missionary predicament: hospitality and rest


How important is rest?  Do missionaries and development workers deserve time off?  Who decides when we get to relax?  Is it okay to lie in certain situations… if it’s expected?

[This post is one installment of a somewhat (okay, extremely) irregular feature called Missionary Predicaments.  Occasionally I attempt to explain some recent (or ongoing) dilemma having to do with being a missionary and development worker in Tanzania.  And then I ask what you think the proper Christian missionary response would be.  Then I do whatever you said.  Well… maybe not.  But I do welcome all advice — especially if you’re over 50 years old and have grey hair.]


Situation

You and your wife have worked eight days straight and really need a break.  You want to sit in your house and watch a few episodes of West Wing without making dinner for anyone, chatting with neighbors, or answering questions about job opportunities within your “organization.”  Just as you sit down with homemade tortilla chips and glasses of sent-from-America Crystal Light, there’s a knock at the gate and a loud “hodi,” followed by a continuous and steady string of “hodi”s.*  It’s an acquaintance of yours, a local pastor from a church down the road, and you’re sure he’s come just to sit and chat for a bit (an hourish) on the front porch — which requires that your wife make chai, and neither of you watch West Wing until later or, more likely, another day.  What do you do?

Background and Culture

  • Visitors are extremely important in Tanzanian culture.  It is always an honor to have a guest.
  • Therefore, it is important to be a good and hospitable host.  A female in the house should at least make tea, and probably provide a snack of some sort, as the men sit and talk together.
  • When something is an inconvenience to a Tanzanian, he is expected to lie.  It is extremely rude to tell someone, “no.”  But it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I have a lot of work to do today,” even if it is untrue — even if the person with whom you’re speaking knows it to be untrue.  Someone asks to borrow your expensive camera or, better yet, asks if they can have it.  If you tell them “no,” you’ve insulted them.  They walk away with a hurt (or broken) relationship, mumbling about how you could have at least spared them the indignity by answering, “Maybe another day,” or “Well, my wife really needs to use it tonight.”

Factors to Consider

  • It’s unlikely you and your family will ever have more than 3 or 4 uninterrupted hours in your house.  And it’s nearly impossible to predict (or guess) when those times will be.  People show up at all hours of the day.
  • The pastor has already seen you through the windows of your house (as you’ve only lived there a relatively short time and don’t have curtains yet — water and electricity took precedence).  So pretending you’re not home is not an option — not that you would have done that anyway.  Just saying….
  • This is starting to become a trend:  planning a time to relax and having it interrupted.
  • It’s not that talking with this pastor is extremely difficult or belaboring (it’s getting much easier for you to talk for an uninterrupted hour in Swahili, though your brain is a little tired afterward).  It’s more that you’ve been looking forward to this break — and believe it will actually help you, your ministry to others, and your marriage if you enjoy a little downtime.
  • It’s not just an inconvenience to you, though.  Your wife also is expected to serve tea and maybe snacks.  Keep in mind, there are no bags of chips or cookies in your pantry.  And if there are, they either came from the states or were very expensive — and probably wouldn’t taste good to your pastor friend anyway.  That means whipping up some chapatis or thawing out some of your homemade bread to serve with jam and butter.
  • Back in the states, you might have just explained to your friend that you and the wife really need some time together, and had planned for that time to be now.  You’ve been busy and need a break.  And your friend would have understood.  Of course he probably also would’ve called before walking the mile-and-a-half to your house.  Okay, he never would have walked to your house.
  • This visitor has just walked 1 1/2 miles to your house.
  • [Editor’s note — added after initial publishing for clarification] Explaining that you need rest, this is your day off, or you’re wanting to spend time with your family are not acceptable reasons for turning away guests.  Work, sickness, having other guests, or even preparing for other guests would, however, be acceptable.
  • You’re trying to live into the culture of Tanzania, and want to provide as few barriers to the gospel as possible.  But you’re just not sure lying is the right thing to do — even though it’s culturally acceptable.
  • You realize lying is also at times culturally acceptable in your home culture — even among Christians:
    • “Girlfriend, your hair looks good.  You rock that mohawk!”
    • “Oh, I’m fine, doing just great — and you?”
    • “Your baby is so cute.  [She doesn’t look at all like an alien lizard.]”
    • “I can’t tell you’ve gained a pound.”
    • “It’s not you — it’s me.”
    • “I just don’t want to ruin the great friendship we have.”
    • “What dinosaur?  I don’t see a dinosaur.”
  • You probably should be thinking about what to do in this specific situation, but also how you will deal with all of this for the next eightish years.  Can you say the same thing you say today every time this happens?  Should you find a different place to relax?  What about when you get even busier with agriculture development and church planting?  What then?

What would you do?  In the short term?  In the long term?  How important is rest?  Time with family?  How do we create and protect these moments?  [I’ll share with you in an upcoming post what we’ve decided to do.]


* Hodi = Swahili word that announces the presence of a visitor at a door or gate.  I’m guessing this practice developed over the knock because of the general lack of doors on which one could knock.  And a single “hodi” will not, under any circumstance, suffice.  The visitor is required to “hodi” constantly until the door is opened or (in some cases) someone from inside answers with “nakuja,” a familiar way of saying, “I’m coming.”  However, one must continue yelling “nakuja” until one has actually opened the door, lest the “hodi”ing begin again.  It seems the general rule is that there can be no time of quiet, however brief, between the arrival of a visitor and the actual opening of the door.  I’ve on several occasions thought about doing the same sort of thing while waiting for my food at a restaurant or while waiting to be helped at the hardware store — constantly repeating my order until I actually have the item in my hand.  It truly is sad that a word announcing a guest (something which is quite an honor in this context) can come to mean about the same thing as nails screeching on a chalkboard.


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97 Comments

Filed under culture, mission, missionary predicaments

97 responses to “missionary predicament: hospitality and rest

  1. I didn’t know it was so time consuming to be a missionary. But everyone deserves rest, we’re only human after all. Maybe in the beginning there should be an announcement where everyone knows the exact time and day when your off limits so you’re not always interrupted. But I think the work you’re doing is great, living in another country as a missionary takes a certain type of heart and will that many don’t have. God bless!

  2. Yes, why not? A decided time when you are busy speaking to God…everybody gets that I think. Resting, down-time and recuperating is time with God, I’d say. Or maybe you just need to find another place were you can go and hide sometimes…

  3. This post was featured on wordpress’s front page and I’m glad to have read it. Right now, I wish more people would show up and expect hospitality of me. But I expect that before long I’ll be longing for a few moments without interruption. I don’t know how I’ll respond when that begins to happen…

    • james, how long have you been in tanzania? and in dar, i imagine your experiences will be quite different than ours in geita (fairly rural).

      • I’ve been here a little over a month– came to Dar for initial language study, but will be transitioning to Mwanza shortly. I’ll be based in the city, but spending time in Kagera region as well. But yes, I imagine the experiences will be quite different. I’m a farm boy, and I miss the country!

        • karibu mwanza. we’re in mwanza region… for now. though there are rumors that geita will be its own region soon. but you’ll have to pass by our place on your way to kagera — maybe you can stop one day and we can have a coffee (or chai).

  4. centersummer

    شكرا سيدي موضوع ممميز استمتعت به كثيرا

  5. Yes, you can rest 😀 everyone need to rest sometimes, it’s good for our soul. God bless you. Thanks for sharing this story 🙂

  6. Daniel

    I like the “maybe another day” option. It’s not lying and it’s not saying no.

  7. Deborah Howe

    Great post. My father was a priest, and found that his days were not his own, whether they were days off or work days — it’s the reason his annual summer vacation was so important, and why we went away for his entire vacation time. In your case, can you ask the 1 1/2 mile away pastor how he gets some private time for family togetherness, or does Tanzanian clergy culture not include that possibility?

    • deborah, there are only four white families living in geita town. so you can imagine there is a greater demand for our time than exists for “another tanzanian pastor” down the road.

      tanzanian society is almost completely built on relationships — and those relationships are much more than friends to you. they are connections needed to get ahead, possibilities for future jobs, insurance in times of need, and largely a statement of who you are and (in a way) what you’re worth. so there are many who would desire to add a “rich american” to their list of contacts.

      i’m not complaining at all. just saying that’s why there might be more people hodi’ing at my gate than at pastor so-and-so’s.

  8. Abby

    I agree with Daniel, ‘maybe another day’ sounds good. It was really interesting to read your post and think about some of the real dilemmas you face being a missionary. I also loved the prayer you wrote that you pray every morning. I might borrow it for myself! Thanks for writing

  9. I think it’s lovely and oddly refreshing that visitors and visiting are such an important part of Tanzanian culture. By comparison, Americans are anti-social hermits. I don’t think I ever have guests over without at least a full day of planning in advance, and I’m pretty sure I reacted awkwardly the last time someone did show up randomly–when really, I shouldn’t have because they’re a dear friend.

    So basically, you have quite a happy predicament. Someone wants to interact with you, and that’s more than many people get or allow back home. By that same token, however, you absolutely deserve at least some rest. As someone said in another comment, you’re only human!

    • but, jess, americans are always dropping by unannounced on one another’s facebooks… and even leaving uninvited comments.

      you’re right, this is a good problem to have.

  10. Ramona A

    God intended for each of us to have a day of rest, that’s why it’s referenced during the creation and in the Ten Commandments. He knew that we would not be able to carry out His work, if we did not take care of our minds and bodies. If you follow Jesus’ ministry, he often got away from the crowds so he could rest. But, if that rest was interrupted, He gave His time to the people. I would suggest that you meet with the Pastor today, but that you find a place where you and your wife can get away in the future.

  11. Very interesting post. I find missionaries fascinating, I think it’s amazing work!

    I’d say you need to make it clear when you’re off-limits for visits, only use polite words when you do so. “I need to rest” sounds very acceptable to me.

    To have quiet time and family time is not really a luxury, it’s a vital element to your (and your wife’s) health and well-being. This in turn will reflect on how you present the Gospel, which is what it’s all about, right? Good luck!

  12. Sabbath is important too… we learned a lot of this in our prep for Africa missions and it was THE biggest thing I struggled with because I’m the type of person who needs a lot of down time. I couldn’t resolve the dilemma in my heart other than to know that balance is very important – whether or not you are a missionary.

    For me, in this situation, I might let them know my wife wasn’t feeling well, or was coming down w/something…

    Cuz if you don’t rest, that is usually what comes next… being sick 🙂 Even Jesus rested.

  13. Wow, this is SO informative. I loved reading it! I’m going to check out more of your blog! Keep up the good work!

    http://www.denwrites.com

  14. Hi Brett,
    Congrats on your post being selected for the day! I understand what you’re saying, although we’re in not quite the same situation here in Mwanza. We’re here since March thru the ELCA helping with the accounting and auditing, and not sure I have the answer, but you’re really no good to anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. I love your morning prayer and am considering swiping it also. Thanks for some great thoughts, and if you’re in Mwanza, we’d love to meet..

    • karibu, wenzangu. how long will you be in mwanza? you just might find us there. we usually come into town at least once every two months to stock up on groceries and the like. i think we’ll be there again in july sometime….

  15. Remember, G-D is your teacher, not mankind. For mankind’s religions walk in error, of who we are to G-D and who G-D is to us. You, will be in my prayers…may you re-trun full to your Creator. Thank you, this was good.
    Sons of G-D Genesis 27:27 given second breath, the kiss from the Almighty G-D who breath is eternal..Job 33:4
    Sons of men and beast, having one breath. Ecc.3:18-19

  16. Barbara

    Hi Brett,

    First of all, congratulations on your blog – I love your writing style, very witty and human.

    Regarding your current predicament, I am reminded of the following verse:

    ” If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. “(1 Tim. 5:8)

    If you don’t provide quality time for your wife and daughter, soon your marriage will start showing signs of strain. If you cannot love yourself or your wife, how can you love anyone else?

    I am also in ministry (albeit only as a prayer group leader), but I have learned not to sacrifice my family for anything other than my personal time with God.

    In Christ’s love,
    Barbara

    • barbara, thanks for your kind words — and for stopping by my blog.

      i also appreciate a great deal the verse and encouragement. always be ready with a scripture…

  17. It reminds me of my experience working with the dying in a busy hospital where I felt called to be everywhere at once and always compassionate and understanding. I became very burnt-out and felt that I had strayed from my initial feeling of call. Is it possible for you to go on a retreat, a very normal thing for any minister. Re-visit your call, and see who you are called to be, a perfect misssionary and husband, or just yourself? Iff we are showing others an act, however well-meant, we are not “in the spirit”, and the spirit will not surround our work. it is hard when your work like my own, does not lend itself to light conversation, and it can fee isolating. Good Luck, Much love, Chaplain.

  18. missjoyous

    Hi, Brett =)
    I found your blog (as many others did) through WordPress’s blogs of the day–I usually don’t look into any of them, but yours caught my attention.

    I agree that the sabbath rest is a very important concept in Scripture, but it is not as clear-cut in the New Testament as in the Old. After all, since believers are no longer bound to live by the rituals of the law, this leaves us unbound by the requirements of setting Saturday aside as a day of rest. Yet Hebrews 4 makes it clear that God still values the Sabbath. And our bodies make it clear that we need times of rest and refreshment lest we totally fall apart! I’ve been learning a lot about needing rest since the past couple years I have been trying to recuperate from running myself into the ground 😦

    On reading this post, I was reminded immediately of one of the stories I read in preparing for yesterday’s Sunday school lesson–Mark 6:31-44. I don’t know what it’s like to be in your predicament, but it sounds very similar to what happened to Jesus and His disciples here (and probably on a regular basis)! I know that He will show you what to do.

    =)

    • missjoyous, i wanted to wait and respond after i’d had time to read the scripture you gave me. and you’re right on target with those words. that story, and a few others, are actually where i’ve come up with my plan for getting rest here in geita. i’m wanting to do so much like Jesus himself.

    • I love the jewish men, that went out into the world…. to bring mankind….to desire truth and widsom in the hidden part and to write the of heaven and earth on their inward parts, hearts and minds united in keeping the desire of G-D’S own heart lit in their own desire to be come as servants as King David, and to walk in holy unity like Abraham , Isaac and Jacob did day and night keep sin out. So that G-D of heaven and earth could draw near. Is all this not written in Ps. 51:6 and Genesis 27:27 and Jeremiah 33:25-26 Jesus told us he came to over come the world, we all are given our first breath, so to over come the world and re-turn, and be given our second breath. Is it not written in Ecc.3:18-19 that the sons of men are like beast all having one breath?

      Job 33:4 The Spirit of G-D *made me,(one breath, flesh, sin, death, earth) but the breath of the Almighty gives **me life. (second breath, a child is given Us__the G-D of Heaven and Earth, a son is brought forth, male and female, in their fullness, the mirror image of G-D of Heaven and Earth. The declare decree in Ps.2:7

      dust to dust, ashes to ashes but spirit to Spirit.

  19. Hi Brett
    Congratulations on your blog. Rest is important because if you don’t than you cannot recharge and soon you will be empty as already mentioned in numerous comments. That being said in your situation living in different culture; hospitality is often viewed as a way of re-charging for the visitor and the one being visited. It is difficult and I recently spoke to an acquaintance whose marriage and ministry unraveled because of “too much” hospitality. The one thing I took from the conversation was not knowing where and when to establish boundaries with those being served. Be encouraged that the Lord will help you find that balance
    Carol

    • carol, hospitality as a form of recharging your visitors is a completely new concept to me! thank you for that insight. to be honest, having been here for some time now, i’ve obviously thought through these situations hundreds of times. but not once have i thought about recharging visitors in much the same way i think of recharging self with rest…

  20. randy morgan

    what? christians lie? not me…i never lie.

    i don’t know how to advise you, brett, but you’re my hero. btw, congratulations on making it to the blogosphere “big time.”

    • randy, i like you as a person… but you do a lousy job of choosing your role models.

      and yeah, imagine my surprise — i made the “freshly pressed” list! my guess, though, is that tomorrow it’ll be back to just you and me reading my blog.

  21. Linda M

    Hi james brett,
    My thinking is that you are not a national Tanzanian. You have come from a different culture. I don’t think you should expect yourself to and others’ expect you (in Tanzania) to set aside all of your own national traditions and culture from the USA. One of these traditions is a day off for time with your wife, children, and needed rest times and intervals of time away from ‘work’.

    Like you stated earlier in a blog, you and your wife are not trying to be the ‘all in all’ there in Tanzania. You are trying to help and encourage self initiation, self motivation and self-sufficiency in the Tanzanian people. You intend to be a witness for Jesus Christ but you might want to get some national Tanzanians able to do parts of your missionary endeavors, so when you leave others are still there to encourage and teach people in your name and absence.

    Perhaps you can arrange to have another one or two christian ‘visitor hosts’ available in your immediate area where you can send visitors when you are not available that day for visiting . In this way the pastor who walked 1.5 miles to your house would still get a visit with someone who is fairly close to you and who would have some knowledge about what you are doing these days and what might be a focus of your ministry at that time. In this way the pastor can still be kept informed

    Perhaps another way is to arrange with the pastor (as you send him on to visit someone else that day) another day when he can come and expect that you will be available for an ‘hour’ to visit. I do think that boundaries should be put in place by you whenever socially possible with the people of Tanzania.

    My thinking is that you can’t be their only resource. If status is the reason for the Tanzania people coming to visit you then they can come and visit on an appropriate day. Maybe you can indicate by a sign somewhere around your door or on a road or path that you won’t be able to visit with people that day.

    Your a visitor there in Tanzania, this area will be your home for only 8 years or so. Your own family will need to establish its own culture and values and how your family plans and wants to live no matter where you go in this world.

  22. Songbird

    The work you do is very important. Your and your family’s health is veen more important. If you are not well, you are not able to help others. If it is acceptable to “lie”, do it. Take the time you need.

    • thanks, songbird. i really thought i’d pull some people into the discussion of whether or not it was okay to lie. most people wanted to stress the importance of rest — which is great. but the question is more how to go about getting it…

      and lying certainly is an option. and i’d add not a horrible one.

  23. Hey Brett… I live in Africa, South Africa. Although it is a very westernized African country I do have a understanding of the cultural aspects and how important community is to the people.

    I would advise that you take out time often! God put aside the sabbath and you need a day off to rest and infill from God. Asking people not to be offended if you do not reply to them or welcome them in on one day of the week might be very stretching in the beginning; for you and for them. If they are part of your body they will have to understand that you need to be refreshes so that you can grow in your understanding of God’s ways and his character so that you can impart that back into them the other 6 days of the week.

    There is nothing wrong with watching west wing and relaxing with your family. God honors family.

    Jesus spent lots of times alone praying and hearing from God. Cos if you can’t hear him then you can’t lead your people. And then you can’t be refreshed.

    Im sure you would have heard of Roland and Heidi Baker, missionaries in Pemba, Malawi. She often refers to herself and her husband as being “happy missionaries” and she totally understands the stresses of the job, she has thousands of kids in her orphanages. I think part of this is because she and her Roland takes time out to spend together and soaking up God’s presence. Hope you can meet them sometime, I believe they are amazing people.

    Well, I can only think how encouraged you are already after the previous 30 comments! And for being on freshly pressed for the day.

    hope you are refreshed and that you can take nice long holiday soon!

    keep on building the kingdom!

    • do south africans watch west wing? and having all these visitors (on my blog) is indeed quite an encouragement, as is having such open and easy opportunities to be Christ to those in my community here in tanzania.

      • totally, we even had it on our national TV a few years back. You gotta love the Africans, they are usually so open and hungry for Christ.
        Hope you reap in the plentiful harvest!
        🙂

  24. Loved the post! Sorry about the difficulty finding time with your wife. Maybe you should consider fake guests? Think Home Alone (cardboard cutouts and strings). Just a thought.

  25. Michael and Valerie Stephens

    What a surprise to see a missionary blog on Freshly Pressed. We often deal with the same predicament you are in as our host culture has many similarities with what you have described. I’ll tell you what we do, but I don’t really know if we have made the right decisions as we are new at this.
    1) We look for times that are not natural visiting hours to enjoy family times. In our culture this is Friday afternoons, and before noon any day of the week. On weekends we are able to enjoy slow relaxing mornings with special breakfasts and this has been good family time for us.
    2) We try not to plan important activities or family times during the hours we are most likely to be visited – here that is 4-8 in the afternoon/evening. This was frustrating until we learned to work with it as we used to eat dinner at 6, but now we eat later and kids stay up later – everyone takes naps after lunch to help us get enough sleep. This frees us up to offer true hospitality from our hearts and not just a grudging “I know its expected so I better do it” kind of welcome.
    3) We occasionally escape to touristy areas and pretend to be a random visitor. This comes with other frustrations- namely vendors, but is refreshing in other ways.
    Hope that helps!

    • wow. great ideas from the stephens family. and you guys understand where i’m coming from. i probably should have been more clear in the post, because a lot of people are taking it to mean that i’m looking for rest — as in time alone with God. but i get that every day. i get up before sunrise every morning and enjoy coffee with my prayer list and some sort of bible study or reading.

      so i’m really looking for family time and/or downtime in which we relax and watch tv or eat some foods that remind us of home, etc. and you guys get that. in a couple of posts, i intend to share the decisions we’ve made thus far. and your #3 definitely has a place. thanks for coming by.

      i’m curious where you guys are serving — but i have a sneaking suspicion you are unable to tell?

  26. Exodus 31:13 Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

    Every day seven days, the seven spirits of G-D of Heaven and Earth….to do the will of G-D, to keep the flame that burns in our hearts that was lit from the very burning desire of G-D’S own heart for us….all mankind,,,(Jer. 31:27 & Jer.32:27 ) for us to Set G-D As A Seal Upon Our Heart’s.

    Do you not want truth and wisdom to be known in your inward parts? Psalm 51:6 so, Ps.51:7,8 can be yours? Are you one that has been seeded down in the lie and deceit? So G-D must do for you what you know not to do for G-D….Jer.31:33

    Daniel 2:30 Praise be to the name of G-D for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. Daniel 2:20

    So, my friend, Do not profane My name. Leviticus 22:32 as it is written….One G-D apart form G-D there is no other.
    Matthew 9:27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, calling out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

    Jesus , as David, as Jeremiah, as Isaac, Jacob and Abraham, all said: I cry out to G-D Most High, to G-D , who fulfills His purpose for me. Psalm 57:2 That purpose is to overcome the world and labor puting sin out of your self…Genesis 27:27 Gen.28:20 And Jesus and many others….Praise be to the LORD, who trains my hands for war. Psalm 144:1 We are at war, the sons of G-D and the sons of men and beast.

  27. Do you chose to be a Misionary? Or were chosen? If you agree to get you feet there, I wonder if you had any idea of the Blessings that you and your family are to them. It would be sad if you do not consider that your home…because it is. Who knows when you get to another kind of chance of raising your family in such a place. Comfort in all sences sure is missed when we live in this places. I volunteer in different places, never in Africa, never with my entire family, neither for so long. But, I use to live in such a condition, not just in resources, but my mind wasn’t renew then. I still learning. If just one Missionary could come to our plac back then, but season are of God, right? We the ones who were born without so much understanding know how “blind” the rest is now…than we can see. Figure this: My Grandma has dementia seniel, my Daddy has encefalo meningitis, all over 60. My old sis isn’t a Christian. I am. I wonder if Serving isn’t that easy for most. Offcourse not. But He needs us everytime. You sign up for this, right? Do it with all your guts! I am sure those new people in your life are difficult to adjust to what we would like…but this is the world you were send to serve. Your old man is dead. You are not! You deserve to rest, if you can’t…be brave and engage them. Your great chance for something better it must be arround the corner. You can do it!!! You are a warrior, He is living inside of you. You are ONE!!!!
    ~God Bless your heart and life with enough rest, so you and your family would continue to bring light to all who need it. May God give you enough Joy to share with who ever needs it, and lots of fun and over all…that You and your Wife can have a passionate relationship as the first time you both met. Remember? God is good!!! Love You all. “)
    ~Great love to you, Blessings,
    Mirian from peelingtheorange.

    • mirian, i chose to be a missionary. i don’t feel like i chose tanzania… or even africa. but i did choose to be a missionary. and God is really blessing me for that choice. but i think he may be blessing me even more for my obedience in coming to a place i wasn’t thrilled about.

      thanks for the encouragement and prayers. you’ve inspired me to be a missionary with all of my guts.

      • We when are lead by G-D we are on the right path. We will never be empty, that is why you can do all that you do. We are all ways learning form G-D who keeps the cup full, and gives you spritual bread form His table. You, have made a vow, like Jacob, in Gen. 28:20. When you read what David did in Psalm 101, you will say, “Yes, that is how I feel, Yes, that is what I have done with my life. You are on a journey, like Jacob, and it is G-D that has your hand, for your Jacob. You will become a son of the living G-D re-turned in the mirror image, G-D pland, long ago for you. You have “SET G-D AS A SEAL UPON YOUR HEART” that is why He leads you. But a child, is lead, and must grow, don’t be afraid to open your eyes to truth and wisdom, and give ear to only G-D. Test, all things in His name. Lead them to the gate.

  28. My suggestion is PRAYER!

    I am sure you have already done this but I encourage you to continue seeking God’s will in this matter (and any others). Assuming that it is God’s will for you to be ministering where you are; He will direct you in all you do. One day it may mean being willing to accept any visitors. Another day it may mean going away for the day to have your family time. Being a missionary is an important job in the body of Christ. Blessings to your family for answering the call.

    P.S. I’ll be praying for you.

    • thank you for your prayers, alysa. they are worth a thousand comments and suggestions. and there is much wisdom in your words.

      • Just speaking from the heart and what God has been teaching me.

        I have been involved with a lot ministry leadership positions in my church over the past 4 years. I was so busy with my ministries that I didn’t see my family falling apart. Last year, I had to make the decision to rely on God and others when I had to step down from some of my responsibilities for awhile in order to go back to the states to deal with a family situation. (We are military stationed in Okinawa). That trip saved my family and taught me to trust in God even when things were at their worst. When I returned I found that God had different roles that he needed me to fill and he has blessed me more than I could have imagined.

        Side note: living in Japan for 4 years has taught me to be respectful of other cultures regardless of what we are used to doing in the US. We are in their land; and we would expect them to be respectful of us if they were in our land. Being respectful doesn’t mean completely adapting to and accepting cultural ideas and practices. This is where prayer comes in. God can show us where to draw the line which could be different each day. The fact that you are pondering it shows that you care and want to be respectful…God will bless that.

        • thanks again, alysa. i do want to be respectful of this culture. but even more i want to remove as many barriers to the gospel as possible — at least those which are cultural and not themselves matters of faith.

    • There are many religions that give many prayers to The G-D of Heaven and Earth. But nevertheless, does G-D give you His ear? For it is written: Isaiah 1:12 When you come to appear before ME, who asked this form your hand? Trample MY courts no more;

      Why does G-D say this to us? The answer is in verse 10 of Isaiah chapter 1.

      Isaiah 1:10 HEAR the WORD of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! LISTEN to the TEACHINGS of our G-D, you people of Gomorrah!

      Do you hear? and Do you listen? I must say you lie, and deceive your self. Do you search, within yourself, and ask G-D’S help alone to drive out sin? If you do, you will be given eyes to see, and ears to hear. All else is vanity.

      verse 13 of chapter 1 of Isaiah….13, bringing offerings is futile; incense is an adomination to me.

      The religions rituals, church and others…the incense… The smell G-D wants is found i Genesis 27:27 on the sons of G-D male and female that labor with the blessing of G-D upon them putting sin out.

      verse 13 con….New moon and sabbath and calling of convocationn ICANNOT ENDURE SOLEMN ASSEMBLIES WITH INIQUITY.

      G-D does not mix, with sinners….. He is ten times pure and sin is not found in G-D of Heaven and Earth.

      verse 14 ..Your new moons and your appointed festivals MY SOUL HATES; THEY HAVE BECOME A BURDEN TO ME.

      Why could that be? Oh, the end of verse 14 ….I AM WEARY OF BEARING THEM.

      verse 15, When you stretch out your hands I will hide MY EYES form you; even though you make many prayers, I will not LISTEN;

      I think that is fair…if you will not open your eyes to the truth and wisdom, that G-D offers you and if you will not turn your ears to the hidden part, were G-D will let you know…. Then, you shall be turned out form G-D Is it not written: of the covenant of day and night…Psalm 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

      And is it not written of those who can not do for G-D becouse of the lie and deceit that religions have done, so G-D must redeem and save His people. Jer. 31:33 But this sahll be the COVENANT that I make with the house of Israel; After those daysss, saith the LORD, I will put MY LAW (of heaven & earth, the two sided law that Moses and every generation has broken) …I will put MY LAW in their inward parts, and wirte it in their hearts; and will be their G-D, and they shall be My people.

      Ask your self…who’s god, was these people worshipping? Was it the creature of mankinds making? the holy days and customs…and rituals with smells of sin mixed in? When will G-D be our ONE TRUE G-D? Do we worship in vain? Were is it written…that ….THEN….G-D WILL BE OUR G-D, WHAT MUST WE DO? The answer is found in Genesis 28:20 we must ask G-D’S help. and note the end of verse 28:21-…. THEN SHALL THE LORD BE MY G-D. Note:—-then—and only THEN! So my friends a2re you fooled, and lied to and deceived?

      I have seen mankind, give up G-D to embrace the ways of mankind. The work of their hands, the god of their making…

      Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen. and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. verse 3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workeman, with the axe. verse 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. verse 5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must need be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also IS IT IN THEM TO DO GOOD.

      You can not make G-D an apple pie from the fruit of this tree…and ask Him to eat of it! We think we know….we know nothing onless G-D lets us know.

    • There are many religions that give many prayers to The G-D of Heaven and Earth. But nevertheless, does G-D give you His ear? For it is written: Isaiah 1:12 When you come to appear before ME, who asked this form your hand? Trample MY courts no more;

      Why does G-D say this to us? The answer is in verse 10 of Isaiah chapter 1.

      Isaiah 1:10 HEAR the WORD of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! LISTEN to the TEACHINGS of our G-D, you people of Gomorrah!

      Do you hear? and Do you listen? I must say you lie, and deceive your self. Do you search, within yourself, and ask G-D’S help alone to drive out sin? If you do, you will be given eyes to see, and ears to hear. All else is vanity.

      verse 13 of chapter 1 of Isaiah….13, bringing offerings is futile; incense is an adomination to me.

      The religions rituals, church and others…the incense… The smell G-D wants is found i Genesis 27:27 on the sons of G-D male and female that labor with the blessing of G-D upon them putting sin out.

      verse 13 con….New moon and sabbath and calling of convocationn ICANNOT ENDURE SOLEMN ASSEMBLIES WITH INIQUITY.

      G-D does not mix, with sinners….. He is ten times pure and sin is not found in G-D of Heaven and Earth.

      verse 14 ..Your new moons and your appointed festivals MY SOUL HATES; THEY HAVE BECOME A BURDEN TO ME.

      Why could that be? Oh, the end of verse 14 ….I AM WEARY OF BEARING THEM.

      verse 15, When you stretch out your hands I will hide MY EYES form you; even though you make many prayers, I will not LISTEN;

      I think that is fair…if you will not open your eyes to the truth and wisdom, that G-D offers you and if you will not turn your ears to the hidden part, were G-D will let you know…. Then, you shall be turned out form G-D Is it not written: of the covenant of day and night…Psalm 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

      And is it not written of those who can not do for G-D becouse of the lie and deceit that religions have done, so G-D must redeem and save His people. Jer. 31:33 But this sahll be the COVENANT that I make with the house of Israel; After those daysss, saith the LORD, I will put MY LAW (of heaven & earth, the two sided law that Moses and every generation has broken) …I will put MY LAW in their inward parts, and wirte it in their hearts; and will be their G-D, and they shall be My people.

      Ask your self…who’s god, was these people worshipping? Was it the creature of mankinds making? the holy days and customs…and rituals with smells of sin mixed in? When will G-D be our ONE TRUE G-D? Do we worship in vain? Were is it written…that ….THEN….G-D WILL BE OUR G-D, WHAT MUST WE DO? The answer is found in Genesis 28:20 we must ask G-D’S help. and note the end of verse 28:21-…. THEN SHALL THE LORD BE MY G-D. Note:—-then—and only THEN! So my friends a2re you fooled, and lied to and deceived?

      I have seen mankind, give up G-D to embrace the ways of mankind. The work of their hands, the god of their making…

      Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen. and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. verse 3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workeman, with the axe. verse 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. verse 5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must need be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also IS IT IN THEM TO DO GOOD.

      You can not make G-D an apple pie from the fruit of this tree…and ask Him to eat of it! We think we know….we know nothing onless G-D lets us know.

  29. Kim

    as a servant, have some hutzpah while loving the Lord and others. Remember how Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is taken by violence– I wonder if we could be creative and say “the kingdom of rest is taken by force!! Our Lord Himself considered it ESSENTIAL to “come away” and one of my scriptures talks of how Jesus and His disciples went somewhere for a few days “and He was spending time with them”. Christ Jesus wants to spend time with you, unhurried, wandering time where another zone can be tapped into. Perhaps stimulated by West Wing. It is one of the enemy’s lies, and misapplied Christian teaching of service which prompts continuous service. Love your wife, love your child, love those around you– and be creative with your boundaries! “I am so pleased you thought of visiting me! However I have some things I must do and can spend time with you another time. Bless you brother!” And get curtains!

    PS I’m over 50 so you can take my advice 🙂

    • i’m sure my wife is excited that someone over 50 told me to get those curtains up. she knows how i like to respect the wishes of my elders.

      curtains and rods are the next thing on my “to do” list. thank you for coming by, and for your encouragement.

  30. I wish I had some advice to offer that hadn’t been previously noted. That, however, is not the case. I envy your dilemma as I hope God will one day open my husband’s heart to overseas missions. I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve on a short-term team in Rwanda and my heart aches to return. I will be praying for your family to fulfill His call to you in Tanzania and for the Lord of Peace to provide you the opportunity for the rest you need. I look forward to continuing to follow your blog. I am thankful it made the Freshly Pressed list (that I have never before even glanced at!) God bless you.

    • Father, i pray for the schrecengost family, that you will make clear to them — all of them — your wishes and desires. i pray that you will bless them with opportunities to work in overseas missions whether it be full-time and long-term or a continuation of these short-term works. make them mighty prayer warriors for the people of rwanda and for others in our world who do not know you. above all, God, may you be glorified in their family as they seek to serve you, and to serve others in response to your love.

      amen.

  31. thejourneywithnoend

    well..lots of prayer for you and your family.

    I hate to say it but, it usually comes down to leaving even for a few hours and taking a walk some where …

    and praise God he does provide. However, I do understand the frustration

    Joshua 1

    Many Blessings,
    Your Sister in Christ

    http://www.womanonamission.info

  32. Hi, I enjoyed reading your post.. It reminded me of the days I spent with the missionaries last year in a very remote area in Southern Philippines.

  33. ajquinley

    Brett, this is a great glimpse at just one of the many decisions missionaries have to make throughout the day. My wife and I are in Thailand right now. We come down on opposite sides of this issue quite a bit, because I’m a pretty big extrovert and she’s an introvert. I can always handle more people time. She’s gotta have time to recharge her batteries. I know, though, that if you don’t give yourself time to fill your reservoirs, you’re not going to have anything of quality to give these people you love. So rest is essential. Could you possibly leave town? Otherwise, I’d have to go with the Stephens. Our rest day is on Monday, all day, because the weekends are very social times here.

    • seems like you and i are just two more examples of what seems to be a common formula in foreign missions: extrovert husband, introvert wife. and leaving town is indeed part of the solution we’ve found. thanks for coming by.

      oh, and for the record, we intend to retire in thailand, doing mission and development work. we love it there. where are you guys exactly? i’ve prayed some lately for all that’s going on in bangkok.

      • ajquinley

        Thailand is wonderful. We’re up in the north part of the country on the border of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. Thankfully things have calmed down a bit in Bangkok. We never saw much action up here, except for a curfew.

  34. Just pray and act… This is quite a really lovely post… Well hospitality and act of goodwill is the best…

  35. darklogos

    I am surpised that this was on the fresh pressed. Luck of the draw I bet. Glad to see something positive and christian on the front page.

    As a minister I will tell you this. The people don’t stop coming even when they have cars. One thing you must do, after you settle in, ask the men in your congregation how do they spend time with their wives. Its important to figure out if alone time is valued or not. This is something you got to balance out. Next up is tell people when its off limits to talk to you. I had to do that at the church I worked at. I was a non-paid associate minister in seminary. They thought I had time to work all day every day. I told everyone that Saturday was my day. At least give me Saturday morning and early afternoon. Guess what everyone respected that. You have to try to cordinate your time away from peek interaction time for the culture. That way you can minimize offense. Remember your first ministry is to your WIFE. Many ministers forget that and their marriages fall apart when they are doing the work of God.

    The one thing I hope you will see is that what you are experiencing is not excessive community in Tanzania but the lack of community state side. One missionary told me that he never knew what community was like until he left the united states. To find people to share the hurts, pains, and joys while showing the transforming power of Christ Jesus with one another is true Christian community. I hope Christ uses you to make many disciples in Tanzania. We don’t need converts.

  36. Janet

    I read your story (being over 50!) and the word that comes to mind is perspective. Sometimes a small shift in how the situation is perceived relieves some of the resentment. To have too much company, rather than be ignored by the local community, what a blessing! To have people seek your company shows how they value you! Here in America, we live in more isolation and have forgotten the art of visitation. The local people seem to see you as a welcome addition to the community and are actively including you as an important part of their lives. The effort they make to visit with you is not a small one, either. That said….

    My daughter recently served an 18 month mission in S. America, so I do understand the struggle to be selfless and of service to others. Rest and recharging needs to be built into your schedule as well.

    I’m afraid this situation smacks a little of be careful what you ask for, as you got it. You have opened up to setting aside much of your personal life in order to serve God and others by being a missionary as a way of life (8 yrs!), but I think finding balance is not an uncommon problem in the field. Now to give the community the information of when those visits are most welcome/least convenient….. One cannot be selfless all of the time, we would run out of self to give and let in resentment. Being a missionary doesn’t usurp your responsibilities to your family – being a husband and a father (lyrics to Cat’s in the Cradle come to mind). So balance of needs – the community’s, yours, your family’s is required.

    I agree with getting the curtains up. It makes it much easier. Here I have the luxury of saying just because someone rings the doorbell (or phone), doesn’t mean I have to answer it, but curtains up makes that easier. I think were I in your shoes, I would choose a day that is your day off. Sundays may be difficult, but choose another and as you interact with people, let them know that you are being directed to have one day set aside for the week’s preparations. No need to identify who has directed it or what kind of preparations are involved; it is a vague but reasonable excuse and people will learn and adapt just as we adapt to businesses that are closed on certain hours/days. As you spread the word (“thank you for coming by today, I look forward to your next visit, but remember I am not available on Wednesdays as that is my preparation day”) Then you have one day that is yours to design rather than be at the mercy of others. And once you have that day cordoned off as yours, honor it fully, close the curtains, don’t answer a hodi unless to say, “I’m sorry, this is my preparation day and I’m working, but I’d love to visit any other day of the week”, and keep to family activities or solitary time. Setting your limits/boundaries has the sometimes unexpected benefit of having them honored! It is a reasonable request.

    Many blessings to you and yours for the work you do,

    • thank you, janet, for your words and wisdom. i do want to say that i did not intend to sound as if i was complaining about how hard this life is (that i’ve chosen, as you say). i just know there a lot of people who understand very little what it’s like to be a missionary in a foreign country — not how bad it is, but just what it’s like in general. so i want to begin at least sharing a little with others some of the situations that arise when moving between cultures.

      i do enjoy the openness and visitation here; it is a blessing of community that we don’t understand well in the states.

      • Dear one,
        It did not sound like a complaint at all !! The struggle between selfless and self is reality of missionary life, and you DO also have responsibilities to your self, wife and family. You stated this very well in your writings! I apologize, my words were meant to be encouraging, not critical.

        Whether age or wisdom, to take a situation, turn the perspective 90 degrees and look at it again … Things (and situations) are neither good nor bad, they simply are. It’s how we interpret them that makes it so. I try to look for the good in things – but we find more of what we focus attention on. It may seem like diaster that my car breaks down on the side of the road while late getting someplace – until I realize that if it hadn’t, I’d have right been under a bridge that collapsed (for example). But this wisdom came after many years of being frustrated in trying to do it all without a break, not asking for help, not setting limits, and being unable to say no. You are much wiser at a younger age and recognize that being able to say no is crucial to you and your family’s well-being, and wanting to do to it ethically and with care to not hurt feelings.

        It may be that the locals are unaware that you need down time or don’t know when that down time is – sharing that info with them may solve the problem. As much time as you spend tending other’s souls and bodies, you also need to tend to yours without guilt. Down time is an essential tool in order to function more effectively the rest of the week. Give yourself permission to take it.

        You have given up so much to do what so few of the rest of us aren’t – please know that I admire what is in you that drives you down your path and wish I measured up half as well. If I make incorrect assumptions, please forgive me.

        I grew up traveling the world and seeing other cultures, thank you for sharing your experiences and opening a window on the world.

  37. Jon

    Hi,
    It would be great if you opened a Cc:Everybody account (cceverybody.com) and give us (your readers) a way of emailing you publicly. This way the work you put into answering those emails won’t go to waste in the inbox, and we can all read about your views and opinions about the topic we send you – what do you say?

    • jon, this thing sounds like a neat idea, but i just don’t think i’m there yet. you (my readers) don’t generally email me — and the very few emails i do get are sent because email is private, not despite its being private.

  38. I’m passing this on to my brother who is MAF pilot in Congo. He believes strongly that you must set boundaries. They have high walls so people can’t see if they are home or not, so that helps. I was in a bush station recently where the one western female midwife said she was going crazy because from the time she left the hospital to go home, people would come knocking at her door, all needing something. She said by the 11th person, she lost it. My brother’s response…set boundaries. Don’t open the door. You are not obligated.

  39. Oh, and one more thing…he’s over 50 with gray beard, and been a missionary for over 25 years. I’ll get him to write you.

  40. those are tough questions. it sounds like you need to plan days where you go away from you home, to a park, into town to a little cafe or the equivalent where you are at. family time is VERY important, but you have to get creative when you live in a culture like you are in. God will show you what to do!

  41. Pingback: hospitality and rest: answers to a missionary predicament « aliens and strangers

  42. for anyone interested, i’ve now posted a response to this “predicament.” it’s titled “hospitality and rest: answers to a missionary predicament,” and is dated june 9, 2010.

    or go here: https://jamesbrett.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/hospitality-and-rest-answers-to-a-missionary-predicament/

    thanks for everyone’s participation.

  43. Pingback: please help me (and “why i blog”) « aliens and strangers

  44. Katie

    Hi Brett (& Christy!)

    I came across your blog after seeing a response of yours on a friend’s blog – Tamie. I wasn’t sure how to email you – so I thought the best way to contact you was to leave a comment. (I’m completely blog-illiterate).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’ve been enjoying your reflections and observations on life in Tanzania – it’s particularly interesting to me as my husband and I are moving to Mwanza in 7 weeks – and Mwanza is not so far from Geita (as your blog has kindly informed me :).

    We’ll be there for a minimum of 4 years. I don’t know any other ‘Westerners’ who live in the Mwanza region (I’m from Australia & my husband is Tanzanian) so it would would be lovely to meet some other Christians involved in cross-cultural work & ministry who live in that corner of Tz.

    Keep up the fabulous writing – it’s a pleasure to read.

    • wow, katie. karibu tanzania. mwanza is not far from geita at all — 95 kilometers by the shortest (and worst roads) route. there are lots of westerners in mwanza, and it won’t be difficult to meet a whole lot of missionaries and ngo workers there.

      what are you and your husband coming here for, if i might ask? let us know when you arrive, especially if you need any help in any way. we’ll be happy to give you contacts or fill you in on some local knowledge, etc…

      • Katie Magambo

        Hi Brett,

        Asante! 95 k’s isn’t far at all. We once drove North to Bunda from Mwz and that took around 2 hours there (and 6 back when our car broke down (!) we were towed all the way back to Mwz by friendly passers-by :)) So perhaps it’s about the same length of time to get to Geita?

        My husband (Kinanga) did his medical undergraduate training in Dar before moving to Mwz to begin his internship in 2006. He worked for 3 years at Bugando (which I’m sure you’d be familiar with?) & then came to Oz to do his Masters in Public health in Jan of 2009. He’s hoping to complete his physician’s training at Bugando, commencing in Oct of this year. That’s primarily why we are moving to Mwz – we also feel that his skills as a doctor are far more valuable in Tz than Oz – so we’ll probably stay on beyond the initial 3 year training period and at the least, one extra year so Kinanga can work as a physician.

        I’m hoping that I’ll like/adjust/adapt/ to Tanzanian life enough so that we can stay a little longer. I’ve visited East Africa a number of times but have never lived there – which I’m sure is vastly different!

        My undergrad was in psychology and my current masters is in Health & International development. I did this – so I could hopefully be of some use in a developing world context. For the remainder of this year, I’m hoping to finish my masters by doing a 3-4 month placement at Bugando (not sure what exactly!) but I’m interested in child & maternal health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, primary health care and mental health – though I’m sure the latter has a whole new meaning in Africa.

        Next year, I’m hoping to volunteer & eventually find work with an NGO. I’m open to just about anything – but particularly interested in community development, poverty alleviation, social justice & health (in general). I’m also hoping by the time I start working, my Swahili will be good enough (eek!). I won’t have access to language training (like I assume misso’s do?) so Kinanga & the books it is! 🙂

        It’s encouraging to hear there are a lot of expats/missionaries/NGO workers in Mwz. I knew loads of tourists passed through but wasn’t sure if many people lived there semi-permanently.

        Would be terrific to meet you & Christy sometime if you are in Mwz. I’m definitely up for a road-trip or to – so it would be great to explore the Mwanza region further and see Geita (we’re planning on driving from Dar to Mwz in late September, not sure if we’re being adventurous or a just plain silly!)

        If you do happen to know of any reputable NGO’s based in Mwz though – that would be great. I get the sense that in Tz, it’s quite a bit about ‘who you know’.

        How long are you guys in Geita for? Does Christy work too?

        Thanks so much for your reply!

        🙂 Katie

        • new paved roads (still being finished) have made mwanza and geita incredibly close. i rode my bike the second half of my wednesday trip to mwanza. no problem.

          i’m really excited about you guys being willing to use kinanga’s skills here. his knowledge and abilities are definitely needed.

          christie and i plan to be here at least 9 more years. we both want to work primarily in the villages, but until we learn sukuma we’re working mostly around town. she’s teaching english right now and working with me in bible studies. i’m also doing agriculture.

          can you send us an email? our email is harrisonsingeita[at]gmail.com. i’ll be happy to pass on to you contacts i have for ngos and the like. and christie and i come to mwanza relatively often… i’d love to meet you and your husband.

    • Hi Katie, I’m headed to Mwanza in August, after language study here in Dar es Salaam. As Brett says, sounds like there’s plenty of other foreigners there.

      Brett, there’s a short-term team from Finland & the USA (half&half) coming to Geita at the end of this month to work with the Orthodox Church there. There’s a chance I’ll be joining them for all or part of the two weeks.

      • wow. people coming to geita, huh? we rarely get visitors out here. if you are indeed coming, let me know — i’d love to share a meal or a coffee or a tour of the “town.” and please pass my information on to the group coming if you think i could be of any help…

      • Katie Magambo

        Hi James,

        What will you be doing in Mwanza? It’s great to hear about other people who are going to live there! We’ll arrive in Mwz early October after 3 weeks in Dar. We’re planning on being there for a few years.

        Nice of you to say hello 🙂

  45. K. Roth

    Interesting is the cultural differences that missionaries face when living and working….
    I can remember that sort of thing happening growing up in Brasil. So instead of staying at home with people unexpectedly showing up, dad would take our family on long walks. People would see us out and about getting to know our community, and not stopping in unexpectedly, just out and about, waving as we walked by, saying hello…
    With us out and about, and varying the times of when we’d be out on our walk, people soon realized that they couldn’t just drop in cause we might not be home.
    And yes, you do deserve a resting break and a date night with your spouse, schedule it! Remember, God even rested.
    Pose it as a topic question to the pastor that keeps dropping by. Send him off to research biblically the topic, and when he has an answer, schedule a “class time” of learning with him. Perhaps the next topic of “class time” research could be the subject of “lying” and what God says about it.
    If they research it for themselves it will have a greater learning impact than if you just tell them.
    Teachable moments, making the most of every opportunity to do good.
    Be blessed.

  46. These are really great ideas. Thanks!

    …And p.s. — perhaps I should’ve read the original post and the poor no curtain dilemma before commenting on the first blog post I stumbled across. 😉 Always jumping ahead, I am.

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  48. Pingback: rahab’s exchange: a cultural argument for lying? | aliens and strangers

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