There are many consequences to international missions. Most are positive, but some are extremely difficult. Maybe the most difficult for me is that my responding to God’s call forced consequences on other people close to me, especially my extended family. Now it even extends to our children. With modern technology we can even see each other as we talk real-time with Skype. But Skype is just not enough sometimes, especially during a family loss. Please don’t hear me asking for sympathy for my family or myself. Jesus made it clear that serving Him comes with costs both relationally and sometimes locationally.
The following is what I wrote to be read at my grandma Kay’s memorial.
My grandma Kay
By; “Little” Scott, aka Scotter
When I think of grandma a lot of things come to mind, not so profound I know.
One of the first is FEAR. Please let me explain. I am one of those boys prone to scraping my knee and just about any other exposed and not yet exposed body part. Whether it was riding, or more to the point crashing, my bicycle or working on a project, I tend to hurt myself. Normally this is skinned knuckles or knees. Well, I ALWAYS, tried to hide the damage from grandma. Typically that was impossible as blood trickled down my leg or elbow. The reason I tried to hide is that I knew vastly more pain was awaiting me when grandma found out. As a nurse she knew the danger of infection, and the “bugs” feared her as well. I am still convinced she had tested and chosen the instruments of “cure” by the quantity of pain they inflicted. First task was aggressively washing the visible gravel and dirt no matter how deep it was imbedded in my body. Then came a scrubbing with some form of acid she called soap. Then came the scrub brush with bristles that looked non-metallic, but must have been a combination of razor blades and eagle’s talons. After exposing bone and tendons, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, she would ensure the last of the nasty bugs was killed. She killed them by applying a harmless looking salve probably made from lemons and paper cuts. To top it off was applied an industrial grade bandage that stuck so well it removed the remaining skin and hair within a one-foot radius. (It is amazing how reality seems so much greater in recollection.)
Now it is time to move on to more pleasant memories such as food. The top of the list for me was her apple pie. I don’t know how she did it, but she must have added yummy to each pie. After dishing a large warmed piece she added a liberal slice of cheddar cheese. My mouth is watering as I write.
Another special memory was one summer day when she returned home from the hospital. My brother and I were visiting and I remember she got home, dropped everything, and gave both of us a really, really big hug. If I remember correctly she had to fight back her emotions. After she regained composure she told us that two boys had come to the emergency after serious accidents and they reminded her too much of Geoff and I.
Over the years I have learned just how special my grandma really was to so many people. She was my grandma and she was special to me. I am proud to be her grandson. I am also proud of all she accomplished including as a nurse. But only God knows how many lives she touched and helped in their hour of need as a nurse and her many other hospital responsibilities.
Thanks for so many great memories grandma, I miss you already.
Our three interns continue to do a great job getting acquainted with Wroclaw and discovering the challenges of cross-cultural ministry. One of the most frustrating things about serving in a different culture is not being from that culture, duh. This means probably not being able to speak the language and not to naturally understand the subtle cultural idiosyncrasies. In most ways Poland is a very western country, but with a central European flare. Wroclaw is even more western than much of the rest of Poland, I am biased in saying this most likely, but there are still factors that are not like home. It is amazingly challenging to recognize your own cultural assumptions when everyone seems so “American”.
The essential activity of trying to meet new people with the purpose to become their friend and share your faith is at the top of the list of frustrations. Last week I asked the interns to come up with three ways to meet new people and to try them. They, I encourage you to try as well, found it hard to think of three ways that didn’t seem a little manipulative or borderline creepy. On a college campus in America it is not too uncommon to just walk up to someone and start a conversation. It doesn’t always work, but most people don’t think you are too weird until you talk about faith in Jesus. One of our interns last week said “hi” to a young man at a bus stop. The boy gave her a strange look, walked a few more steps away, got on the bus when it arrived, and moved as far away from our intern as possible. She felt so rejected it hurt her feelings and rightly so. The problem is only strange people, I mean really strange or scary people, just say hi at a bus stop in Wroclaw for no other apparent reason. Ok, enough for now, but I share all of this to ask you to pray for them as they seek to build relationships with people who need Jesus.
I will end with news about the new church plant. We intend to go “official” the 6th of October. This really doesn’t mean a lot will change, but it is a big milestone. Next week I will share the changes that will take place and some of the process we are going through as we change gears. Please pray for God’s will to be done in every aspect as we proceed. Pray also against the evil one.
Thanks for praying.