Many of our supporters back in the United States often feel sorry for missionaries living overseas and "suffering for Jesus." But the truth is, we are better off than most think. Folks back home simply aren't aware of the many personal privileges and perks we enjoy in our host countries. When I say we are truly blessed, I mean that! Here is a sample of just a few of the many perks we enjoy as missionaries:
-Getting our own glass to drink out of at social occasions and not having to share with someone else.
-Being given the seat right in front of the only floor fan in a closed room where 30 perspiring people are crammed together in equatorial heat and humidity. (If you don't think this is an honor and privilege, just try sitting somewhere else in the room and not pass out!)
-Not only having running water inside our house, but HOT water too! (No outhouses for us!)
-Being asked to sing, preach, teach, baptize, speak, dedicate babies, marry, or give the devotional at any church gathering that takes place. (If you're a missionary, you know what I am talking about. Not even Billy Graham gets asked to do all that we are honored to do!)
-Being invited to everyone's birthday party, anniversary, or wedding. (They know at least the missionary will bring a nice gift.)
-Having a phone that actually works (most of the time.)
-Having a wireless cell phone with a balance. (That way everyone who needs to make a call can borrow ours and we save them money. We call it our "phone ministry!")
-Always the one invited to go places. (They know the missionary has a car and will provide the transportation for all 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!)
-A nice siesta every day after lunch. (How do people in the States manage to go all day long without a nap?)
-Fruit vendors, knife sharpeners, plumbers, sewer cleaners, professional con artists, street sweepers, bottle collectors, repairmen, newspaper collectors, beggars, Jehovah Witnesses, gardeners, electricians, and salesmen, ringing your door bell 20 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 their services!)
-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 calls every week from people asking for help in translating an English letter, recipe, their kid's homework, legal documents, etc. (How many times have I heard, "oh, it will just take a minute, you don't mind do you?")
-Being stared at every time we set foot outside the house like we were some movie star (especially since our only actual claim to fame is being from Texas.)
-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!)
-Being the first person people think of when they are in an economic crisis and need a loan.
-Oh yes, having a maid to cook, clean, and wash everyday. (How do people manage without one?)
-Someone to do all your yard work for less than your kids allowance.
And finally, my favorite perk...
-Garbage picked up seven days/week, 365 days/year without anyone questioning what it is you are throwing away. This is probably my favorite missionary perk, and the one I most appreciate getting back to after every Stateside furlough. (Our last furlough (no joke) NOT ONCE was our garbage picked up by the trash collectors due to our never figuring out how to do it right. I was totally overwhelmed by the Ft. Worth "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.)
And people wonder what missionaries do with all their time. Well, as you can see, managing all our perks can take up quite a bit of our daily time!
Care to add some of the perks that come with your career-job-ministry? Just add them to the comments section!