Perception is 9/10 of reality.
Isn't that the saying? The problem is that perception is NOT reality, and is often incorrect.
I merely mention this fact because it is a constant struggle with those who serve in missions. We often live in "exotic" places, and our travels take us to "exotic" locales. But perception is not always the same as reality.
People see a photo of Nancy and I in Red Square. "Wow," they say, "It must be wonderful to see the world like that!"
Reality....we went to Moscow to meet all the AGWM workers and the national church pastors and leaders. We flew on a mediocre airplane, endured horrendous traffic, and sat in endless meetings. We saw the square because we were there, walking with fellow workers on our team. Vacation? Not in even a tiny way.
Perception...."you travel a lot, jetting everywhere."
Reality....the roads here are so bad we have back problems. I can fly to Istanbul for less money than you can drive from Minneapolis to Chicago, and if I'm going to have face to face time with other workers, I have to fly to see them. And if you think flying the Russian Aeroflot airline is wonderful, you are greatly deluded!
Perception...."It must be nice seeing the world"
Reality....most days, I'd trade one "exotic" meal for a Five Guys burger, a Caribou coffee, and a Montana-grown prime rib. Part of our adventure is that there is NOTHING else to do here. We have no movies, no high school sports games, no outdoor adventures, and no shopping. We don't have the weekly simple pleasures, but we are blessed with a couple of great things a year.
Please forgive me if this blog sounded defensive. There is no intention of that. I only wanted to share the reality of life here. I will never complain, and I feel blessed. Yes, there are dozens of things that frustrate me and irritate me ("dozens" is too small a number), but we are blessed. I'm blessed to live close enough to Europe to have seen some sights over the years. I'm blessed to have friends scattered around the world, homes that made our visit affordable. I'm blessed to have the means to enjoy a great meal at the handful of decent restaurants in our country.
But that "exotic" life I hear so much about? I still haven't found it! :-)
But a blessed life? I wake up to that every day.