Friday, September 15

You may be a missionary if...

I have been ill most of this week and not up to giving much thought for any new blog entries. Someone recently sent me what follows. If you are/have been a missionary you might be able to relate to a few of these...for all others, welcome to missionary life!

You may be a missionary if ...

1. You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"

2. You read National Geographic and recognize someone.

3. You have a time zone map next to your telephone.

4. You consider a city 500 km away to be "very close".

5. You watch nature documentaries, and think about how good that animal would taste if it were fried.

6. You can cut grass with a machete, but can't start a lawnmower.

7. You speak with authority on the subject of airline travel.

8. You read the international section before the comics.

9. You have friends from or in 29 different countries.

10. You sort your friends by continent.

11. Fitting 15 or more people into a car seems normal to you.

12. You refer to gravel roads as highways.

13. You haggle with the checkout clerk for a lower price.

14. You don't think that two hours is a long sermon.

15. You marvel at the cleanliness of gas station bathrooms.

16. You think you've died and gone to heaven when you go into a
foreign grocery store.

17. You think a "foreign school" conducts classes in English.

18. You attend a church with a roof on it and feel like you are cut
off from Heaven.

19. You think something is missing if you have a meal without brown
beans or brown rice.

20. You've ever chiseled open a barrel from home, not having a clue
what might be inside.
--original source unknown

Feel free to add your own "You may be a missionary if..." in the comments section!


sembrador said...

number next: you know all the symptoms of gardia, malaria, yellow fever and tyfoid by observation.

one more: you expect all police cars to have the lights on top of their car on after dark.

number next: you go to jail because while on furlough, you had a senior moment

One more: you don't notice the family of five, youngest being two riding down the road on a motorcycle without helmets.

OK OK, one more: Withdrawl from a lack of terere (cold mate).

and the kids: when they see the strange box by the road in front of the house, and have no clue what it is.

:) -they think all the abuelos speak a remote indian language such as Guarani or Ketchua

one more: you gross out completely when you see the kid in the states eating dog biscuits the first time because you don't know that they are really candy.

and finally: you don't understand the preacher, much less the youth group.

Nomad said...

Here's one: Your kids can't decide if they like termites or seaweed as their favorite snack.

Another: While on STAS you don't think a thing about driving on the wrong side of the street to get past all the cars waiting at the red light.

One more: You don't mind paying $8 for a box of Pop Tarts, but aren't about to pay more than 20 cents for a bottle of Coke.

Ok, one more: You are confused when in the US when people want to actually make a line to board a plane.

Anonymous said...

#?: You will pay $8 for a box of Pop Tarts and $5 for a box of Mac and Cheese but will haggle the rickshaw driver down to 20 cents for the mile he just peddled you. Awful, but true.

GuyMuse said...

Hey guys,

I think your own "might be a missionary if..." comments are better than the originals. Thanks for sharing!

Jessica said...

Interesting to think about living this way. Wow, takes special people!

Anonymous said...

Okay, another one came up. #?: When the electricity goes off during a party, meeting, etc. and conversation continues uninterrupted, even by the surprised, "Oh!" exclamation.

Anonymous said...

very funny and *very* insightful in terms of the skills and flexibility needed for people who live in another culture.
thanks for posting!

Kiki Cherry said...

These have all actually happened to my family.....

At the grocery store, you load your cart with 20 of everything before your American relatives remind you "we can come back tomorrow"

Your Dad pulls up to the confused convenience store clerk and says, "I need a full tank of petrol please, Baba!!!"

Your kids roll their porridge/grits into a ball and ask what they are supposed to dip it in.

You wonder why the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car.

You go through the trash at church fellowships, salvaging all the "good plastic" plates and forks.

You get off the airplane in the States, and spend 10 minutes just gawking at the vending machines.

Your parents tell you on a trip that you are stopping for a bathroom break, and you're in mid-squat next to the car before you realize that there is an actual restroom available.

GuyMuse said...


I love your list! You ought to blog on Sojourner your own list of "You may be a missionary if..." The one about going through the garbage at church functions to salvage all the wasted plastic cups, spoons, forks, and knives is one I still have to consciously resist when we are stateside. People here use and reuse these (even straws) until they are no longer usable. Yet we will take a sip of water out of a plastic cup and then throw it away!

ALL OF YOU--Great contributions. Thanks!

It is so true about our being willing to pay $6 for pop-tarts or a couple of Dr. Peppers, and yet will haggle with a taxi driver to get the fare down form $1.50 to $1.00 (no rickshaws here!)

Anon, you are absolutely right about when the electricity goes off there isn't even a slight break in the action. Our world comes unglued, but they without pausing in their conversation will get a candle lit and continue on...

Ben & Christine Haley said...

while translating for volunteers, you've spoken spanish or (whatever other language) to the volunteer and english to the ecuadorian (or other nationality) person you are speaking to. guess this is all i can think of for now.


Kiki Cherry said...

I forgot one....

You get all excited about the upcoming football game.....until you realize it isn't really football. :)

(although, for the record, I have now learned to appreciate the American version as well.)

GuyMuse said...

Ben/Christine--I know exactly what you are saying, having done the same thing myself many times!

Kiki--Do Americans play futbol too? :)

You KNOW you are a missionary when...

You plan a whole morning for making the trip into downtown to go pick up a small package sent by someone from the States...stand in 3 lines, have to have multiple copies of all your identity customs fees...wait your 45-minute turned down at the door because you lacked a copy of one of the required papers...spend 15-minutes looking for a copy 2-cents for the copy...go back and stand in line again...have them open the contents and carefully examine the cookies that were mailed from the States back in June! ALL THAT AND NOT BE RUFFLED IN THE LEAST (well maybe a little :)--and actually THRILLED that someone thought enough of you to send them! (I just got back this morning from this what is always an adventure of going to the Post Office for a package.)