June 25, 2008

“That cost HOW much?”

It’s been somewhat quiet lately in Itipini and nothing major or new has risen up to challenge me, just variations on the zillion everyday challenges that never go away. As a result, I’ve shifted my gaze from the day-to-day a bit and am now looking eagerly at my break in August and September. This is natural, I think, and even healthy. I’ve been here for more than than 10 months now and the experience has been intense and overwhelming. There’s nothing wrong with anticipating a break.

But in addition to the anticipation, I’ve been developing at least two fears about this break I want to share with you. First, I have all the usual fears about the shock of going from a relatively poor and underdeveloped context to a relatively rich and (over?)developed one. In the span of about 15 hours in August, I’ll go from Mthatha - sub-Saharan provincial backwater - to downtown London - global financial and cultural capital. Should be great.

The other fear is perhaps less usual for returning missionaries to have: I’m afraid that when I visit with old friends, some part of me is going to end up judging them for the decisions they make. For if there is one thing that has most assuredly changed about me as a result of my time here, it is my perspective on issues related to money, needs and wants, and how one spends one’s time. I can just picture myself thinking as a friend orders, say, a coffee, “You’re spending how much on that? Don’t you know how far that money could go in Itipini?”

“Judge not lest ye be judged” right? Ha! Easier said than done.


Anonymous said...


I've thought a bit about the judging quote from Matt 7. I think that the text is actually telling us to carefully judge. If we don't carefully judge, we can't make good decisions and live life. We judge things and people all the time. It's when we condemn people that we get into trouble. I'm confident that you will carefully judge with patience, kindness and love.
Even though things are "normal" for you in Itipini, I still appreciate your risk taking. Hope you have a great vacation.

Faith, Hope, & Love,