I really cannot believe the ways I have changed in the past year. The women in my Bible study mentioned it recently… At the beginning of this year, orphans, Taiwan, graduate school, social work, and missions were not at all in my vocabulary.
Yes, missions. Obviously, I do not know what this new willingness will hold. But it is a willingness… a very strong willingness to experience “going” like I haven’t before.
I’ve been following the blog of a Christian couple in Haiti — the Livesays — since the earthquake. I very much admire their compassion and strength. Tara wrote a blog post that I read right after telling me Bible study my willigness to do missions, as well as the horribly wrong perceptions I had held of missionaries until recently. I felt like I was reading something I had written.
Here are a few bits…
“As an adolescent and even into my early adulthood, to me a missionary was an older couple that liked to talk and tell stories. Some of their stories were interesting, others sounded like Charlie Brown’s Mom giving a long lecture. They wore clothing of the culture they lived in (and they looked dorky wearing it). They wore large, outdated glasses/frames. The woman had longer hair and wore it in some sort of bun-type style. They looked sun-tanned and weathered and veins popped out of their hands as you shook hands to greet them.
They talked a lot about how God provided and how joyous it was to serve Him. Sometimes they even told stories of death and war and destruction while still saying flowery things about God’s plans and God’s will. The missionaries almost never said that things were hard or that they could not hear God. They always knew where God was and what He was saying and they even seemed to understand why God allowed hardship in the lives of the people they were serving. They were packaged, holy, perfect people. They did not seem to have many questions. As far as I could tell they never felt lost, alone, afraid, or angry.
We’ve come to realize that a “missionary” is 100 different things to 100 different people. The label means one thing to you and one thing to me. Sometimes we don’t want that label and other times we do.”
Or, read it all.