Guest Blogger: Randy
My birthday was on Sunday, September 19. What I wanted for my birthday was to hang out with friends. So, I threw my own party. I was not sure who to invite. My list kept getting longer. I started out with all the AIM missionaries. Then I invited the AMI staff. (Most of them are not AIM missionaries.) Because of the size of our house I had to stop at that. I had wanted to invite our guard and his wife, our language helpers and another missionary family, but there was no more room. I really did not want everyone to be vahzah (foreigners) but the Malagasy AMI staff could not make it and so it turned out to be that anyway.
Between our house and AMI there is a new bakery that makes the best baguettes. They are also a pizzeria and make special order cakes too. In order to reduce the work for the party I decided to order pizzas and cakes from there. Besides, they had a special buy 2 get one free deal on Sundays.
I stopped by the bakery on my way home from work one night to order the pizzas and cakes and I met the owner, a Frenchman named Nicholos. (Previously I had only met the Malagasy who worked for him.) Nicholos is a philosopher about his pizza. He basically serves one pizza and believes you should like it. You can't really order a plain pizza. I did manage to get him to leave off the large chunks of vegetables. (Smaller pieces were already mixed into the 'mix' that is his pizza.) And then as we talked he would say – but we do have another kind of pizza – and then he would wax philosophical about that one. After I agreed to try 2 of those he mentioned that there was yet another kind of pizza....I stuck with the first two kinds. (The second one I really liked. Don't ask me to explain it. It had some kind of crème fraiche and bacon on it.)
Nicholos's English is about as good as my French so we would keep switching between the two. For about a week I kept running into him – at the market, at his bakery, etc. He insisted that I come by for a cake sampling before I actually pick up the cakes. He would offer me free fruit drinks to try. It was great.
In the end I had 6 pizzas and 2 cakes delivered to our house. But since it is really hard to explain how to get to our house – and there are no street names or American type addresses to speak of – I had to take some friends and meet the delivery people about a 10 minutes walk away from the house at a church that everyone knew the location of.
The people who ended up attending my party consisted of a Korean woman and her 3 boys (her husband wanted to come but was busy with another short term missions team), four single Korean women, a Dutch woman, an Austrian woman, two Canadian women, our family and one single South African guy.
Now I mention this because it illustrates something. There is a derth of single men in missions. The other AIM missionaries who live around here who could not come are either married couples or single women. At our training at AIM's headquarters there were two single women training with us. The cover story of one of the mission magazines here in the house says “Where are the Men?”. Maybe you know the answer to this. Maybe some of the reasons have to do with linguistics – women generally do better with language and communication than men. Maybe learning a foreign language scares men more than women? Maybe it has to do with all the reasons that “Men Hate Going to Church” (see the book). Maybe it has to do with the way western culture has been in the past – men in the workplace – women at home (which if they're not married might free them up to go overseas???). And somehow now that women are not at home it still effects things? I don't know. Maybe with all the single women in missions single guys get hitched soon after starting? Again – I really don't know. If you're a single guy – have you considered foreign missions? (Do you play the piano?)