I pulled out some old home videos the other night. Mixed in was a set of dvd’s of a missionary camp meeting we attended while on deputation.
I remember the time well.
We were at an amazing church, but I felt like I was under scrutiny. Like we were being forced to be a ‘super missionary family’ because they chose the missionaries that would attend their missions conference (guaranteed support) based on their attitudes/performance/servitude at this camp meeting. I saw some missionaries fall all over themselves, almost fighting to take the trash out. Refill tea glasses and even sweep the kitchen when they obviously didn’t even know how to sweep.
Problem was that I had a child knocking on deaths door. She was so sick with an uncontrollable and very messy stomach virus that had lasted way too long. We were staying in dorms. I had all 5 kids with me and Michael was across the river in the men’s dorm. I was overweight, stressed to the max, and hating missionary life. “The things missionaries do for support….” I remember myself thinking.
The dvd I watched showed all of us missionary wives come across the stage to receive shopping money (they carried the ladies shopping, but I had to stay with a sick kid). In order to get your money you had to say something about your husband…well….all the other ladies told about how their husbands were the best, spiritual leader, honest, trustworthy, yadda…yadda…..
I had had enough of all the gushy stuff and finally it was my time at the mic. I decided to mix things up a bit. I told them about the awful noise my husband makes while brushing his teeth! The entire place erupted in laughter. (thank goodness)
Why would I do something like that? In front of about 500 people? My husband shaking his head in embarrassment.
I wanted folks to know that missionaries are real people too.
Of course it’s good if the missionary husband has all of these traits the other women talked about. It would be good that ALL HUSBANDS, regardless of their calling in life, had these traits.
But, missionaries brush their teeth just like everyone else. We cry, we scream, we fight, we cry some more. We pray, we burn the bread, we wipe snotty noses and read bedtime stories. We go to church, we learn foreign languages, and we embarrass ourselves when we speak in public.
We’re not to be placed on a pedestal. We’re not better than anyone else. We’re usually pretty humble, as life on the foreign field isn’t the least bit glamorous.
Some of us even make that awful gagging sound when brushing our teeth.