Yes, that’s what I said. Fun.
Dearest Trinity Bible College, you were one of the best things that ever happened to me, but you sadly deceived me about itineration. I was led to expect it to be one of the worst things that could ever happen to a poor, innocent little missionary, and instead I’m having the greatest time ever.
First of all, I get to travel all over Montana. I’ve lived here nearly my whole life, but I never fully realized how extraordinarily beautiful so much of it is. I drove the most breathtaking road in a blizzard along a narrow, long lake between Eureka and Troy (click small pictures for the larger version):
I drove under a sky between Roundup and Billings that made me realize why it’s called Big Sky Country.
I encountered all kinds of interesting buildings in all kinds of unexpected places.
I could upload a thousand more pictures. But what a magnificent time I’ve had driving.
And then, second of all, I get to do public speaking. Preaching, even.
Erm…shouldn’t I hate that? I’m supposed to hate that. I’m an introvert. Stereotypically, I should not like speaking in front of groups of people. But I love it.
I’m a good speaker. I can craft a good speech/sermon/presentation/message because I’m a good writer, and I’ve done enough acting that getting up in front of people has become easy. I know how to tailor my message to age groups, different group sizes, and the length required by any given church service, and I still love what I’m talking about. I tell people my story, quite honestly and transparently, and they love it. I bring them encouragement, inspiration, and a perspective that, quite frankly, most people have never considered. And of course I talk about missions in Europe, and most people have not thought much about that, either.
Third of all, I meet people. Honestly, that’s one of my least favorite parts. It’s one of the most difficult parts. I find it a trifle uncomfortable to meet new people and try to think up things to say to them. Someone is sure to monopolize me with a story about her hip surgery or what his nephew is studying at the University of Montana, and there is always a woman who asks how old I am and is shocked by the answer and always a man who says “It’s all Greek to me.”
But at the same time, some of my favorite memories are of people I have met. A young man in Cut Bank gave me my name in Gallifreyan (the language of the Time Lords in Doctor Who). A mother and daughter in Havre had truly lovely discussions about missions and literature with me. I went exploring antique stores in Laurel with a woman who, with her husband, opened their house to me for four nights. An old man in Thompson Falls who looked like Peter O’Toole flirted with me and gave me $1000, just because he could (I would have flirted back, but my flirting needs work; I’m not a flirter).
In between, I get a few days at home, in my own comfy bed, with my own washing machine and my own kitchen and my lovely bicycle, and I don’t have to do anything except paperwork, try to schedule more services, write thank-you notes, study Greek, read books, and write them. The traveling, speaking, meeting people, and conversation-making-with-strangers can get very tiring, but the days in between more than make up for it.
Three months in, itineration is grand.