"Colorin' a card for the mish-on-ar-arians."
"For the missionaries? Oh, that's nice. Who are the missionaries?" I asked.
"I dunno. I'm just colorin' wiff my friends, mom."
Frankly, we're not nuts about the word "missionary."
It is a very loaded word.
And it makes people act weird.
Conversations that are flowing nicely and full of laughter seem to stop when The Missionary walks by. Friends who knew you before you were The Missionaries assume you have shriveled up in the Spirit and are very careful to be neat and proper versions of themselves. Strangers seem to forget general conversation etiquette, like "How are you?", and say instead, "You must be The Missionaries"...and nothing else.
Perhaps in fear of forced conversion, it often seems that people are trying to get away from us as quickly as possible. They assume we couldn't possibly have anything in common, and have only one motive in mind: to judge, convert and conquer.
We absolutely never tell people that we are missionaries--avoiding at all costs conjuring up images of slide shows, jean skirts and teepees--and immediately ending any hopes of normal conversation. At most, we share that we live in Haiti.
We've known missionaries over the year who also want to avoid the whole "missionary" stereotype, and so instead try to paint themselves as "not your average missionary" or as being very different from other missionaries, which never made much sense to me, either.
We're not like other missionaries any more than any Christian is like other Christians. I don't assume that as an electrician you are exactly like other electricians, nor that you are a teacher like all other teachers. We're all just supposed to be like Jesus, right?
When it comes down to it, I just love Lily's answer. She's been a missionary her whole life, daughter of missionaries, and she has NO idea. What she does know is that Mommy and Poppy tell and teach people about Jesus. She tries to tell people about Jesus. That's just what we do.
Not because we are The Missionaries. We tell people about Jesus because we love Him, just like if you ask me "How are you?" I will tell you about my girls because I love them!
We had the awesome opportunity last night to share with 25 teenagers a bit of our calling, and while the idea of "missions" got us a return of blank, bored stares, the idea that we are ALL called to be living and telling about Jesus--you know, missionaries--hit home.
We don't care a whit about being missionaries, like or unlike other missionaries.
Just about being Christ-followers, and raising Christ-follower girls, and sharing Christ with those who do, and don't, follow Him.
Just like you, Missionary!