February 15, 2015
I puked my guts out in the motel bathroom this morning. It may have been bugs from the food last night, or it might have just been the fact that it was really different food. All of it was deep fried, and it included squid, green papaya, and enough lime to open a limeade stand, so the potential for stomach issues is there. I’m in the province of Surin, on the border of Cambodia, so the food is what they refer to as “upper Khmer”.
The purpose of the visit here is helping a missionary friend with a furlough video, but I got the chance to preach this morning as well. The crowd was full, attentive, and very easy to speak to - quick to forgive the occasional terribly constructed sentence or word that got stuck somewhere between tongue and nasal cavity. Thankfully, from the moment I stood to speak I mostly forgot about the awful morning.
After church I walked down to the local 7-11 (did you know it rhymes in Thai as well? - jet-sipet) and that was when I realized just how fortunate I am to be living my dream as a missionary in southeast Asia. I was standing at the fridge wishing for Vernors, every Michigander’s instant cure for an upset stomach, when my eyes fell on a glass bottle of Sprite. It took me back to 10 years old...
My dad had brought our whole family on a one month trip to the Phillippines and we toured a bunch of cities. Dad preached and we sang in 39 different services in 28 days. I basically toured all the viruses available, including pink eye and a seemingly infinite variety of stomach bugs. At one point I was laying on a couch while a service went on somewhere in the vicinity of my delirium. Out of the fogginess stepped missionary Eddie Trimble, who had just moved to the Philippines. In his hand was a Sprite in a glass bottle...
As I walked back to the church a moment ago with Sprite and a package of crackers, I got a couple looks because of the strange smile on my face. It was just such a moment of clarity and thankfulness that I am exactly where God has been leading me since I was a very young child.
Here’s the thing - life as a missionary almost never feels epic, heroic, or anything like a short-term missions trip. I try to squeeze productivity out of daily routines, just like we did living in America. Most of life is the same sort of mundane activity that would entail my workload living anywhere else in the world. It’s just that since I was very young I have always felt a pull somewhere deep inside to do all those mundane things in a place where Christianity is new and fresh and completely anti-cultural. That brief moment of realization has me thanking the Lord that He has led me here, where I have always wanted to be. I think you call that living the dream.