Friday, June 25, 2010

9 Ways To Identify A Missionary (Part II)

(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.  This should be funny.)

6-  All missionaries have a prayer card and we never look that good in real life.  You know what I am talking about those cards with photos of the missionary family smiling, a snappy phrase up above, and always an “if you would like to partner in our ministry” that we all have sent out or given to you.  We really do wonder...,do they make it on anyone’s fridge?     

This is our Prayer Card....

     A more typical picture of our family (minus the giraffe) might look something like the above.  Sara is squeezed out of the picture, Amelia has a pouty face, Meredith is scared, and Malin has his eyes closed.

7- Missionaries have particularly white skin. I mean most western missionaries are white. But after living on the equator in year round sun at 6000 feet we have no excuse in Kenya to be looking like we just spent a winter in Fargo, North Dakota.  If part of being a missionary is blending in with the culture.  Its time to get just a little tan.  We need to go cross-cultural with our epidermis.


8-Missionaries sound different.  If I were to say to my patient,  “How can I help you?  What’s going on with your tooth?” it would elicit a blank stare from my Kenyan patients (I know my Swahili should be better).  But if I were to say, “Tell me where the pain is biting you.  Are your teeth shaking? Do you have potholes in your teeth?  Do you want your tooth upended?” I’d be understood and a nudge to the offending tooth.   We adapt to be understood. 

9-Missionaries have big families.  More Kids means More Money.  It’s true.  Missionaries may be the only occupation I know of who earn an instant raise the moment they have another child.  Almost all mission agencies (appropriately so) set a monthly stipend for their missionaries based upon the size of their family.  Little Johnny is born and Bam... up goes their salary.  I always though the Duggar family with 19 kids and counting (featured on TLC network) would be a great missionary family (I don’t think Jon and Kate and their 8 would still make the cut).   Why would the Duggars be great missionaries?   The Duggars are Christian.  They built their own house.  They homeschool.  Because of their publicity as reality TV stars I think they could easily raise support.  And my rough calculations show that with 19 children the Duggars would be living comfortably at a 200 K plus stipend per year, and their family is just getting started.  And can you imagine sitting between the Duggar kids on a 12 hour plane ride to Amsterdam?


Joan said...

Love the missionary satire... and yes, your prayer card made our fridge!

Joel said...

Hah! That is one of the funniest things I have read in awhile. My name is Joel Tumlison and I too am a PRP doctor in Honduras. So much was true! However, my wife, a Honduran who is a missionary, objects to 2 things: 1)Not all missionaries are white (she's not, but I am chalky w/ frequent freckles!) and 2)Missionaries can't dance. Of course, No 2 is related to No 1. Apparently I dance well for a white guy; maybe being "one flesh" with a Latin American has helped me in this regard. Anyway, I greatly enjoyed your list. Very funny. Especially, the part about having to change the way we speak and thus sounding funny to English speakers. I frequently say in Spanish the equivalent of "How can I help you?" which seems a normal thing for a doctor to say. It is usually met by blank stares and comments to the effect of "I don't know, you're the doctor, you're supposed to help me." Or "You can help if you want." I think I need to retire this phrase and just say "What hurts?" or "What incredibly vague symptoms do you have?" Anyway, loved your post. much of it is even true here in Honduras.