Confession #91: I Don’t Want to be a Missionary Anymore (unless you do too)

Jillian-medical-clinic-northern-haiti

There are many things I know I am not:

A historian

A theologian

An athlete

There are many things I try to be, although I daily fall short:

A leader

A writer

A mentor

There are things I dream of becoming:

A fluent Creole speaker

A mom who loves cleaning, baking, and handmade crafts

A person who inspires

But here I am.- sitting on my porch, basking in a pool of my own sweat no thanks to the Caribbean sun, and wondering if/when I should wash my dirty dishes today. Not leading, inspiring, or mentoring anyone, not speaking any Creole, and defiantly not calling my kids over to make Easter decorations for our house.

I’m what most people call a “missionary”. Yet, most days I am not so sure if I want that title. Being a “missionary” comes with expectations- expectations from supporters of how I should act, expectations from friends and family of being a super Christian or something, and expectations from locals of having unlimited money, resources, and an obligation to help all.

I get it. Everyone needs a title, something to help identify what it is they actually do in life. I left my home in Tennessee, left my family, left my job. I moved to Haiti with a mission. I live on the financial support of others. Therefore, I guess “missionary” is the obvious go-to response when someone asks me for my job description.

But sometimes, I wish it wasn’t.

Sometimes, when someone asks me what I do, I wish I could simply say: I work with teenagers who grew up without families and help them develop the necessary skills to heal their pasts and prepare them for their futures.

Simple. Honest. And minus the exotic glamour of being an oversees missionary.

Thing is, I know a lot of people who do very similar things to what I do in America. Better, actually. But too often they don’t get the attention I do because they are on the home front, whereas I am in the 3rd world.

Or take today.

Today I slept in because I was awake in the wee hours of the morning cursing the blind rooster next door who thought the sun was rising at 1:00am. I ate breakfast, homeschooled my little ones, and then ate lunch. Thanks to city power gracing us with its presence, I was able to do laundry, plug up my refrigerator, and pump water. Then I returned some emails and updated our organization’s social media sites, did my daily yoga, and then returned to the computer to prepare for an upcoming fundraiser. Then a girl came over to learn how to make mashed potatoes from a box she bought down town. We talked about school while we cooked. She thought the fake potatoes were gross. She gave them to me. And now I am sitting on my porch with one of our boys who just came over to talk to me while I wait for Hunter to bring me a double cheeseburger and ice cream. I’m currently multitasking: talking to this boy, writing this blog, and coloring with my kids. Have I mentioned I rock at the art of multitasking?

Perhaps describing every detail of my day was a bit overkill. But today, I didn’t feel much like a “missionary”. Today I felt like a mom, a homemaker, a fundraiser, and a friend to our teens. I didn’t have any grand adventures. I didn’t save any lives. I didn’t witness any miracles. I just lived life with my people. Simple. Honest. Nothing glamorous or exotic about it (unless you want to count the 1,000,000 mosquitos swarming around my house).

Some days, like today, being a “missionary” is simply living life with the people God put in place around you. Today, being a missionary for me was being a teacher to my kids. Today, it was taking care of things around my house so my family can live in the nice place God gave us. And it was being available for a few of my teens who needed some one-on-one time with someone who loves them.

I want you to know something: We are all missionaries. From the stay-at-home in Utah to the middle school teacher in Tennessee, from the minister in Pennsylvania to the social worker in Texas, from the poor college student to the multi-million dollar business man, from me in Haiti who works with teenagers to the brave men and women in Asia rescuing girls from sex trafficking. WE ARE ALL MISSIONARIES.

I don’t want to be called a missionary anymore. And my reason is this: I don’t want people to think I am better. I don’t want my role in the kingdom to seem anymore superior, because it is not. In the grand scheme of the church body, I am just the nail on the left pinky toe. I mean, probably. But we all are playing our part. All of us. Equally.

From now on, if you ask me what it is that I do, I am just going to tell you I work with 17 awesome teenagers who just happen to be Haitian. Sure, if you let me, I will also tell you all about the incredible organization I work for as well. But you probably won’t hear me say the word “missionary”. I just live life loving the people God called me to love. And I imagine a lot of you are too.

So either I drop the “missionary” title or we all need to start taking ownership of our various missions around the world- in our homes, workplaces, friend groups, and communities. God has placed us all where He desires us to be on mission for His kingdom. He has placed all the people He wants us to love in our path. He has given all of us a part in His body. So let us all be missionaries. Not just me, but you too.

~ Jillian

Confession #90: I Want You To…

A BOOK I want you to read:

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A SONG I want you to hear:

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A BLOG I want you to consider:

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A VIDEO I want you to watch:

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A set of PHOTOS I want you to see:

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A HAITIAN PROVERB I want you to know:

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And then THIS just because it is awesome and a must!

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Confession 89: My Kids Don’t Like Church

Left

I don’t know how many of you are currently raising kids who don’t like going to church. But if so, I’m joining the club. At ages seven and five, I find it a travesty that I am already facing this issue in my home. At that age, I thought church was the coolest place on […]

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Confession #88: The Fear/Peace of Being Called: A Guest Post

I recently asked a friend of my to guest post on my blog. As a current senior in college, she reminds me so much of myself. Feeling called to Haiti, searching for answers, and knowing beyond a doubt that God is calling for radial obedience- she is walking in my former footsteps right now. Even […]

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Confession # 87: Can I Really Trust You?

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She looked at me. She has known me for years, but has always kept her true feelings at arms length from me. I was asking her to share something, asking her to be vulnerable and she didn’t know if she could. “I want to be your friend,” I told her. “I want you to be […]

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Confession 86: We Were All Made to Dream

Jillian 1

What did you dream of becoming when you were little? Somewhere, somehow, the world has told us that dreaming is childish and something we should grow out of once we learn that fairytales aren’t real. But you know what I think? I think dreaming is meant for all of God’s children no matter our age. […]

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Confession #85: I See Their Potential: Turning Bossy into Leaders

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Tuesday night. Tuesday night may, in fact, be my new favorite night of the week. No, it isn’t because Glee or New Girl is on TV or anything. (Remember, I live without cable here in Haiti.) Rather, it is because on Tuesday nights, I get to sit around a room with six of my favorite […]

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Confession #84: It’s Time to Redefine “Success”

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Two scenarios. One question. Scenario 1: A boy grows up in the countryside of Haiti and never goes to school. When he is older he takes over his family’s farm, gets married, and has two children. He is a good farmer and is able to supply enough food on his land to feed his family […]

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Confession #83: It’s Time to Start Thinking & Trusting

Djooly School

“This is what I was afraid of,” he said as he hung his head back, discouraged, taking in a deep breath. “What were you afraid of?” I asked him. Resting his head on his hand and looking at me he admitted, “I was afraid that education would be different in America and I was right.” […]

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Confession #82: A Letter to My Daughter: “What Kind of Woman Will You Raise Me to Become?”

girl dance

Yesterday morning Dalencia and I didn’t go to Haitian church. Instead, we had what we called “girl church” on our roof. When your little one is recovering from what may or may not be scabies (Bless her heart, I know.) girl time + the rooftop + The Jesus Storybook Bible + our favorite worship music […]

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