Friday, March 21

Being Different

Today's post is a guest blog from one of my missionary mum friends, Joni Versteeg. I met Joni, her husband, Eduard, and their two oldest children (of which one was a new born at the time!) at All Nations, we were in the same Tutor Group. They are from Holland and are currently serving with International Teams in Albania. Joni was a missionary kid herself before becoming a missionary mum and so has a great understanding of living life, being 'different' in a new culture.

You may not know this, but if you are a missionary mom like me, you are green. 

I can’t stop thinking about the face of the lady in the bakery down the street. Every time she sees me walk towards the shop, she get’s this scared, worried look on her face. I know I can’t put words into her mouth, but I can almost hear her think…"Oh no, here she comes again. Why does this woman always buy 5 loaves of bread? It will definitely cause a cue and it makes me stressed. Doesn’t she know that all normal people just buy one loaf at the time?"

We are different ...

As an MK (Missionary Kid) I can remember wanting to just blend in especially during furlough. I didn’t want to be different, I didn’t want to stand out, I wanted to be NORMAL.  

It brings a smile to my face when I think about that day in the village. I can’t quite remember what we were celebrating, but we had a party and of course people were dancing, because after all what is an Albanian party without dancing?! I was so proud of myself for joining in. I was the only foreigner among them and I thought I was doing so well. I got all the steps down and was able to keep up. Until at one point the guy next to me looks at me and says; ‘It doesn’t matter Joni, you’ll learn …’  

We are different …

Eduard does the dishes and looks after the kids when I am out of the house. I drive the car to and from the village (I remember the time when all the boys came and watched me turn the car around). Our kids don’t go to the local school …

We are different … 

We do try to fit in in the Albanian culture as well as we can. The greatest compliment they can give me is that they think I’m Albanian (they usually think I’m an Albanian who has lived outside of the country for a while, because of my accent). To be honest I think most of our Albanian friends would agree that we fit in pretty well. We can speak the language, we do the traditional visits and we know that we are supposed to wish them a happy wedding for their kids as we raise our glass. 

But even so, in the end we are different. 

We are green. Let’s say our home culture represents the colour blue and the hosting culture represents the colour yellow. What do you get when those two meet? That’s right: A whole different colour, a whole different ‘normal’: green. 

My prayer is that the people around us can see past the cultural differences and that they can see that there is something else that is different about us. If you read Ephesians 4:20 in Dutch, it says: but you are different, you have gotten to know Christ! I love that kind of different! I’m so happy that different can be positive.

1 comment:

  1. We are all equal in the eye of our Lord Jesus Christ and that's the wonderful of it. Thanks for sharing and God Bless.
    tfi the family international