Friday night, while feeding the baby, I was browsing Facebook on my iTouch. I came across the above post and turned a nice shade of red. For me, I felt a bit humiliated on behalf of all missionaries– sort of like when you see the videos of “Christians” holding those “you’re going to hell signs” outside of porn conventions, etc. You know that’s never gonna work– never gonna convey the love of Christ. And you want to shout at them: “Stop it!!!!”
Well, to begin with, smack my forehead at the thought of people sending support letters to people they don’t know. Please don’t ever do that!
But beyond that… there was a lot of subjects that seemed to come up in this post and the following comments. Those weren’t all the comments, by the way. I, of course commented too, but that’ll be for another day.
First, I thought– gee, a lot of people seem to have these thoughts! All of a sudden, I felt really vulnerable. Wow, is this the impression people have of me?? Honestly, I was a bit hurt. Not offended, but hurt. But I also realized that this post provided a great opportunity. More on that later.
No one likes generalizations. While I have heard stories of unfaithful missionaries, there are countless others I know personally who gave up great jobs to go on the field, who lived a minimalistic lifestyle, who suffered lack on the field…yet who were faithful.
While a missionary should absolutely live simplistically, I’d like to add: so should the person at home. I know personally, I used to have the idea that missionaries live dirt poor lifestyles, and that’s just the way that it is. But I think it has become synonymous that missions means poverty. So with that mindset, the idea of a missionary looking stylish seems wrong. The idea of a missionary with an iPhone seems shameful. The idea of a missionary providing something nice for their child seems wrong….
Right. Before we judge others, we may want to take a look at our own lifestyles and see if it reflects a lifestyle that is advancing the kingdom of God (and there are many of those here in America who are living that lifestyle, I just wanna say). We shouldn’t hold others to a lifestyle that we ourselves aren’t willing to live with. But I’ll not touch this subject any further for the time being.
In later blogs (because this has brought up a LOT of conversation between my husband and I), I will share personal testimonies of being on the field with lack, my own struggle with the idea of support raising, and things I learned on the field from missionaries.
We also realized that usually, people don’t realize the costs that go into being on the field– things you don’t even think of– like self-employment tax. Did you know that to be a missionary, you usually have to pay self-employment tax? Mine came out to about $800 a year. Anyway, we felt it was important for people to see the breakdown of budgets, as originally commented on in the initial post. So, we want people to have access to our budget– and if you have questions about it, you can feel free to ask. Because what seems perhaps like an unnecessary expense to you may in fact be necessary on the field. So, if you want to see it, please email us or meet with us. We’d love to dialogue.
There are many more blogs coming and perhaps even a video blog from my husband, as he has his own story to share. So stay tuned!