I recently read a blog written by a family who serves in Cambodia. I thought it was funny and relatable, so I wanted to share some of it, plus add my own to the list.
10 reasons you should be a missionary
10. You’ll get to try new things, like amoebas and boils.
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. A couple of years ago at the middle and high school many students had boils. I remember at a church service when the prayer request was given to pray for the boil problem at the school, I was thinking, I never heard that prayer request in my passport country.
9. Your kids will have friends from countries you didn’t know existed.
I think our boys could plan a route for us to travel from Cameroon to the USA with five stops along the way where they can name a family living there to stay with. (Niger, Mali, Senegal, France, Switzerland)
8. You driving skills will improve.
Lights are optional at night. Lights on during the day can be to impersonate a VIP, light flash can signal not to pull in front of that vehicle or light flash can indicate to pull in front of that vehicle.
I mean, who knew driving 20mph (or 32kph) could be so exhilarating. And when you need to transport wood or a mattress, just lay it on the roof of the car and hold it with your hand out the window. Two lane roads turn into a road supporting four or more lanes of traffic. Watch out for the motorcycles because even though you have your turn signal on and it’s clear you are turning left – you’ll get passed on the left.
7. You’ll learn to be grateful for the little things, like sugar and clean water.
If you can drink the water coming from your tap without worrying about amoeba or cholera – be grateful. If your water comes out of your tap clear (meaning not orange or brown or dark yellow) – be grateful.
Older missionaries in our part of the world remember when granulated sugar became available. Before then the only sugar available was sugar cubes. We are grateful for granulated sugar, however, due to the humidity, the sugar is somewhat wet and clumped, but that beats crushing sugar cubes into granulated sugar to use in a recipe.
(I was going to include bacon in this section, but that just makes me salivate and start a pity party)
6. Your gross out factor changes.
You’re surrounded by dust and dirt, so you don’t freak out when a thick layer covers your floors or shelves overnight, just wipe with your hand, wipe your hand on your hip and go. When you place rice in water to cook, you skim off the bugs that float to the top – no biggie. You get out of bed in the night and scrunch a cockroach underfoot, you get the sudden yuck, but wipe your foot off and continue on. You invite geckos into your home because they eat the bugs. You’re surrounded by people urinating when you go down the road and if you know that person, they will talk to you while they relieve themselves.
–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.
Your new language will also allow your family to share bodily function jokes all throughout furlough. Very bonding, really.
–4. You’re always not from around here.
In the host country there are many things you’ll never “get” or don’t even want to “get.” It’s just too foreign to wrap your mind around – no worries, you’re not from around here.
Time marches on in your passport country. New products come out to make life more convenient or change the tapestry of society. When on furlough and you can’t figure out how to use the automated systems or smart phones or whatever, you have the excuse of “I’m not from around here.” A panic option when the people in line are becoming increasing impatient is to pretend you don’t speak English and speak another language.
–3. Fashion rules will no longer apply.
You ever seen a missionary? Yeah.
–2. You’ll get to report to hundreds of people routinely, details about your work, your family, and finances.
It’s accountability on steroids.
You may get asked 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, you’re in a partnership and it’s a privilege that others partner financially and prayerfully so you can 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 show Jesus’ love.
Maybe you preach the gospel. 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. Maybe you deal with governmental issues, housing, administrative, finance, aviation, construction and security. But there is one Love that draws us together and pushes us out the door. Everyday.
His name is Jesus, and at the end of the day, He is worth it all.