There, I said it

We have a cleaning lady. There, I said it. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this to my friends and supporters back home. We’re missionaries, and we’re hiring someone to clean our house? Are we living in the lap of luxury or what?  But, I want to tell you a little bit about her. She’s a FANTASTIC lady. She was one of the first people we met when we arrived here almost a year ago, since she cleans the NTM Facilities here in Chihuahua. We couldn’t say much to her at first, but I immediately noticed her pleasant demeanor and her work ethic.  Over the last year many people have encouraged me to hire a house cleaner. Especially when I was pregnant.  I put it off for a long time because it just felt so awkward to me and my pride was telling me I should be able to do all this stuff myself. And what would people think back home?  It is quite culturally normal to have someone clean your house here though, and a few months after we had Ruth I finally realized that I legitimately can’t do all of this if I want to actually learn Spanish. Having one less thing to worry about helps to relieve stress and gives me more time to study. So, I gathered my courage and swallowed my pride and asked this wonderful lady one day if she had any openings to clean another house? She had one opening, every other Wednesday. That sounded perfect to me. Just enough that all the important things get cleaned if I didn’t get to them, and not so much that I stress out all the time about keeping the house clean for her to clean… :)

It is also great Spanish time for me, I am able to talk to her more each time she comes and we are beginning to form a friendship I believe. And if she is busy cleaning, and the kids are napping, it gives me uninterrupted study time. Win win! I have struggled with a few cultural things so far though… I want her to be my friend. She has been cleaning for a long time, and I think she views herself as a servant. This irks me to my core and I am doing everything I can to show her I view her as an equal and as a friend. Slowly I’m learning more about her family through our little chats and I’m starting to make her take a little break by serving her coffee or some kind of desert.

Recently she shared with me and some of the other missionaries here that her roof is leaking. If I understood her correctly it has been over 25 years since her roof has been repaired and it is not a good concrete roof like most of us have. Rainy season in Chihuahua has already begun and the terrible thunderstorms have her scared and is causing all kinds of problems in the house.  We want to help her. I told her that my husband worked on roofs all his life in the states, and that he could take a look at it and see what we can do. (I’m sure her roof is nothing like the types of roofs Don has worked on, but he’s good at improvising. :)) So we are in the process of communicating with some of the other missionary men here to see what we can do for her and her family. Thankfully she is a believer, but we hope that helping her in this way will show her how much we care for and appreciate her. Please pray for her husband who is not a believer, may this situation be a testimony to him and potentially help in softening his heart toward the Lord. I was encouraged to hear that after she left my house that day she began sharing with some others that the Lord was going to provide for her! We’re excited to be a part of that.

We are continuing to progress in the language and are learning that discouragement is our enemy right now. It is so easy to get discouraged when progress seems slow and the work is mundane, but we try to look back at how far we’ve come instead of forward at all the work we still need to do. When I feel discouraged my motivation to study is zapped and my brain does not seem to function at full capacity. When we were recently on a small vacation in Mazatlan, I found myself more encouraged than ever before with my Spanish. Mazatlan is a tourist location and the people there are very accustomed to Americans and English speakers.  When Don and I spoke Spanish to the locals they were so happy that we knew more than just the greeting phrases and could dialogue a bit with them. Their response of excitement made me want to go out and speak more.  This showed me how important it is to not let myself get discouraged and to try to find encouraging friends and language helpers. It’s so motivating!

The current Spanish students with NTM and our teachers

I think I'm probably an average language learner (and Don is a gifted language learner).. But it is amazing how God designed our brains to work. Since Ruth was born my brain has felt very foggy (mommy brain is real) and I felt like I was losing some of the stuff I did know and definitely didn't feel like progress was being made for a while. But when she turned about 3 months old I started feeling like my brain was beginning to function again and I was surprised that some of the Spanish things that seemed weird or hard for my brain to understand before Ruth was born, didn't seem that complicated anymore. I have struggled with slow recall of the Spanish I did know when I needed it, but all of a sudden I think I'm starting to be able to remember the words I need at the right times (not always)...  Sometimes my brain will just sort something out that I’ve been struggling with all on it’s own when I don’t even realize I was thinking about it!  It's like a puzzle my brain is trying to solve. I am starting to think of my brain as a separate entity that's doing work for me all by itself. Woohoo! Good job brain (and keep it up, cause we still have a long way to go)!

And here are a few pictures from recently...
A photo posted by Don-Chrissy Chubb (@disheveledhead) on

A photo posted by Don-Chrissy Chubb (@disheveledhead) on

A photo posted by Don-Chrissy Chubb (@disheveledhead) on

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