There was Uncle Jim and Aunt Betty who were some of the first missionaries I ever met. As a GA (a mission group for young girls at church) I had to write a letter to a missionary. Knowing my parents were planning to go to Bangladesh, but were waiting for visas, I wrote Uncle Jim. He wrote me back. I still have that letter too. I always thought it was sweet that he took the time to write a young, scared little girl.
There was Uncle Tom and Aunt Gloria who filled the shoes of what true missionaries should look like, in my eyes. Uncle Tom always had a passionate energy about him. He always seemed on "fire" about something. Not to mention he was always doing something, without trying mind you, that made me giggle. Aunt Gloria... except for her skin and hair color, she knew how to "blend in." I remember as a young girl being in awe of her. The way she spoke another language and carried on a conversation without pause. She truly loved what she did, she loved the people and the country she had come to live in and she loved Jesus. On top of that, the people of Bangladesh truly loved her too.
Uncle James and Aunt Gwen were the parents of some good friends of mine growing up. Although, the other two families had kids that I loved too, it was Aunt Gwen's house that I went to, when I needed somewhere to stay. That was an experience as a young girl. I have several memories of this family, without my parents being around. I know that doesn't seem unusual here in the states, but you have to remember, I'm talking about living in a foreign country. a place where you didn't take ANYTHING forgranted. The craziest memory was the fish she served for dinner... it was still the "WHOLE" fish that laid on the platter on the dinner table that night. I remember gulping as I looked at the "EYEBALLS" looking back at me. And there was no mom nearby to get me out of eating this poor fish either!!!
Isn't it funny what we remember?
One family that was very special to me, who lived on the same "side of the river" so to speak, while we were in Bangladesh, couldn't be there. Unfortunately my "aunt" is going through treatments for cancer and is very weak. However, I have many memories of their family and going to their house. Their kids were my comrades in crime and our families were known to spend holidays together. Although they were unable to be at the reunion, I couldn't pass the moment to reflect on a few childhood memories with Uncle R.T. and Aunt Fran.
There were also many other missionary families there. Some of them were in Bangladesh and gone before my parents arrived on the mission field, while others came after. It was a great time of sharing and remembering. Here are just a very few of the many pictures taken...
Probably my sister's favorite part of the reunion, was eating favorite foods she hadn't had in a very long while. Of course I think she was disappointed we didn't eat the curry with our hand off a banana leaf...
My parents have a ministry they call "Living Portraits." My dad will write monologues for famous people in history and then he and my mom will portray the different individuals. They travel all over to churches and school, sharing a little history and faith at the same time. Examples of these mini dramas are Martha and George Washington, Mark Twain, William Carey, Lottie Moon and Luther Rice. At the reunion my dad took on Luther Rice, a man in history who had a great big heart for missions. Dad did a great job. I thought you might like to see him all decked out in costume.
So, what did the kiddos do, while all the meetings were going on? They attended some of the meetings, but Saturday they got to play a little. The dads found a fun place to hang out in a town nearby and believe it or not I was able to talk my hubby into taking a camera.
Overall, the weekend was great. It was wonderful reliving a piece of my childhood, that often gets pushed aside in my busy life now. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering I was even over in that part of the world once upon a time. It is at times I like that, that I have to pull out a picture like this one and just remember...
Hope you enjoyed day two, three and the first half of day four of our family vacation. I thought it was a great time of not only remembering what my parents and so many others gave up to "FOLLOW" Christ, but to also reflect on how "I" can do the same thing in my day to day world. Please take a moment today and pray for those who have given up much to follow the Lord's calling with a mission minded heart. Even my children were in awe of what goes on in the day to day life of a "real live missionary!"