Do you ever read Stuff Christians Like? If you don't, you should check it out sometime. So many hilarious things Jon Acuff writes, especially if you have grown up in the church and thus will understand them. It's satire, and my telling you to check it out does not mean that I agree with 100% of what he says. But still, it's funny. Audrey and I are always able to share a laugh about a particularly funny post or so each week.
Today, he wrote a post about jealousy over the iPad. You can read it for yourself, but I want to highlight the last thing. He changed the email signature attached to emails sent from his new iPad to one of three messages (because Apple automatically puts in "Sent from my iPod/iPhone/iPad" when you write an email message from one of their devices). And this last one is something worth mentioning:
"3. Sent from a device that was a completely unexpected gift from a very generous person. I am grateful and am aware of the current unemployment rate. Quit writing that Jesus Juke response email you’re working on right now."
The reason why I wanted to highlight that is because of my Christmas gift. I was pretty much planning on not saying anything, not because it's not wonderful but because how it might be received by a few people. You see, as a missionary, we are supported by prayer and finances from other to be on the field. We have a wonderful team of people who give to the Lord and pray for us, thus allowing us to be here. We have many very generous people as partners.
But then there are other people out there (in the world, not saying specifically any of our partners) who have big problems with missionaries having any sort of comfort in life. "What? You live in a house and not a hut? You wash your clothes in a machine and don't take them down to the river and beat them against rocks every few weeks? You own a car and eat at McDonald's every once in awhile? YOU ARE GOING ON A VACATION?!"
Obviously I am going over the top on some of those, but it's a reality that some people on this earth feel that way about missionaries. And several months ago, someone sent me this link about a missionary going to Disney World and asking people to hear her out before they judge her for going there. I had to laugh, and as I read through some of the comments, I realized that many missionaries who responded said to her, "I totally understand!"
Again, let me be clear and say that we have not had a real conversation like that with any of our supporters, but I always want to be careful because I do know that there are some people who do "judge" missionaries for having any sort of comfort. And although that might not be a big problem for us, I do still struggle with feeling the need to justify it to others, especially after putting out in our last letter that we are still short on our monthly support goal. Ah, life is funny.
And now all that to preface that we are going to ROME!!! I am super excited!
Now here come my justifications for not feeling bad about going... :)
Kevin and I never buy each other gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas (well, we did stocking stuffers the second year we were married). But Kevin told me months before Christmas that he wanted to get me something. I had no idea beyond that.
We are able to go on this trip because of a very generous group of people (you know who you are!) who gave us the money for the trip. As Acuff wrote, it was an unexpected gift from generous people who love us.
Flying to Rome from Budapest is not the same as flying from anywhere in the US to Rome. It's wicked cheap. I realize it's hard to fathom, and I couldn't until we moved here. And we're going at the ultimate low for any sort of tourism, so everything in general is cheaper.
So there, I said it. We're taking a vacation. To Rome. With the kids. And some dear friends. Very soon. Thanks to others giving us the money for Christmas. I'm grateful and excited. :)