Since I am a missionary every once in a while people will tell me things like “wow thanks for making such a sacrifice, I could never do something like that!” My response is usually to just smile and thank them for the compliment, but the truth of the matter is, missions isn’t really that much of a sacrifice
You just have to learn to live without lucky charms
Of course there are some huge challenges to missions work like adapting to the culture, or dealing with homesickness (particularly in the first-term) and Satan will definitely attack those serving on the front-lines of spiritual warfare. But we (missionaries included) sometimes have the idea that missions means sacrificing everything that makes us happy…and that just isn’t true.
Now that doesn’t mean sacrifices won’t be made when you’re a missionary, it’s just the kind you can live with.
For instance I have everything needed for a comfortable life in Barrouaille
- A house with working appliances
- A vehicle
- Plenty of food and water to drink
- Friends who help me
- Internet and tools (laptop, phone) to keep in touch with people
- And a ministry to become involved with
In turn I’ve sacrificed that made my life “comfortable”
- Hundreds of high-definition cable channels
- Wal-mart and other large stores where you can buy anything
- Junk food 🙂
- Fast food restaurants (though there is one KFC and Subway in St. Vincent)
- Air-conditioning (I have fans, and spend most of the day on the porch)
- Movie theatres or redbox
- and Amazon.com (sadly free two-day shipping doesn’t include St. Vincent)
I was reminded of this truth after finding a box of my favorite cereal Lucky Charms at the local grocery store this morning. Part of me was actually tempted to buy it until I noticed the price
it was $23.65!
To be fair that is in East Caribbean dollars so in American that would come out to about twelve-bucks which was still too expensive!
In a way missions on the island and being a missionary in general has taught me you must learn to live without lucky charms (the things in your life that aren’t necessary) most of the time.
Now before you go feeling sorry for me and my pitiful life without lucky charms and $5 matinée movie tickets please don’t. Because my time in missions has taught me you can actually have a happy, comfortable life without them.
Do I sometimes wish there was a Wal-Mart down the street? Yes
Are there mornings I miss my venti Starbucks coffee? Sure
Is Saturday different because I can’t watch college football all afternoon? Yep
But do I NEED any of those things? Absolutely not
What I’ve learned is living without lucky charms is a blessing
- The really interesting thing about being on the island is it shows me just how many things in life I can actually do without
- The money saved from not buying those items frees up funds that can be used to disciple Believers, and reach Barrouaille for Christ
- It creates an evaluation of my daily life (is this something I need or a luxury?)
- And when luxuries are experienced, it gives a greater appreciation for them. For instance I am rewarding myself for a week of hard work today with a $10 two-liter of coke 🙂
The greatest thing about living without these things is it shows you don’t need them to be happy.
Think about it, how many people in America right now are surrounded by every convenience in the world, but at the same time miserable? The reason is those things that make us comfortable become our source of happiness, and sometimes in order to make us realize that God takes them away.