The American

I am the American. As a family living in a small village in northern Portugal, we are the Americans.

No matter what we do, some people will see us through that lens, rather than for who we really are.

Clothes, speech, eating habits, hobbies, religion, leadership styles. I could go on and on ad nauseam and no matter what area you look at in our lives, if others see it as good or bad, it is because we are American.

I can be factually correct about an issue, but culturally wrong on the same.

Missionaries around the world face the same dilemma. They can give their time and their wisdom and their experience, with or without giving their money, but it is too often received with an air of hesitation because it came from the American.

If you give financially, you’re the “rich” American that’s boastful and controlling. If you don’t give you’re the “stingy” American that’s selfish and doesn’t want to help.

The kids suffer more than the adults. They have friends that want to come over and play with the cool stuff from America, but when the relationship forges deeper, other kids get jealous because the American is trying to steal a friend or break up the group.

Mind you, not everybody treats us like that, and the people that do, don’t always do it…but when they do, it tends to sting a little. We don’t have a hidden agenda and aren’t looking for anything in return, but it really doesn’t matter.

I’ll always be the American.

I’m still trying to decide if it is a blessing or a curse.

  • Dani Joy

    I understand ya here. – Dani

    • Michael

      I knew you guys would understand.

  • wanda williams

    Being an American is a blessing!

    • Michael

      I know it is, but some days and in some situations, I just have to pause and think about it for a little bit. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • June Burdett

    It is both, depending on who is looking, and heaven forbid, judging…..and depending on how close you are to the Lord a that painful moment…..or maybe even depending on who ….here or there…is praying for you then……..a man or sorrows at times? So like our Lord……

    • Michael

      Ms. June, thank you for the encouragement. I’m sorry that we don’t have a good translation alternative for the Ustream video of the Sunday services at church, but if you read the “Whatcha’ Preaching” weekend posts, then you know exactly what I’m saying on the video. It is almost a word for word transcript. I hope that helps.

  • Larissa Morales

    E uma benção queridos …..definitivamente e uma benção , nao o fato de ser americano ou brasileiro ou africano o fato de ser como vocês são …pessoas maravilhosas , guiadas pelo Santo Espirito de Deus que estão sempre prontos para ajudar …..nao ser europeu para eles e uma coisa ruim , mas para nos e uma bencao e ser de Jesus e o que temos de mais extraordinário e maravilhoso em nossas vidas . Na verdade queridos temos a mesma nacionalidade ….somos do povo de Deus , cidadãos dos céus …..quem nao faz parte nunca vai entender ….beijos amamos vocês , mais do que imaginam

    • Michael

      Obrigado irmã, por tudo! Vocês são uma bênção nas nossas vidas.

  • Christy @ My Invisible Crown

    I’ve never really heard you talk about this but it makes so much sense. I’m sure we do the same thing at times here in the states with other nationalities. I also suppose it’s part of the cross you bear bringing the gospel to a foreign land. I’m sure though that even if you don’t see it, there are others there who admire you and your family and see the beauty in what you’re doing being the American so far from home.

    • Michael

      I don’t normally mention it much because it can come out the wrong way. I never expected it to be easy, but sometimes days can be much more difficult than I expected. Thanks for the encouragement.

%d bloggers like this: