Wednesday, December 19
Say that again? Things people say to missionaries
When are you guys coming back home? You mean, when will we be going back home to Ecuador? Home is less a place, and more wherever it is that we are together as a family.
How do you talk to people when they don't speak English, or do they speak English down there? You have to learn their language. In our case, that would be Spanish. Language and cultural adaptation are two of the toughest hurdles for most cross-cultural missionaries.
Can you share a 5-minute testimony in our Wednesday night service? I would love to share in your church, but wish it was more than 5-minutes. It is hard to summarize three years of experiences in a meaningful way, and share what the Lord has laid on my heart, but I will give it my best shot. Five minutes is better than nothing at all.
Will your kids be going overseas with you? Are you offering to keep them with you while we are gone for three years? [smile] Yes, they will be going with us. We believe God calls families, not just moms and dads. Our kids are just as much a part of our mission as we are.
Right now our church is doing other things and can't take on any new committments at this time. You do understand, don't you? No, I really don't, but what else can I say.
[Closely related]: Our church is committed to the building campaign and for now missions giving is on hold. Once this is paid for we can look at some ministry options with you. Can you get back with us in a couple of years? Thanks, but no thanks. Just hearing from you that 'missions giving is on hold' for something else, confirms for me we are not reading the same Bible and not a good partnership match. As I walk away, I am quoting Luke 9:5 to myself, "wherever people don't welcome you, leave that town and shake the dust off your feet as a warning to them."
We aren't doing missions because our church is into other things right now. Are those "other things" keeping you from obeying what Jesus Christ has commanded? If so, maybe those other things are what need discarding.
Why are you down there in Ecuador when there are so many lost and needy people right here at home? Yes, there are lost and needy people wherever we go, but the Great Commission is not only about our Jerusalem, but also about being his witnesses in Judea, Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth. What makes you so sure I am the one in disobedience?
Our dollars are needed right here at home. Those people are just 'reaping what they have sown.' I understand where you are coming from, but before jumping to conclusions, why not come down and spend a week seeing first hand the plight of 'those people', and then decide where it is you want to invest all those dollars you think should be kept 'at home.' My experience is those who speak the loudest on keeping money at home, neither give to help those at home--or anywhere else for that matter!
NOTE: All the above (along with their variations) are real things that have been said to us on more than one occasion. We share them, not to embarrass, but hopefully to help the reader see things from our perspective. Not all missionaries view these things in the same way. What I have shared above are just my reactions to some of these statements that have been repeated to us over the years.