I’ve decided that I’m going to do a post about what I miss about life as a missionary, but just to get you all up to speed (for those of you who didn’t know about that shadowy part of my past), here’s a slightly updated rerun of a post from last August about some of the lessons I learned there.
It’s been six years since J and I packed up every last thing that we owned, sold the rest, took our four month old baby, got on a plane, then another, and then another, and moved to Papua New Guinea to work as missionary teachers.
Our experiences there left an indelible impression on our lives.
Here are just a few things that I learned in our two years there that may be worth passing on . . .
1. Nothing bad will happen to you if you are not dressed cool. Therefore, if your feet are cold, Chacos and socks are okay.
2. Accept help when it’s offered, even if you don’t need it. Maybe the help isn’t for you.
3. Use what you have. You don’t have to buy something, especially if there’s nothing to buy and no money to buy it with. (I learned this is called being resourceful. Go figure.)
4. Kids who don’t have TVs do this crazy thing called “playing”. It turns out that it is good for them.
5. If you can’t go out, stay in. Sometimes making the best of it is actually better anyway.
6. Kids are adaptable, even with intractable things like nap schedules and eating patterns. Actually, grown-ups are too. God made us this way.
7. Stick together. You’ll be able to do things that you could never do on your own.
8. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can and not worry about the rest. In fact, much of the “rest” actually won’t kill you (even if it doesn’t necessarily make you stronger). I mean, it really is possible to be too clean.
9. DIY, girlfriend! (Or boyfriend? Are boys reading this blog?) If you want bagels, make them. Yogurt? Make it! Bread? Make it! Sausage? Make it! Spaghetti sauce? Make it! Nappy cleaner? MAKE IT! Milk? Well . . . . buy it from the cow guy that delivers it on his motorcycle and pasteurize it yourself! You don’t need no store, girl. (See, you know I’m serious when I start using double negatives!) Pull up your big girl pants and make yusself that food you want!
(But Rum? Well, get yusself a ride all the way to the big city, and then buy it, smuggle it back to the missionary center, and try to keep the Brits off it. )
10. A lot depends on which point of view you decide to take. Choose wisely.
Wow, that really barely covered a fraction of what I learned there. We’ll have to do this again some time. Just curious, what did you do or where did you go, however briefly, that changed your life forever?