Thursday in Sierra Leone

Thursday in Sierra Leone
I want to title this blog post “What the Shiny Missions Brochures Don’t Tell You.”
Today was pretty good. We hung around Rob today as be taught “Biblical Education by Extension” (BEE) to a group of local pastors in one of the local villages today.
It is awesome that he was able to “pastor the pastors” and interesting to see that pastors are very similar across cultures when you get a few of them in the same room for a while… That’s not a bad thing it’s just the truth 🙂 We played with the village kids; well, actually they played with us. Some of them have never seen a white person before so they don’t know what do think! We’ve heard that they like to touch our hands and arms so much because we are softer than the people here because we don’t do as much manual labor. Odd, but believable. If a child finds out that we are in the area they tell everybody else and they all come out to play with the “opotu.”
It’s great to play with the kids and hold them and love on them but really soon you realize that they probably haven’t had a shower in a few days. And well, they’re kids so they touch, roll around in, and play with ANYTHING they find. The “helicopter parent” phenomenon is definitely not a problem here. When playing with the children you end up with a real psychological battle going on inside your own head and its tough to deal with. Either way the people are awesome.
Mission brochures also don’t mention that water and electricity are serious things here. This means the showers you do get to take are cold and you have to take an “African” shower. That is, turning the water on, getting wet, turning the water off, soaping up, water on, and rinse. It’s really not too bad and after you’ve been sweating and dirty all day it is the best feeling in the world!!
Another thing people typically don’t tell you about; food is hit or miss. What you think you’re going to get isn’t always what you actually get, and sometimes you don’t get ANY food, so take a few power bars just in case (not chocolate, they melt.)
Transportation is hit or miss! As you may have gathered from the previous posts, we’ve had more than a few issues this trip. With very lenient emissions and safety standards, the cars here stay on the road till they are literally falling apart or falling off the road! That’s the culture though. Cars are expensive and frankly, mechanics are a little cheaper here than back home. This all adds up to very high chances of your vehicle having problems. But don’t worry because you can get just about anything fixed really quick (a day or so if not a matter of hours) and cheap. So you’ll be puttering along again in no time!
They also don’t tell you what kind of struggles you will face in your own heart. There’s nothing in there about how quickly you will connect with people, even across language barriers. I’ve never read anything that could prepare me for the personal dilemmas I would be forced to deal with when facing; poverty, a culture that is constantly under spiritual attack, and so many people across the world that are trying to help but actually paralyzingly a whole people group.
Finally, in the shiny missions brochures they don’t tell you how awesome it is to realize that you are worshiping the same Jesus as people oceans away who look different, speak a different language, and have a totally different way of life. When God shows you THAT, and you realize that the only thing that matters is preaching the word and encouraging fellow believers, you won’t need a shiny missions brochure to convince you to carry out the great commission.