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Is it right to “down play”?

Julie Rumph, a SSMF missionary serving in South Africa came back to the U.S. for the holidays.  In this transparent post, she shares honestly about how best to answer the first question that many have asked her when they’ve seen her for the first time in a long time.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a week.

And it feels like I’ve been dodging writing it just like I’ve been dodging some questions that I’ve been asked recently.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m home for the holidays and a short furlough.

Yes, the reverse culture shock, (re-entry) was real.

But the harder part has been some of the conversations.

I’m not the most eloquent of speakers.  Sure I can get words on paper most of the time, but then I have the luxury of the backspace key.

The spoken word can be a little different.

I feel like I can never articulate exactly what’s going on in my head and, therefore, I just keep talking, thinking I will eventually get there.

Usually this just makes me sound like either:

–An awkward idiot.

–A blow hard.

–Just crazy.

Why does this confession matter?

Well, everyone’s first question is “Do you like it there?”

I really do.

And I’m more and more thankful to be asked that question.  Trying to answer it gives me the opportunity to view what I’ve experienced there from a different perspective and increases my appreciation for what took place during my first season of serving over there.

It also helps to see just how God has worked and utilized his servants in the past year.

But in that, how do you tell close friends and especially family how much you feel at home there, not here?

How do you express your happiness without making them feel bad?

Not because they aren’t happy or because they aren’t happy for you.

–Maybe it’s because I’m overly self-conscious about my inability to express myself.

–Maybe it’s because I don’t want to give the impression that I think there’s something better than the life you are living.

Which I don’t.

God gave you your life and your path and He gave me mine. I’m happy about it.

Sure I miss you.

But I’m happy where I am now too.

Yeah, it’s really cool I get to be a part of the cool plan God has placed in front of me.

No, I don’t think I’m a better or braver Christian than you because of it.

And maybe that’s the rub–I really don’t want you to ever, ever, ever think that I think that.

I’m still me. Still the imperfect person that gets to see A LOT of cool God stuff in a context that makes it seem even bigger.

But God is still big everywhere, working everywhere, and using people everywhere.

So for those of you that ask, yes, I still know I’m right where God wants me for now.

I really like my new life in Cape Town.

No I’m not sure how long God will keep me there, (or if He’ll call me home or somewhere else,) at this point.

Yes, I could tell you a lot of funny stories about life and how it’s different but many more about how it’s not.

And how it’s really not with the stuff that really matters.

Unfortunately I just don’t trust myself to say it all out loud.


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