13 December 2007

Missionary Care - IDEA #4

If you read the biographies of the great missionaries of old you'll find out that "most" of their wives had something in common... most ended up in mental institutions...

Seriously, this doesn't surprise me... in the olden days you pack what you have, get on a ship for 6 months, find yourself in a tribal village where your job is to worry about the safety of your kids all day and furlough only happens if the husband dies...

Times have changed but still some things have remained the same... so I have a few suggestions for keeping the missionary wife community out of the coo-coo farm...

Missionary Care - IDEA #4 - Wife Care

If you read the 3 paragraphs above those with a keen eye you will see a mistake... other than typos... in all three paragraphs... I'm waiting, take a look...

Did you see it?

Look again... I have all day...

In each paragraph it is inferred that the man is the missionary and the wife is for lack of better words... just the wife...

Now this isn't a debate about the role of women... whether it’s in the workplace, home or both... the point I'm making is that whether a woman is in the workplace, home or both... she IS a missionary (for lack of a better term... seriously, I need to think of a better term)...

Most "couples ministering overseas" are supported because the "man's work" and most update letters are about what he does... so how this plays out is that the man receives the bulk of the encouraging emails, letters and pats on the back...

So "wife care" idea #1... if "wife care" is your calling... take an interest in what the wife does, raise support for her projects, tell people about what she does, encourage the elders to met with the wife as well and have someone from the church leadership check-in and check-up on her as well as the man...

My second idea for wife care... hit me like a truck a few days ago... I'm pretty shallow... for some this isn't shocking... but me being shallow isn't the point it just helped me to see the point...

A few weeks back I set out to email a few of my friends back in the US... I looked back to see when was the last time I wrote... on average about 9 months... but these are guys I'm close to and who know the few personal details that I leave off the blog... after sitting on the draft for a few days I ended up never sending the emails... I can call them in 2 months when we're in the US I thought to myself...

The reality is I've been friends with these guys for 5-20 years... a few months or years without contact won't change much... next time we see each other we'll pick right up where we left off...

But it’s not the same for most women... for most women (please allow me to generalize and yes I understand your 1 in a million)... friendship needs consistent attention for the relationship to last...

So "wife care" idea #2... for those looking for an idea... make it your ministry to keep in regular contact with a friend overseas... seriously... when you’re sitting in church feeling guilty for not "doing" enough remind yourself... by keeping this friendship I'm keeping a missionary on the field and out of the wack shack...

Finally... I've seen the future of "wife care" and she looked good...

My idea of a missionary wife is... an over-sized homemade dress... hair that looks like a birds nest... and she's aged beyond her years... living close the equator has that effect on skin...

Seriously... most women ministering overseas are like a barn... they still serve their function well but they can sure use a new coat of paint... sadly, most think that saving money on personal care is their job... calls it their monastic ministry of self-deprivation...

Recently, we had a friend go on furlough... and they laid the paint on thick... dyed her graying hair, painting the nails and got her a few new outfits... before they left I wondered if she was coming back... when they returned I wondered to myself "is sweeping the floor really that fun... because she can't stop smiling" ... seriously a trip to the mall gave her another 3 years of top performance on the mission field...

But seriously don't make her wait that long again... send over some paint for the barn... send her $50 and say spend it on yourself or I'll break your nails... better yet send her $100 and tell her to spend it on something for herself that is completely impractical... with no Target, Khols or American mall in sight most "female missionaries" are saving enough money to cancel out the US gov't's debate... yes, $100 could feed a few orphans but she's probably feeding the orphans everyday plus 15-20 visitors... she's earned it!

Women ministering overseas live in a unique world... they love their kids but many feel guilty about where they are raising them... they love their husbands but managing a house takes 10 times longer, plus innumerable visitors and ministry responsibilities make her long for more time with just him... and they love their family and friends back home but the distance between takes a great toll on her than her husband can ever experience...

So the next time you think of him... don't forget to love, encourage and support HER!

3 comments:

Sallie said...

Jeff - I think you are going to get a LOT of responses and e-mails to your overuse of the "paint the barn" analogy. In fact, look for my e-mail!

I do agree with your plea for taking care of the "missionary" wife. You are right on with that.

Love, Mom

Teenietinyt said...

Touch`e

greg said...

i say we retake the term 'Christian' and refill it with meaning and weight instead of using the word 'missionary' and (intentionally or unintentionally) implying a difference. but that's just me.