Write a blog for Pioneer Bible Translators?

“No problem!” I said.

After all, I’ve been with Pioneer Bible Translators for nearly two decades. I could tell stories of how I overcame my shyness to answer God’s call to missions. I could share awkward fundraising blunders. There’s the whirlwind romance in Dallas where I asked a girl to marry me after seven weeks of dating, got married, lived in a trailer for a year, then flew off to East Africa with 2½ bags between the two of us.

Oh, there’s so much more!

Language school in our new country with colorful characters, including a big-boned, short-tempered Viking friend. A month of adventure on top of a remote mountain to learn village life. Three years of striving to find my place across the landscape of our new country, from the city to the bush. Fireworks and meltdowns over competing visions and methodologies. The saga of Puppy Girl.

So many memories. The day I was arrested by two policemen with big guns (it ended well, at least for me). Living in tents and basements and guesthouses crawling with critters, then in our own beautiful village house. We lived there for one year. With Puppy Girl.

And then we had Josh, the Happy Baby who wouldn’t take no for an answer. And we flew with him on a helicopter to a refugee camp in Nile Africa. Where we lived in a mud hut. And built a house. And spoke Arabic poorly. And oh-so-many bucket baths under starlit nights, which I loved and my wife hated.

Carrying our maximum of 33 pounds to the little Cessna 208 to evacuate from the civil war. Taking my wife to the hospital in Ohio for our daughter Bekah to be born. She didn’t breathe or have a heartbeat for 11½ minutes after birth, and she changed our world forever.

Doctors. Nurses. Therapists. Career Counseling. Numbness. Grief. Apathy. New Beginnings.

So much has happened since then. 

We’ve learned so much. We’ve grown so much. We’re finally shifting from needing others to reach out to us to being rooted enough to reach out and serve others. I could share what we’ve learned.

My whole journey of self-discovery could help others who are like me. A military kid who moved every two years growing up — and kept moving until he was 40. I had no idea that all of my awkwardness and shame and struggles were common to TCKs like me. I didn’t know I was a TCK, since I’d never lived overseas. My wife figured that out. It’s explained so much.

She figured out I have aphantasia, too. I don’t think in visual images. If you asked me to picture an apple, then asked me what color it was, I’d have to randomly pick a color. For 40 years I didn’t know that about myself, or that most other people were different. There are so many things we can’t know unless someone else shares their perspective and insights, which are foreign to our own.

I should share mine, on the off chance that my perspective and experience would enlighten or encourage someone else. In any case, to paraphrase a quip of my dad, sharing my experience can’t be completely worthless. It could always serve as a bad example.

So I said “Yes! I’ll write a blog every month for you, Pioneer Bible Translators!”

That was in June.

I sat down and wrote something terrible. I abandoned it.

“I’ll have something to you by October 15th!” I promised.

I wrote a mediocre story and abandoned it.

“February 28th! I’ve given myself a slot on Thursday mornings to write, and I’ll have something to you on February 28th.”

That was the day before yesterday.

I did submit an email on February 28, but it wasn’t a blog. It was a cry for help.

I couldn’t seem to get started. I didn’t know how to write a long, search-engine friendly blog post. I let my perfectionism and procrastination and lack of writing habits paralyze me.

My cubicle neighbor and I go on a short prayer walk every afternoon. I asked him to pray for my writing yesterday. He did.

Perhaps my editor received my desperate email on February 28 and also prayed for me.

Today I am writing. It’s not a 2,450 word ideal-for-SEO blog, but I wrote. And it was from my heart. I hope it helps somebody. I know it’s already helped me. Next Thursday morning, I will write again.

David Graves
David Graves joined Pioneer Bible Translators in 2006, after which he met his wife, facilitated Bible translation in various East African settings, and had three children. He now creates videos and other content for Pioneer Bible, and he enjoys languages, stringed instruments, and all things creative.
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