When living in a "developing" country, many extraordinary things become quite ordinary in a very short period of time. One becomes quite adept at accomplishing certain tasks that, in the U.S., are better left to the professionals. For example:
I have recently acquired my Congolese electrician's license. Only requirement...at least 100 strong, to quite electrocutions, with a minimum of one welded tool.
I am also now a certified Master Plumber--meeting the needed "25 hours with your head in a tiny hole emitting an indescribable smell."
A few weeks ago, I got my car maintenance license by passing the "find the clanking problem caused by deplorable roads and fix it with whatever is currently in your backyard" test.
I am a certified Carpenter, after cutting, planing, sanding, and constructing a table with shelves, using a handsaw and a hammer.
I am a licensed Exterminator, 5 dead rats, countless cockroaches, and one major ant invasion later...all I need is a spear and a full can of DOOM.
With one V-SAT installation, 10 hours of internet troubleshooting, and 3 rooftop jobs under my belt, I have a solid foundation in the IT world.
50 hours spent arguing over taxes, fines, and fees has earned me the "French Debate Team" merit badge.
Ordinarily, these jobs would be accomplished by professionals, who know what they're doing and are experts in their particular field. But, living in a "developing" country, these tasks fall on our shoulders, and are completed in a manner suitable to functionality and available resources. Nevermind, the house is one big electrical fire waiting to happen, all the faucets leak, and I sometimes give in to unfair and dishonest "taxes."
This is not to say that I know everything, and can tackle any job that comes my way. That is, in no means, the case. On the contrary, "...the life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." I have merely learned that one of the keys to "survival" here is being flexible. How does that go? "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never be bent out of shape." Something like that. Also, be patient, ask for help, and be willing to give anything a shot, are a few other good things to learn. Of course, staying "in tune" with your Maker is the reason we are here in the first place, the reason we stay, and the reason for our every breath. He is not merely at the top of my priority list or the first thing I cross off my "to do" list every morning.
When we first arrived in Bunia, part of our orientation involved talking with long term missionaries about longevity. Honestly, I don't remember much about our conversation, but I hope it has something to do with flexibility, patience, and living a life worthy of our calling.