13 June, 2010

There is a time to avoid the "M" word

Yesterday we went, somewhat reluctantly, to a family engagement party. My husband's cousin's engagement party, to be exact. It was one of those things that you have to do, if at all possible. Especially when most of them usually live about 8 hours away from Brisbane and they all happened to be in the same city as us - it really was the right thing to do. So we did.

And we had a good time. It took me a while last night to figure out why. After all, we knew hardly anyone. There was plenty of alcohol and smoke around - not our kind of party. But I finally figured it out.

David's cousin's sister (also his cousin, obviously) has lived and worked overseas. One of the places she worked was in an international school in China. So our "job" isn't such a mystery to the family. Therefore we were simply introduced around as "David and Wendy who work in Japan. David teaches at a school there." Very simple. Very effective. And we had some lovely conversations. Avoiding the big "M" word which makes everyone awkward and uncomfortable was a huge plus.

Unfortunately we missed out on the big activity of the party, barefoot lawn bowls, because the club has a rule that precludes children under 12 from playing. So instead we took the boys for a walk. The club is right on the Brisbane river and almost next to the famous New Farm Park. A wide footpath (sidewalk) began at the club and followed the river for some distance, so we took our boys and another boy who they'd met at the party, for a walk. It was delightful. The boys skimmed rocks and we found a few things to climb too. We returned in time to hear a speech and eat some cake.

The other fun thing about the day was that it wasn't about us. Our life recently has been so deliberate. Deputation means going to meetings and talking about Japan and us. At this end it also means deliberately meeting with individuals who support us and friends to say farewell. Not that we talk about ourselves all the time, but the timing of all of this is related to us leaving. Going to someone else's party - a party because they've decided to get married - was delightfully refreshing.

Though maybe it was all special because I viewed the whole experience through "red trench coat" glasses...


Footprints Australia said...

I have been thinking about this post ever since I read it a few days ago ... it led to an epiphany of sorts! You are a missionary who happens to live in Japan. I am a missionary who happens to live in Cleveland Qld. We are ALL missionaries in whatever corner of the world the good Lord in His wisdom has planted us!

Wendy said...

Actually I would say it more like this: "That I am a Christian who happens to live in Japan and you are a Christian who happens to live in Australia. Both of us have been given the task by Christ of promoting his gospel."

I think "missionary" has a special meaning that relates to being sent to somewhere different, like another country. But not everyone agrees with this definition, of course.