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An Ex-Pat Life

December 2, 2012

In most instances, missionaries are isolated and serve only the people native to the area in which God has sent them.  Or, at least that is part of my definition of a “real missionary.”  In reality, missionaries come in every form and serve all sorts of people in every which way God orchestrates.

However, there is another type of person that lives all over the world.  They are ex-pats.  Short for ex-patriots, meaning people that have left their home country to live in someone else’s.  The blanket statement is that these people typically work for either their home country’s government, or they work for an NGO (non-government organization).  Yes, one can get a random job in a different country than their own, but that is pretty rare in countries with stats like DR Congo’s.

In a city like Kinshasa, we have few people here for fun, so many ex-pats tend to run in the same circles.  It’s not that we are trying to keep our cultures separate from the Congolese, but rather, sometimes, the time spent with people with a similar background restores sanity you didn’t know was lost.  It is also relaxing to speak your home language.

So, the Christian circle is even smaller than the generic ex-pat circle here in Kin, but it is big enough that not everyone knows the other.  And we are all here serving a purpose, whether it is as a missionary, or a specific job, so we keep busy enough that we can’t party it up together all the time.

But when we do get together, it is so fun.  The Bible study on Tuesday nights that Matthew and I have been attending has really been one of our favorite non-Congolese experiences thus far.  We’re all about the same age, though most nights Matthew and I have the most number of children and have been married the longest (weird…so weird).  The best part for us is getting to know even more cultures.

At our Bible study Christmas party last week (combining two different Tuesday night groups), we had five countries represented, and the number that the different people, especially the government workers, had lived in would’ve probably numbered into the 30’s.  In our Bible study group alone, there are six or seven Americans, three Canadians, a British couple, and recently a Nederlander.

The British couple (who read this blog…hi Clare!) have been really fun to get to know.  She is preggo with baby #1 and will soon be returning to London, so sad.  But, to sit in a room with Canadians (Nick and Jocelyn, particularly) and Britons, all the same age and same stages in life and discuss things like politics and religion…well, what can be more entertaining than that?  We can compare idioms and strange cultural differences, and yet discuss how living here in the Congo is challenging to our culture’s way of thinking.

Anyway, with all of the posts about our interactions with the wonderful Congolese people, I thought it was only fair to let you know that our horizons are quite broad…and it is so. fun.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny Marrs permalink
    December 5, 2012 0829

    I love reading about your life in Kinshasa! So glad I’ve found your blog!:-) I can imagine that it is very helpful to have an ex-pat community in order to have a little piece of “home” abroad. So excited to read more!:)

  2. A Nielsen permalink
    December 5, 2012 0829

    I thought you guys were living in Kisangani, or is that the other couple, Nick and Jocelyn?

    • December 5, 2012 0829

      MAF doesn’t currently have a base in Kisangani – we are both here in Kinshasa. Mind if I ask how you know of us?

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