Saturday, January 28, 2012

We Are Still Martians

At some point during the whirlwind week of saying our goodbyes in Iquique, Pedro and I came to a realization. It didn't matter how many different ways we tried to explain to our kind and generous Chilean friends from school and soccer - most of whom have yet to know Christ or set foot inside our church - what the reason was for our year in the States.

We explained about visiting churches and sharing the ministry. Thinking it might make more sense, we even pointed out that doing so allows for financial transparency since our income comes from these churches in the United States. No matter what we said, the end result was always the same: patient smiles and blank looks.

Pedro finally said to me, "We might as well say this: We are Martians who came to visit your planet. Now we are going home to ours, but we will be back!"

We laughed because as silly as it sounds, that's exactly how we felt people perceived us in Chile. No sooner had we returned to the States, however, then I found myself having another "Martian" moment!

My mom and I had taken Eva and Isabel shopping at Kohl's. This was the first time they could remember shopping in the States, and for that matter we don't do a lot of clothes shopping in Chile (like many missionaries, we try to stock up on stateside sales and hope the clothes will last through a four-year term!) We were ready to check out and the tall, exuberant saleslady told the girls to go ahead and put the clothes on the counter. The girls were frankly overwhelmed and simply stood and stared in confusion. Trying to be helpful, I explained: "Oh, this is their first time shopping in the States in five years. We just returned from living in Chile!"

The raised eyebrows and uncomfortable silence told me everything I needed to know. Basically, I had just informed another person that we were from Mars.

I returned home and told my husband, "Well, I think you should know ... even in the States, we are still Martians!" Such is the missionary life. :)

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