Maybe to some it's just another day.
Maybe to some it's just a cookout with family or a day off work.
Maybe to some it's irritation from the neighbors who stay up late making noise and interrupting sleep.
Somehow this year, on our first furlough, those late night neighbors making racket didn't seem to bother me like it did before we went to the field. Somehow it just seemed our family cookout was more that just some chicken on a plate.
Just another day? No. A hundred times... no.
Let me help you see July 4th through a missionary's eyes.
Even though we are called to a country 10,000 miles away...
There's still something special about those Stars and Stripes.
That song still makes me stand at attention and cover my heart as tears well up in my eyes.
That bird still takes my breath away.
Fireworks are still more than just entertainment.
I am thankful God made this country the land of my nativity, so that I would be blessed with the tools... The opportunity... The freedom to reach another country for His glory.
Happy Independence Day, my beloved homeland.
Late night sparklers... while in our pajamas!
The first fireworks we have seen in four years.
A large portion of our time on furlough is spent on the road. It's enough to drive one crazy.
Of course, our family has learned to make the most of road trips.
When we arrive at our destination, we have a system of unloading the things we need and getting things set up. Everyone grabs a bag and their Bible, and then heads in the church.
We love our supporting church families. We love sharing with them the things God has been doing on the field. We love watching their excitement as they see the video and the pictures.
One of our favorite parts is our display table. (For security reasons, certain portions of the following pictures have been edited.)
We chose the items for our display table very strategically. We wanted a little of something for everyone, from child to adult and male and female.
We designed the banner to show pictures of the different areas of service in the ministry on our field. We ordered the banner from Post Up Stand. We ordered the 33"x40" Narrow Base model. We love it. It's the perfect size for putting on tables or sitting on floors if the table is too small. We have been pleased with its quality as well as how simple it is to put up and take down.
We covered the table with a blanket made on our field. We added many "hands-on" items for children to be able to touch. One of our favorites is the yak. Our family has affectionately named him "Kitty." Small children love to pet Kitty. While they are giving Kitty some love, it gives us a chance to talk with the children.
We also have interesting items that show something special about the culture of our people. The brass "hospitality cup" is just such an item. The people in the villages of our country use that pot to serve water to their guests. Everyone drinks from the same pot, but don't worry. They don't put their mouths on it. They pour it into their mouths from above their heads. I am happy to say that after much practice, and many wet shirts, I have finally learned to drink from this pot.
We also had a photo album of our first term made through Shutterfly. (We waited until Shutterfly had their "free book" offer. It saved quite a bit of money. They do that offer two or three times a year.) People of all ages love browsing through that book.
For music lovers, we try to always have a musical instrument on the table. Just a note of caution: if you choose an instrument that requires putting your mouth on it to play it, also bring a method of sanitizing it.
The knife on the display is a huge hit with boys and men! Just be sure that if you use a knife of some sort that it is kept toward the back away from little hands, keep it unsharpened, and remove it if you are away from the table or if the table is out of sight.
We designed our prayer cards, and then had them printed through Got Print. The quality is wonderful, and the cost just could not be beaten.
We also have a display item that has the language of the people. In our case, it's a calendar. We chose the calendar because our country has its own calendar that differs from the international calendar. The calendar has more pictures of the country and the people. We have used a small New Testament before.
Suggestions for display tables:
Make it interactive.
You want people to get involved, even if it is only for five minutes.
Make it fun for all ages.
You just never know how that one encounter will touch the hearts of little ones as well as the full grown ones.
Use items that give and opportunity for you to talk with the people about the item.
Missions is an amazing partnership between goer and sender. You want as much opportunity to nurture those relationships as possible. Communication makes it personal instead of distant.
Pictures, pictures, pictures...
Lamentations 3:51 "Mine eye affecteth mine heart..."