I haven’t been to dozens of countries, but I have been to quite a few before I joined Mercy Ships. I’ve gone for pleasure, for study and for the Kingdom. Once I joined Mercy Ships, the ship even brought me to Spain and South Africa prior to Madagascar. But those countries spoke languages I was familiar with, and the abundance of fair-skinned locals made it easy to blend in.
It’s never been more obvious that I’m a foreigner than here in Tamatave. I’m so white, and all I can speak in their language is hello and goodbye. At 5’6″ I’m taller than many of them. I feel too rich. The fact that my clothes are mostly secondhand or that my car back home was an old cheap one doesn’t make me feel better. It seems to justify the fact that I’m wealthy in a community where a car is a status symbol. My friendly warm smile is my attempt at bridging a huge gap between me and them. It’s all I have.
Very soon I’ll be able to love the Malagasy people through nursing. My actions will be all I have. I won’t be able to explain to a single Malagasy person who Jesus Christ is before I depart in May.
Good thing I have a pretty smile!
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV)