At least that’s what a lot of people think.
People seem to assume hardships of being a missionary in another country. Living in a village tent on a mud floor on top of being far away from family, friends, convenience, familiarity, you name it, it is assumed! While some and maybe even most are true. Living on the other side of the world is not as different from living in the States as you would think. Its living.
It doesn’t feel like I am super spiritual because our family was called to serve in Thailand. I am BLESSED to be called here. We get to make new friends, get a new family in Christ, and get to learn a new language and culture. Yes, thats what I said, I get to learn a new language and culture. Truly, living here is like living in America. We live life, we work, we take care of our family, we meet people, we make friends, we love and serve an amazing God! A lot of the same components of life that exist in the states exist here to.
Maybe you have heard missionaries complaining about how hard it is to learn a language, live in a foreign culture, and talk about the weird people there. That is probably the most common topic of conversation when missionaries come to your church, but if you would hear missionaries talk amongst themselves, you would notice a strange absence of this kind of talk. Because the truth is, it is more like normal living than you would think.
Thai people aren’t weird. They are people and people are largely the same no matter where you go. I have not found anyone here any more difficult to understand or get along with than anyone in the States! It’s hard for me to hear people talk about Thai people as if for some wacky reason they are impossible to understand. I love these people! The more I get to know them, the more I am blessed.
The only thing I long to change in their life is the absence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I’ve heard complaints about missing things happening in the States, the hardships of learning the language, the strange (delicious) food, or the cool, new American restaurant down the street.
But the attitude that we have in any situation is chosen. We decide our attitude. Whether we are going to have a good attitude, a Christlike mindset of loving people where they are, and enjoying their culture with them.
Our nanny asked me the other day if I missed America and I think we were both shocked by my answer.
“No. I love Thailand. I miss my family but I don’t want to go back. I want them to come here.”
Maybe I am weird but I realized that this is my home. When we left for Thailand, I was excited, but there were a lot of unknowns.
I didn’t know what Thai people would think of us or if they would like us at all. I didn’t know where we would live, if I could even learn Thai at all, and many many other fears came along with it all. But we are literally having the time of our life! God is a wonderful and powerful God and seeing Him orchestrate everything about being here is overwhelming sometimes.
One of the things He has showed me over and over again is that HE does the work and we just get to play a part in the way He works in someones life. It is God who brings people into our lives and it is Him that works through us to show them the Good News.
I have constantly been amazed by the friendships He has brought into our lives in the few short months we have been here. We have been able to have them in our home, be in their homes, let them love on our kid, and learn from them all at the same time. God has been so good to us! It is all God and it is so amazing and refreshing knowing that He is at work in a place that is still in so much darkness. Why would I want to leave it? If anything, I want all my family and friends to come here. I feel like they are missing out on so much here.
I simply cannot imagine a better life. Maybe you have a desire to “go” but you are afraid to act because some fear or another. I’ll tell you this — I find every day that 99.9% of my worst fears about the ‘difficulties’ of being a missionary are completely unfounded! If you change jobs, you are going to have to learn a new skill, and if you become a missionary you will need to learn a few new things too, but we forsake the full and abundant life He offers when we refuse to follow Him.
I am just a silly country girl from Brazoria, Texas. I never would have thought I would have the courage to be a missionary, but look what God has done. If you are like me, you probably don’t feel like you qualify for the job. None of us do. And I fail often. But God’s specialty is surprising us with His grace. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He uses our weak selves to show His might.
Wherever he is calling you, follow Him and trust Him. And I promise it won’t be awful.