Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Can a Missionary spend time at the Beach?

I hate to say it, but sometimes there are stereotypes about missionaries that don't match reality? The question of should a missionary enjoy a trip to the beach of course doesn't apply to missionaries working in landlocked countries (of course lakes and rivers have beaches too).  I hate to admit this to those of you who don't know where the Dominican Republic is, but yes we live on a beautiful Caribbean island.  The island was originally dubbed Hispaniola (Espanola) by Christopher Columbus, and was
discovered on his very first journey.  The Taino indians that inhabited this island, called it Quisqueya.  Today the island is split between two very different nations; French-speaking Haiti, and Spanish-speaking
Dominican Republic. The DR is the larger in land mass of the two.  Four fifths of this nation is
surrounded by coastline.  I guess what I am trying to say is that there are a plenty of beaches here to visit.

Debbie here with Missionary Volunteers Ryan Pauly and Rayven Tallmage 
Now back to the original purpose of this post.  A couple of months ago one of our volunteer missionaries, who is committed to serving a year with us here, posted some photos of her visit to a beach.    Someone commented that she was here to work and not to spend time at the beach.  Perhaps they were just kidding, but it was not so clear.  Without knowing hardly any Spanish, our volunteer had been putting in 8 hour days teaching English at the Christian school, and then accompanying Debbie to the Rieles project to work with children there at least twice a week in the evenings.  Another of our volunteers has the same schedule teaching English and is working with Baseball clinics two times in the week, as well as helping to lead in the formation of a youth group for a new church.  Did I mention that they are both faithful to the services of this new church start?  Did I mention what a tremendous pressure it is to adjust to a new culture and a new language?  Did I mention that they are on a limited income?  Did I mention I don't know why they were crazy enough to come over here to help us in the first place?  I lied on this one.  I know it had to be God speaking to their hearts.  It had to be God touching the hearts of family members and church members in the states, who also believed in their calling, and were willing to help support them on the mission field.  Without that support they could not be here.

Sorry, I got sidetracked again.  Yes, I am the guilty party who took them to the beach.  Please put yourself in their shoes for a moment.  You are on a beautiful Caribbean island, where sparkling baby blue  ocean waters splash on white powdery beaches, and you get a three day break in your schedule.  Would you go to the beach?  Or because some people believe true missionaries must suffer, would you pass on the opportunity, not!  Sorry, I am going to the beach and restore my strength and energy by swimming in one of the most beautiful and natural habitats that God created for our enjoyment. By the way, I am not any less of a representative for Christ there, then anywhere I go. Neither are you.

1 comment:

  1. My best memories are of us at the beach together. It was also the best quality time, where there were no interruptions, and we could spend time together as a family exclusively. Now grown and married with three children I look forward to our family time, just the 5 of us, I'm picturing us at the beach this summer. Can't wait and definitely thankful to live not too far from one. I still remember the long windy drive through the mountains to get us to our destiny. It felt as it would take forever but then we would arrive and it would be totally worth it!