Every hero needs a sidekick
Every captain needs a mate
Every dinner needs a side dish
(On a slightly smaller plate)
And now we’re seeing eye to eye It’s so great, we can agree That Heavenly Father has chosen you and me Just mostly me
My husband and I joke that this song from the Broadway Musical The Book of Mormon is the anthem of the trailing spouse – the person who has followed their spouse around the world without a defined role of their own. We sing this song to each other with smirks, and we laugh because there are days when it feels like it really hits the nail on the head.
While many organizations have tried to eliminate the role of the ‘trailing spouse’ by making sure that both individuals within a couple share a call and a passion for overseas work, it’s impossible to completely eradicate it. Someone within a couple will always have a more prominent or defined role.
By virtue of marrying a doctor, I often feel like the trailing spouse regardless of where I’m living. Part of that is thanks to our current family dynamic: we have two young children, and someone needs to stay home to care for them. It only makes sense that the doctor be the one to work outside the home.
Someday our kids will be older and will spend a good portion of their day in school, and the slivers of time I have now between naps and meals and housekeeping will grow into larger chunks, and I’ll be able to carve out a role for myself, using my education and giftings too. But for now, for this season, I feel very much like the trailing spouse, and here are some realizations I’ve had that will hopefully encourage you too.
Even though I moved with my family around the world to make disciples of all nations and I have yet to make one friend with someone of the majority faith here, I am daily discipling two little humans who have the potential to be kingdom builders. That’s not an insignificant role. In fact, it is a role that I need to take very seriously and throw myself into whole-heartedly. Raising these children may be the biggest kingdom contribution I will make in my lifetime.
I also remind myself this is a season. It too shall pass – and there may be days when I wish for this season back. And so, I will cherish this season, enjoy the slower pace, and spend my slivers of time alone with God and taking care of myself physically, spiritually, and emotionally. In this season, I can build a safe haven for my family and make space to be their sounding board as they process their new surroundings. I can be the steady in the storm.
Focusing on what I can do, rather than what I can’t do, also helps me to find peace in this season. I can be the encourager of the community in which I live. I can be a welcoming face and resource to new workers who arrive. I can exercise my gift of hospitality and be a peacemaker and unity builder. I can communicate well with our supporters back home. I can be faithful in the language learning I am able to do, even if it doesn’t feel like much. I can be kind and friendly to everyone I meet while running my weekly errands. When I consider all that I can do, I realize there is a lot of potential in this season of trailing.
But I also want to encourage the other trailing spouses out there to remember that just because you have the time and the skills to do something, you don’t need to do it just to fill up your calendar and tell yourself that at least you’re doing something. You’re allowed to be discerning in what you fill your days with.
I’ve been offered several opportunities of things to do. Most recently I was asked to teach French to some of the doctors’ children. Can I speak French? Yes. Would I enjoy teaching this age group? Probably not. Is this a gift I can give to members of my community? Yes. Is this how I want to spend my time? I’m not sure. It’s still a possibility that I’m considering and which boundaries I would need to put around it if I say yes to the request.
So don’t be afraid to ask for time to consider a request, and don’t feel like you can’t say ‘no.’ Busy-ness is not a virtue to be upheld. Be wise in how you fill your time.
Lastly, remember that even if you moved around the world because of your spouse’s job and you don’t have a specific job description, God brought you to this place for a purpose. Your presence isn’t just a bonus. He does have something here for you. He sees you, and He has a purpose for you
Let’s face it – the side dish is what makes the meal. We don’t eat a turkey dinner for the turkey. We eat it for the stuffing, the sweet potato casserole, the mashed potatoes, the gravy and — if you’re from the American south – the green bean casserole!
A wife. Mother. Wordsmith. Coffee dependent. Simultaneously a world traveller and a homebody. Both an Adult TCK and an International Worker. Rebecca has a heart for the nations and to see the global community thrive wherever God has planted them.
“I have to go back home and work on my seminary degree. It’s an org requirement, and it will take me too long to complete online if I stay here. But don’t worry! Once I finish, I’ll be back.”
Jacob* was resigned to the fact that he would be leaving the field for a while to fulfill the requirements of his sending organization. While the seminary degree in and of itself was not a bad thing, it would be the impetus of his leaving the field for good.
That’s because, about a year into his program, Jacob fell in love with Kara. They shared a deep love for Christ and making him known, but Kara was not at all interested in living outside of her home country. Nevertheless, the couple went ahead with their wedding day. Five years and two kids later, Jacob and Kara are pretty well settled into life in their home country. With Jacob having no intention of going back overseas, the team he left behind now consists of two couples and five single women.**
There’s a cheeky statistic I’ve heard that says, “About two thirds of field workers are married couples. Another third are single women, and the rest are single men.” Of course, this facetious statistic would imply that there are no single men on the field. And while we know this is not correct, most of us have noticed the conspicuous imbalance of single women to single men on the field.
While I have yet to see a study on why there is such an imbalance of singles on the field, there are some interesting observations to be made and perhaps a few questions we should be asking to get a clearer picture of the reasons and consequences of the male shortage in overseas ministry.
Why Are There So Few Men? So, why are we not seeing more single men in full-time overseas ministry? It certainly cannot be said that there is a lack of men wanting to work in full-time ministry. Men fill most paid ministry positions in local churches, but when it comes to overseas work, single men are heavily outnumbered. Here are a few observations about this phenomenon:
1. Men are compelled (and are sometimes required) to go to seminary or grad school before they begin service in overseas ministry. Sometimes, this requires several years away from the field. The extra time spent obtaining more education can be long, burdensome, and expensive. In the midst of time spent obtaining this education, these men may find themselves with mounting student debt, in love with someone who does not share their desire to live overseas, or drawn into the world of preaching to congregations in their own country.
2. Some men who desire to minister cross-culturally don’t want to do so until they are married. However, this “wait for a mate” time often leads to involvement with other ministries or jobs that pull their attention and passion away from living overseas. Some of these men wind up marrying women who do not share their passion or desire to minister cross-culturally. These life changes often mean a complete redirection of plans and passions.
3. When a single man expresses his desire to minister overseas to his church leadership, these overseers tend to encourage men to stick around and “learn about ministry” by interning or leading a ministry in their local church. While the heart and intention behind this is one of love and mentorship, the experience gained in a local church in the Western Hemisphere is often entirely unhelpful for a person headed to a culture that does not even have a concept of church.
4. Churches often want men to be married before they go overseas because it’s believed that marriage will save them from sexual temptation and pornography addiction. However, the widely-held belief that marriage will be a deterrent to sexual misconduct is not only entirely inaccurate, but also keeps church leadership from addressing an actual issue that is likely already present in most men’s lives.
5. When I have put this question to men who are engaged in ministry in their home countries, many have responded with a real apprehension about fundraising. They might be willing to go overseas and work a paying job, but the thought of asking churches for support feels arduous and humiliating. I am not sure how this mindset might shift between unmarried and married men, but it seems to be a common sentiment.
Feeling the Strain The imbalance of men and women serving cross-culturally has very real consequences. We don’t just stand idly by and make observations because it makes us feel smart or important. The imbalance takes a heavy toll, and many field workers are feeling the strain.
My team in particular lives in a place with a disproportionately large population of male migrant laborers. Our team is and has always been mostly female. While there will always be work for the women to do, there is a much smaller workforce to focus time and attention on a population with whom we, as women, cannot interact: men. We live in a conservative country with strong cultural taboos about mixed company, so there is rarely a situation where women speaking to these men is appropriate. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 that “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs— how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world— how he can please his wife— his interests are divided.” To put it plainly: We need a more diverse workforce because the harvest field itself is diverse.
In addition, many ministry teams work in cultures that have oppressive and cruel attitudes toward women. Living in patriarchal societies takes a heavy toll on women. There are spaces where women are simply unwelcome, and there are areas where women know they will be ogled or sexually assaulted. However, these locations may be the only places to, say, get a car repaired or buy a ceiling fan. Within the community of Christ-followers on the field, we depend on each other for help with tasks we would ordinarily be entirely capable of doing on our own.
Then there are the cultures that simply expect single adult men to misbehave. The expectation is that young men will stay out all night, philander, and live as wildly as possible until they tie the knot. Who will show them another way? Where are the single men who can live a life of sacrifice, love, and purity among them? We need representation of the body of Christ in all of its diverse beauty, and that includes the unique struggles and freedoms that are inherently a part of a bachelor’s life. Jesus himself lived his life unmarried and devoted to the work of his Father. Ministry as a single man is the first example the church was given, so why would we believe that this status is less than ideal?
How Can Churches Help? Of course, the questions and observations merit answers. While I do not believe that there is anything simple about the dilemma we face, there are some ways the church can help more single men get to the field:
1. Stop expecting men to get married before they live cross-culturally. Have the difficult conversations and counseling sessions to deal with porn addiction, lust, and objectification. Do not fall for the lie that having a wife will be the fix-all for potential sexual misconduct.
2. If single men express a desire to be married before they move overseas, ask them why they feel that way. We must be willing to ask where this desire is coming from, and to explore their reasons why ministry overseas requires them to be married but ministry at “home” does not. It also bears mentioning that the pool of single women on the mission field is deep and wide. Men who want to get married may actually have a lot more opportunity to find a spouse who shares their vision once they get to the field!
3. Rather than creating years-long responsibilities as a prerequisite for life on the field, set goals and reasonable expectations for men’s personal and theological development. Like anyone headed into overseas ministry, single men need people to walk alongside them to grow in maturity and in gaining an understanding of cross-cultural ministry. But we have to be willing to allow life on the field itself be an instructor. I once heard Vinay Samuel say, “Theology should be written on the mission field.” Indeed, life and ministry on the field will likely be a far better teacher on theology, scriptural interpretation, and strategy than any seminary class.
As churches, we should be questioning why such an enormous imbalance exists both within domestic ministry, where men hold most full-time ministry positions, and within cross-cultural ministry, where women hold most full-time ministry positions. Granted, the gender disparity is far greater domestically than it is overseas. But, with such an abundance of women in full-time cross-cultural ministry, and so precious few of them in full-time local church ministry, we have to ask: Are women just picking up the ministry positions that men don’t really want? Women have a long history of heeding the call of Christ to make him known near and far, and there have been relatively few barriers to keep them from overseas work. However, if women wish to fill ministry positions within their home countries, the opportunities tend to be limited, unpaid, or for men only.
While I’m not wanting to get into the weeds on gender roles within ministry here, I do believe that we must take a hard look at how ethnocentric our attitudes have become when it comes to women ministering domestically versus overseas. For example, the ESV Bible was translated and overseen by an exclusively male team of 95 scholars and translators. Apparently, women were not invited, so this was not a simple oversight. However, when it comes to women leading bible translation projects in languages other than English or outside the Western Hemisphere, there is scarcely a voice of dissent.
These are issues of importance not because sexism in church is a hot button issue. They are important because Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. In fulfilling the command of Christ to make disciples of all ethnicities, the workforce must be as multifaceted and diverse as the world itself is. The goal is not just to have a balanced ministry team, but to give the world — women, children, men, marrieds, singles, widows, minorities, rich, poor, and so on — a chance to hear that Jesus loves them from someone who can effectively live and communicate that truth to them.
**This story is not taken from one individual per se. It is a combination of many such stories that I have seen and heard from multiple cross-cultural workers.
Jonathan and I are thrilled to introduce you to our new book, Serving Well. It is our deepest hope that this 400+ page book will encourage and equip cross-cultural folks through the various seasons of life and ministry.
It’s available on Amazon here. If you’re in the States, our publisher is also selling the book with a 20% discount here.
You can read the Serving Well press release (with book excerpt) here.
From the Back Cover Are you dreaming of working abroad? Imagining serving God in another land? Or are you already on the field, unsure about what to do next or how to manage the stresses of cross-cultural life? Or perhaps you’ve been on the field a while now, and you’re weary, maybe so weary that you wonder how much longer you can keep going.
If any of these situations describes you, there is hope inside this book. You’ll find steps you can take to prepare for the field, as well as ways to find strength and renewal if you’re already there. From the beginning to the end of the cross-cultural journey, Serving Well has something for you.
Early Reviews for Serving Well
“Serving Well is an important voice in the search for honest, experienced conversation on living and working cross-culturally in a healthy and sustainable way. Dig in!” – Michael Pollock, Executive Director, Interaction International and co-author of Third Culture Kids
“Serving Well is more than a book to sit down and read once. It is a tool box to return to over and over, a companion for dark and confusing days, and a guide for effective and long-lasting service. Elizabeth and Jonathan are the real deal and Serving Well, like the Trotters, is wise, compassionate, vulnerable, and honest. This needs to be on the shelves of everyone involved in international, faith-based ministry.” – Rachel Pieh Jones, author of Finding Home: Third Culture Kids in the World, and Stronger Than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa
“Serving Well is a must-read book for missionaries and for those who love them. This is a book you really need if you are ‘called to go, or called to let go.’ In Serving Well we read both the spiritual and practical, simple and profound, funny and compelling in chapters written by Elizabeth and then Jonathan Trotter; hearing from each their voices and their hearts, the struggles and the victories, ‘the bad days and the good days’ of preparing to go and serving well overseas. Their down-to-earth yet godly insights were born from living overseas and from authentically wrestling with the ‘yays and yucks’ of missionary life. They draw wisdom from both Scripture and sci-fi authors, Psalms and funny YouTube videos, encounters with Jesus and encounters with cops looking for a bribe. Take two books with you to the mission field: the Bible, and Serving Well.” – Mark R. Avers, Barnabas International
“Serving Well is deep and rich, covering all aspects of an international life of service from multiple angles. It is full of comfort, challenge, and good advice for anyone who serves abroad, or has ever thought about it, no matter where they find themselves in their journeys. It is also really helpful reading for anyone who has loved ones, friends or family, serving abroad–or returning, to visit or repatriate. Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter are both insightful and empathetic writers, full of humility and quick to extend grace–both to themselves and to others. Their writing covers sorrow and joy, hope and crisis, weariness and determination. Best of all, from my perspective as someone who has worked with TCKs for over 13 years, it contains an excellent collection of important advice on the topic of raising missionary kids. Choose particular topics, or slowly meander through the entire volume piece by piece, but whatever you do–read this book!” – Tanya Crossman, cross cultural consultant and author of Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century
“Overseas workers face a barrage of junk when they arrive on their field location: identity issues, fear/anxiety issues, and faith issues. I have worked with missionaries for well over a decade now and see how these common themes cry out for a grace-filled approach to truth and authenticity. The Trotters live this out loud, intentionally seeking a way to minister out of their own pain, striving, humor, and failure. Keep this reference close at hand!” – Jeannie Hartsfield, Clinical Counselor, Global Member Care Coordinator, World Team
“This book is the definitive guide to thriving in cross-cultural ministry. The Trotters have distilled years of experience into pithy chapters filled with helpful tips and wise insights. Put it on your must-read list.” – Craig Greenfield, Founder, Alongsiders International, author of Subversive Jesus
“In this must-read missions book, Jonathan and Elizabeth unearth the underlying motivations of the cross-cultural call. Penned with copious compassion and startling transparency, Serving Well is sure to make you laugh, cry, and, in the end, rejoice as you partner with God in His global missions mandate.” – David Joannes, author of The Mind of a Missionary
Consider this the Table of Contents for a book on missions, cross-cultural living, grief, TCKs, MKs, missiology, common pitfalls, transition, short-term missions, relating to senders, and a whole lot more.
I figured it was time to compile our most-read posts and present them to you, organized by topic. So here they are, 85 of our most-read posts ever.
My hope is that this article, this Table of Contents, if you will, would serve as one massive resource for those of you who are new to our community, those of you who’ve been hanging out here all along, and even for you, our future reader, who just found our little corner of the internet. Welcome!
Many thanks to the authors who’ve poured into our community, aiming to build and help (and sometimes challenge) the missionary world and the churches that send. If this site has been helpful to you, would you consider sharing this post with your friends and colleagues and missions leaders?
A Life Overseas is loosely led, with a tiny overhead (that covers the costs of the website), and a bunch of volunteer writers and tech folk. Why do we do it? We’re doing this for you! We’re doing this because we like you and we want to see cross-cultural workers (and their families!) thriving and succeeding and belonging. We’re doing this because we believe the Lamb is worthy. We’re doing this because we believe that God’s love reaches beyond our country’s borders, extending to all the places, embracing all the peoples.
I hope you are encouraged. I hope you are challenged. I hope you are reminded that you are not alone. This can be a hard gig, for sure, but you are not alone.
If this is your first time here or your thousandth, stick around, browse around, let us know what you think, how you’ve been helped, and what you’d love to see in the future. We’d absolutely love to hear from you!
With much love from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jonathan Trotter
I’m going to wade into this thorny area today, because it’s one of the most common questions I get via email from people: “What do I do when my spouse doesn’t have the same sense of calling to the poor, or mission, or ministry, that I do?”
A common scenario is that one partner is gung-ho (naive?), adventurous, and SUPER keen to dive into mission among the poor. Meanwhile their spouse is a little more cautious (realistic!) or perhaps doubtful.
I need to make a little side note here for singles who are preparing for marriage:
For some of you, who are not yet married, this is an important issue – do NOT get married to someone who doesn’t share your sense of calling. Don’t ignore the red flags, don’t assume that they will come around. Talk, talk, talk it through. And don’t go by promises or vague agreement. The proof is in action ONLY. If they are not already living this stuff out, don’t fool yourself into thinking that they will suddenly change after marriage. 99.9% of the time it doesn’t happen.
Now, having said that, let’s get real — and a little bit more nuanced — for those of us who are already married.
Let’s say you think you may have a mismatched sense of calling. Here are 4 important questions to ask as you explore why there might be a difference in calling and what to do about it.
1. Are you prioritizing the health of your marriage?
Is your marriage healthy? Sometimes, one spouse feels neglected while the other goes off “doing radical ministry.” Some of us need a good kick in the pants about this (myself included, from time to time).
Remember Isaiah 58 – a favourite passage of us “radical” types:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them, and NOT to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
We LOVE the stuff about loosing the chains of injustice. Bring it on! Smash those chains. Set the oppressed free? Yes! Share your food with the hungry? Boom! Then we get to not turning “away from your own flesh and blood.” Hang on, what’s that family stuff doing in there? That’s not about justice. Or is it?
I’ve had to learn this lesson continually over the course of almost 20 years of marriage, while doing mission and living with my family in Cambodian slums. If I neglect my wife and kids, who am I to say that I love my neighbour in this slum? Loving my neighbour STARTS with loving my family. Otherwise I’m just a poser, practising piety for others to see, all the while neglecting the very first ones God has given me to care for.
It’s all connected.
2. Have you considered personality differences?
Sometimes what we assume is a difference in calling could just be a difference in personality. I’ve come to understand this more deeply as I’ve gotten to know my wife better. She has a deep love for God and the poor, but it looks COMPLETELY different from mine. I’m a thinker, pioneer, and strategizer. She’s a warm and welcoming loving presence. Compared to her, I’m a cold, dead, calculating fish.
I ask questions like, “How can we scale this initiative up and reach more impoverished people?” And all the while, she doesn’t bother with talking about it, she just gets on with loving our neighbours, one by one. At first when my wife didn’t engage in my “big picture” pontifications, I thought she didn’t care about these things as deeply. Vice versa, my capacity for one-on-one discipleship only goes so far. It would be easy for her to write me off as someone who is useless in ministry.
But by God’s grace, He has wired us differently and called us to minister in different ways. I’ve come to see that her giftings are a HUGE blessing in ministry and that we need each other.
I’ll repeat that, because the sooner you have this revelation, the better things will go for you. Trust me: You need each other in ministry BECAUSE of your differences. God brought you together for a reason.
3. Are you forgetting gender stuff?
There are personality differences, but there are also gender differences. Guys, can we just be honest for a moment here and recognize that our wives have usually faced more safety issues in their lives than we have?
When we were living in the Downtown Eastside of inner city Vancouver, I didn’t think twice about walking down a dark alley. But my wife did. I didn’t think twice about inviting a homeless crack addict to sleep on our couch, but my wife did.
(Truth is, she faced all those fears and STILL got out there on the streets night after night and hung out with prostituted women in addiction. They became some of her closest friends.)
Most of us guys have probably not had to consider the possibility of being raped or mugged just walking through a park or down an alleyway. But our wives have. Repeatedly. And those different experiences may shape how our wives approach new opportunities for mission. They often have an extra dose of insight and realistic concern about the dangers that may come up in ministry.
It’s not that they are less committed to God or the poor, but that they have a deeper understanding about the safety and security issues. Let’s embrace that insight as a gift of balance, and work with it. Not allowing fear to undermine what God may be calling us into, but moving forward with an extra level of sobriety, grace and concern.
4. Are you allowing God’s timing to unfold?
Finally, consider that God does not always reveal everything to both spouses simultaneously. Consider Mary and Joseph. The angel appears to Mary and gives her some pretty solid details about what is coming up — a child will be born, you’ll call him Jesus, he’ll be the saviour of the world, etc.
Meanwhile, poor old Joseph is left in the dark, wondering whether his wife has stabbed him in the back. Eventually, he gets the message, but consider the tension in that relationship during that in-between-time. Holy Smokes. Imagine being a fly on the wall in that carpenter’s household.
The lesson for me here is patience, patience, patience. If God is doing something, He’ll communicate in his timing to BOTH of us. Trust Him. If God is in it, He’ll bring you both along. I don’t know what challenges you are facing in your sense of calling as a couple. Each situation is unique, and some are not covered by the areas I’ve mentioned above.
There are times when you may be called to gently invite your spouse to move out of their comfort zone. The only way we can do that, is with wisdom and sacrificial love that comes from God. I do know this, we’re called to lay down our lives for our spouses. We’re called to love them and care for them and be concerned for their safety and their call into mission.
Craig Greenfield is the founder and director of Alongsiders International and the author of the recently published Subversive Jesus. During more than 15 years living and ministering in slums and inner cities in Cambodia and Canada, Craig has established a number of initiatives to care for vulnerable kids and orphans, as well as formed Christian communities for those marginalized by society. His postgraduate research in International Development led to the publication of his first book, The Urban Halo: a story of hope for orphans of the poorwhich is currently available for free on Craig’s website. He loves God, the poor, and fish and chips. He’s on Twitter and Facebook too.
My first article for A Life Overseas was only the second article I’d ever written. Seriously.
But God retains his sense of humor, and I retain my sense of gratitude. I’m grateful for the leaders of the site who gave me the bandwidth, and I’m grateful for you, the readers, who continue to give me the brainwidth. Thank you.
There are about 9,000 more readers now than there were three years ago. So I thought I’d go retrospective with this post, collating former articles and re-presenting them to you. I’ve divided them into some rough categories:
Rest & Laughter
Grief & Loss
Feel free to browse around and see if there’s anything you missed that you want to unmiss. And if you feel like these articles could serve as a resource for someone else, we provide handy sharing links at the bottom. Merry Christmas.
REGARDING REST & LAUGHTER Please Stop Running
God doesn’t give extra credit to workaholics. Jesus doesn’t call us to work in his fishers-of-men-factory until we drop dead from exhaustion. He is not like that.
When Grief Bleeds
Grief is a powerful thing, echoing on and on through the chambers of a heart.
The feeling rises and crests like an impending wave barreling towards the surface of my heart. And with each wave of worthlessness comes an intense weariness of soul, a near drowning.
To the ones who think they’ve failed
So, you failed to save the world. You failed to complete the task of global evangelism. You failed to see massive geopolitical change in your region. You failed. Or at least you feel like it.
When you just want to go home
He’s longing for home too. So, in my drownings and darkness, perhaps I am brushing up against the heart of God. Perhaps I am tasting his tears too.
Facebook lies and other truths
Our supporters and friends probably won’t lose money by showing a picture of a vacation. We might. On the other hand, our friends won’t make money by showing a picture of a destitute child or a baptism. We might.
REGARDING THE ENDING “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
And so it happened that I stepped out the door, aware that God might start sweeping me to places unknown. And he certainly did. But it was there that I met all of you, and you’ve turned out, after all, to be not so dangerous. Thank you for journeying with me. Let’s keep going…