A simple statement. Straight forward, no fancy words. It’s the title of my blog. I didn’t spend a tonne of time trying to think of something catchy or witty. I think when I came up with it I was trying to demonstrate that I’m fairly ordinary. I’m not the “missionary” type or particularly outdoorsy or tough. Sure I enjoy getting muddy, my feet are permanently dirty here and I can bucket shower with the best of them but I like make up and iced coffee and pretty jewellery. I like giggling about boys and movies that make me cry. I like having fresh flowers in my house and nice smelling shampoo. I’m just a girl who thought why not go back to Africa (literally when I signed up I didn’t specify a country) and try to do something good? More recently my friend, Kim, the one who I cried hysterically with a few blogs back, has said this in reaction to a few people we’ve met. “She makes me think I could do this because she’s just a girl.” I’ve been thinking about this over the last year, the idea that someone could or couldn’t “do this” (meaning live in a developing country) and what I’ve concluded is this… we’re all just girls (or guys) out here.
I got to visit ABO (Africa Based Orientation) a few weeks ago in Nakuru. It’s a 3 week course that everyone who comes out full time has to do. This particular session was quite small but even within this group it was interesting the different types of people who come out. There were Brazilians, Brits, Americans, Canadians, Americans turned Canadian, Taiwanese etc. Even just the variety of states the Americans came from was criss cross the good ol’ US of A. There were missionary kids turned missionaries, doctors, administrators, counselors, volleyball stars and preschool teachers. The unique thing about this session was that we had some joint sessions with a conference of African missionaries with a handful of westerners. What a beautiful mosaic of the church and the diversity of the call.
Over the last year, especially in my current role in our office, I’ve had opportunity (like going to ABO) to meet so many of our AIM workers. They come from all over the world; Brazil, UK, Hong Kong, Australia and of course US and Canada. They have different stories, different personalities and different perspectives. We have people who never did any post secondary schooling and we have surgeons and multiple graduate degree holders. Some have been here for 40 plus years with no end in sight and some just want to put in their 2 years and be done. But one thing is the same, they all love Jesus and they’re all here. Really, we could all be in our various home countries doing different things.
I’ve met people who are formidable, a force to be reckoned with. People who are Type A, let’s get this done. I’ve also met people who are so laissez faire and just move and do things pole pole (po-lay po-lay; meaning slow).
I think you get my point. People are different.
So my thought this week is this, that’s the beauty of the mission field. It is all these different people who come for the same reason. It’s not full of the bold, bush whacking, throw caution to the wind type who keep their Landrovers running with a coat hanger, pen and duct tape *cough* Kenya North *cough*. Sure, these people are here and I’m grateful (and a bit jealous) for the courage and resourcefulness but it certainly isn’t a prerequisite to coming on field. I’ve come to realize that we are all different with different gifts to offer. There isn’t a ranking or points system that make us better than the next guy. Just the same being here or being at home doesn’t make me better or worse than the next guy (or according to my blog, the next girl).
Someone once asked me if I was coming back and I said I didn’t know yet to which they responded, “Angela, there is always a reason not to come. Money, family, job, age… whatever it is there is always a reason not to come. But it’s coming in spite of that isn’t it?”
My name is Angela and I’m just a girl on a mission.