Hello, all!! Monday, 18 Oct, Chris in Chula Vista...
Well, the 'modern missionary' life means alot of different living skills, and the #1 is living out of a suitcase all the time.
Yes, 'the grand old days' of missions meant a sending Body (usually denomination) stood behind you fully, paid the bills and sent you to a country where you actually could live long-term... means unpack the suitcases, pull up a chair and redemptively start digging in to the lives of the people in the region.
Those days are long-gone.
Now, 'missionaries' have to scrape together financial support from multiple sources, sometimes from groups that don't like each other. Churches don't see the sending of long-term people as their primary 'mission' strategy, but have moved to the 'send short-term outreachers' model because their congregants like the one-time cross-cultural experience.
Besides questions of effectiveness of the 'short-termer' model, it definitely means that 'long term mission workers' live a life of running back-and-forth, many times because they need to straddle the worlds of 'working in missions' out in the Field (internationally), then step back into the USA to raise support and work various part-time jobs to be able to fund the endeavor. Church-based support has slipped significantly, and individual supporters are now hurting from the body-slam of the Econ Crisis.
What that translates to in our lives is that we never get to unpack our suitcases. Lori is now down in the San Vicente (Baja California Norte, Mexico) village for a week-and-a-half, and we are trying to strategize the next few trips down for the fall/winter, while figuring out how to pay the bills.
We would much rather be able to live in the village full-time, but the Mex gov't will not allow us to work in Mexico (and make a local wage), and the US-based support doesn't even come close to allow us to live 'foreign'... all of that in the face of a STRONG call from the Lord to work amongst those people in that region... ahhhh!
Guess we won't be unpacking our suitcases soon.
Hanging on, your bro Chris