Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Lesson on Contentment from a Mouse

We never had mice in our home on the mission field... that is, until we started building a house out in the village.  We had no "crawl space" under our house, but those sneaky fellas sure did know how to find their way in!  And you know what?  Desperation taught us how to become expert mice catchers.  Let me tell ya... you'll try anything when you're desperate, and we tried every method we could think of.  Don't be fooled into thinking that cheese is the only way to trap a mouse.  In fact, we found that cheese is not the best method because a mouse can steal a piece of cheese right off of a trap in a millisecond and get away alive, fat, and happy!  The key for us was learning to put something on the trap that the mice had to work at getting off (like peanut butter). But, since I can sense you are shuddering as you read this already, I'll just let you believe me...

It was rather frustrating to be building a home out of all brand-new materials, only to see that mice were finding their way into our home regardless of how much money we had put into it.  Rich or poor, new home or old, everyone in our village had the same problem when the weather turned cold: mice seeking refuge in our homes.

Living as missionaries, sometimes it is so easy to lump all of our problems into one big reasoning:  We have mice (or whatever problem) because we have sacrificed to be missionaries.  Of course, we lived for 6 or 7 years on the mission field before mice started inhabiting our home, but that is besides the point.  It kinda felt good to think we were suffering for Jesus to be on the mission field (i.e. in our case: dealing with mice).

Then... we went on furlough and the whole mice problem went away for awhile.  Oh, I'm sure they were enjoying our home in Ukraine just the same, but we didn't have to see them or deal with them for awhile

By and by we stayed as guests for a few days in a beautiful ranch home.... a glorious home that most of us will only ever dream of living in.  This home had it all... 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, formal dining room, swimming pool, fishing pond, acres and acres of land, etc...  And, I won't even try to describe the gorgeous decor! Why, every corner of this house looked like it came right out of the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens!

But guess what?  I was sitting in (one of) the gorgeous living rooms, and... you guessed it... I saw a mouse scurry behind the furniture.  I couldn't believe it!  Right then and there I felt like the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and said to me, "See, Jolene... mice are everywhere in this world!"

And here was my lesson:  Being on the mission field really is no sacrifice.  

Sometimes missionaries fall into the trap of feeling like America is the land of paradise and utopia.  If only I were back in America, I wouldn't have these problems...  But, God showed me that day that my little home in a village in Ukraine was just as much a paradise as any American home, as long as I made it that way.

When I returned to the mission field a few months later, though I despised the mice as much as ever and worked harder than ever to trap them, I had to smile to myself because...

God used a ranch mouse to teach me a valuable lesson in contentment.


  1. The Lord knew I needed this one tonight....I could not help but to smile as mice are the only little critters that I am scared to death of. Great and true post.

  2. Awesome!! Thank you for sharing!

  3. As a young preacher's family, we didn't always have the best of homes to live in but looking back there were things we learned in those places that were such blessings. The worst house we lived in was in Kentucky. The wallpaper was beginning to come loose in places and the flooring wasn't very nice. We had to watch where we stepped on the back porch or you would go thru it. But we had the best gardens we ever had and I learned to can. We learned to depend on God for our every need. The church couldn't pay us much and my husband couldn't find work. There were very hard times for everyone. Some of our church members had been business owners and had lost them. People were committing suicide but thankfully none in our church. We had many people saved. We started our first Christian school and saw the rewards from it and learned things to do and not do. My husband finally got a rural paper route and as a salesman and I got a job as data entry on second shift because I worked in the Christian School during the day.
    And we had people coming to our home even though it wasn't so great. You know what, we loved it there.

  4. Love your posts. Always so encouraging:)

  5. What a precious thing when God cares enough about us to teach us valuable lessons. No doubt, contentment with where you are and with your circumstance in life is one of the greatest lessons you'll ever learn. Thank you for sharing this. I love you.

  6. Great lesson, Jolene! Thank you for sharing! Love you lots...~Ruthie

  7. One of the greatest couples to get the gospel out to Ukraine, Israel, Mexico, and the rest of the world. We love them greatly at North Valley Baptist Church and Golden State Baptist College.

  8. Thanks Jolene I needed that very much.

  9. So very funny! It reminds me of Proverbs 30:28 where there are even spider webs in king's palaces. :o) Enjoyed your post!

  10. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  11. So true, sweet daughter-in-love...about the mouse story. I used to have missionary-paranoia.

    You hit the nail right on the head.

    But now, I wouldn't live anywhere else on this globe...mice and all. of the few things I don't have to put up with.

    But you'll have to get David to tell you the funniest mouse story in the world...about shooting a little mouse with a B.B gun. If he was too little to remember, let me know and I'll tell you about it.

    David, I've discovered that even if I'm away from the house at 2:15...12:15 your time, I can still listen to your Focus on Missions.

    Also while I'm at it, I listened to, and watched your message on "Don't rebuild your Jericho."
    It was very wonderful...

    ...and so are you!

    Nahum 1:7

  12. Dear Mrs. Sloan,

    Thank you so much for another beautiful post. We may not always be able to choose where we live, but we can always choose to be grateful for where God has allowed us to live.

    God bless you and your precious family.

    Love in Christ,
    Luba Rokpelnis

  13. Great thoughts!
    Thanks for your influence.

    Elizabeth Speer

  14. I loved your story and believe it or not as I was reading this one of my daughters brought a mouse to show me that the cat had killed while we were away today. The mice seem to love us!

  15. J, Thank you for the amusing but very wisdom filled article. Non– contentment is a very hard row to hoe.
    Being thankful is the answer.
    Thank you! Love, Sooz


Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25