Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Missionary's Many Hats

A Missionary's Many Hats
by Dr. Dave Johnson

A missionary must wear many hats, often within the same day or week. Some we wear often. Others we put on for special occasions.

This past week has been one of the special occasions in which I wore my "host missionary" hat. On Monday two advance men came from First Assembly of God in West Monroe, LA, to get ready for a team that was supposed to arrive on Saturday, but didn't arrive until Sunday, to do major, much needed renovations to our Bible school, Evangel Bible College. We spent several days running all over town, buying everything from paint to power saws, and working with the Bible school leadership to determine what repairs would be made and in what priority.

Since many Filipinos speak English the language is usally not a problem but sometimes different words mean different things. To a Filipino a hostess is a prostitute, not a woman who seats people in resturants. A tomboy is a lesbian, not a girl who climbs trees and plays men's sports. The bathroom is called a comfort room, which is often not an accurate description.  On the other hand, the upraised middle finger is only significant to those Filipinos who have watched too many American movies. But while these things can be easily corrected, other cultural issues are more challenging, requiring the missionary to put on the hat of "cultural mediator." In the middle can be an uncomfortable place to be.

In my case, hosting this team required me to master the art of driving a Filipino jeepney--a type of transportation whose hood design came from an American military jeep and has two long seats in the back where the passengers sit facing each other. My attempts at driving one have already driven many to prayer!

During this week we also had an evangelistic outreach nearby, so I put on my "evangelist" hat on two evenings. Fortunately I put this one on fairly often, and God continues to bless our efforts with his presence.

We are also completing the translation of the study notes, articles, etc., of the Full Life Study Bible (aka Fire Bible or Life in the Spirit Study Bible), and I am the managing editor.  This project has been a partnership between Life Publishers--the publishing arm of the Assemblies of God World Missions, and the Philippine Bible Society. My major responsibility has been to keep the partnership functioning well--and it has. But this week a couple of issues came up that demanded my involvement, so I put on my "managing editor's" hat, a role with which I am familiar.

This is all part of the job, but it does make for a long week--one in which I wore many hats.

 *All Scripture references are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

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Copyright 2012 Dr. Dave Johnson 

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