different (how being a missionary in a third world country has changed me)

By | 7:58 AM 3 comments

This year has changed me.
Altered me.
I am not the same Jennifer that moved down here a year ago.

I look at the picture in the header of my blog and think...Wow, I had no idea.
(And wow, we all look so clean!)

I could write about how I don't take clean water, clean kids, or a clean anything for granted anymore, or how my cooking skills have really developed in the absence of the American convenience lifestyle...but, instead I'll write about the deeper heart issues that have been refined and changed in me.

1 - I don't write to-do lists anymore.

Obviously, I still write lists because I am writing this one, but I don't write to-do lists anymore. I think I stopped writing them here in Haiti after the 2nd week. A to do list is a big fat waste of time here.

This year has redefined my ideas of productivity and efficiency and a "successful" day. Redefined might be a bit of an understatement. This year has rocked my world in regards to my idea of a productive day. I no longer define my days by my masterfully created to-do list and carefully check-marked lines.

If I get one thing done here a day...awesome!
And if I get nothing done here in a day...awesome!

And by nothing, I mean nothing that can be quantified. You know, those moments where I cleaned up a skinned knee, sewed a button, or read Corduroy for the 73rd time in one week. My identity is not tied to my productivity anymore. And I cannot tell you how needed this change was. Jesus wasn't about lists, he was about people, and I came a long way in fleshing that out this year.

Which kinda sorta leads me into the next big change...

2 - I see people, not their poverty.

Talk about another needed change. It is not as if I came here with a white man savior complex. Far from it. However, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I felt a certain level of pity for for the people I was living amongst. Moment after moment like this one I wrote about changed me and the filter I view people through. I've learned to see past poverty and really see people. Conversely, as I get ready to step on a plane and head back to the land of excess I pray I see past the plenty and see only the people. I think what I've learned this year will help.

3 - I don't work for God anymore. I just walk with Him.

Prior to Haiti I would classify myself as a doer. A get er' doner. (Please see above list making paragraph.) Stripping me of my productivity identity this year has forever altered my ideas of working for the Lord.

Yes, I want to always be obedient and faithful and a good steward of my personal giftings, but I am far more concerned with just walking with the Lord through the rest of this adventure called my life.  

I have learned what it means to be totally and completely incapable of making it through a single day in my own strength and abilities and above mentioned personal giftings. Those inabilities brought me to Him on a daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute basis on a whole new level of intimacy.

And just walking with Him became more than enough.
If I never wear the title of "missionary" or "pastors wife" or "church planter" again, just walking with Him is more than enough.

He has shown you, O man, what is good:
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

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susan said...

This is a heart provoking post. Thank you for sharing your insight of your year in Haiti. I appreciate your transparency.
Your posts have encouraged me on many days.
Our church service yesterday was led by our Pastor from Haiti, Andre Louis. It made me think of you and your family.

Erin Snyder said...

so proud and blessed to call you guys friends! praying for you all as you transition home. :)

number three is perhaps the deepest change I experienced. I no longer accept the compliments when people tell me I am a strong person. I instead insist I am a loved child of God. In bootcamp, they broke us down to build us back up in their own fashion. I think we are brought to Haiti for a similar experience for the Kingdom.