Sunday, September 7, 2008

Missionary Snobbery... Vulnerability

While at home in Charleston, I had coffee with my friend Emily. I was sharing with her why I was excited about Thailand and the reasons I wasn't so excited. I said something to the effect that I didn't see teaching full-time really as missionary work and that since we were coming to a more progressive country (compared to Uzbekistan), that I definitely felt that I wouldn't be "suffering for Jesus"--so that I didn't feel very missionary-y... she said I was a missionary snob!!!

I'm definitely working through all of those emotions still. I've found myself getting really excited about teaching--but then wondering how I can truly impact the people around me for Christ. I know that God will give me grace and show me how to do both, but I wish I already knew NOW! :)

I also find myself a little bit resentful that I can just go down the street to the 'mall' to go to Starbucks or McDonalds, KFC or Burger King. Then, I find myself pretty thankful for the convenience of being able to buy the same toiletries and groceries here, more or less. One of the reasons that I wanted to come here was to live life more 'simply'. I found myself so much closer to the Lord in Uzbekistan, when I wasn't surrounded by all the 'stuff' that America has to offer. I really hope to find that here, even though it is not as simplistic here as Uz. Probably, this is more of a heart issue than anything else anyway.

We also went to a church here last night, and I found myself very critical of how they did things in a 'third-culture' environment. I kept thinking, "This is not how we did things in Crusade... Is this really being sensitive to the Thai culture?... This seems like an American church transplanted to Bangkok..." Whoa, Tricia... "Judge not, lest you be judged."

Also, yesterday, after Matt had spent a long time moving the desks for his students to a new classroom, setting up a bulletin board and moving all their books to the new room, he got word that the Thai administration had decided NOT to split Grade 2 on Monday--and maybe not at all. So, he really doesn't know IF he will, in fact, be teaching Grade 2 or WHEN he will be teaching Grade 2. Frustrating to say the least.

Later, at the mall in downtown Bangkok (about 30 minutes away), I found myself looking around at the masses of people, hoping and praying for some sort of passion to well up inside me. It didn't come. Then, I started to feel guilty, thinking that I have no reason to be here if I don't love these people. I remembered my passion for Uzbeks and the immediate love I felt for the people and the culture there. I long to have that here, but a part of me is afraid to. Probably, a handful of my friends will understand this. :)

A culmination of these thoughts and many more led to a slight breakdown last night--after trudging back to our house through a downpour and feeling terrified of the cobra who apparently lives near our house. ... PRAISE GOD for my wonderful husband who just held me and let me cry and let me pour out all these thoughts and emotions. I've learned through friendships and counseling that I truly do need to 'process' these types of things before letting them eat me up and throw me into a downward spiral...

That's ONE of the reasons for this blog, and also to get your feedback and thoughts on the matter. So, please, with all of these confessions and vulnerability, I hope I've written something that might strike a thought or comment from you. If you are reading this, then you are a special part of our lives, and Matt and I desire to stay connected with you during our time here.

:::Soli Deo Gloria:::

6 comments:

  1. I am so glad that you are processing all that is going on right now. Hang in there, girl. You are in Thailand for a reason and you have your wonderful husband to experience all of this with.
    You have a lot of ministry and travel experience, but this is a new chapter in your life...take it one day at a time and enjoy yourself!!

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  2. Hey sweetie. I feel for you. As I was reading the first part about how "convenient" everything is there i was thinking how you're still having to learn the language, the culture, and adapting to a country that's not as "advanced" as ours. While it may be more advanced than Uzzy it's still a sacrifice to live there! I'm proud of you for answering God's call to go. As you learn more about the people and the culture I'll pray that God will develop a love in your heart for the country and its people. I'll pray you have the love of Christ that overflows to them. You're going to be such a blessing to the kids you teach and their parents as well as your neighbors!

    And remember, I'm jealous you're living an adventure!! Love you girl.

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  3. Hang in there, friend! Things are always harder and more overwhelming when they're brand new, and when you're super tired. Give it time and your emotions will settle down some and you will begin to see just how perfectly God has placed you exactly where you are. I will pray for you this morning!

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  4. OH Tricia, thank you for sharing and being so vulnerable! It is refreshing in a sense to know that I'm not the only non-perfect Christian, if you know what I mean. I think it is great that you can even see these feelings and attitudes in you and that you are willing to share them. The Lord IS gracious and He asks us for an open heart and hand so that He can do His will in our lives. I believe that even in taking the first step in being obedient to GO is huge and that He will do mighty things IN you and THROUGH you. I remember in Argentina longing for a passion for the people but never really "feeling" it but how God worked SO much in my life while I was there. It was only when I got home that I was able to see how much the Argentines impacted and touched my life. I think you're great Tric! And thanks again for being so open!!

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  5. Hey Tricia. You know, i haven't experience being a missionary in a foreign country before, but I have done a lot of moving around lately and i can tell you that I always get that panicked "what am I doing here, this is awful, this is not what I expected, my life is spinning out of control" freak out at first. Change is hard! I think it's going to be great for you, though. You have such a gift for reaching out to people and no matter where you are, I know you will make those connections and show Jesus to everyone around you. We will pray for you as you make the transition. I know it's going to be good once you get through these first weeks!

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  6. Tric...ooh do I know how you feel. Thank you for opening up to all of us on your blog and being so vulnerable. I will definitely know how to pray for you better. Hang in there dear one and take each day as it comes. Praise God for your sweet hubby Matt and this amazing journey you guys get to travel through together. Remember God is in control and HE CARES for you...that's right, I said it...He Cares for you =) Remember He is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. I care for you so much and I'm praying with you and for you! Keep the updates coming.

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