I just finished The Professor and the Madman about the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary. Besides being a great book, I got to read one more story about a missionary kid. Many years ago, Naomi (Liles) Crouse sent out a “Rights of Missionary Kids” list. It was a tongue-in-cheek list that started, if I remember correctly, with “Missionary kids have the right to be normal.” I took comfort in the list which purported to debunk the general view that missionary kids, now called third culture kids in a politically correct world, were strange in an unhealthy way. My experience, however, backs up the general stereotype. Yes, missionary kids are quirky and sinful needing God’s grace. I have also noted that single, second, fourth, and fifth culture kids are unique and sinful needing God’s grace. I am so happy to have the story given to me by my parents of living in another culture growing up a “stranger.” Without my purposeful decisions, I have learned to enjoy foods and life out of the ordinary. I still don’t like snakes, though.
None of my children were born or have lived most of their life overseas, yet each of them is unique, sinful and in need of God’s grace. Hadiah just turned 12. She states that she is in her 13th year. Our weekend was wonderful, mainly due to my wife. She worked out four horses to rent for 10 dollars each. So Saturday, we jumped lithely on the horses and rode off with the bugles trumpeting. We do make quite a scene, but I’ll work on adding the bugles part. The only sad part was that Hannah got scared off right as we loaded up leading to her staying behind. As the story unfolded, she turned out to be smart. Miriam, Hadiah, and Rebecca on their horses and Elle and I on our horse enjoyed the sun and trip up into the hills. The sun turned into mist, then into a drizzle and then into a downpour. We had two umbrellas, but we learned a valuable lesson about ponchos. We found a shack on the “ranch” owned by the hospital where Rebecca tried to lead the girls through calisthenics to keep them warm, but the girls ended up cuddling with me on a bench where we all shivered. Every once in a while, Rebecca and I had to go out into the downpour to yell and shoo off a stallion running free who wanted to bother all our male horses. Our horses ate grass happily with their backs turned to the wind. Once the downpour turned to a drizzle we loaded up again and came down out of the hills. The Sparks have blessed us many times with their house, and once again the hot baths and showers fed by gas heaters was very nice for everyone. I hope I can always remember Elle signing her heart out on the way up into the hills between asking to “drive” the horse and wondering why we weren’t running. She would constantly make her clucking noises to get the horse going and really enjoyed our short canter. Trotting was doable but kinda hard with a little one in front, I found out. The horses were well trained, and I mostly let her “drive” while I took pictures. Sunday, we made fresh raised doughnuts for the first time. Our lemon bars didn’t have enough fresh lemon in them, but they tasted good. We followed Hadiah’s set schedule and were blessed. By Tuesday, Hadiah had read her 400 page book, The Mysterious Benedict Society, given to her by the Smearsolls. Rebecca and I have no way of keeping up with her on her reading as she reads fast and has many more hours to spend reading. Rebecca is reading Augustine's Confessions with her and going through study questions, and my job is to read the supplemental book The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayer. The good news is that I've got a head start as Hadiah isn't to the supplemental reading part yet.