Often when people think of missions they seem to equate the idea of sacrifice right along with it. While this can be true, I’ have personally always focused on the opportunity, adventure and potential in the mission God has given me. I really cannot recall the great number of times others have lamented to me their pity for the things I live without. These things usually include ESPN, electrical appliances, fast food, hot water, and so the list goes.
I thought I should share some of the benefits of living in a third-world country with all of its “sacrifices,” randomly listed here.
While the thought of not owning a car is unfathomable to many, not having a vehicle means I don’t worry about the price of gas, I haven’t had a ticket in the time I’ve been in Africa, my mom doesn’t have to worry if I text and drive, I don’t worry about the insurance renewal bill coming in the mail or my tags expiring, and I get free exercise every day. No gym membership required.
Healthy, organic and all-natural foods are at my disposal. Sure, I live in a world without hamburgers, French fries, pizza, Oreos or ice-cream, but if you’ve done grocery shopping lately for your family you’d be excited about 50 cent pineapples, 15 cent avocados, and 10 cent bananas. Meat doesn’t get any fresher than picking your own live chicken or making your own selection of whole-cow.
Having no refrigerator, hot water heater, oven, microwave, air-conditioner or heater means a host of appliances that I don’t have to worry about repairing and replacing. It also means I don’t get frustrated with things that don’t work the way they’re supposed to, or technology that has to be reprogrammed. You’d be surprised what you don’t miss when it is not an option.
When the main concern of everyone around you is survival, no one has to worry about the latest fashion trends or “keeping up with the Joneses.”
In Africa, there are very few mirrors or scales. As a matter of fact, the only mirror in my home is a hand-held make-up mirror, and I haven’t been on a scale since I left the States. Any woman knows what a relief that is! There’s a certain freedom in not seeing your image reflected at you in every store, bathroom, bedroom etc. This means far less self-evaluation and deprication and more time to focus on the really important things. And, ladies, I haven’t seen a 3-way mirror since I landed in Africa. I think the benefit of that is self-explanatory.
So, the next time you start to pity the poor missionary without the zillion things you think you could not part with, remember the flip side. They get some pretty sweet benefits.