Tag Archives: Pets


Our dog Nacho

Our dog Nacho

We have a dog named Nacho.  Before we even left for the mission field, back in 2004 we promised our kids that once we got through itineration, language school and two international moves that we would get a dog.  So once we landed in Mexico, we made plans to fulfill our promise.  We sent a message home to my parents to go to a breeder and pick out a dog for us.  We wanted a Shih Tzu.

So my parents went out to the farm where the breeder lives and picked out the cutest, most cuddly puppy they had.  Some friends of ours from Mexico were in town for a wedding, so we made plans for Nacho to travel back to Mexico with them.  They brought us this adorable little fur ball.

Nacho has traveled to Mexico, back to Minnesota, and on to Costa Rica with us.  Missionary kids have to give up a lot of things as we move country to country.  So we make an effort to keep Nacho as one of the “constants” in their lives.  Some missionary families have to leave their pets on the field and get a new pet in each new place where they live.  That works for some families but I don’t think that would work for our kids.

The other thing that Nacho is good for is as a built in alarm system.  He barks whenever anyone comes to our door.  He guards our yard, although the most dangerous thing that enters our yard are those yellow birds that he hates and the gardener with his evil “weed wacker.”  But he lets those on the outside of our gate know that a dog lives here and so they better beware.  He’s got an important job to do.

Nacho loved the snow in Minnesota

Nacho loved the snow in Minnesota

But one major pitfall of having a pet when you live the life of a global nomad is that you must constantly be searching for someone to watch your dog for you when you leave town for a night or a week or a year.  It’s a head ache!  When we were home on furlough this last time there was a lovely lady in our home church who offered to take Nacho for us whenever we left town to go speak at a church.  She said, “I don’t have any money to support a missionary, but this is something I can do to bless you.”  And that was HUGE for us!!  Just huge!  To know that we never had to worry about finding a dog sitter when we had to travel and that Nacho was being well cared for was indeed a huge blessing for our family.

So I would like to encourage all of you who love missions but don’t have the financial means to support a missionary.  Look for practical ways that you can bless a missionary and make their life back home a little less stressful.  It might be offering to take in their mail, shovel their snowy driveway, mow their lawn, or water their plants while they are away.  Or offering to be the emergency contact person for the school where their children attend (a few times we found ourselves stuck in traffic and couldn’t pick up our kids after school.  It helped having friends who could run up to the school and pick them up for us.)  Ask a missionary if they have someone to fold and stuff their newsletters a few times a year.  That’s a practical blessing for sure!

Or maybe you know that the family will be arriving in your state in the middle of winter and they will have NO snow clothing for the first few weeks.  This would be a great opportunity to ask your friends if the family could borrow jackets and boots and mittens for a few weeks.  You have no idea how fast kids grow and how hard it is to find winter coats in December!  Anyhow, look for practical ways that you can bless others.  Listen to what they are talking about and ask yourself if there is a need you can meet here.  It’s a huge blessing for us missionaries!

Surprise me


My daughters surprise me sometimes.  I remember one time when we were missionaries in Mexico, we were doing a Vacation Bible School in a very, very poor part of town.  My middle daughter was 5-years old then.  She had the knack of making friends everywhere we went, and today was no exception.  She had been chattering with another little girl from the neighborhood.  The next thing I knew my daughter was pushing her fist up into my face to show me a MOUSE that the girl had given her!  I told both girls that we couldn’t keep the mouse, but since she was already contaminated with whatever germs the creature was carrying, I said she could hold it for a while and then give it back to the sweet little owner.  Seriously!

In Costa Rica we live with nature all around us, even in the city.  Any time we are home, our doors and windows are open… with no screens on them (birds often fly right into our house!).  One night our dog Nacho was laying on a pillow in front of the open patio door when a mouse scurried around the corner.  I shouted, “MOUSE!”  The dog looked up.  Face to face with our shih-tzu, the mouse turned right back around and ran into the yard.  My kids grabbed flash lights and ran into the garden trying to catch the mouse.  He was long gone by then.  They were not one bit afraid!

Then there are the geckos.  We have geckos everywhere!  (One time I stepped on one with my bare foot early in the morning.  Ever since then, I wear socks at night.  I also stepped on a huge beetle in my socks one night, and I was thankful I wasn’t barefoot.)  When we lived in an apartment building with other American missionaries, the kids would all catch geckos and try to race them in the hallway.  I was shocked that my girly-girl would pick them up!  It never fails, whenever they see a gecko in the house, my girls want to keep it for a pet.  I only tolerate them in the house because they eat bugs.  I suppose I have no choice really.  I can’t keep the critters out.

Last Sunday morning my youngest child and I were greeted first thing in the morning by a baby gecko on the wall in the bathroom.  “OOOOOOOH!  He’s so cute!”  Lucy squealed.  He looked squishy and wiggly to me.  (It doesn’t matter how gross a creature is, if I say it’s a “baby” my girls adore it.)  She poked at him and chased him around until I told her to leave it alone.  I told her that he will lose his tail if he gets scared, but even that did not deter her.  She wanted him.  I washed her hands well after he escaped behind the toilet.  These girls constantly surprise me.

My daughter actually caught a wild bunny.  It only lived for a week.

My daughter actually caught a wild bunny. It only lived for a week.