Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Holy Heresies

Kasana and I both unknowingly wrote posts about this topic at the same time.  Kasana was having trouble accessing the post though so for now, I'll just post mine.  Hopefully, Kasana will be able to put hers up soon.

Image result for holy heresies lies pks believe
My family and the Anderson family recently went on a week-long trip together.  Auntie Tiff, Jensen and Kasana’s mom, had a book with her about the lies that PKs and MKs believe.  While playing Settlers of Catan, we overheard our moms talking about this book.  Of course, we had to examine this book and see if it was true or not.  After looking it over, we all laughed and spent the rest of the week constantly referring to these “holy heresies”. 

For example, Kasana, Catriona, and I were sorting rice but none of us were very confident on the “proper” Ugandan way to do it.  You are supposed to put it in a basket and toss it up and down and blow so the chaff blows away.  Instead we picked through it but then Kasana said, “I should know how to do this.”  And I said, “Because you should be perfect and if you aren’t then you might ruin your dad’s ministry.”  Then we burst out laughing.  Another comment this book made was that sarcasm is the second language of PKs and MKs.  Noooo, of course not.  Me? Sarcastic? Never. 

Annet teaching me some Ugandan cooking skills
Although we spent the whole week making fun of this book, there is some truth in it (especially about the sarcasm).  For me, I wouldn’t admit feeling these things, but it makes sense when I think about some of the things I do.  For example, “I should know this already.” Personally, I struggle with this one.  I feel guilty when I don’t know the answer to the Bible question.  I feel embarrassed when I don’t know how to cut the cassava at the family group.  I feel ignorant when people talk about a musician or actor who I have never heard of before.  The book said that if MKs took the word “should” out of their vocabulary, they’d only say half as much.  I don’t think I say it that much but it is something that I feel frequently. 

I know that I shouldn’t (there’s the word again) feel this way.  I know that there is no reason why I should know all these things, but the truth is it does come up.  I don’t even know why.  Maybe it’s because I think that since I live in two cultures I should know everything from both.  Maybe it’s because everyone expects a missionary kid to know every single Bible story and fact.

Although this book was addressed specifically to MKs and PKs, I think that everyone believes these to some extent.  Even in pre-Uganda days, I always wanted to be perfect.  I expected to know the answers to every question.  I think that living here has actually brought these to the surface and humbled me.  I realize that I don’t really know all the answers.  I know that I make cultural mistakes.  I recognize that there are many things that I don’t know how to do. So although the book faced a lot of jokes from us, it has definitely been helpful in pinpointing some of the things I sub-consciously believe.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Each minute we live and breathe we are caught. Caught between languages, between cultures, between skin colours, between countries, between continents. On one side, we blend in easily, we remain indistinct and no one notices us, but on the other side, we still want to blend in, to remain indistinct, to not draw attention to our selves, but it is impossible.

Once, my high-school aged missionary kids and I were hanging out waiting for worship practice to start. But there was a school visiting and as they left, all of the kids stared at us.  One of us commented, "This is how celebrities feel." and another one of us said "This feels like I'm an animal in a zoo." Two ways of looking at it...but we are caught, caught between wanting to blend in and the reality that we will standout in this "home" (to whatever extent that word applies) no matter how hard we try.

We are constantly caught between wanting to speak Luganda fluently, go to school with our friends, live lives like theirs but we never will. We don't have the right accent. We can't jump into the Ugandan school system now, we will probably have a larger house, a computer or a phone that our friends don't have. We will be inconvenienced when there is no running water, although for our friends they have never had it and never miss it. We are caught in the "home" in which we currently reside.

But back there...to the lands of electronics, hot showers, running water, strawberries and grapes we are still caught. Because we have friends there and friends here. We will never have them all in the same place. We know a bit of a language that only a few people in that land know. We have funny expressions, we get excited about eating things like...grapes...and ground beef twice a week. We know what starving looks like. We know what poverty is. Something that some of our friends in our "home" may not know.

So we are caught, between the two worlds in which we live. Caught between wanting to bring everyone we love together from both sides of the world no matter where they currently reside. Caught between  wanting to running away from this complex, foreign culture in which we live to go to our "own" and staying in the place that we love. Caught not knowing where we belong with our strange ways of speaking, our mixed English-Luganda, our mixed culture, our mixed life.

I don't know what I'm trying to say in this. I don't want it to conjure up a bunch of sympathy for the poor missionary kids dragged around the world by their parents to foreign countries just to be lost in every culture. 

I guess I'm saying that me, Kara, Kasana, Brevin, Jensen, Jeremiah, Christina, and all of the other missionary kids, we will never fit in. We will always be part-Ugandan-part Canadian/American/British/whatever else. Sometimes that is brutally hard, because we are caught in places where we really just wish we could fit in. But I think it is also an amazing gift, a diamond in the rough. To be caught in uncertainty to rely fully on our Creator, because to Him, it doesn't matter if we are Ugandan, Canadian, American or a combination. We are constantly caught, but I don't think it is always bad, because we have to lean on Him more, to trust in Him more, to realize that in uncertainty and when we are stretched, when we feel we don't even know our own culture, much less anyone elses, we know that we are headed to a place where we will never be caught between worlds and to a place where we will never be uncertain.