“Do all Mennonites travel as much as you and your friends do?”
Last night wasn’t the first time that my friend asked me this. but it stumped me again. I don’t know what is normal for other Mennonites, only what’s normal for me. And normal for me is to hear stories of other countries, the food, the houses, transportation, the languages encountered. Stories and details galore, to wonder at and admire.
I said it’s normal for my family. Both of my grandfathers are globe-trotters dedicated to service, and the trait is strong in their grandchildren. An hour before my friend’s question, I’d read an email from my aunt planning Christmas activities with the extended family. There will be photos and stories from schools and missions in Liberia, the Far East, El Salvador, Mexico, Ukraine, Poland. Not to mention places of ministry within the US. Stories, stories, stories!
I’m not as well-traveled as I want to be, but packing a bag and making sure the ticket and money are safe is something I’ve often done–though not often enough to satisfy me. So I was ecstatic to be able to fly on a whim to Ukraine last week end and join a friend for a missionary conference. The quick decision and foreign country and new acquaintences thrilled me like little else could. I wrote my family and close friends a report that was long but didn’t nearly say everything because it’s impossible to put all one’s impressions and comparisons and theories of a new country on paper.
While I’m immensely grateful for the legacy of travelling and missions that my grandparents and parents gave me, I don’t want to minimize the value of being steady in the home place. (Though I have this sneaking suspicion that the majority of people do that because it’s their default setting rather than their calling. This makes me sad and a little angry sometimes. Is that my problem?) Going out to ‘do missions’ isn’t something to do for adventure. Sometimes the most anyone can do for the Kingdom is to be gracious to the irritating person beside them, to be gentle to the child speaking to them, to do more than the boss asks, to do the next thing even though it feels impossible.
Which we all must do, no matter where we are on this wide, beautiful globe.
Related post: Lengthening the Cords