His Eyes Honduras
Mission related and personal items by Felipe Colby
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
When people ask about how things are going here, for probably longer than I realize, the conversation usually ends with me saying something like this "busy...but that is better than the alternative!"
My intent is to say better to be busy with more than you thought you could do, through Christ, than languishing doing less than for which we were intended.
However...I am coming to realize just how overworked we are. Last week when I was with the group, I was thinking of the literally weeks of accounting work waiting for me, and some time to get that done, and then was reminded Monday was a holiday. I thought of Valerie and the kids being home, and doing fun stuff with them, my first reaction was "ugh, I do not have time for a holiday."
That...is when you know you know you have a problem. But really, I have known that for a while, that was just a big ol' warning sign.
Part of the counseling we attended was addressing overwork among other things, and with the board of directors we have been trying to address this and see what changes can be made. Changes when it comes to spreading a work load mean more staff and thus more money...and while of course it is up to God to provide for that, taking the steps in faith to get out of the boat to that end can be a bit scary...especially when here I am the guy that has to figure out how it all works out.
I love my job, I love where we get to live...but sure it can be overwhelming.
I spend almost every day a group is here with them. This year that will be right at 120 days. This does not take into account the work associated with hosting them pre-post arrival (shopping, many emails, meetings, planning, accounting, etc.) Conservatively figure the equivalent there of another 45 days. (Some say it is more of a 1:1 ratio for them)
Accounting for the mission...all internal reporting, reporting for Churches, reporting to help guide local efforts that might not be required for fancier reports...figure another at bare minimum 2.5 days per month or 30 days.
Answering general ministry emails, handling ministry social media, helping with online coffee, and anything else that requires the computer for writing and such...if we count the hours, figure another bare minimum 60 work days worth on that per year.
Meetings with Valerie, Oscar, Jana, Justin and minimally with the rest of the staff (mostly with pastors) for planning or approval/disapproval/changes in plans and such? Again conservatively 15 days a year.
Overseeing other mission stuff...vehicle repair, banking, errand running, insurance (medical and vehicle) clothing ministry customs work, milk project supply purchasing, all things that involve me in hosting interns, and probably some other stuff I am forgetting?...figure another 50 days per year.
Oh, and the usually once a year trip to the US for visiting supporters and hopefully meeting new supporters...that takes a month or more (this year almost two months...but we will only count for these purposes as separate works days since some of it is spent still on the computer working and such 15 days.)
If I were to observe a traditional work week of 5 days per week (with no vacations or holidays mind you) that would add up to 260 work days a year.
However, we find adding all this up (and I think I was a little too conservative on a few of these) equals 335 days a year. If that was not bad enough...that equals 6.44 work days per week. How does this work? Multi-tasking, less sleep, not truly taking a day off, and picking up the computer every at opportunity...as well as having a passion for doing it all. Loving what you get to do (for the most part...what missionary loves fundraising or going through crumpled receipts?) helps tremendously to doing more than you otherwise might think.
To be quite honest, rather than sharing this as a pride thing for how much we work...this is embarrassing, shaming in fact.
I know it to be true...with the thought about the holiday (I did try to take the day off...I just worked four hours that night) and the ways I am even more about "getting to the point" (who has the time?) with conversations with...everyone, and just a general feeling of if I turn around there is another fire needing put out. This is not healthy for me, for the mission, for my marriage/family...the list continues.
Already I am trying to simply eliminate myself from certain activities, handing some off, going to try to not spend every day with groups, and leaning more on the other missionaries to carry out more of the leadership and implementation of what the mission is doing...more than I was already doing.
This year has been especially trying in terms of growing/stretching/learning on this topic among others, and I suspect that while we try to slow down, and not take on more projects as a ministry...God will continue to grow the overall impact of the mission, and financial needs of the mission to make that happen.
So...if you would, pray that the financial part of the puzzle would be met in such a way we can focus on the ministry aspects here of carrying that out, working better and more complete as a team (making time for more meetings, more reconciliation, more harmony) and for His direction on how to proceed on all fronts, finding the balance He wants for all of us.
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