Tag Archive for radical

Have We Lost Something? Missionary Wives Speak.

Do you ever wonder if we have lost something as American Christians?

Have we lost perspective? Focus? Are our eyes on the right goals?

We live in the wealthiest country in the whole world in a continual state of relative ease and comfort.

One of my favorite pictures of my friend Toni Hafler teaching children in Zambia.

Being a Christian in America doesn’t cost us anything. Not really. Sure, we might get disapproving looks from friends and family, but “looks” don’t really count as sacrifice, do they?

Not when you hear of Christians in Sudan who are being gunned down because they hold to the name of Jesus. Little girls. Walking to Sunday School. Or of North Korean Christians who are persecuted more than in any other country.

Do we care enough about the gospel to suffer? Or are we so soft that we consider sitting in an un-airconditioned building suffering?

Do we really care about Christ? Yes, I know we use His name. But what is He worth to us?

We drive to church in air conditioned cars, arrive carrying hundreds of dollars of electronics on our person, and sit in our climate controlled buildings. We get ancy when the pastor goes overtime, because, you know, we have things to do! We are busy. We come to church to “worship”, but only on our very slim timetables, thank you very much.

I am afraid that we have lost something.

I think we’ve lost our first love and turned our eyes onto something else:  ease, excess and entertainment.

We’ve been anesthetized by the luxe of our country. And I fear we don’t even know it. (click to tweet this)

I asked a few missionary wives what they thought. I wanted to see through their eyes, fearing my own vision might be blurred.

I wanted to know what they see when they re-enter the United States. I was surprised by some of their answers. (Reverse Culture Shock, they called it.)

I hope their answers will prove to be helpful to you as they were for me, and might help us all to re-examine our own spiritual state.

Sweet Toni and her happy little girl, in their cottage where they stayed for a 6 month intensive Swahili language program in Limuru, Kenya.

Question 1. What do you notice upon re-entry into the US that shocks you most? 

“How easy life is here…there seems to be a gadget/gizmo for almost anything you would even dream of needing.” Heidi Seawright, Cambodia

“Being overwhelmed by choices. Standing in the cereal aisle, frozen, and overwhelmed at how many brands there were. I finally just reached for Raisin Bran.” -anon.

“Materialism, that everyone is constantly using some form of media {iphone, computer, cell} – Joy F., Indonesia

“We saw how busy people are–even with good things (sports, music lessons, church activities)–so that time together as a family is really unusual. Our American children might be really well-rounded, but possibly at the expense of losing their hearts.

Even though people seemed busier, some people seemed less
interested in regular church services (especially Sunday PM and
Wednesday pm). Church bodies seem to be together so little for
corporate worship, prayer, and Bible study.  Dinners and activities
were still well-attended, though.”– Susan Knipe, South Africa

“Immodesty, religious freedoms lost, disrespect towards adults, a love for the latest, love of the world and it’s entertainment. A seeming indifference to sin. A poor knowledge of scripture and knowing how to apply its truths.

Ladies having to keep up with the fashions, pedicures, etc. but not having time for serving in the church. No time for Bible reading.  The constant running of kids to their next activity.

I am surprised that in a country where we know how to read and we have so much out there to help us in our spiritual walk that still few read for that purpose. In Africa my friends there would read if they knew how and if they could get their hands on a good book.

Many times Americans can sound ungrateful for what they have in life. It really stands out to me when we are fresh back from Africa. I’m not saying the places we served didn’t have these issues. What stood out to me was how quick the decline was from our furlough to furlough.”–Toni Hafler, Zambia

“Nearly everything seems to be obtained instantly. Even memory making things are pre-packaged so you don’t have to put much work into things–for 4th of July I saw packaged cookies at the Wal-mart with sugar cookies, frosting, and sprinkles all ready to be decorated.” Heidi Seawright, Cambodia

“Everyone is interacting with phones/ipads/computers/TVs all the time! Even 2 year olds on the flights yesterday were glued to their screens!”

“What surprised me on my first visit back to the States after moving to Argentina was the cleanliness, comforts and all the conveniences.

I was floored by all the stores that catered to the shopper and how everything is available 24/7. And what’s more, everyone expects that kind of service! I don’t know about other countries, but that doesn’t happen here. –Jennifer Smith, Argentina

“Apathy – not using the overabundance of resources God has given, specifically spiritual. ”  Amy Greenwood, Buenos Aires

“We noticed people’s obsession with their pets!”

“My first shock was how many people are so disconnected from everyone around them. Cell phones in everybody’s hands. Go to a restaurant, and people even sitting at the table together are on their phones instead of talking. This really shocked me.” -Althea N., Brazil

” It did amaze me at how many people I saw one furlough looking, acting, listening to and reading things that we both thought were wrong. We’d then to go back on another furlough and they are using whatever translation, listening to “christian” rock and their girls are wearing things that do not make them look different from the world. It’s not just one family, but even whole churches. It’s very discouraging.” -anon

“It really saddened me and actually bewildered me, how many [ladies] were not modest in general. I have often wondered what caused them to change in this area. I have not had the courage to ask anybody.” anon

 

These types of responses make me think: Am I living a life of ease and complaining about it? Am I apathetic? Discontent? Using what I have for God’s glory or to indulge my own flesh.

In other words, Is Jesus Christ really all I am seeking? Is He enough?

What about you? What are your thoughts?

PART TWO  Here

LINKED TO COURTNEY

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