If you ask any of our friends here in Haiti they’ll be the first to tell you that we’re not the typical textbook missionaries. I don’t know about you, but when I think of traditional missionaries I think about button down shirts, and very conservative people. I know that’s stereo-typical, but that’s what comes to mind. When I felt called into the mission field I kept thinking, “I’m not that person!” Here’s the good news – missionaries are just as different and individual as anyone else. We’re here serving as we do because we feel this is where we’re supposed to be, and we see value in doing the things we do. We love God. We want to share that with others, and we all have different ways of doing that.
When I met Chris, he was in his late 20’s, wore nothing but Birkenstocks, t-shirts and shorts. Pants and collared shirts if he had to. He had and still has a pony tail. It might be a bit shorter now, but he still has it. And I can’t imagine him without it. He’s never owned anything but a Volkswagen, and we still have a 1969 van that we store in some friends’ garage to use when we’re home in summers. I think deep down he’s always liked the idea of living on a commune. He brewed beer in college and gave it up when he moved to Haiti thinking that missionaries shouldn’t brew beer. He missed it a lot. I got did a bunch of research about brewing beer in hot climates and got him a brew kit a few Christmases ago. He’s been very happy since, which makes me very happy. And our friends here happy because they get to benefit from the fruits of his labor.
Back in October Chris took a trip to California to spend a week with his brother Ben. The plan was to go on a week long motorcycle camping trip through Sequoia National Forest. They had a great time. They spent the last few days before Chris flew back hanging out with some of Ben’s friends. At 1:30 am (11:30 pm California time) my phone chimed with a new text message. I blearily looked at it and texted Ben back, “Should I be concerned that my husband is half naked and breathing fire in someone’s back yard in the middle of the night?”
One of Ben’s friends is a professional fire breather, as in people pay him to entertain with his skills. At a big annual shin dig Chris got to learn how to do it. It’s so random, but so fun! And for the record, not wearing a shirt is a safety thing. You don’t want to light yourself on fire because you’ve dripped kerosene all over your front.
At the end of October we went out to the missions new property to have a fire, roast some hot dogs and homemade marshmallows with friends. We love doing this because it’s always a relaxed evening doing something that feels kind of normal for all of us. Chris came prepared with everything to teach our friend how to breath fire. I took a bunch of pictures and was excited about them, but then forgot about them until yesterday when I was downloading some stuff off my camera. When I started scrolling through them I got excited because a bunch of them turned out really good considering they were night pictures taken off tripod.
Getting ready for a tandem show.
Another missionary friend once reminded me that none of us that are living here would be considered “normal” by any standard. We just like to live up to that :)