These pictures below are a visual representation of each month in 2020
Wow! Where has the year gone?! And honestly where have the past 6 weeks gone? I have been writing this newsletter on and off since the first week of January. 2020 was a year of twists and turns and I have found it challenging to put into words in a brief and succinct way all that has unfolded. But, I do have a word that might help and that is ADJUSTMENT. One of the definitions of adjustment is, "the process of adapting or becoming used to a new situation." Adjustment and flexibility feel like they go hand in hand. And I thought I had grown considerably in those areas through the years due to living in Zimbabwe. However, 2020 showed me I still had a lot to learn.
January and February felt like normal months to me with time spent in Uganda and Ethiopia. It was in mid-March when the adjustment process began. There was a two-week stay-at-home order issued and suddenly stateside travel became minimal and international travel halted. I watched through March and April how event after event and travel after travel got canceled. It quickly became apparent that I had to adjust how the ministry was going to look in the face of severe travel restrictions. I also had to adjust to being in Indiana-pretty much since March 17th, 2020. Since 2016, the most I was in Indiana in a given stretch was 4-6 weeks. The Lord was gracious in that He provided a house for me-as I am not sure how my parents and I would have adjusted to all of us suddenly being there-though God would have helped us there too. By the way, I have not had a space that is all my own since I left my apartment in 2007 and moved to Zimbabwe, and trust me, it showed in the boxes I unpacked from storage. And I did not realize what a big adjustment it was to be in my own space and what safety and security issues (from the impact of the break-in in 2013) arose that I had to work through.
There have been family adjustments as we have learned to live without Aunt Tammy and as my mom went from full-time working to stay at home. I was actually home to see my niece graduate, only I couldn't because of the meeting restrictions-that was a big adjustment-watching her walk across the stage on a screen (let alone all of the adjustments for her this year). Navigating online church and decisions about events to attend was an adjustment too. And we will not even talk about working with the adjustments in my brother's schedule throughout summer, fall, and winter renovations but worth it, in the end, to make this truly my home. :-)
One of the real adjustments came when we made the change to offer Trauma Healing (Healing the Wounds of Trauma) online. There were things we had to navigate, such as operating zoom and how to adapt what was meant to be for in-person to online. Sharon and I have worked together for the last 4 years and now we are working with other facilitators as online has opened up the platform for this, which has been awesome but a change. When we started offering the facilitator training online, there were additional areas we had to consider for adaptation. But by the fall, it felt like I had more of a handle on that. Except for I did not realize how much zoom fatigue was real and how difficult it was to want to stay in front of the computer to return emails, write newsletters, etc. And I apologize for the drop in communication. The Lord has done some incredible things and I want to share them with you. But I am also adjusting my expectations of how much screen time I can take and how communication might look different.
We also have been adjusting to how we can offer missionary care in a pandemic with travel restrictions still and new things to navigate like Covid tests for travel. We were able to adjust from larger-scale global retreats to a smaller, more focused weekend of debriefing and renewal. There have been great moves toward creativity and staying connected through other avenues as well, like Scripture Listening Groups, where we meet for 30 minutes to listen and discuss a portion of Scripture. And we will continue to learn in 2021 how to offer even more to our missionaries.
And finally, I know I am not the only one who has had many adjustments in 2020. We have all had to learn how to adjust to wearing masks, social distancing, etc. In Philippians, chapter 4, Paul talks about learning to be content in every circumstance. That is what 2020 has been for me-in all the various adjustment that has come with challenges, sadness, frustration, fear, joy, trust, growth, etc., I want to continue to lean into the Lord and learn how to be content. Proverbs 16:9 says, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps". This is hard as honestly I always want to be in control and make the plans and there were many disappointments in 2020 as MY plans fell through. Yet, God opened many other doors and plans and there were some beautiful and amazing things that unfolded in 2020 that would not have occurred otherwise. So, my prayer for 2021 is that in the adjustments that will continue to occur, they are opportunities for me to keep focused on the Lord's course and not my own, follow the Lord's steps and not my own, and continue to learn to be content in all things.
As always, I am so thankful for each of you. Thank you for hanging in there with me throughout the adjustments of 2020! What are some of the adjustments you have faced? And how have you seen the Lord faithful through those adjustments?
Love and prayers,
Praises for 2020:
In case you missed the podcast where I shared about being a single missionary, you can hear it here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/missionsmart/id1513436205?i=1000487786779
Would you prayerfully consider becoming a partner of Misty Bodkins in 2021? There are 2 ways you may donate to Misty at Ministry Care. You can make checks payable to “Ministry Care” and send them to:
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Carmel, IN 46032
Or you can also make an online donation, using Givelify, on our website at www.ministrycareinternational.org
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Misty Bodkins has a Master's degree in clinical psychology. She has worked both stateside and internationally doing counseling, training, teaching, and research. Her passion is working with people who are in crisis.