A couple of days ago I got a surprising and kinda sad email from a friend of ours.
This guy and his wife are missionaries, too. No, no,..it's okay, they're cool. They went to language school, here in Costa Rica, at the same time we did. We let their kid ride a skateboard in the house, which ended with him cracking his chin open on the floor, and a trip to the ER for stitches....aahh...good times. Oh, and one time, El Chupacabra had some guys over for, like, a Poker game or something. Or, maybe it was to play Risk (yes, I married one of those guys). So Anyway... On nights such as this, we customarily provide "guys night basics"; beer, soda, chips, salsa, beer, layered bean dip, fresh guacamole, beer, random munchies, fresh baked cookies (my contribution), and maybe some beer. But everybody is welcome to bring their own goodies. So, a couple of guys brought their favorite chips, somebody's wife sent brownies. That kinda stuff - The kind of stuff you'd expect when a bunch of guys are sitting around a table, talking about whatever guys talk about, and just generally stinkin' up the place. But this guy, the one who sent me the email, he walked in - for real - with two, one liter cartons of CHOCOLATE MILK! It makes me laugh just typing it. Not even kidding. That's when we knew for sure that we liked him. Cause that takes huevos! We have a deep appreciation, in our house, for people who don't give a crap what anybody else thinks.
Alrighty, so they've been in Central America with their two adorable little boys and their baby girl for the past two years. If you want to go to their house, first, go to Guatemala. Then go as far out into the middle of nowhere as you think is physically possible, and then go a little bit farther, until you see five exceptionally tan, ridiculously good-looking blonds who could only be one of two things; Vikings..or..Canadians. In this case, they are Canadians. I highly recommend Canadians as friends and I don't care what SouthPark says. Canadians are the nicest people on Earth. (I know, right? Who knew??) So when you find them, my awesome Dutch Reform friends, tell them I said "hey". But not just, like, "hey". Tell them ghetto style, like, "Jamie says 'Heeeaaay'!!". Thanks.
Oh, but if you're gonna go, you better go real soon. Because they're quitting!
They are leaving Guatemala...forever. That's what his email said. It said "If you are the very worst missionary, we are the very, very worst because we are quitting...we are unmissionarizing ourselves and leaving Guatemala forever! No joke."
Here's a little confession: When I read that, I was simultaneously heartbroken, both for them and for the community that will lose them....and also, suuuper jealous, I mean waaaay too jealous that they get to go back to live where things are so easy. And so this is the part where I feel like a giant TOOL, because, basically, my life is not that hard. I mean, yes, I do seem to be a magnet for weird, bizarre, slightly unfortunate, and costly, but minor disasters. (Speaking of which - You should NEVER back your giant car out of your tiny garage while the rear passenger door is open! It will nearly rip your door off. And also take a ghastly chunk out of the stucco. And, you SHOULD train your kids to A) close the flippin' door, or, B) mention that said door is OPEN before it slams into the wall. BEFORE. Ok, deep breath. That's it, let it aaaallll out.... ) Gah...my whole point is that these very good missionaries, these cool people, went to live in the bfe mountains of Guatemala, where there are no stores, and no restaurants, and like, no electricity, even. They went full of hope, and faith, and love, ready to serve a very poor community by helping to better it's schools!
But, instead, they found themselves virtually alone, limited in any ability to make an impact (in large part, due to the damaging "ministry" of the missionaries that had come before them), and shielding their children from dangers - like for real dangers - that they hadn't anticipated. In the end, they made the decision to get out, leave before something truly terrible happens. They've decided to honor Gods call, to put their first ministry first. They've made the tough decision to leave the mission-field in order to save their family. That's a bold move. I told you, this guy's got cojones! (And I didn't even mention how his wife had a baby while we were in language school and, I swear, she was back in classes like three days later!! Talk about tough!)
And while all that was happening - while they were struggling, and worrying, and living a truly sacrificial life....I was blogging about lizards in my pants, and fart-pillows, and waiting in line at the bank. Jeez...what a tool... So, I'm sorry if I've come off as a little over the top in the drama department while there are really amazing people out there suffering.
I'm sad for my friends. And I'm happy for them. Sad that things didn't really pan out the way they had hoped and dreamed, but happy that they were able to follow God's call, both when He clearly called them in to Guatemala, and again, as He is clearly calling them out. I cannot even put to words how much respect I have for these two people - so I won't even try. But I hope that when they get on the plane that takes them back to Canada, they will know that they are admired for a job well done.
Ok, one more quick confession: On a personal note, I am very happy that they are going back to Canada, eh, cause now we can go visit them there, eh! I just want to go and see what it's like where everyone is nice all the time, eh.
Sorry...that was...ahhh. See what I mean? Tool!