Today on Friday’s Spotlight, I am privileged to introduce you to Nina. Incase you watched my vlog yesterday, I pronounced Nina’s name incorrectly. Thankfully she forgave me, but probably only because she’s in the spotlight today. You see, my being nice to people has special perks.
Nina is pronounced N*ee*na.
Nina and her family are missionaries in Portugal, the country of my father’s birth and where he now resides. We had an instant connection and I’m happy to say that we’ve been able to develop a friendship despite the miles that separate us.
How long have you been blogging and what or who motivated you to launch your site?
I began blogging in Oct. 2007. Just a few short months before our departure to Portugal. I saw it as a means of keeping everyone in the Sates, family & friends updated. My friend, Tabatha Bentley showed me the ropes.
When you were a child what did you dream of becoming when you ‘grew up’?
I didn’t have dreams as a child. As strange as that sounds. It’s probably what’s wrong with me now. However, I remember writing in a “school days” book that I wanted to be a moviestar, nurse, or mom. Hey…the way I look at it, I’ve accomplished all three. Folks around the world see me and hear from me on my blog, I’m nursing boo-boo’s daily and I’m a Mom, five times over! No, seriously, nothing in this world would give me the satisfaction I have in raising my kids and serving my Lord.
How do people in Portual view American missionaries?
Depends on who you talk to and what problem they are currently blaming on America.
No, really, overall they are accepting. America is such a strong power in this world that Americans are either loved or hated. Mostly, to the average Portuguese person, we are strange. They wonder why we’d leave America to come here. They wonder why we have 5 kids (one is plenty for them) and they wonder what religion we are. The people in our village are accepting and very friendly. But who knows what they say around the dinner table!
What has been the biggest adjustment for your children in this foreign country?
Going to school. They were all homeschooled before this school year. So their first time ever in a public school and it was in a different culture in a different language. You can imagine I’m sure! However, 5 months after that first day our oldest is basically fluent in the language and the other two are not far behind her. It was the best thing for them. They can communicate very well, they’ve made friends, and they have a respect for the people and the culture in which we live. It was the biggest adjustment, but also the biggest blessing for them.
Tell us what you are passionate about…what makes your blood boil, your hackles rise, your heart soar?
Blood Boil: For someone to ‘beat around the bush’ when they want me to do something for them. “Just say what you want already!”
Hackles Rise: When someone questions my parenting ability. “Back Off…these are MY kids! Go have 5 of your own!”
Heart Soar: My kid’s laugh, my husband’s eyes, and my Lord. The look on a persons face here in Portugal when my husband is teaching them the Bible and it ‘clicks’ with them. When they see ‘truth’ for the first time. When God opens their heart!!
Do church members in the states have unrealistic expectations for foreign missionaries and their families?
I dont’ think so. If they do, it’s out of ignorance and I can overlook that. I would say that the average church member doesn’t really know what to expect from a missionary, so in a sense we’re the ones setting the standard. I am very thankful for that average ‘church member’. It’s as a result of their praying and giving that we are able to be here today. We’re like a team, us and them. I wouldn’t ever fuss about my team members.
What was your funniest experience on deputation?
Definition: “Deputation” /noun/-the period of time when and independent missionary raises his/her support before reaching the field.
Our funniest experience was early in our deputation time. (It lasted for 16 months. It involved constant traveling and visiting of churches sharing our burden for the Portuguese people.) We were having a fellowship dinner before a church service in a fellowship hall. Upon leaving the building headed for the church, my child who was almost 5 at the time, stepped on a “sticky pad” thing that people use to catch mice and bugs. Her curiosity had gotten the best of her, or maybe she was trying to kill those huge dead camel crickets that were sitting there, who knows? Anyway, when she tried to pull her foot away, the entire thing came with her. She freaked out! Panic. Screams. Kicking her foot so hard she kicked her boot off. We were all laughing so hard we couldn’t help her. She was still screaming after her boot was across the room. her daddy just about had to do surgery to free her boot from the pad. The more we laughed, the more she screamed, the more we laughed…we had quite a crowd surrounding us before it was all over.
I’m sure I received some unsolicited parenting advice after they saw how we responded to our terrified baby girl.
What is your “15 minutes” of fame?
Are you kidding!! Being on the Domestic Fringe is better than any 15 minutes of fame!
Give us a bit of parenting advice…
Since you’ve asked…because remember I don’t take unsolicited parenting advice very well. But I would say to lay down the law and stick to it. I used to think I knew about kids. Knew what all parents should do to have well behaved ones, but after having 5 I’ve learned that I don’t know a thing. I’ve been humbled. Read the Bible. The book of Proverbs is an excellent start.
What Portuguese custom simply baffles you?
They’re horrible drivers and they stare. Even when you make eye contact, shrug your shoulders and raise your eyebrows as if to say, “What are YOU staring at?” They still keep staring. I mean, can’t they take a hint?
If you could add any word to the dictionary, what would it be?
Maybe “facaid” (FringeGirl…maybe you could link to my ‘facade’ story!) FACADE STORY HERE
Please leave us with one brief thought.
I don’t have anything but brief thoughts, so it’s a good thing you’re only asking for a brief one. Now…what was I saying?
Go visit Nina @ Portugal Bound!
Thank you Nina!!