Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What are we made of?

[what's brewing: don't know, you tell me...please]

When I was a little girl, I had a copy of a well-known poem that I enjoyed reading and reciting for my parents and other lucky visitors.

What are little girls made of, made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.


I rather enjoyed thinking that I was comprised of sugar and spice and everything nice, especially when I considered the alternative. My brother was apparently comprised of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails and I couldn’t imagine wanting any of that to be a part of me!

This poem came to mind as I’ve spent time wondering about you – yes, you – whoever and wherever you may be. If you’re reading this, I want to know more about you. It turns out it’s a bit strange for me to be in a predominantly one-sided conversation. I love hearing from you in comments (and I want to give a big THANKS to those who are commenting!) and I’ve wondered why more of you don’t let your voice be heard on a regular basis. I’ve considered possible answers to that question and have decided that I’m most interested in one particular aspect of the issue.

What are missionary women like?

I want to know more about you, as individuals and as a like-minded group of women. I want to know the factors that lead you to comment or remain a silent reader. I want to know what your need for connection with other women is like – perhaps it varies based on location or team situations. I’m curious about the considerations you make before deciding to say something that reveals something about yourself (whether it be in a blog or before a group of people). I have my own thoughts on how I would describe what we missionary women are like, but I am only a beginner.

I would like to hear from YOU about the components you think should be included in the following poem. It doesn’t have to be clever or even rhyme – my goal is to hear more about you all and how you describe yourselves. If you’ve never commented before, this is your time!! Let your voices be heard!!

What are missionary women made of, made of?
What are missionary women made of?


P.S. Did you know that you can receive all of the follow-up comments from this blog post by email? Before you leave your comment, be sure to have signed in to your Google account. Then simply check the box in the comment section marked “Email follow up comments to…”. If you’re not a Google user, sorry to say, you’ll have to keep checking back here to follow the conversation!

18 comments:

Lori said...

Hello from Tokyo where I'm currently pressing on in language study. Although this is my first time to comment, I read your posts each Tuesday and enjoy your writing style filled with honest reflections on experiences I can relate to. Relational development with other women my age while using my limited language ability is a challenging process; one that is showing me more of my brokenness and need for a variety of relationships. Which leads me to answer your question . . .

What are missionaries made of?
Lots of cracks that allow God's grace to shine through.

-J said...

What is this missionary made of?
Sin and mistakes, self-righteousness and pride,
but over-riding all of that --- God's grace that is greater than all my sin!

A love for this culture and people, and on other days, frustration with this culture.

A heart that longs to follow Him, and worship Him more wholly, yet keeps going its own way. A Lord who evenso, uses this weak vessel in ::His:: work of calling the nations unto Himself.

Amazing!

CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

Hello from sweaty Honduras! What are missionary women made of? Simply broken vessels that answered the call, "Who shall I send?" And we answered - "Here I am...send me!" Nothing more - not brilliant women, although some are, not as humbled as we should be, but merely weak vessels that God chose to use for His glory! How cool is that?!

Alan & Beth McManus said...

I agree with the cracks, broken vessels, etc.

What are missionary made of? Lots of broken pieces glued together with God's love and mercy. What are they filled with? awe and astonishment at God's working in and through them.

I had a little trouble voting this week though, because you didn't put a line for "I visit every day"! I have your blog loaded in my morning coffee and look specifically for the new comments each day.

Trinie up North said...

Hello from beautiful Canada. Soon to be home in Texas. Then returning to Trinidad. What are missionaries made of? Clay, so we can be molded into what God needs us to be. Clay so He can mold us to fit into our different cultures. Clay so that when we make a mistake, we can be remolded.

I have enjoyed reading the various comments from everyone. I don't feel so alone now. Thanks for the blog, I love it.

Brenda

Kristy said...

hello from southeast asia. I do read your blog every week and am encouraged by what you write and also by the comments of others. We've just been here for 3 months, but both my husband and I served as singles overseas. It's different as a married woman! My role has changed tremendously and yet it is much the same. Thank you for your blog - keep up the good work!

Missionaries are made up of a lot of complex threads that weave a story of incredible grace.

Alison said...

Hello from Tanzania! I'm a first-term missionary and have just reached my two year anniversary on the field. So what am I made of (and what has God been making me to be)?

Brokenness, joy, tears, awe at how God is working, questions, fears, hope, renewal, trust, inner struggle, submission, restoration, adventure, awestruck with the privilege and joy of cross-cultural friendships, gratitude for the amazing opportunity to walk the broken road together with my Tanzanian friends (being able to minister to one another in our struggles), and love for my God who has guided me so gently and wisely through each step, my God who has not given me what I thought I wanted, but who has given me so much more than I ever could have dreamed or imagined.

Chantelle said...

Hi there. I am a missionary woman, wife and mother of 2 in Niger, Africa. You said you dont know many who make their voices heard or what they write, so feel free to check out my blog at www.chroniclesofourjourney.blogspot.com (that applies to everyone in this wonderful blog list!-you can subscribe too) I welcome the interaction!

I think we are made of the desire to live differently, to transform lives (including our own) and to love unabashedly. Sometimes I know I fail miserably, but i keep getting back up and living the dream.

Becky Aguirre said...

Greetings from Mexico! I am an MK, now missionary with four young children...a challenge to be sure! I have, therefore, certainly enjoyed your thought-provoking posts on missionary life! :) I visit often, probably several times a week to re-read posts and check up on comments.

What are missionaries made of? Oh boy! I like the 'clay' answer and brokenness...I would say, "broken pieces held up to reflect God's glory!"

In answer to your question about commenting or not commenting...sometimes I think it's a confidence issue (or lack thereof) wondering if what I have to say is worth saying! But I've been saying it anyway...LOL! :)

Debbie said...

Hello from Oregon. I am 53 year old woman who helps disciple and prepare those who go to the fields. My husband and I have worked with our company for 15 years and have raised 2 sons among those we work with. What a priveldge! I have never lived overseas but have gone on multiple short term outreaches as part of our training and also to encourage the younger women in our company who live abroad.
I read your blog weekly and often have passed it on to our younger women. Thanks for your window into your life and life in another culture.

SE Asia Nancy said...

Hello from southeast Asia! I finally wrote on your blog for the first time last week when I finally had the courage to figure out how to do it! I am 58 years old, serving with my husband, and have 3 grown sons now finding their own niches in the US. What are missionaries made of?
Filled with God's strength in my weaknesses. Filled with his grace in my failings. A heart that longs to grow ever closer to Him in the intimacy that he so desires as I open my heart to Him.

Ellie said...

What are we made of?

hmm..

some tough grit... covering some deep hurt... and some great weaknesses... and a stubborn insistence to turn our faces up to God to use us despite ourselves!

Why don't we comment all the time?

Privacy. Who is reading? And what will they find out about me? Questions about security, privacy, and writing about your feelings possibly on a team and maybe coworkers reading...a hesitancy to show the weakness that actually lurks in all of us... because of the foolishness that makes us believe that we are strong because we are strong despite what God clearly says that we are strong when we are weak.

Diana said...

What are missionaries made of? A few monthes ago my son said "Did you know that about every 7 years all of the cells in your body are replaced?" So since I have been in Mexico since 2000, does that mean that this missionary is 100% made up of Mexico City smog, bacteria, chile, corn flour and amoebas?
I heard the phrase once that "missionaries aren't extraordinary, they are ordinary people who God somehow uses to do extraordinary things." I think extraordinary means anything that brings glory to God and God alone.
I am pretty sure that all of the "great missionaries" would say they were/are ordinary people.

stephanie garcia said...

What are missionary women made of, made of?
What are missionary women made of?
Love, joy and tears; Hopes, dreams and fears.
That's what missionary women are made of!

Reading from Chile,
Stephanie
http://garcias2chile.blogspot.com

Tara said...

Sorry to confess it - I'm sporadic. I think this might be my second visit. But we've been in Ireland only 6 weeks and crazily packing prior to that, so I'll do better in the future!

Made of . . . hope . . . broken obedience . . . hearts to love and be loved . . . and hopefully, resilience.

Kara said...

Hello from Kiev, Ukraine! i've served about 8 years with a campus ministry in Russia. Now we're enjoying 'exile' in Ukraine. I have three little kids at home, and I have to often remind myself to embrace the calling of being their mother, rather than trying to escape it.

Why don't we write? I read your blog often, and I almost always want to comment. But then the baby wakes up from her nap, or the doorbell rings, or my husband needs the computer...

Deep inside, missionary women have a core of God's strength. When the physical and emotional trials wear us down, His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in weakness.

Karen Sue said...

Ni hao from Inner Mongolia, China. It's a blessing to read all the special thoughts from each commentor around the world.

Here we live quiet lives of love and respect, trying to be good examples as we live and work day by day. The rewards are great as we see changes slowly come in hearts and lives.

We've been here over 3 years now and isolation is a daily experience, so your blog is very welcome.

Blessings to all.

highcountries said...

How amazing to see all these women, from all over the world, congregating in one place!!

Obedience, willingness to do what you don't always feel like doing -- I think God has cultivated these two things in particular since moving here. It's not as easy to "get away with things" over here -- my world comes crashing down around me much quicker, and its so much better for my walk with God. Growth is so different overseas -- though I sometimes hate the difficulties of what I can and can't buy, not being able to say what I want, not getting "cheap" anything, the houses and scenery and seasons being different -- I love, love, LOVE that all of these things push me toward Christ in a way I've never known.

It feels like sight is clearer on the mission field.

Jamie
Shizuoka, Japan

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