The Awesomeness of Being Island Famous

IMG_0544Since the town I am living in Barrouaille (pronounced “barley”) is small most of the people walk everywhere so yesterday I started walking around town (takes about an hour) and greeting everyone along the way.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. To learn more about the island culture and begin relationships
  2. To introduce myself to people as a missionary who is temporarily continuing the work of a pastor they know
  3. And learn where everything is in the community
  4. Most of all however I walk through town to take advantage of being “island famous”

Island famous is how they refer to a white person or American since few of them live on the island, in fact I happen to be the ONLY white person in my town. So my ethnicity attracts attention.

This morning after walking down from a hill a man who I passed going up called out and said “hey this lady wants to talk with you.” When she refused to talk the man asked a question for her “why are you  (a white man) walking up and down our road?” I don’t blame him for being curious since the only other white person there was the missionary I replaced.

Being island famous can make things a bit uncomfortable [1] but it’s also a wonderful way to start conversations, and develop relationships with other people that build bridges for the Gospel of Christ.

So I walk around town twice a day

In Kakhi pants and a collared shirt [2]

And sweat pouring down my face

In order to develop relationships with the people, and share the Gospel of Christ

But beneath the awesome blessing of being island famous is an awesome responsibility.

The thing is everybody I talk to know the pastor who I’m filling in for. He has been on the island serving in different ministries for almost forty-years. So in a way I am continuing the ministry legacy of this man

That excites me and scares me at the same time

Of course I have no problem taking responsibility for my actions after making a foolish decision [3]. But when those actions affect someone OTHER THAN ME it changes dramatically. Now I have a huge responsibility to protect not only my reputation, but that of the man before me.

Being island famous in a deeper sense has reminded me that Christians are called to be unique or different than the world. A truly Christian life probably won’t stand out as much as being the only white person in a small town, but it will draw people just the same.

If we are faithful to walking in the Spirit and honoring God someone will eventually call out and ask “why are you living that way?”

But this will only happen if they see us living differently

So take a walk around town
And live in a way that’s radically different…a way that attracts attention
And be ready when they ask why you are there


[1]: I get stared at a lot

[2]: I was encouraged to do this by the missionaries since other pastors on the island dress this way

[3]: acting before thinking, making a foolish statement

[4]: why do you live that way?

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