Here are some random thoughts that have collected in my brain since my wife left for (and has now returned from) China...
First, any mission trip is a family affair. It doesn't matter how many people are going. And there's something beautiful about that. The "we're in this together" attitude spans continents. And it should.
Having a mission trip that combines passions, skills, and need is the best kind. Sometimes we combine skills with need like when our church built duplexes in Haiti. Sometimes we combine passion with need where good relationships occur but little gets done (though not always, I admit). Sometimes we combine passions and skills, but that often creates a different and unsustainable momentum on the mission field. Combining all three is the location of the sweet spot. My wife had that moment: her passion for orphans, skill as a physical therapist, and the needs of the orphanage.
Kids are resilient. Much more so than adults. It always takes the Queen and me a day or two to resettle into our relational routine. The kids are right back at it.
Neighbors who are willing to watch your kids for a couple of hours while you make a deacons' meeting are like finding the Crown Jewels two doors down. Neighbors who take your kid to a 5-year old birthday party in a different part of Houston and then let your kid play at their house for 4 hours after they get back are the same. Crown Jewels. Seriously.
Keeping children alive while their mother is gone is easy. Keeping the house standing, not so much.
Cereal is an acceptable dinner. Macaroni and Cheese makes a reasonable breakfast.
Clearing the way for my wife to (a) encounter God in an overseas context and (b) do ministry on His behalf is a good discipline for me. So often, she's the one left at home. One of the things it reminds this pastor: good things happen even when I'm not involved. I'm just not all that necessary for the Kingdom.
I married a great woman. I married her for good reasons. And we're better together than apart.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...