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Showing posts from March, 2017

Not Goodbye: Maranatha!

It wasn't the first time one of my best friends waved through the window of a white van that bounced down the dirt road away from our house in Cameroon. Despite all our talk of "it's not 'goodbye' -- just 'see you later' ", farewells don't seem to get easier with practice. I stood at our kitchen sink, which (thankfully) seems to be consistently producing water after two days of heavy rain. Cleaning the breakfast dishes in a small bucket of chunky water may have been more than I could have handled without tears. Ours are a different sort of goodbye, from a country that has been "home" for only fifteen months. In sending loved ones back to the U.S., we aren't merely ending social visits. We are facing separation from teammates: people who have (for a short time) battled disease and poverty alongside us. Yes, we are still on the same team. These people continue to fight beside us in a hundred ways, regardless of their physical

I Have House Help (And So Do You)

I may have laughed out loud when experienced missionaries told me I would “need to hire house help” abroad. Where was I moving? The Deep South in the 1950s? The irony of watching The Help on a plane just before moving abroad was not lost on me. I did not need “help”. I had worked full time, while doing nearly all of the picking up and dropping off from daycare, cooking, cleaning and shopping -- because I was married to a resident who worked unspeakable hours. I had not needed help then, and I certainly would not need help in the future. Or so I thought, in my little individualistic cloud of American superiority. I had not anticipated the amount of time required to walk to market with two children in tow, barter (include cost paid for “white man” markup), wash/bleach all produce, grow/kill/prep chickens (skills I have no desire to acquire), make tortillas/bread/bagels/granola/yogurt/dressings/chips/cookies/sauce, reconstitute milk, filter (and recently, haul) water, find re