For instance, I serve in a very large congregation. We have 100 publishers and about 30 regular children/studies attending. And yet, in the year and a half I've been here, only one family has ever asked, "Why are you here?" Do you find that as strange as I do? Well, this week I was talking with the family that asked me that, and they explained why it's not a common question. When Nicaraguans speak among themselves about why foreigners are here, they assume it's because *wait for it* Nicaragua has so many things our home countries don't. The problem is that Nicaraguans can be very uneducated when it comes to life outside their country. I'm not saying that in a mean way, I'm stating it as a fact. They are not required to study much of outside geography or world history, and they were a closed, communist nation for some time. Their opinions are most often shaped of what they see on t.v. So when I and all my need greater friends came here, they just assumed it's because we wanted to BETTER our life by moving to Nicaragua. And the main problem really comes down to how they see their own territories. They do not feel they live in need territories so would never imagine someone would change their lives to serve here. I can't tell you how many times I hear in my congregation that we have an apathetic territory. I usually take the opportunity to describe how preaching is in the U.S. so they understand what a truly apathetic territory is, but I'm not sure it's sinking in. The truth is, we have a territory where you can have as many Bible studies as you want, householders ask YOU about studying, and you can join groups of kids in a house or neighborhood and have a Bible lesson.
The other common question I get when people find out how long I've been here is either "Wow, so you must really like it?" or "Are you there because you WANT to be there or because you HAVE to be there?" Both are valid questions, but sometimes I have trouble answering them. To the first question I would say...yes, I like parts of it. I can honestly say I'm having service experiences I could only dream about and which have often been featured in Yearbooks and Society videos. But obviously, there's a lot I'm still getting used to and other things that I just don't like period. As to the second question....well, that's the hardest for me to answer. I'm going to write something and I don't want it to come out like I'm trying to compare us to Jesus, I'm just trying to use a good example. But it would be like asking him if he died for us because he WANTED to or because he HAD to. It was a little of both, right? Who wants to die? Who wants to make massive daily sacrifices? Who wants to be misunderstood on a constant basis? But we do it because in suffering all that, we're able to accomplish something good. And that's what makes it all worth it.
I'm not sure if I've explained myself well, but I'd love if you guys weighed in.