I have a message to share here and I want feedback. So please share this on your social media and with friends. I’ll enter your name in a drawing for every time you share and send me a message with your feedback by facebook or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) The winner receives a care package from Africa, with Kenyan coffee and some cool swag from an amazing ministry here, imanixchange.com
I came across this video on YouTube the other day, and it made me laugh. It also worried me a little. Ok, a lot. Is that what people think?? (I’m aware it was just a parody and the guy probably loves missionaries.) It’s time for some honesty. I’ll tell you how I really feel if you will, too. But be nice about it.
First, the video. Watch it HERE. It’s only a couple of minutes.
He’s totally making fun of missionaries! On furlough! I could just stick my head in the sand now. Cause we are comin’ HOME in less than a month! And the last thing we want to do is be uncool. Or make people want to run the other direction. To be truthful, I want people to love us and desperately want to hear about our ministry which is MAKING a DIFFERENCE for people who need it. Is that asking too much?
We accepted the call to be presenters of the Gospel to people who desperately need it. We don’t always love the part of our job where we have to present “ourselves” back home and ask people to approve of what we do or how cool we are while we do it. Risk and sacrifice aren’t things we make fun of about our life.
I grew up wanting to be anything ELSE than a traditional missionary. Didn’t want the clothes, not the hair, not the “perfect” children or the perfect attendance at church or anything else that was expected but completely not realistic. I’m about realistic. I can’t be perfect, I don’t WANT to be perfect, and I certainly can’t expect my kids to behave when people are watching them. In fact, I guarantee they will misbehave. A lot.
So let’s talk. I WANT your feedback.
Fact #1– Missionaries do come “home” for furlough, or Stateside assignment. It’s not vacation. It’s a necessary time to decompress from culture stress, reconnect with our own culture, family, celebrate traditions and holidays and teach our kids about their passport country. Amongst all the work stuff.
Fact #2– We are funded through donors in our home country. We cannot CANNOT cannot work out here without funds. You can’t live without a salary- neither can we. We live off of a reasonable budget, tithe, save, educate our kids and plan for the future. This requires money. A LOT of what we raise is for ministry projects as well, and we account for every dollar donated- your money is used wisely, I promise.
Fact #3– We have to find a way to connect with potential donors. This is probably one of the hardest things. Be honest-do you like asking for money? Americans have immense pride in supporting themselves through their own hard work and asking for money goes against the grain. However, in all honestly, it’s something we will talk about candidly because it’s part of our life.
Moving overseas and sharing the Gospel is not an individual calling. It takes a team. A team of senders through using finances, prayer and emotional support, and a team of goers through long-term service and short-term supportive mission trips. We aren’t just raising money- we are raising team mates of senders. It’s so so so important.
I won’t deny that parts of this life are incredible. I do love it. There are experiences, foods, sights, and adventures that we wouldn’t have otherwise. There are also part of this life that are so hard. Driving past the mortuary, coffin shops and funeral gatherings every.single.day. Saying “no” to children begging on the street because I know money won’t help them. Teaching my children at home out of necessity. Missing babies, weddings, funerals back home. That’s hard. But it’s our life. We are the go-ers. We are in this for the long haul.
Fact #4– We need to share to raise awareness about our ministry. It’s growing, and reaching 30,000 eye patients every year. Thousands more through village outreaches and new churches.
So give me some feedback—
How do we share? How do we NOT be the people that you dread? We want to connect with you as people. We want to make new friends. We want to be NORMAL and have our children treated normally, not as “children of the spotlight who have lived a different life but don’t realize that because it’s just their life.” We want to invite you to be part of our sending team, but don’t want to turn you away because of our inability to connect with your heart.
We might make you uncomfortable. But I hope the discomfort comes from God tugging at your heart to get involved in something outside yourself, where you will have to stretch yourself and trust God with your resources. As people, we want a better connection with the senders back home and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can do that!