Friday, June 23

Missionary perks

Stepchild over at Missions Misunderstood has been doing an interesting series on "missionaries that shouldn't be on the field." His series got me to thinking about some of the perks that come with the territory. Many of our supporters aren't aware of the many personal privileges we missionaries enjoy that aren't available to just any one.

-Getting our own individual glass to drink out of at social occasions and not having to share your drink with someone else.

-Not only having running water in our house, but HOT water too!

-Having a CD burner on our home computer instead of relying on 3.25" floppies.

-Having a computer that runs on Windows 98 instead of one that still uses DOS programs. (if you've never heard of DOS, come visit us--I'll introduce you)

-Being given the seat right in front of the only floor fan in a closed room where 50 people are gathered together in 102 degree heat. (I'd gladly pay good money if we weren't already blessed with this perk.)

-Being asked to sing, preach, teach, baptize, speak, dedicate babies, marry, or give the devotional at every known church event that takes place. (If you're a missionary, you know what I mean by this one.)

-Being invited to 200 birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings per month because they know at least the missionary will bring a nice gift.

-Having a phone that actually works (most of the time.)

-Always the one invited to go places. (They know the missionary has a car and will provide the transportation for the other 15 people also wanting to go.)

-Double portions of rice, chicken and plantains at any social occasion. (They reason we must eat twice as much to be as big as we are!)

-Always being complimented on how fat we are getting, or how much weight we have gained over the past month. (It truly is a cultural compliment meaning we are "well fed", "healthy" and can afford to eat like we do.)

-The honor of receiving 3-4 calls a week from people asking for help in translating an English recipe, a letter, their kid's homework, a legal document, etc. (How many times have I heard, "oh, it will just take a minute of your time...")

-For only $2 being able to buy on the corner any software program we might ever need or desire, complete with code-cracking to make it work. (Same goes for any DVD movie on the market!)

-Being stared at every time we set foot outside the house like we were some movie star with no greater claim to fame than being a foreigner.

-Being the first person people think of when they are in an economic crisis and need a loan.

-Oh yes, having a maid. (How do people live without one?)

-Fruit vendors, knife sharpeners, plumbers, sewer cleaners, street sweepers, bottle collectors, repairmen, newspaper collectors, beggars, Jehovah Witnesses, gardeners, electricians, professional con artists, salesmen, ringing your door bell 100 times a day to see if you need their services or can give them anything. (While sometimes annoying--especially during afternoon siesta--it is generally a nice perk when you actually do need them!)

-Someone to do all your yardwork for less than your kids allowance.

-Garbage picked up daily seven days/week, 365 days/year. That is probably my favorite missionary perk, one I really appreciate getting back to after every Stateside furlough. Our last furlough (no joke) NOT ONCE was our garbage picked up due to our never figuring out how to do it right. I was totally overwhelmed by the "garbage manual" explaining all the rules and regulations about what kinds of trash will be picked up, on what days, in what type of containers, etc.

-Being able to go to the Pharmacy and buy whatever medications you need without a prescription. (Just go down to the corner drugstore 24/7 and get what you need--none of that $90 doctor fee to tell you what you already know!)

Hmmm. And Stepchild wonders what missionaries do with all their time...I guess we're busy managing all the perks that go along with being a missionary!

Care to add any other perks you enjoy overseas? Just add them to the comments section!


Ken Sorrell said...

More Perks:

-- Having church leaders demand that the 4 elderly ladies sitting on the front row move somewhere, anywhere else so that we, the missionaries can be right up front as honored guests.

-- Having children, youth, and adults touching your arms, hands, and head as if, as mentioned before, you are a movie star and touching you is a real treat. In reality they want to know if light skin and light hair feels the same as their skin and hair.

-- PG13 - When nature calls while traveling to the next village no need to wait until the next exit. Just stop and go!

-- The ability to purchase a dozen roses for my wife for less than it costs to buy a Happy Meal. Who says love has to be expensive?

-- Going to the local gas station where: a) it is still full service b) they will detail your car inside and out for about $4.00

__ Going to my favorite taco stand, "Tacos Bobs" where for less than $10.00 my wife and I can eat until we hurt!

-- The ability to pay almost any bill, water, gas, electric, phone at the grocery store, or the bank, or even the local 7/11 type convenience store. None of this having to mail anything stuff.

__ Staying up till midnight on Christmas Eve, no, not to spot Santa, but to join the rest of the country in shooting every illegal firework known to man. It's legal and cheap here.

There are many, many more, but I do not want people to fell a pull to the field for the wrong reasons.

Amanda said...

I can remember that one of the 'perks' we had was a chef on our property. He worked for the school (Sahel Academy in Niger) but he would get us any meat we wanted from the meat market early in the morning so we didn't have to!

The maid thing was definately something we had to get used to, ours couldn't speak English and we spoke VERY limited French so it was interesting to try to communicate!

Sara said...

Getting reduced prices on airline tickets because you have a letter from your mission.

Anonymous said...

You get your own cup?? WOW!! Vance

GuyMuse said...


Yes we are the "privileged" types. After you've been around a few years, you too will "graduate up."


Now that would be a nice perk!


My wife had the same maid experience when we first went to Costa Rica for language school. She has some really funny stories about communication breakdowns!


Wow, I'm feeling the "call" to Mexico even as I write! Especially the Taco Bob's, that is one thing we really miss is good Mexican (Tex-Mex) food, which is one of our favorites. Ecuadorian food is excellent, but it is not Mexican.

mr. t said...

Another perk... this one from South Asia... I thought my 2 or 3 dollar haircuts in Latin America were cheap. Here I pay a whopping 15 cents... but with tip it goes up to 30 cents. Also, almost any personal hygiene need can be taken care of on the street, from toenail cleaning to the ear wax man. Head to toe... for pennies, what a deal!

A 10-40 Window Missionary said...


You get to upgrade your computer to Windows 98 with a cd burner? Decadent IMB Missionaries in South America! We were recently told by our regional money crunchers that if we needed anything for our computers, we would bear the expense. No matter that our job has evolved (I Know, we are Southern Baptists and do not believe in the "E" word) to the point that we cannot function without a keep my computer working I must either fix it myself or fix it myself.

Kiki Cherry said...

How about....

...getting to sample foreign delicacies like goat entrails, fried termites, and fried caterpillars. services that last all day long, with drums, and singing and dancing and celebrating!!!!

...getting up close and personal with local wildlife (ie. snakes in your toilet and legovans by the back door.)

...fresh guavas, mangoes, banananas, grapefruit, papaya,tomatoes, gem squash, nemo etc......anytime you decided to go out and pick them.

...having an MAF pilot who would let you fly co-pilot and do tricks with the Cessna

...Catching antlions

...Family game night on Fridays TV

...Booming African thunderstorms, splashing in puddles with your gumboots on, making mudpies and catching red velvet spiders afterwards. peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for rides on wild donkeys in the village

...driving right up to a giraffe while standing in the back of your landrover

...hearing lions roar outside your tent, or finding leopard tracks near your sleeping bag.

...Homemade Christmas presents--Barbie bunkbeds and castles made out of the leftover wood from the crate.

...Family devotionals by candlelight because there was no electricity on the station

...rat packs from soldiers who stopped by your mission station

...Mission meeting, youth retreats and having so many wonderful "aunts", "uncles" and "cousins". (I miss that more than anything!)

...having an instant connection with other missionaries and MKs, and the comeraderie within the IMB world.

...traveling to so many different countries, and having such a rich variety of experiences with friends all over the world.

GuyMuse said...


We´ve always paid for everything on our computers out of pocket. Maybe I´ll transfer to 10/40 to get the computer perks!


I loved your list. Yes indeed we are so very blessed to see and live things so few ever get to experience.

Ben & Christine Haley said...

you forgot to mention AGM!!!

GuyMuse said...


you are absolutely right! we just finished up a wonderful AGM (mission meeting as it used to be called). it was great getting to meet you and christine!