There are two things you need to know about missionaries:
1. You should always support them.
2. You should never complain around them.
The first one is pretty obvious: They need our money and our prayers to go serve wherever it is God has called them. The second one is a little more subtle but equally true.
Because even if your missionary friend is quiet and never judgmental, I have to suspect that when you say, “My hot water heater broke, and I had to take a cold shower this morning,” he’s secretly thinking, “Water? I remember water. It’s that wet stuff that comes out of pipes sometimes, right? I saw a picture of it in the book we have in the desert schoolhouse I teach in, and it reminded me that I had not yet taken a shower this month. But perhaps I will walk into the city next week and see if one of our host families will empty a plastic bottle of gray-colored water on my head. That would be nice, I think.
What was that you were saying about your hot water heater? You had to call a plumber after you looked up his number on the internet while eating a sandwich in your house that didn’t have snakes regularly coming in through the holes in the wall? No please, go on, I am riveted by this tale of survival and hardship you are spinning, much like the black widow spiders I routinely sweep off my dirt floor or ‘bed’ if you will. Please do go on.”
What complaints do you have that most missionaries would be glad to put up with?
(This originally appeared in the Stuff Christians Like book. If you want to pick up a copy, click here!)