I’m wrote this list for two reasons.
I wrote it for you who are fellow missionaries. There’s something cathartic and encouraging knowing that you’re not the only one with these experiences and feelings.
I wrote it for you, my friends who are not missionaries but you know missionaries, so that you could hopefully have a better understanding of what the life of a missionary is like.
Some of these are unique to our context in Eastern Europe but many of them are much broader than that or they have a parallel in other countries and cultures.
You know you’re a missionary when…
- You measure your life in furloughs.
- Your kids favorite food includes beets and pickled fish.
- You say… “What’s the word for that in English?”
- You try to post everything in two languages on Facebook.
- You’ve woken up and wondered what country you’re in.
- On road trips your kids don’t ask “Are we there yet?” but rather, “What country are we in now?”
- You automatically think, “How much would that be in dollars?” before every purchase.
- Your kids remember what the play areas are like in different airports.
- You get asked, “Is life better in the USA?” regularly.
- It’s hard to remember a time when you haven’t had “visa issues”.
- You’ve discussed evacuation plans in case of war.
- You’ve discussed what to do in a hostage situation.
- The question, “Where are you from?” has several answers.
- You’ve had to add extra pages to your passport.
- Your on first name basis with at least one immigration officer.
- Your younger kids are sure Grandma and Grandpa live somewhere inside your computer.
- You sometimes root for the team that’s playing against the US team.
- Your favorite sport doesn’t exist in the US.
- You if you hear a foreign language spoken while you’re in the US you go out of your way to introduce yourself.
- You’ve been called in as an expert on something you know little to nothing about just because you’re “American”.
- You can’t think of the last time you drove on a road not littered with potholes.
- While you’re in the States you ask for a medium anything and they give you an extra-large.
- You can’t understand why people in the States don’t dress weather appropriate.
- You’ve been to more international potlucks than you care to remember.
- Men walking around with machine-guns seem pretty normal to you.
- You prefer an outdoor market to Walmart or Costco.
- You hate leaving just as much as you love going.
- It’s normal to take part in at least 3 worship services every Sunday.
- You have to pause to swallow the lump in your throat as you explain to people back home the needs of those you serve.
- You wish furloughs lasted a few days instead of a few months so you could get back to your home and ministry sooner.
- You feel like you’ve never done enough.
- Your greatest joys and deepest pains are wrapped up in the lives of people your friends and family back home will probably never know.
- You can’t ever really explain to others the burden and passion God has given you for those you serve.