Leidenfrost, in her preface to her wonderful book At the Edge of the Village: Musings of a Missionary Wife, writes that "[n]ot all of missionary life is extraordinary or bizarre. Most of it is just normal, common events that unfold one day into another." I could not agree more! As our transition to village life moves from adjustment to acceptance, life feels ... normal. When I decided to write this post, however, I realized "normal" has simply morphed right along with our diet, dress, and demographics:
A few days ago, I killed a spider larger than my hand that apparently had been living underneath our kitchen table...for who knows how long.
Today, we had Science class out in the field where our pumpkins are growing, learning about "boy" and "girl" flowers.
Just this morning, I looked up from cleaning up breakfast only to see my two-year-old daughter whiz by on a moto with her Khmer grandma (No, I had no idea she was even out of our gate).
We speak two languages all day, every day. Our clothing choices are schizophrenic right on par with our meals. In a similar vein, we navigate two worldviews in our own hearts in areas like loving the visits we receive each day but wishing said visitors didn't have to sneak through the back fence and poach a few guavas on their way in.
Before our new normal completely takes over, I wanted to share a few blessings (and curses depending on how you see it) we've experienced for those who might be considering a village move. Of course, none or only some may apply depending on your circumstances. Each family and situation is beautifully unique.
1. Dirty takes on a whole new meaning.
2. Toys become optional. "Outside" is the ultimate "toy".
|Guava tree climbing|
3. Physical fitness becomes mandatory.
|Gardening is just one of the things that takes physical strength in the village|
4. Your former, in-country home might now give you culture shock.
|The capital where we used to live|
5. Your idea of security changes from high wall to your neighbor and your dog.
|Our neighbors' house|
6. The local becomes neither expert nor ignorant. They're just people.
7. Buying local becomes SO easy.
|That HUGE stalk of bananas came from a few doors down|
8. "Fitting in" happens without you consciously doing it.
|She's got the Asian squat down!|
9. Ministry no longer feels awkward or forced, and friendship is just a short, pleasant walk away.
|Our neighbor's house right across the street; we're over there all the time|
10. God can use nature and community to completely refresh the soul.
|My prayer spot after the harvest|