Cute Guy in Jeans

Posted on: April 18, 2012 Written by
Cute Guy in Jeans
      Photography by: Jacob Wackerhausen from iStock    

It was one of those meetings—the kind where nothing seems to go right. I quickly realized I was underdressed because I was not wearing nylons or three layers of shirts. My PowerPoint presentation would not work properly, and the sound/tech person refused to believe me when I tried to tell him what was wrong and how to repair it. What had started off as a normal meeting had quickly turned into a disaster.

So there I was, sitting alone, again, in a church, waiting to share about South Africa. One person stood out to me, a guy sitting a row in front of me. He was the only person in the entire sanctuary who was wearing jeans and who did not fill out a card to put in the offering plate. I had no idea what the card was about, but I figured that if this guy did not fill it out, I would not fill it out either.

After the service I stood at my display table and talked to a couple of people. Everyone left church fairly quickly, so I began to pack up my prayer cards, curios, and pictures. As I was packing up, “cute-guy-in-jeans” came up to talk to me. We talked as I packed up the rest of my items, and he offered to carry my display board (which was a bit heavy) to my car. He was in the military and had been deployed in the Middle East, so our conversation centered on adjusting to life in another country and returning back home to people who do not understand what you have experienced. A rather deep conversation to have with someone I had just met, yet an easy topic for a missionary to discuss.

Thankful for the conversation and the help (which I did not always get), I smiled as he headed off to his truck. I knew that people, especially the pastor’s wife, were watching. Truth is, “cute-guy-in-jeans” was the only person who had been genuinely interested in me and my ministry that morning. As he left the parking lot, he stopped his truck by my car, called me over, and asked me if I had any plans for lunch. As a single, sometimes lonely, missionary, my heart wanted to say, “No, I don’t have any plans.” I really did have plans though. I was invited to lunch at the pastor’s house, which seemed like more of chore than anything else at that point. Nevertheless, I politely and apologetically declined.

I never handed him one of my prayer cards, nor do I remember his name. I barely remember his face, and I will probably never see him again. I wonder if he ever knew that he was the only redeeming factor from that meeting for me, the only positive memory I have from that trip.

Even now, whenever that meeting comes to mind, I feel challenged to be that kind of person. I want to be the one who encourages someone during a difficult day, the one who takes a risk in reaching out to a person, the one who is not afraid of what others think.

 

©2012 Thrive.



About the author

Laura recently began serving on her third field, Ireland. God has given her a heart for teen and young adult girls, as well as a love for living overseas and drinking coffee, and she loves when all three of these things come together. She writes regularly about her ministry at http://ministryinireland.blogspot.com and about life, travel and healing at http://continualtransition.wordpress.com.

View all articles by:
  • Julie L

    Watch out for the “it’s all about me” missionary-on-furlough attitude. I’ve seen it in myself too much during my years on the field. There really is a temptation to see ourselves as the decorated soldiers returning from the front lines, deserving attention and accolades–though this attitude is not one we’d like to admit.

    We overseas workers have to remember that our supporters in the States are on the front lines of the Kingdom work, too, and are facing all sorts of sorrows and challenges we know nothing about. If we focus more on BEING an encouragement to them than RECEIVING encouragement from them, we’ll be more like the Savior we serve and we won’t be disappointed and bitter when we find ourselves a bit neglected. Now, to practice what I am preaching…. 🙂

    • I couldn’t agree more, Laura, and just yesterday at Writers G|roup meeting spoke about our need for encouragement. It’s not that we feel we are worthy, but that we are in the Master’s Hands and need to know that He is using us. If ever you are in Natal, would love to meet you and invite you to share at Missions Prayer meeting in our church. You would be welcome!

  • Julie Smude

    Hey Laura! Great job! I didn’t sense at all a spirit of “it’s all about me” from you. Simple, honest sharing! I love it. And I salute the guy from the service for simply reaching out. I felt so encouraged by your honesty and vulnerability! I just posted the scripture “So encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today….” Heb 3:13a on our ministry Facebook page. Everyone on the front lines (which includes all Christians) needs to reach out to encourage one another! Your writing has encouraged me!! (Serving in Northern Thailand)

    • Laura

      Julie,

      Thank you for reading and for your words of encouragement; they were what I needed to hear today.

  • Laura,
    I just read your story because the title caught my eye. Your honesty is great. We’ve all been there…we ARE here, in a world where we don’t quite fit. It’s great when someone comes along and notices, and cares. Keep being real, Laura. It’s appreciated.

  • Laura

    Paula,
    Glad that you enjoyed my story; thanks for reading.

  • I honestly don’t want to be looked at as a hero for being a missionary. I gave my expectations (or should I say I continually) over to the Lord. It’s not that I want it all about me. I try to be an encouragement to the church and especially the pastor’s wife. But I do understand what you are saying Laura. It’s just hard going to a church where they don’t really seem to care that you are there. It’s hard when people treat you more like a sales person they don’t want to be cornered by, than a fellow Christian who just wants to be talked to and understood. Even my children found that when we were home on furlough that no one wanted to hear about their life. I think part of it is just like you said, people can’t relate with our life and don’t know how to. Now when I’m on furlough I just try and jump back into the lives of family and friends and don’t discuss life here unless they ask, which is rare. It goes back to giving my expectations to the Lord. It’s not easy. I wish others wanted to share in my life (not honor it). That is why I love WOTH and other places where missionaries gather/blog. And I think it is great that the Lord allowed you to meet someone else who just needed to be understood and you were able to bless him. You probably have no idea how much your conversation encouraged him!

  • Ruth

    thanks Laura – well written and can relate. – Although I was not the single missionary wife, but a mom of many different aged children as we were on deputation. I recall one church where my teen age son came to me and said, ‘boy what stone faced teens’ – and I said under my breathe ‘they learned it from their moms’

    You are so right, may we always remember to be the one who encourages others.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Ruth