I’m not the only one! Although, I’m a little more excited about my experience. How sad to spend so much time with the Savior and not see Him.
When I say that my material fortune is the result of God’s blessing, it reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers….
Everything was gone in an instant.
The scenery around me disappeared and reappeared in a second, like the flicker of a computer screen, like my vision had gone offline and immediately reconnected.
What was this place?
I slowly moved my gaze to the ground, to the trees in the distance, to the sky, to the grass beneath my feet. That’s strange. A second ago, I could have sworn they all had color. Whimsical oak trees towering above spongy patches of verdant grass. The sky was bright and clear, as blue as any romantic poet would wish it to be. But, now. It was like I was Dorothy, stepping from the dark, drab world of Kansas to the colorful pages of Oz. Just the other way around. I was in a black-and-white movie? No. I stared harder at the once-lavender flower about a yard from my foot. It wasn’t black, and it wasn’t white. Nothing was. Everything was just… gray. Just, void of color, void of beauty. A giant prison.
People. Startled, I suddenly noticed the swirls of people around me. Not bodies, swirls. They were erethreal, transient. Their forms dipped and swerved with surprising speed. A cloud of gray. There was something missing. A void. Something? No, no, no. Definitely someone. Why couldn’t I figure it out? I strained to see their faces, frantically searching for a face I would recognize. But I couldn’t make out a single feature. Why couldn’t I see anyone? Who were these people? As their forms whipped around me, they created a whirlwind. My senses felt like they were growing sharper; I could now feel the wind cutting into my face, slicing my hair across my cheeks. So many people. I tried to cry out to them, but I was mute. That, or my words were just lost in the tornado of faces. They were there. I could feel them, see their blurs. But I was completely alone.
And that sound! A high-pitched frequency buzzed in my ear. I swatted at my ear, thinking there were bugs, but the sound was coming from somewhere else. All the people maybe? They seemed to be communicating, interacting, but I could only hear that incessant squealing. Hoping to gain their attention, I tried to wave my hands. That’s when I realized that my hands felt heavy, as bags of sand were attached to them. I quickly yanked them up, testing whether they were tied to something. No, my hands were free. The weight was coming from above them. I was holding something. Weights? I looked down, but could only see the gray churning around me. But, wait, underneath the clouds. Whatever I was holding was black, completely and utterly black.
Warmth seeped into my hands. Having moved my hands so quickly earlier, I could now sense the temperature change from the cold gusts whirling around me. Slowly, I realized the rest of my body was numb with cold, only my hands were warm. And wet. Whatever I was holding was wet. And pulsing. Wait, was it? It was. Just barely. Only the smallest quiver of motion rippled through the nerves in my fingertips. Was I going crazy? My breathing became heavy, my panic rose. What was going on? Where was I? Just when I thought I couldn’t take it a second longer, the cloud of gray shifted, retreated a little. Warm, thick goo oozed down my fingers, tracing lines down my wrists and forearms. I watched it carve thick, jagged cuts along my skin, then moved my gaze back to my palms. My breath caught in my lungs. In my horror, I tried to tear my gaze from my hands, but couldn’t, for in my hands, was my heart.
Everything came back in an instant.
Where was I?
I was left standing exactly where he said I never would be.
What had happened?
What he promised he would never do.
What was this world?
This is my life.
10. You’ll get to try new things, like typhoid fever and amoebas.
No worries. Even if you’re the most vaccinated person you know, you just might get sick. On the bright side, most of the time your illnesses will sound cool. And cool illnesses make people pray more.
But note: ulcers are not cool. If you get an ulcer, don’t tell anyone. Ulcers are too American.
Oh, and make sure your kids know how great all these new things are too. I was hanging out at an international high school once and overheard a kid say something about a student who was absent. He nonchalantly said, “Oh, he’s not here; he has an amoeba.” I wanted to grab the kid by the collar and say, “You know that’s not a normal sentence, right?”
9. Your kids will have friends from countries you didn’t know existed.
And they’ll speak like them too. Our little girl loves the story of the “Ten Leopards.” You know, the one where Jesus healed ten leopards, but only one came back to say “thank you”? Thank you, you wonderful world of missions, for giving our children such a linguistic advantage and wide worldview. A worldview in which Jesus cares so much about jungle animals, he sometimes heals ten at a time.
8. Your driving skills will “improve.”
Lights on for safety, or lights off to keep the evil spirits from seeing you? Even at night? Or lights on during the day because you really were wanting to impersonate a VIP and get pulled over by the police?
I mean, who knew driving 20mph (or 32kph for those of you who don’t know how to measure stuff correctly) could be so exhilarating. And when the door falls off of your ancient Toyota, just hold on to it and keep moving. And sometimes, cars on the mission field actually get younger, with fewer miles on them than when they were imported. What a cool perk.
7. You’ll learn to be grateful for the little things, like cheese and toilet paper.
Despite YouTube tutorials aplenty, how exactly billions of people lived (and still live) without toilet paper remains a mystery. Be grateful, people.
Older missionaries in my part of the world remember when cheese came to town. Cheese and stop lights apparently arrived at the same time. So if you’re in a part of the world without cheese, extra points for you. And may I recommend you start praying for a stop light?
(I was going to include bacon in this section, but then I remembered we were talking about “the little things.”)
6. Your bargaining skills will improve…with the police.
This becomes necessary if #4 doesn’t work. Life’s simpler here, really. The police don’t want to write you a ticket, and you don’t really want to pay a ticket. And everyone knows you didn’t really violate a law anyway. Some officers are harder than others, requiring rare delicacies from the West. One time, a pot-bellied officer demanded beer money. I offered Twizzlers. He pondered for a second and counter-offered with four fingers. I complied and drove off. In my rearview mirror I saw him and three buddies chowing down. Apparently, Twizzlers make mouths (and cops) happy.
5. Your children will learn how to whine in multiple languages.
The ability to whine, out loud, in front of other people, without them knowing, is the gift of a lifetime. Just be sure to teach your kids to do a quick perimeter check for possible same-language listeners within earshot.
A hotel worker didn’t do a proper perimeter check once, and I clearly heard him complaining about some rude tourists, “Sure, why don’t they just go sunbathe by the pool. I hope a massive rock falls off the building and smashes their heads.” Oops. I made a mental note to self: speak extra nice to that employee.
Your new language will also allow your family to share bodily function jokes all throughout furlough. Very bonding, really. And if your kids aren’t learning the local language, may I at least suggest your family learns the words and/or euphemisms for passing gas. Especially if you have boys. Their childhood will be grossly enhanced.
4. You’ll always be able to use the excuse, “I’m not from around here.”
When you need to explain why your family wears clothes, or why you don’t really care much for fried spiders or bony duck embryos, simply state “I’m not from around here.”
Really though, this one’s most useful during furlough. Can’t figure out the ATM? or the drive through? or Wal-Mart? Just smile, mumble something in another language about massive rocks smashing things, and say “I’m not from around here.” But don’t forget your perimeter check.
3. Fashion rules will no longer apply.
You ever seen a missionary? Yeah.
2. You’ll get to report to hundreds of people, every month, details about your work, your family, and how you spend your money.
Who needs Dave Ramsey when you have the entire deacon board of multiple churches analyzing your finances? It’s accountability on huge quantities of steroids.
They may ask why you need so much, or why you have to pay for your kids’ education, or why you save for retirement, but at the end of the day, they are paying you to do this thing we call missions. It’s an honor to serve, even when the reports are due, the power’s out, it’s hot season, the spreadsheet’s rebelling, and you can’t figure out how to get that docx into a pdf into an html into a mobile-friendly, print-friendly, e-mail-friendly format. But hey, at least you don’t have to use envelopes.
1. You’ll get to experience the raw joy of crossing language barriers, cultural barriers, time zones and comfort zones, simply to share the love you know with other people.
Maybe you preach the gospel straight up, street-corner style. Maybe you serve the sickest and the poorest, touching the folks no one else wants to touch. Maybe you teach English or a vocation, aiming to empower. Maybe you do a thousand things for economies or community health or justice. But there is one Love that draws us together and pushes us out the door. Every day.
His name is Jesus, and at the end of the day, He is worth.it.all.
We won’t tartle before we cafune you! Just let us introduce some words you need to know. Good Mythical Morning Episode 222! SUBSCRIBE for daily episodes: htt…
Wow. Some of these, we need. We need.
It was a rough day for George Zimmerman: His wife served him with divorce papers in jail, he was accused in court of choking his girlfriend and threatening suicide, and his lawyer revealed hes $2.5 million in debt. Tuesdays developments came hours before Zimmerman &
And the rest of his dirty laundry has finally been aired. How many crimes does a man have to commit before before people stop believing his cries of, “I did nothing wrong”?
The assignment was to write a speech about “How to Succeed in College.” Michael’s answer surprised me. “I think you should fall in love with someone who can inspire or motivate you. Because the power of love is endless. So if you find someone who you think you deserve to devote your youth and energy to and try your best to improve yourself, you will not just succeed in college, but also in your marriage.”
I still love this. I can see this happening on any given street here. Ha.
…poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned
By the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I’m welcomed with open arms
Praise God, just as I am
Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt
Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are You King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night
Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified
So quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart in You
That’s exactly it. He’s given me so much. Can I grumble when He removes it? Would I not have still chosen things to be as they were, even knowing this day would come? Without hesitating. God is good—all the time. God is sovereign—all the time. God is in charge—all the time. God is worth trusting—all the time. Please, let Your will be done in me. It’s in Your love that I’ll abide—nothing or no one else. Help me to long for nothing else. Let my full satisfaction be in glorifying You. And please quiet my restless heart. It’s pretty bad right now. But please quiet it in You.