This is another installment in the series where you asked the questions and I give the answers. I don’t have all the answers but you can at least be entertained by my dancing around the questions. You can see the other posts in this series here.
Wendy Van Eyck wants to know:
Do you think being a missionary makes it easier or harder to see what God is doing in your life?
Missionary: being a Christian somewhere other than my homeland.
This is my simplified definition of me being a missionary.
I will say that the cultural differences give God some tremendous teachable moments in my life. It’s like living in a foreign country sometimes. I really don’t think the function of being a missionary itself makes any difference at all. However, some of the periphery elements may be where things change.
For example, being independent missionaries means we live exclusively on donations. We don’t have a salary or a missions board to fall back on in emergencies. It reinforces our dependence on God.
I have found that the more difficult everyday life becomes, whether through finances or environmental oddities, the more I see God moving in my day-to-day activities. I need Him more and He is found by me more. I must depend on Him rather than handling things myself because I simply lack the necessary skills to fix everything.
I see God’s hand aligning things, opening doors and causing my faith to grow with His interaction. I can see where my prayer has fallen into fertile ground and how His will is coming to fruition in our work here. More so these last few months since moving to a new town. As we learn this new area we are finding places of need where we can serve.
The flip side is it is also more difficult. The last few years have presented us with some huge why‘s that we don’t have answers for. I have no idea how or why God is using these things. My wife’s accident and the ensuing legal matters, my surprise open-heart surgery and habitual exploding truck engine with its legal matters are just a few of the items on this list that keep me scratching my head.
Overall, as a missionary or not, I must trust Him. That gets tough when He doesn’t “run things by me” first.
Kris Overtoom wants to know:
Do you watch a lot of TV? Are there American imports? What is considered funny in Paraguay? Is it the same stuff as in America?
Telenovelas (soap operas) are huge. They are also incredibly bad. As I mentioned, the sexually charged nature of the environment often prohibits viewing local channels. Even if it’s great programming (sometimes in English), the commercials are tragic.
We used to subscribe to a homemade cable service to get access to the soccer games for our youth club. It was really cheap but also at the whim of the manager, who routinely played pornographic movies on an open channel.
There are some American-imported shows, but we are a season or two behind and they don’t always come in English.
It seems that much of South America is enamored with slapstick-style comedy. The nuance and timing of a joke is upstaged by a well placed kick to the crotch. It’s Vaudevillian.
The truth is we are incredibly out of the loop on pop culture where TV is concerned. If the net connection is stable we log into Netflix and watch a few things but it has a modified menu here.
Merry Christmas!! I hope you have a great time with family and friends.
Are there any questions about these questions?