(I’m trying something different. There are plenty of blogs with political satire, parenthood satire, celebrity satire, but no missionary satire that I’m aware of. I think its about time. Let’s be clear. This should be funny.)
1- Missionaries wear funny clothing. I never intended to where bright-striped Kikoi shirts with tassels. I don’t think Sara imagined herself in Kanga dresses with large shoulder pads. But I’m telling you as my shirts begin to look like I was worked over in a rugby game. And as all of Sara’s dresses have strangely faded to the same shade of gray, those Kikoi shirts and Kanga dresses become really tempting. So at your next church mission conference if you see a missionary dressed like a banana, cut them a little fashion slack. (Regardless, I think Amelia looks pretty cute in Red/Yellow striped Kikoy and seashells.)
2- Missionaries throw car safety rules out the window. My first week at Kijabe I see 8 MK’s hanging off the roof rack of a Toyota Land Cruiser bumping down the road. The next day I see a baby girl in Mommies lap cupping the steering wheel rounding the corner Britney Spears style. (I think the baby honked at me too?) Last week I see four teenagers perched on the doors of a Landrover like they are windsurfing. I don’t pretend to understand this recklesssness, but on the other hand I think the car seat Nazis back in America have gone too far (8 years old and/or 80 pounds)? By this standard, once my small daughter Amelia reaches 16 years of age she may have to take her drivers test sitting in a Graco Snug Ride.
3- Missionaries can’t dance. Its a strange thing to live on a continent where tribal dancing is about as natural and common as breast feeding in public; and not be able to dance. Go to a mixed church in Kenya and watch the congregation during the praise time. The Kenyans fall into a comfortable, beautiful, African rhythm. Then look over at the missionary. He wants to dance to fit in, but he’s really terrified inside. But he’s smart; he looks to the left to see how they are dancing. Then he jumps in; Clapping on the offbeat, shuffling his hips a little but not too much, and bouncing his neck like a bobble-head. Then the internal debate begins, do I dance with elbows in pinned to my waist or elbows out like wings. You know the flower firecrackers../that when lit spins wildly and jumps randomly; well that describes it.
4- Missionaries seem to always be on "Furlough." What is Furlough? It is the time when a missionary leaves the field to come home. According to Webster’s Dictionary Furlough has 3 definitions:
1) A leave of absence or VACATION. (that doesn’t look good to your sponsors)
2) A temporary layoff from work. (It's not a good thing to be laid off when the Big Guy is your boss).
3)A leave of absence from a prison for a prisoner (Did the missionary break-out from the compound or dutifully serve his full sentence?).
The connotations of furlough proved to be about as positive for the missionary as the the former mascot “The Crusader” was for the Wheaton College student. Just like the Crusader; Furlough has also been discarded. So what is the current preferred term? A missionary now takes a “Home Assignment;” implying a task, a duty, a post or a position. Much more dignified!
5- Missionaries are longwinded.
I know when I meet someone and they start talking about their trip to China and all the cultures, towns, language, and people they met. Well, if the story is longer than a few seconds my eyes glaze over as all I can think of is, “But did you get to walk on The Great Wall?” So if I start talking about the Meru tribe, on the NE slope of Mt. Kenya, in Eastern Africa and their Bantu origin and your eyes glaze over...I’ll understand. You just want to know if I saw a lion on safari?