Recently, I learned an expensive albeit embarrassing lesson and since one of the reasons I write this blog is to prepare the way for other parents who are new to the missionary life, I am honor bound to do what I can to allow you to benefit from my mistakes.  Ok, here goes.  It’s embarrassing (b/c I can’t believe how naive-ok ‘dumb’–I was!)  but if you will benefit then so be it!

When my son got settled in his new country, he soon thereafter purchased a cell phone.  And up until Easter, he always called me using a phone card.  Researching the ways and expense of calling overseas was something I had on my list of things to do but alas there was no check beside it. Oh, you know, just never got around to it!

Right before Easter I had been checking with my son about how to call and he had put me in contact with a friend of his who had called him on his cell.  So, I messaged this young man and he told how to dial the number.  So armed with this info, I impulsively attempted making a call.  I had waited long enough; the time had come to do this thing.

My first attempt failed. By the way, I was using my cell phone and simply tried redialing my son’s number.(It was the same # my son’s friend had given me, right?)  However, that didn’t work.  When I went to Skype on my computer and dialed (so to speak) that same number I was informed that  the number I had entered was not a working number.  Also, since I had never tried using Skype for an overseas call, I had not selected a payment plan and therefore, couldn’t make a call until I had. There wasn’t anything for me to do but google “how to make a call to an overseas country”.  So, in earnest I began my search.

My search revealed that the first 3 digits should be 011 ( US exit code; must be dialed first for all international calls made from the USA or Canada) the country code ??? then the area code and finally the phone number.  Check the following website for  more details:

At this point, I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number.  I considered (ever so briefly) that this call, if successful, would cost me $3.99/minute! (I had done enough research to know that much!)   Well, the conversation would be short, obviously, so surely, that wouldn’t cost me too-o-o-o much!  And even if the call was steep, hearing my son’s voice would be so worth it!

(Boy, did I get tested on that statement! Still holds true though!)

To my delightful surprise, the phone began ringing!  Then when I heard my son say, “Hello”, I yelled, “Bobby, I did it!  I figured out how to call you from my cell !”  To which my son responded laughingly, “Well, Happy Easter Momma!”  Oh, the conversation was sweet and I felt such freedom now knowing I did not have to limit our communication to occurring only when he called me!

 I love cell phone technology!

A few days later, being giddy with my new found freedom, I called my son again!  And again it was a short conversation because at this point I still had no idea how much it was going to cost me.  Curiously, I checked my phone bill but could not find where I had been charged anything! (Unbelievable!)  I  saw where I had made the call but the charge was $0.  In looking back at the phone calls my son had made to me previously I saw no charge there either.  So, in my ignorance (and this is the embarrassing part) I began wondering if I had even been charged for these phone calls!

I shared this amazing but puzzling news with my Sunday School class and they didn’t have any answers for me either at that point!

(I now think they were just being kind and didn’t want to burst my bubble!)

 It was something I gave thought to calling the phone company about but was afraid my contact with them might reveal a mistake so I decided not to mention it!

(Are you laughing at me yet?)

The day of reckoning soon came when the next billing cycle revealed the shocking reality of  a total cost of $115 for those 2 short conversations!

(Remember now that’s on top of my normal bill.)

 So have you figured out how it was that I thought I hadn’t been charged for those calls when I checked the bill?   Yep, no charge had been set b/c the billing cycle wasn’t complete!  I know, I know…”

Shortly after this personal financial fiasco, I began researching a calling card a friend from church had told me about.  For reasons that still puzzle me, it took 6 attempts at ordering the card and at this posting, I still don’t have the card!  It will be much cheaper whenever I do get around to using it but in the meantime I’m still having to wait for my son to call me!

(Good grief, it’s been almost 2 weeks since I ordered that card, ugh!)

Today my son called me and after we hung up I thought of something else I needed to ask him.  BUT I WAS NOT going to call him on my cell!  I mean my funds have taken quite a blow.  Then I thought of, SKYPE, why not try Skpe?  So, I got out the ole computer, clicked on Skype and while it wasn’t as inexpensive as the calling card it was WAY lower than using my cell.  So, I bought an hour’s worth of time and paid around $13 and made the call.  That’s when I discovered that I didn’t have to dial the 011 part of the number b/c Skype puts a + in place of the 011.

Bobby was pleased I had finally learned how to use Skype for he had suggested it before.  And until I was able to use my calling card, I was grateful to know I had another alternative.

So, there you have it!  Now, you have been spared all the bumps on the road to figuring out how to make an international call to your missionary child.  The main thing I want you to remember is this:


AT&T charges $3.99/minute YIKES!

(They do have a international calling plan, but it’s doesn’t come close to Skype or a calling card!)

Calling cards are cheapest!

I use Union Telecard:

Skype is a viable option.  Cost me about $13 for 60 minutes

(You’ll have to download Skype onto your computer and

there’s an app for it on your smart phone as well.)

Now to put the finishing touch on this intriguing faux paux of mine, AT&T  has what is called roll over minutes and the calls Bobby made to me didn’t cost me because of the minutes I had accumulated.

Live and Learn People, Live and Learn!

or better yet;

Let Others Live and You Learn!