Things Missionaries Do: Thinking Creatively

God Will Make A Way

Before our furlough over the summer, we were starting to look at bigger flats (aka apartments) to live in. There are five of us, and with a living space of around 680 square feet, sometimes it can feel crowded. But God made it very clear when we got home in early September that we shouldn’t move. So we started asking God to help us make our place easier to live in. Through prayer, and many “Tiny House” pinterest boards, we started to see some small changes we could make that would yield significant rewards in space and use in our home. God even gave us some original ideas that have had Travis working tirelessly (or actually the opposite) in our friend’s man cave making space saving furniture.

Not (Just) A Bunch Of Weirdos

Have you ever visited the home of a missionary and thought, “Why do they do things that way?” I can confidently say on behalf of many missionaries, we don’t do things strangely without reason. There is a lot of time and thought that goes into everything we do in our homes. Missionaries need to think creatively. We have to be efficient with our time and money. We need to be able to comfortably smash as many people into our homes as we can. We also have to be able to host people in a way that they can get what they need without worrying about their small children spilling hot coffee on themselves. Many times we can’t afford new things so we buy used things and try to make them fit into our lives. If you want to be a missionary, you need to accept that your house isn’t going to be normal by any cultural standard. Our house would seem strange to an American, but to a Greek it isn’t quite right either.

Making A Home With Ministry In Mind

Our goals are to fill our home with love, to make people feel welcome when they are in it, and missed when they leave.

The kids room has to serve as a play room for visiting children while their parents spend time with us in the living room doing marriage counseling, or just hanging out. Our rug has to be clean at all times in case a friend with a crawling infant stops by. The rug is very important, because culturally it is important to Greeks. Our living room has to double as a guest bedroom. We have it so our television (which someone else purchased for us) is able to disappear. It is on a hinge that folds against the wall, because sometimes our house also serves as a place for bible studies or discipling sessions and we don’t want it to be a distraction.

We don’t have curtains because they are not that high on our priority list as far as finances for fabric. Things like that used to bother me, but I honestly don’t mind anymore.

I have learned how to repurpose clothes, to the point that people donate clothes to me, knowing I will take them apart and make something completely different out of them. If I’m being honest with myself, if I still lived in the US, I wouldn’t bother learning to repurpose clothes. I would still order them used online and alter them though. My mother taught me how to find the best deal possible, and that is a skill I still use on a daily basis.

missionary hack dryer and chair storage

Let me leave you with one more example of why missionaries tend to be strange and creative. In Greece many people do not have dryers. We are among that majority. In the winter it gets very cold and line drying can take days. We could lay a few clothes on our radiator, but then it doesn’t efficiently heat our room. So here is the solution my husband came up with after looking at this “portable closet” on a Tiny House Pinterest board. There is a hook on the wall to hang up an extra chair (the more seating the better in a missionary house), which also serves as a drying rack during the winter when it is opened.

I love our home, and I love our lives. Fitting as many people in our home and our hearts as we can is a blessing. In Greek there is a saying that I feel perfectly explains the role our home should play as Christians and especially missionaries, “όλοι οι καλοί χωράνε,” which means all the good [people] fit. In other words, what is a little crowding among friends.

Sincerely Adorned,