repairs!

And we added it our list of Mark 10 blessings. Brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children all around the world. And now even houses and land!

So life overseas may at times seem exotic (and sometimes it is). But it’s really a lot like life anywhere, with both good and bad mixed together. What’s important is that we remember to look for the blessings of what we can learn even in the bad times.

Life is full of good and bad, but we can find blessings in both!

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

Jim Elliot


6 thoughts on “Mixed Blessings of Missionary Life {and Our Summer Home}

  1. Praying that you are able to pick up where you left off last summer with the open-air Bible studies. I know God has been preparing hearts over the months you’ve been absent. They will no doubt be anxious for your return and excited to learn from the Bible, ready to be introduced to the abundant life in Jesus! I can imagine more people in attendance, too, as word-of-mouth spreads the good news. And I’ll be excited to hear the results! May God bless your efforts, Sheila–many fold!


    1. Thanks Nancy, for I know that you do truly pray for us! I’ll have a post coming out soon on Mission Italia about what’s going down in the summer town this upcoming summer, which we are looking forward to! And the folks assure us that they are too!


  2. Hi Sheila, I can only imagine what you have missed but I also understand that you know where you are supposed to be. That in itself is a blessing because many of us don’t find that until much later in life. There is a peace in being in God’s will, trusting Him, depending on Him. For many years I did not understand that, I stayed in the driver’s seat and I was wrong. Yet He forgives and continues to draw me closer to Him. So I look up to you and Mario because of your faithfulness. And I am sure that not only are you two an inspiration to me but also to many others. Grace and blessings!


    1. Yes Bruce, that is exactly the way it is. Great peace in knowing that this is God’s place for us for this time. But all the glory goes to God. HIS faithfulness makes it possible for us to keep keeping on. It is only through his strength, for believe me we are often weak! I thank you for your heartwarming words, especially your prayers that we may be a tiny blessing and encouragement to others. If we can touch but one life for Christ, that makes it worth it all!!!

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