Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Meeting Friends

One of my biggest delights (ok, ok, not really a biggest... but one I am delightedly happy in anyway) is that we have a conference that we need to go to every now and then that is in the US in July.  It means that when we come, we can plan it just so to be in the US for the 4th of July.  This year we were.

What delight to be here, to celebrate Independence Day in our country, not in a place where we get regular insults about being American.  (off topic, but it is a thing that I shake my head over and question.  Ok, I know that the people we minister TO may not like my country, and that is fine, but it is the ones we minister WITH who cause me to shake my head in wonder.  If I was to insult their country like they feel free to insult mine, they would be deeply offended.  Yet somehow they think it is fine to insult my country.  It hurts.  I think it hurts every American out there, just as it would hurt anyone if I attacked their country.  I love my country not because I think it is perfect, but because it is mine.  I was born there.  I love the place.  Do I agree with everything America does?  No.  But it is my homeland.  Sorry - just a public service announcement to all missionaries from other countries - we do not like it when you insult our country.  I don't think it is part of following Christ to purposely hurt others and make fun of them - yes, even if they are American!  Ok, I'll be quiet about that now if you promise one thing - think before you speak.  Ask yourself, "Would I like to hear someone say this in this tone about my country?"  That is all.)

But  delight to be here - to see fireworks, to hear my national anthem.  To be eaten alive by mosquitoes.  This year, Independence Day was extra special to us and we celebrated.

Another delight for me was meeting a blogger friend.  What fun!  I got to meet Junglewife.  I also met Angela from Unveiling Radiance.  I can report on both that they are both nice people worth meeting.  They can report that I am a live human being with a face, a name, and a real story.  :) 

But I've developed a theory about missionaries.  It won't take us longer than ten minutes and five connections to run across people that we both know or at least know of!  I had likely seen junglewife's husband years and years before - before I was married at a church I was in once.  Angela and I had some other connections.  Junglewife's relatives had been working with the same group some of my relatives worked with.

It is the Law of Connections.  It is what ties us missionaries all together into a big family.  Like it or not, you sign up for this family when you first head overseas.  But what a blessing, too.  Even greater than my loyalty to my country which I love is my loyalty to my missionary family.  Wide, vast, spread all over the world, we are family.  I'm blessed to be a part of that.  I think, as flawed as we all are, we are a living picture of Christ's body.  We are family, we relate to each other and connect with each other - very differently than the general church body.  There is a knowledge that I can rely on, relax around, and care for anyone in the missionary family more than I do a "general Christian".  It is a blessing.  (ok, for those of you who have been hurt by ones in the missionary family, I am not pollyanna about it.  I know hurt exists.  I know evil people are in that group, too.  I know.  I have some in my family that I am also careful around.  I am talking in general - that connection and joy we have in each other that is special and different - not in blind trust of anyone.).

Oh, oh, and I am going to meet one more and talk to another on the phone while I am here! I am so excited!


Shan in Japan said...

Amen and amen!
I agree that we need to be more respectful of each others' countries.
And, I definitely feel the missionary family affinity, too. When I find out someone is a missionary it is like I am meeting a long lost cousin. And, yes, we do understand each other better than the general Christian population. I forget that when I am in the US sharing about missions, that not everyone is as passionate about it as we are-sad for them.
So glad you are getting to meet a few of your blogger friends and having a great time in your home country!:)

Angela said...

Yeah, I can relate. There is that sense of connection and family.

It was a blast finally getting to meet you, Ellie! I'm glad you weren't worried that I'd turn out to be an axe murderer or terribly freaky.

(Okay, so I admit there is a bit of freakiness here, but you joined right in with your own and it was a lot of fun!)

junglewife said...

It was good to meet you, too! So glad we could spend a bit of time together. I think this is the first time I've met up with a friend that I first met through the blog! Fun, and exciting. And no, I wasn't worried that you weren't going to be a real person :-)

I definitely agree about the connections. In fact, the longer one has been a missionary (or a missionary kid) the more the chance for connections grows. since both of us are MKs, and my hubby grew up overseas, ka-pow! The chance for connections just grew exponentially! But, how fun is that?!