Possibilities and Prayers

I had coffee with my dad twice last week.

‘Coffee with dad’ is what happens when my parents are ‘concerned’ about what I’m ‘doing with my life’ and think I could use some ‘coaching.’ Twice in one week is unheard of.

Our first meeting at Starbucks (my choice. Tengo muchos de los naipes de regalo de mi graduación) he said: “Why don’t you join a team and raise support?”

“Well, I don’t want to be a missionary.”

“We don’t believe in missionaries.”

I was talking calling, he was talking semantics. Discussing missions with my dad is like discussing guys with my mom; no matter what I say she draws the same conclusion. And my dad’s his own sort of matchmaker. Though he wouldn’t (heaven forbid) let me near anyone young, male and hormone infused (except my brothers). Within the hour I was paired with a couple burgeoning team leaders headed for a country I couldn’t spell, remember, or locate on a map, and they were completely convinced of the supreme agreeableness of the match.

I griped. My dad pestered. I caused domestic infractions. My dad made cryptic remarks to my friends. I skirted the issue. Eventually, he dragged me out of bed in the wee morning hours (like 8:00) for second a meeting, at McDonald’s (his choice. Café con hielo muy bueno y barato), he said: “What do you want to do?”

“Two things. I want to be a writer . . . ”

“Well you can write anywhere. What’s the other thing?”

“I want to not live in America.”

“This sounds like your kind of shtick.” (He may not have said shtick, but he had a point.)

“Yes, but . . . ”

There’s this thing about missionary teams: they usually want missionary members.

Yuck.

So me and my prospective team leaders met at the Coffee Gallery (third coffee meeting. ¿Por qué yo?). Where I was going to genially tell them that I’m glad they’re considering me for their team but I want to be a writer. Instead we talked for four hours. About gifting and dreams and the future.

They didn’t even blink when I told them what I’d told my father, and they laughed when I said I had to look their country up in an Atlas. They had had to also. And when I said I ached for the sheer amount of need in the world and wanted to meet it as best I could and saw myself being able to do it in these certain ways they said they saw themselves doing those things, too.

And when the meeting ended we said we’d pray about how to go forward from here. We’ll meet again Wednesday to make a semi-permanent decision on whether or not to go ahead with plans for me leaving with them this time next year.

How about that?

Since I don’t think that I’m the only one who has vested interest in my life or hears from God about it, at this point I would generally consult all the bastions of wisdom in my life. But they’re all busy as heck and, time being short, I’m writing here–hoping no one will feel out of the loop or hesitate to give their opinion in comment form or talk to me later. Cheap, I know. But effective.

6 thoughts on “Possibilities and Prayers

  1. What country, or can you not say? (I would guess spanish speaking or maybe you were just in a bilingual mood?) And what would you be doing? It’s hard to give advice or pray with no details :) We could always go for coffee ;)

  2. got ne writing ideas? id like to read more of your poems if i can, im becoming more and more interested in poetry, the problem is i dont understand it much, maybe u could help me.

  3. You found me!

    What’s more, I didn’t have to hunt for you… Though I planned to, just “mendou-kusai”… (to break out in MY other language a bit there.)

    Hope to see more of you, though if you do me the favor of hearing the self-deprecation any time the word “genius” is coupled with the concept of “Red” I’d be much obliged. ^_^

    This post was funny, though the situation seems…aaaargh! The way I feel about some of the things Ayo’s told me about her coversations with people in her life. Sometimes I feel run down and beset, and other times I realize just how lucky I am that my grandmother’s the only one who’s worrying about my lack of college education.

    Though my boss…
    Nope, nope. No complaining from me.

    You should NOT go into the field without a passion and calling for serving the lost in that capacity. I don’t care what other people say about that–this is truth. We have enough missionaries out there for the wrong reason. Right?
    Not that the right reason isn’t in there, too, but it’s an awfully tough assignment to be bullied into.

  4. I agree with Red – if you are not called to go, don’t. This should not be a decision you are having to be convinced of. It isn’t like you can’t decide to go later, but you shouldn’t decide to go when you really don’t want to do what is being asked of you. Writers should write, and not be talked into something else.

  5. My screenwriting teachers are always telling us that we will never be good writers unless we write about what we know. The broader our experiences, the better our writing will be. Though I think this reasoning can just be used as an excuse for smoking pot or other such illegal activities, there’s probably a little bit of truth to it.

    To join this team do you have to make a long-term commitment? I guess no one wants to go through all of the struggles of support-raising for just a year. But maybe you could go away for the year for the experience? I guess you would have to WANT to serve with the team as well.

    I’m hoping that some day very soon, mission teams will start to realize that maybe their team members are more complex (like all of humanity) than just one job description. Why not have writers, artists, academics, etc. serving the Lord in a foreign country WHILE developing their other gifts? Maybe this would have been difficult pre-Internet, but now an artist, writer, academic, etc. can remain very connected with their respective community even when thousands of miles away. It feels like a lot of teams expect their members to be focused solely on serving God in a single capacity rather than exploring how to love God with all of the gifts He has given them.

    Maybe that doesn’t make any sense but just some stuff that I’ve been thinking about lately. (I’ve been having “coffee dates” with my parents lately as well.)

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