Culinary Missions

I like hanging out with missionaries.

I admire anyone who puts their life on the line for what they believe. Now, they may not be risking life and limb directly, but the temptation to live the typical American (or Western) life is so great that they are making a distinct sacrifice. It encourages and enlivens me in my walk with the Lord.

Now, before this post gets off on high and lofty ideals, let me change directions.

Missionary stories inevitably end up talking about food.

There is a wide world out there, and there are so many foods throughout the world that every person with cross-cultural experience eventually has a food story.

These are some of the most entertaining stories you will hear.

They usually deal with some outrageous culinary item that a Westerner can’t fathom eating. The classic story involves balut, a fertilized duck or chicken egg that has been left in the sun for several days before serving. It is common in the Philippines especially, but I haven’t had the honor.

This will probably be the grossest picture ever on this blog

I spent two months in Thailand, so we did have our share of food adventures. The street vendors made wonderful fresh smoothies, but we could only drink them if we ordered them mai sik glua, “no salt”. They packed them with so much salt it was undrinkable to our taste buds. Why? I don’t know. This was a tame one, to be sure.

Australia promised to be calmer, despite the reputation of Vegemite. But I made some Filipino friends there, and those sneaky guys got me eating fermented shrimp eggs. Bagoong if you’re curious.

My mission experience was all with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), and if you get some YWAMers together, we will eventually come around to the various horrendous/unbelievable/crazy foods we encountered. Usually during dinner. Non-YWAMers in the group didn’t finish their meals, typically.

It is fun to talk about it, but it does come back to humility and laying down our rights. When we are willing to accept someone else’s hospitality and try something that doesn’t come naturally to us (some things were most unnatural!), it is a dying to self. Missionaries risk offending the very people they came to serve, so more often than not, it is down the hatch.

So here’s a light-hearted Mission Monday. To all the missionaries who have had to swallow something they never thought should be made into a food product – you are showing in a small way sacrificial love.

And guts.

By the way, that probably was what you were eating…

Culinary Missions

I like hanging out with missionaries.

I admire anyone who puts their life on the line for what they believe. Now, they may not be risking life and limb directly, but the temptation to live the typical American (or Western) life is so great that they are making a distinct sacrifice. It encourages and enlivens me in my walk with the Lord.

Now, before this post gets off on high and lofty ideals, let me change directions.

Missionary stories inevitably end up talking about food.

There is a wide world out there, and there are so many foods throughout the world that every person with cross-cultural experience eventually has a food story.

These are some of the most entertaining stories you will hear.

They usually deal with some outrageous culinary item that a Westerner can’t fathom eating. The classic story involves balut, a fertilized duck or chicken egg that has been left in the sun for several days before serving. It is common in the Philippines especially, but I haven’t had the honor.

This will probably be the grossest picture ever on this blog

I spent two months in Thailand, so we did have our share of food adventures. The street vendors made wonderful fresh smoothies, but we could only drink them if we ordered them mai sik glua, “no salt”. They packed them with so much salt it was undrinkable to our taste buds. Why? I don’t know. This was a tame one, to be sure.

Australia promised to be calmer, despite the reputation of Vegemite. But I made some Filipino friends there, and those sneaky guys got me eating fermented shrimp eggs. Bagoong if you’re curious.

My mission experience was all with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), and if you get some YWAMers together, we will eventually come around to the various horrendous/unbelievable/crazy foods we encountered. Usually during dinner. Non-YWAMers in the group didn’t finish their meals, typically.

It is fun to talk about it, but it does come back to humility and laying down our rights. When we are willing to accept someone else’s hospitality and try something that doesn’t come naturally to us (some things were most unnatural!), it is a dying to self. Missionaries risk offending the very people they came to serve, so more often than not, it is down the hatch.

So here’s a light-hearted Mission Monday. To all the missionaries who have had to swallow something they never thought should be made into a food product – you are showing in a small way sacrificial love.

And guts.

By the way, that probably was what you were eating…

The Secret of Happiness

Ahhhh.

Duh!

I’ve been working on a novel set primarily in Thailand for a loooong time now. Much of it is based off of my own experiences there. I’ve used the web many times in research and helping me to set the mood. Still, there’s one thing I’ve overlooked until recently.

Travel bloggers.

Seems pretty obvious now, especially where one of my characters spent time backpacking in Thailand for his backstory. In the social media age there are numerous bloggers using their writing to help support their travel addiction (color me jealous).

One I’ve started following has journaled some amazing adventures – way beyond what I experienced. It has been enlightening. But when this blogger announced finding the “secret to happiness,” I was curious what it would be.

There are some good points in there about making time for what matters, getting out of the rat race, and so on, but it boiled down to one point:

Ooh, look at ME!

Do whatever makes you happy.

Ah, the old idea of hedonism. It became all about what the blogger wanted to do – having the freedom to go with the flow and travel where there is opportunity. I’d love to do that as well. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to live simply and engage in whatever strikes our fancy?

I still think we are made for something more.

Serving self brings joy for a time. Eventually, there is a realization that even this is empty. A wiser man than I once tried living for all of his desires, and he came to the conclusion that all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11).

I was saddened by this blogger’s announcement, because they were so excited by this epiphany. I know that it won’t end well if this is where they camp out for life.

I would submit that we are meant not to live for ourselves, but we are meant to live for others. My greatest joy comes when I can truly help someone and give it freely without strings attached. This isn’t often, because my selfish nature makes a mess of me, but when it does happen it resonates so deeply the ripples carry through my life for a long time.

Our ultimate example comes from a humble Jewish carpenter, who forsook everything, even when he had everything, to meet the needs of me. And you.

I hope this blogger realizes a life of sacrifice and giving, of serving others, will bring lasting happiness more than they have ever experienced in focusing on self. This is your life, so I encourage you to give it a try.

The Secret of Happiness

Ahhhh.

Duh!

I’ve been working on a novel set primarily in Thailand for a loooong time now. Much of it is based off of my own experiences there. I’ve used the web many times in research and helping me to set the mood. Still, there’s one thing I’ve overlooked until recently.

Travel bloggers.

Seems pretty obvious now, especially where one of my characters spent time backpacking in Thailand for his backstory. In the social media age there are numerous bloggers using their writing to help support their travel addiction (color me jealous).

One I’ve started following has journaled some amazing adventures – way beyond what I experienced. It has been enlightening. But when this blogger announced finding the “secret to happiness,” I was curious what it would be.

There are some good points in there about making time for what matters, getting out of the rat race, and so on, but it boiled down to one point:

Ooh, look at ME!

Do whatever makes you happy.

Ah, the old idea of hedonism. It became all about what the blogger wanted to do – having the freedom to go with the flow and travel where there is opportunity. I’d love to do that as well. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to live simply and engage in whatever strikes our fancy?

I still think we are made for something more.

Serving self brings joy for a time. Eventually, there is a realization that even this is empty. A wiser man than I once tried living for all of his desires, and he came to the conclusion that all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11).

I was saddened by this blogger’s announcement, because they were so excited by this epiphany. I know that it won’t end well if this is where they camp out for life.

I would submit that we are meant not to live for ourselves, but we are meant to live for others. My greatest joy comes when I can truly help someone and give it freely without strings attached. This isn’t often, because my selfish nature makes a mess of me, but when it does happen it resonates so deeply the ripples carry through my life for a long time.

Our ultimate example comes from a humble Jewish carpenter, who forsook everything, even when he had everything, to meet the needs of me. And you.

I hope this blogger realizes a life of sacrifice and giving, of serving others, will bring lasting happiness more than they have ever experienced in focusing on self. This is your life, so I encourage you to give it a try.

What Is Sacrificial Love?

I was asked to consider this question recently:

What is sacrificial love?

A deep question. How does one respond?

Do I love my wife with a sacrificial love? If I think hard about it, probably not for the most part. I’m selfish. I do things to my advantage a lot of times. I’m not saying I don’t love her. I love her dearly, deeply, almost desperately. I would like to think I do. But often I am not at the level of true sacrifice. I do things for her that I would otherwise not do, but I don’t know how much of a “sacrifice” they are.

My kids? I would sacrifice myself for them if there was a choice of them living or me living. I would throw myself in front of a car to save them. But here also, I often do things for myself, and not for the best of my children. I could make a deeper choice. Instead of taking Thursday nights to relax for myself, I could spend quality time with them, but that is not my habit.

As a Christian, the highest ideal is sacrificial love. Jesus gave His life, His very blood for us. It drained out of His body, stained the ground beneath the cross, all to wash away my sins. Your sins.

I find it is a very hard thing to live up to that example.

What say you? What thoughts do you have about what sacrificial love is? I really would like your input on this.

What Is Sacrificial Love?

I was asked to consider this question recently:

What is sacrificial love?

A deep question. How does one respond?

Do I love my wife with a sacrificial love? If I think hard about it, probably not for the most part. I’m selfish. I do things to my advantage a lot of times. I’m not saying I don’t love her. I love her dearly, deeply, almost desperately. I would like to think I do. But often I am not at the level of true sacrifice. I do things for her that I would otherwise not do, but I don’t know how much of a “sacrifice” they are.

My kids? I would sacrifice myself for them if there was a choice of them living or me living. I would throw myself in front of a car to save them. But here also, I often do things for myself, and not for the best of my children. I could make a deeper choice. Instead of taking Thursday nights to relax for myself, I could spend quality time with them, but that is not my habit.

As a Christian, the highest ideal is sacrificial love. Jesus gave His life, His very blood for us. It drained out of His body, stained the ground beneath the cross, all to wash away my sins. Your sins.

I find it is a very hard thing to live up to that example.

What say you? What thoughts do you have about what sacrificial love is? I really would like your input on this.