Category Archives: Images from life here

Randomness and Coping Skills

Today was an odd day for a missionary; it was a standard day for a housewife. I have to admit, I am stumbling over how to understand who I am and what I am here for – pretty deep questions! I know, intellectually, that I am here to support Eric as he learns a language and as he becomes a full-time lecturer, and as he ministers through teaching theology at the Seminary and in workshops throughout Sabah and Malaysia (and perhaps beyond that as well). When I was a pastor, I emphasized that every profession is a way to minister to others. Every job can be a vocation – a holy calling. Since we used to live in a town with a lot of housewives, I was very clear that that role is a precious one. That even if it is a luxury afforded to few, it is a way to make a difference in the family, in the community, and by extension, in the world.

Now that I’m a housewife, and I spent my day leading the PTA Walkathon (a huge event), getting hot lunch for my kids (a special treat), and taking them to a playground and then a birthday party – I have to admit, I look at my day and think, “ministry?” But I don’t want to shoot myself down, so I do my best with today, and tonight I will pray for wisdom and perspective, and I will trust that God will direct and provide and give some hints to that deepest of questions, “Why am I here?”

And, because being a homemaker is an essential calling, I’ll share two tidbit images that might support others in their callings to care for families.

#1: a cleaning schedule, from Do not do all of these in one assigned day. But some Wednesdays (for example), do schedule in 15 minutes to try one of these tasks, and as you do that 2-3 times a week, you will find your house becoming a more welcoming place (and your soul a little less stressed, if you value having a home that has at least a few flat surfaces not piled with “stuff”).

And #2: from the “is that really happening?” file… At the birthday party today, it was a pool party, but it turn out here that just a pool isn’t enough… you have to have some of these:

yes… it’s clown cars. Two cars pulled up, driven by clowns in full get-up (how do they drive in those shoes????). They made hundreds of balloon animals and then had a magic show which produced a live bunny. The Korean mum hosting the party was horrified, as she had to keep the bunny in a box for the rest of the little show, and she clearly did not want to be near this rodent. (My mom brought a live snake to my school as a kid, so my boundaries for animals are a little more wide open!)

I thought it ironic that they didn’t arrive together – I mean, Malaysia is famous for its small cars, so why not at least put two clowns together in one? Instead they arrived separately in the slightly larger Myvi’s (pronounced “my vee” as in my vehicle). In this picture the mum is insisting that they take the bunny in the green box back NOW.

And here is a picture of me with the clown …. They apparently aren’t considered scary here. But notice that the clown seems to have made a machine gun out of balloons? Maybe clowns are, indeed, creepy. Maybe Malaysia just needs a few more cheesy horror films in order to realize this.

At any rate, my day is done. I am going to sleep and pray heartily, and tomorrow I am going to learn to make porridge with a friend from the seminary. If I am to be a homemaker, I am going to do it with friends who can cook!

Things are not as good as I had hoped.

There’s no subtle way of sharing a blog post like this, except to say how shocked I am that this is even possible.

I was re-using newspaper to wrap gifts today when I came across this painful, scary headline:

My initial thought was that this had to be in a different country … India, maybe, or Cambodia. Maybe as near as the Philippines. But no,

I am aghast that this is possible, in the very city I live in. Malaysia is generally a place that seems supportive of women. Within the BCCM Church here, over half of the pastors are women. Within Malayisa, women hold elected office and even have a woman at the helm of the military. The radio the other day was explaining a program that has trained over 300 women so far to be high-ranking members of corporations and to sit on Boards of many kinds of large organizations. I have not heard parents hoping for sons over daughters. Malaysia, as a rapidly developing nation, seems to accept the idea of gender equality.

But then there are headlines like this. I don’t use the word “stories” because to some, stories imply the possibility of fiction, of metaphor, of hyperbole (taking metaphors to extremes). Yet, as disappointed as I am to see such a headline, I think it is a sign of hope that this is front-page news, not hidden and not kept from being published. I will share the rest of the article here, so you can draw some of your own conclusions about what this means for a young girl, her protecting aunt, a wife and mother, and possibly a newly shaped family. What I notice in writing that sentence is that one act of a man changes the lives of several women forever. I wonder what healing looks like in situations like these.

From the Daily Express, May 21, 2013.