Letters to a Sister :16

So, we went to look at some missionaries. It was a little like going to view a puppy before we agreed to take one. Not quite sure how we managed to be given the job.

To explain, our church supports some missionaries who have now finished their term abroad, so we need new ones. We were given the names of some who seem suitable but they didn’t have time to visit our church, so it was decided that a deputation would go and hear them speak. We (me, husband and Barbie) somehow managed to be the deputation. Not a good choice.

The evening started well when the motorway to strange Baptist church we had never heard of before, was shut. Briefly, but it did mean we were then in a rush. We then found that the road that actually led to the church was also shut. Was not going well. Considered abandoning mission and going to pub instead.

Arrived late, church was small, neat, probably has not changed very much in the last 150 years. Nor I suspect have some members of the congregation. The chairs have though, they were nice and comfortable. And in shades of purple and lilac to match the mauve carpet and purple tulips. All very colour co-ordinated. I wondered who had ordered the six green chairs and whether they still attend the church.

The congregation (all 17 of them) were singing when we arrived. The words to the song were displayed on an overhead screen. I should perhaps have guessed the mood of the evening when I saw the white haired lady playing the guitar with the rainbow strap. To be fair, she played very well. In a sort of military style – I for one was not brave enough to NOT sing!

I did need to use the loo though. A very nice man told me where it was – through the door right at the front. When I asked if it was the only one, as the service had started and everyone would see me go through the door, he told me that actually, if I preferred, I could use the side door. I did prefer. He was unfortunately the man responsible for changing the words on the projector and while giving me toilet directions, the singing ground to a halt. When I returned I couldn’t work out why we kept repeating the same song. Husband helpfully informed me it was the chorus. Then got the giggles, very embarrassing in strange church. The more I tried to not giggle, the bigger the urge to collapse in uncontrollable heap. Recieved stern looks from husband.

Missionaries then stood up, wife first, to introduce their work. We began with her showing us some photos. She said we had to tell her where they were taken. I thought this was going to be examples of unusual places to hold a school or church or something. But no. They were just random photos of the country they work in and we had to guess where they were taken and who was in them. Bizarre. One was a cow in a street. What were we supposed to say? “Ah, that is a cow in a street.” Or a group of people. Was I really expected to know if they were her aunty Joan, her next door neighbours or a group from the church? Nearly lost control completely at this point, was bursting to call out “swimming pool” when shown boys playing football. (The correct answer was : “Boys playing football.” You get the idea.)

To be fair, this is not the worst thing that I have been asked by missionaries to do at a missionary evening. At least we didn’t have to sing something in a foreign language that no one speaks and which might as well be Humpty Dumpty as a christian song.

Missionary husband then gave a talk, which was quite good, but I was slightly beyond listening at this point. They seemed like a nice couple doing a good work in a difficult place. Why do churches and missionaries put themselves through these evenings? Why couldn’t we all just have a nice curry or go to the pub and chat about the work they are doing? I am glad God is so much bigger than the churches that follow him.

On drive home, we discussed the feedback we would give our own church. Husband offered the view that, “He wasn’t a pompous git like the last one we had”. Barbie and I agreed that she would be the spokesperson and husband should remain silent.

There is a truck that keeps parking outside our house. This is perfectly legal but for some unknown reason is a bit irritating. Boys and husband have been thinking of ways to encourage owner to park somewhere else. One suggestion was a sign on windscreen which says, “Harry the Hammer hates selfish parking.” The latest idea involves cat poo – of which we have plenty (joys of kittens and dirt boxes.) They feel a few nights where it will appear a local cat has taken to using the truck as a toilet will encourage the owner to move on. They are joking. I hope.

Take care,
Anne xx


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