14 Things A Missionary Might Not Tell You

I came across a link to this blog and found it really relevant.
It was written by Gary Shogren, Ph.D.

Thought I'd share it here.

("14 things your visiting missionaries probably won't tell you," by Gary Shogren, Ph.D, missionary and Professor of New Testament at Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica. Visit us at http://shogrens.com)

14 things your missionaries might like to tell you, but feel inhibited

Let me put on my missionary hat!

When Paul and Barnabas returned home from their journey, they "gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles" (Acts 14:27). Your church's missionaries periodically pay you a brief visit. They will tell you about their successes and failures, and thank you for your support.

There are things your visiting missionaries might wish to tell you but feel they cannot: When we're visiting you, we haven't actually "come home." We live elsewhere, and are temporarily visiting the place where we used to live. Especially for missionary kids, "home" is far from here. We are usually keen to get back to where we belong.

Don't assume that we are up to date on all the latest U.S. culture.
"So, where was I? Anyway, that was so sad when Billie Dee got hurt. And, and!...I think that Meryl and Maks might have a little romance going...Of course, I wouldn't be caught dead voting for Chelsea..."

"So, where was I? Anyway, that was so sad when Billie Dee got hurt. And, AND!...I think that Meryl and Maks might have a little romance going...Well of course, I wouldn't be caught dead voting for Chelsea..."

We are aware that we look older-heavier-greyer-balder than the last time we passed through town. Everyone at your church does, too, but it's basic courtesy not to mention it!

Don't spend our short time together telling me about friends who have taken vacations in our country of service. Like you, we just want to be listened to, and we hope you'll ask us about how we minister in our country.

Please remember to bless our children. Missionary Kids (MKs) have given up their culture, language, pets, friends, relatives to go to the field. If you give them some treat while we're visiting your church, even a simple one, your thoughtfulness will be remembered for years to come.

Our children are probably not sullen; they're shell-shocked. They travel hundreds of miles and visit dozens of groups. They think and they dream in two languages. They don't remember who you are. Still, they'll probably be approachable so long as you smile and make no sudden moves.

We may be able to host a short-term team from your church. But then again, maybe not. Hosting a team takes months of planning. Imagine if a dozen foreign teenagers dropped by your home in America; they can't speak the local language and they are more excited about going to Six Flags than they are about the mission. If you want to arrange a trip, have a clear goal, defined tasks, and sound financing and you'll be welcomed back.

Missionaries believe in missions, in fact, many of us support other missionaries. You might suppose that since we have already "given all", we feel no obligation to donate to missions or the local church. In fact, the missionaries I've asked report that they support other missionaries as part of their contribution to God's work.

Don't try to convert us to Multi-level Marketing (MLM) instead of traditional support-raising. We've already heard the tale of the new missionary who stood outside a factory gate and within an hour raised 100% of his support by recruiting people to Amway. And while some of us are "tent-makers," using our work in another country as an entry for the gospel, that is not feasible for others of us.

We have worked hard to calculate the minimum necessary we need to live on the field. In many countries, the cost of living is much higher than in the US. We are also concerned that you wouldn't understand the decisions we have made with our mission agency.

Don't tell us we should re-negotiate the percentage that our missionary agency charges us, because you think they're ripping us off. If we pay 13% to our board, it's because of a slate of services that they render. If you make the generous offer to manage our affairs for nothing, please don't be offended if we turn you down. The truth is, you could not possibly handle the business, insurance, retirement plan, communication, promotion, mobilization - let along evacuation in the case of earthquake or revolution, or knowing what to do if we're kidnapped - that the professionals can, nor do it decade after decade.

No, we DON'T think the US church faces a relatively high degree of persecution. Not even if the cashier at the drugstore did tell you "Happy Holidays!"

Working in a new language is really, really hard. Yes, you picked up some Spanish from your vacation and can say, Por favor, ¿dónde está el baño? But could you say: The doctrine of justification by faith alone, a hallmark of the Reformation, runs counter to your notion that attendance at Mass is a channel for divine grace? And contrary to a popular myth, an adult can't pick up a new language just like children do, just by hearing it spoken. There are scientific reasons for this: a child is hardwired to learn grammar, but past age 6 or 7, you can no longer learn a language so naturally. If we're studying, for example, Arabic or Turkish, we will need years to become reasonably conversant.

We are Christians, not super-Christians. We do not have a special hot-line to God. We sometimes doubt our calling, and wrestle with questions of significance. In terms of basic emotional and spiritual needs, missionaries are like everyone else. The majority of missionaries do not return after their first year of service; so at any given moment, some of us are considering coming back from the field. We might welcome a chance to share in confidence what's really going on with us.

ISAC Update 2014

The girls soccer team played well but placing in the top three eluded them in the field of 7 international schools.
A friend who went to ISAC got some great shots of the team and Kirsten playing.

Saturday March 29, 2014

While Kirsten was at ISAC in Subic, near Manila, we were invited to go on a boat trip with friends. It was a beautiful day of sun, breeze, enjoying friendship, swimming, snorkeling, good food, etc. I love being on the ocean. It is so relaxing and invigorating!


enjoying buko - fresh coconut juice

floating raft made from life jackets

tired guys on way back to port

ISAC March 2014

On Wednesday the high school girls soccer team and boys basketball team travel to Subic for the International School Athletic Competition. This tournament is being hosted by Brent International School in Subic.
This year, the tournament will be on the web. Want to see how the girls soccer team, which includes Kirsten, is doing? Check out the website - http://www.brentsubic.edu.ph/isac/

Pray for safe travels for the players, coaches and families going to watch.

Track and Field Day 2014

Every year the school our kids attend has a track and field day at the end of third quarter.
And every year as I watch our kids, the line from this hymn runs through my head as I watch races being run, etc.

"May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe
looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

Hebrews 12:1-3 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded

by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside

every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run

with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to

Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy
that was set before him endured the cross, despising the

shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility
against himself, so that you may not grow weary or