Many of our supporters back in the United States feel sorry for missionaries living overseas and all we have given up to "suffer for Jesus." But the truth is, we are better off than most think. Here is a sampling of just a few of the many perks we enjoy as missionaries:
-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 passing out!)
-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. (It is expected the missionary will bring a nice gift.)
-Having a phone that actually works (most of the time.)
-Having a mobile phone with a balance. (That way everyone who needs to make a call can borrow ours and we save them from having to use their own balance. Call it our "phone ministry!")
-Always the one invited to go places. (The missionary has a car and can be counted on to provide 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!)
-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 10 times a day to see if you need their services or can give them anything.(While sometimes annoying--especially during afternoon siesta--it generally is 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. (The intent is good, but annoying since these "thoughtful" words usually come right after we have killed ourselves working out at the gym and currently on a diet.)
-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 the first person people think of when they are in an economic crisis and need a loan.
-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. (One furlough, seriously--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 "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 be pretty time consuming!
Care to add some of the perks that come with your career-job-ministry? Just add them to the comments section!