Tell Me What You Really Think {and a giveaway!}

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 (jmghrist@gmail.com) 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!

-Maggie

 

7 thoughts on “Tell Me What You Really Think {and a giveaway!}

  1. Maggie, I loved how you said, “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.” That video was ridiculous! You are NOT that family that makes people cringe when you walk in. You guys inspire people. And not because you have it all together. You inspire people because you are REAL. Your family is precious and you allow God to use you on the other side of the world. I cannot wait til you walk back in show your slideshow!!! I’ll be there for every service!

    1. Maggie I am a good friend of Jenny and Sean’s, Jodie Webb with Colors of Hope and I do missions in Kenya and my teams home base is Mombasa, South Coast. I don’t want to be intered in the drawing because I get to see and buy Jenny’s product and I LOVE IT!!!! So give it to someone that hasn’t expirenced Imani cause those ladies work so hard to make amazing products!

      Ok so I’m not one to get my feathers ruffled easy. I am super laid back. But I’m NOT what this guy calls a “typical missionary”. Actually, I am so far from the opposite. He would never know I was one and LOVE every minute of it. I’m a country girl who lives on a Texas Ranch that rides and ropes, along with my two girls and husband. I do NOT dress like he said or act the way he states. So when people say all Muslims are the same you and I know different because we are in the field and their are some super sweet Muslims in Mombasa that are just precious people. So that’s basically what this guy is doing saying all missionaries are the same. And that’s farthest from the truth. I’m so so honored God chose me to be the do-er. I love the challenge of all the obstacles we have to face in the field. The mass amounts of people that cross your path in the field that you know you can’t help but want to stay focused on your mission so you can make a difference. For me, being a do-er is MUCH harder than people give us credit. If it was a cake walk why wouldn’t more be do-ers?? But there also has to be supporters that feel being in the field is not for them but supporting makes them feel complete and that they are doing what God asked them to do and that’s support. And without that furlough and asking for support we couldn’t be out their making it happen changing lives.

      As I close I know he was trying to be funny and in a way it was but in our hearts we have to just know their will be do-ers and supporters and side-liners. What is God calling those people to do?

      My motto is Kindness Matters whether your the do-er, supporter or side-liner, just show kindness to all. Don’t label people and put them down for who they are or what they do. Just show kindness. So maybe we can share our kindness with this guy and his view of us “missionaries” will be different. 😉

      Jenny talks so so highly of you Maggie!!! Keep up the amazing work!!!

      Blessings

  2. Maggie,
    We love our visits from OUR missionaries. They are OUR missionaries. They (you) are part of our church family that we do not see nearly enough. Churches should look forward to missionary visits. Even more, churches should look forward to visiting their missionaries (as we did and look forward to doing again).

    As far the video, I am not sure he really means to make fun of missionaries. I will be curious to take another look at his other videos. Besides, I have one of those walking sticks. They are cool.

    Howard

  3. Well written, Maggie! I can so relate to all you said, since we are missionaries on a foreign field also. I do agree that video was a little disturbing. On the other hand I’ve said some of those same things when an OLDER missionary came to our church in the States (before I was a missionary and even when we were presenting our ministry in churches with other missionaries) shame on me! I should have known better, even just as an MK. I believe that with all the social media, FaceTime and Internet accessibility our generation of missionaries won’t be as out of touch with American culture. We will be able to stay in style a little easier because we have Pinterest to tell us what to wear when we return. But we do need to be careful of who are we pleasing, God or man? Although there are so many ways for us to stay in touch with America we really are different and will never be like “them” in the States because we have seen so much that none of them have experienced. We are third-culture people. We have seen things such as God working in great and mighty ways in people’s lives, we are in a society or culture that is a lot less materialistic, and we really do want to live for God no matter what we look like (our worn out Toms) or what we have to sacrifice. Obedience is more rewarding than trying to fit in. A missionary in our mission, from Belgium, said this week, while he’s back in the states on fourlough that he can really see the American culture changing and becoming more like Cold, unapproachable Europe. That is sad! So I would say if someone truly thinks the thoughts of this song they are the strange one, not us. They need a heart check! Like you said they don’t know what they are missing out on. Just my rambling thoughts of the top of my head.

  4. Maggie Ghrist, you are amazing! I mean it – you write so well. The whole time I’m reading I am smiling because I know you are so serious and yet so lovable that you don’t need to worry one bit about “doing furlough well.” And, just thinking about Joshua causes a huge grin in my heart. Its not that I don’t take your concerns seriously, its just that I think people will warmly welcome YOU while not necessarily wanting to hear all about your LIFE in Africa and there’s not much you can do about that. So, just be you and let ’em love you. God will provide the support you need, so simply ask people and leave it to Him.

  5. Yes I agree that the video is pretty funny, with a bit of truth to it for people that are church members. We are missionaries about to be on a one year home assignment. During our re-entry seminar we bemoaned the fact that sometimes we get 3-5 minutes to share our life ministry even in our main supporting churches, and how frustrating it can be especially after being in a culture that emphasis relationship over time! But also missionaries that may have gone before us have droned on and on, and sometimes have “ruined” it for us in a way because they didn’t respect the parameters in which they were given. I think the best advice from a support raising book we read was to still share our ministry briefly, and just be interested and listen to others and minister to them as needed. I really liked your part about us making people feel uncomfortable; I’ve never thought about it that way, although I’ve seen God use that same discomfort in my own life on the mission field to change me. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. The video definitely makes you smile, and I am so proud of all the missionaries who spread the gospel to the ends of the earth! Always love seeing those slideshows!!

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