As a child of missionaries growing up in the sixties through the late seventies, I have more than a few funny stories about some of the things that were sent our way — clothing and such sent to the “poor missionaries” in Pakistan. This post is an ode to those who sent them – but before you judge my heart and attitude, please read through to the end.
You tried so hard!
You went through your children’s clothes, certain that you could find something, anything really, that you could send to the children of missionaries. You pictured the huts we lived in, the threadbare tunics we wore, the lack of stores and supplies. You thought we would never know the difference between Levis and no name jeans.
You advertised and arranged special drop off times so those clothes could make their way from your basements to our homes, our bodies.
You packed up oatmeal, and flour, thinking that surely we would use these products and be so excited. It never entered your mind that chocolate chips and taco mix were what we craved.
You really did send teabags to the part of the world that invented tea.
You sent pants with no zippers and old-fashioned dresses, all with love and a pure heart. And we mocked with hearts that were mean and not pure.
And I thought you were well-meaning and clueless. And I laughed.
And then I began meeting some of you. And you really didn’t know. You really were giving us gifts from your heart. You were taking time and energy that could have been used in a hundred other ways to care for us so far away.
You put little stitches on big warm quilts and sent them our way so we could be warm. And with each stitch you prayed for us. You prayed. And prayed. And prayed.
When my mother and I went over a cliff in the mountains, with only a barbed wire fence separating us from certain death – you were praying. When my brother got in a near fatal accident in Turkey, you were praying. When we faced illness, and sorrow, and separation, you prayed. When babies died, and boarding school was too hard, and people hurt us, you prayed.
You were so much better than me – with my arrogance and my “well-meaning but clueless” song and dance. You prayed with a fervor and love that I never had. You knew what it was to care for people you had barely met.
I still have two of your quilts. And when I look at them I think of how much I judged – and how wrong I was. And I thank you in my heart.