since coming back to AZ to live among wycliffe Bible translators, I have been reminded of just how much I love missionaries. love. they really have a culture of their own, out here, and i'll wager than any missionary has a bit of that same flair marking his/ her life.what is it? it's basically a deep-seated knowledge about the things that matter. the most. a despising of pretenses. all mingled with a great frugality. we don't mind being a little ghetto. ghetto can be a big money saver. and why spend a lot of money just to make your curtains match your carpet and your dishes match...each other, when there are people in the world whose life consists of adobe huts with dirt floors and holey tin roofs--and who are none the sadder for it?
One of my fist big "culture shock" moments--culture shock of stepping out of the missionary culture and into normal american society, that is--came within my first couple of months at Colorado Christian University. My dad had given me a car to drive around when I needed to in high school, and he let me take it to college! Now this thing was manufactured when i was about 4 years old, and had not seen cushy days lately. when we had left it with renters during my 1st year of high school, it somehow got an enormous dent in the side, which of course we had never spent the money to fix--that would be a waste, when the car still ran fine! the thing was pretty hearty and drove well, but was hard to shift, hard to steer, was covered in bumper stickers, had problems with the window, and was just well-used. I remember talking to a few friends on this particular day, when I mentioned one of the problems with my car and said, "I need to get a new car." One of my friends, without missing a beat, said, "you need to get a car." ouch! i couldn't figure out why this comment surprised me so much, but now I know. Americans like Nice Stuff. Missionaries like Stuff That Works. I was thankful I had a vehicle at all, and didn't see why she had to be a snob about it! So here is my tribute--why I love missionaries:
-if you try to brew them a second cup of tea and they notice you've thrown the 1st tea bag in the trash, they come over and pick it out to use again! (ok, some might not, but this has happened in my kitchen.)
-they nonchalantly feed their one-yr-old a piece of cookie that has fallen to the ground--yes, even in front of other people
-they nonchalantly feed their one-yr-old a piece of cookie off someone else's plate after it's been abandoned
-they love hand-me-downs and think of receiving them as practical instead of embarrassing
-they don't have to have their toenails painted all the time
-once you've known them, you always feel like you still know them, no matter how long you've been away
-they are completely comfortable talking to strangers.
-they find it more interesting to sit and talk than to watch TV or movies--and they invent all kinds of creative games like "throw the steak knife on the lawn and see if it sticks"
-if the only available pair of flip flops is 3 sizes too big, they'll take them anyway and just cut off the heels
Writing this blog reminded me of this awesome list some MK's put together awhile back: "You Know You're an MK When..." Check it out! Especially numbers 1, 3, 4, 9, 13, 31, 35, 37, 40, 45, 66, 72, 74, 80, 88, 90, 95, 101, 104, 111, 112, 117, 121, 123, 125, 135, 137, 138, 140, and 141. (ok, that's like all of them! LOL!)