Friday, November 8, 2013

Cleanliness is next to Godliness...Sometimes.

     The adage "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" is not in the Bible and unfortunately sometimes it is not in the church house either. We've been to a number of churches where the neglect of basic care of the property was quite evident and reflected a poor testimony to any who may attend.
     The prime motivating factor for us to purchase a travel trailer to do our deputation work was the "living" conditions we as missionaries were asked to bear with for sleeping arrangements. One church's prophet chamber took me hours to clean before I'd allow my family to unpack for the night. I found out the next day that the church auditorium and facility was no better. I spent my days there cleaning and scrubbing before showering and heading to other meetings in the area to present our ministry.
     We are not "neat freeks" but I do put a premium on clean and private. I like 'doors' on the bedroom I may be asked to sleep in not a curtain and  my daughter is going to sleep in proximity to my wife and I not in a communal type entertainment room as suggested in one place. I like pillow cases and sheets that are not stained to the point that you can't tell if they are clean or not. I am a guest doing the King's work! Motel 6 with its soiled carpets, thin walls, broken tiles, attendant who does not speak intelligible English and leaking faucets may be okay for the trucker looking for a cheap $39.95 stay but I am a fellow minister with a family to care for. It is a challenge to keep everyone's spirits up as you wonder where the money is going to come from to buy groceries or gas or pay the bills back home only to see the expression on your wife and daughter's face as they 'see' where they'll be sleeping!
     One other side note here. If the guest speaker is staying in a nice motel..."everyone" ought to stay in a nice motel.  There is a forecasted hierarchy communicated to the missionary and to the church in this which reads, some are worthy of greater accommodations than others.., and "Oh, by the way, this is a Mission Conference and we want you to give to support these dear brothers." Maybe if we gave those missionaries the same royal treatment as the special speaker the church would 'get' the message that missions is important!
     The missionaries I have met have all held a four year college degree, have answered a call of God on their life, have personally sacrificed earthly comforts and possessions and are living a life of faith often with small children in tow traveling from place to place. They deserve the best in my book. Few if any would comment about any short-comings of the church because they are trying to be a blessing and saying one thing cross-wise might loose them all hope of support. I don't offer advice but if asked about meals or arrangements that seem sub-par for one of God's churches I will tactfully explain how things may be improved upon in the future. The pastors I have spoken with seem to appreciate the honest suggestions. Maybe I can do this because of 23 years of pastoral experience.
     Now we have met some wonderful pastors and members who have really gone out of their way in accommodations and being a blessing. Their buildings are clean and well kept. They are expecting us and are prepared. They are not treating having a missionary in as something they 'have
 to do' because they are a church. There is an air of expectation. They are a true joy! Here's hopeing their numbers increase. Just saying.


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