Sometimes it is hard to think that we're just getting started in our missions career. Our feet have yet to plant down in Spain as a place we are going to live and minister, yet while we have barely just begun, we are also well within our missions career.
Preparation for new ventures, practice and good training are all necessary. Currently we are with Leah's grandmother on the Sacramento Delta. At grandma's we go water skiing. Leah grew up skiing, and so it is not too difficult for her to pop up and begin skiing away. (It is a bit difficult for her to want to get in the cold water though.) Kevin, however has been water skiing one time before this. Last time he got up two times out of many, many attempts. He's no expert, though he's had good training, learned how to persevere through frustrations and keep going. If he had all summer to water ski, he'd be up in a flash.
It is kind of like driving a stick for the first time. The fluidity of the car is jerky at best and stalled out many times at worst. Kevin remembers when he saw smoke billowing from the first truck he ever attempted to learn a manual on. The most frustrating thing is from idle to movement. Lurching and lurching, a new driver looks like their listening to a bad heavy metal song in the car. And the person along side him or her has one hand on the dash and the other holding their eyes from popping out of their head. Kevin has little problem driving a manual now. The investment of learning paid off.
Such is the life of starting with missions. It is bumpy and rocky at first, especially for one's faith and motivation. But as we have learned, going through it is a normal process. Instead of being career missionaries in a year, we're approaching year two. We are encouraged by the fact, like when recounting stories of "when I first drove a stick...," missionaries tell us that their missions career was not some fluid thing right off the bat. Few people begin water skiing by popping up out of the water in the first crack, and few missionaries get to the field that way. Those however, that continue through the bumps trials and practice well tend to have a skill for life that accomplishes future bumps down the road.