Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Camel Livers. Clabbered Milk.

I wrote on Monday that we had a missionary couple with us in church on Sunday and then at our house afterward for lunch.

As I was thinking through the menu earlier in the week, I started stressing just a tad thinking, “Hmmm. I wonder what they like to eat. I wonder if there are certain dishes they don’t care for.”

And then it occurred to me. These are missionaries. To Africa. They have been missionaries for thirty-four years, for Pete’s sake. They probably aren’t extremely picky.

And they weren’t. They ate my humble meal with joy and appreciation.

However, as I doing some last minute lunch prep and we were all chatting, I couldn’t resist asking Bob, “So is there anything you really do not care to eat?”

He thought briefly and then responded, “Camel livers.” And Murriell answered, “Clabbered (curdled, sour) goat’s milk.”

They had been served both of those things in their long tenure in Africa, along with numerous other “interesting” dishes. When we asked what the ramifications were of turning down food, they said something quite surprising. (I had always thought a missionary had to eat or drink anything that was offered for fear of offending the very people with whom they were trying to build relationships.)

However, they said there was actually one people group they worked with who put an extremely high priority on honesty. And so, if the McCulleys were offered something to eat that they didn’t like and ate it anyway, then that would be highly offensive to them. Quite interesting to learn!

Anyway, I informed Bob and Murriell that we were fresh out of camel livers and clabbered goat’s milk and hoped that chicken scampi would be okay instead.

They didn’t even seem to miss the livers or milk. Imagine that!

And just because I think it’s good for all of us to occasionally to take a step or two away from our comfort zones and learn about people who live in a much different world than we do, here are a few McCulley photos which show both their dedicated lifestyles and the precious African people they have given their lives to reach.

Both of the McCulleys are heavily involved in education in Africa, traveling extensively to teach, lecture, mentor, work with schools and seminaries, and even write and create curriculum.

Slide9

Slide2-1 Slide4-1

Something that especially caught my attention during their presentation on Sunday were the pictures of the house they’re building in Africa. The house’s “core” is a metal shipping container which Bob said was a great thing to have around their bed when the bullets started flying at night.

Slide4

The house with a bit more work completed on it.

Slide5

Here’s Bob with the vehicle that the American teenagers of our denomination provided through their donations.

That truck has been the “star” of some amazing, heart gripping stories.

Slide2

And finally, here are the two of them, doing what they do best—sowing their lives into people half a world away.

Slide8-1

Our family was so honored to have the chance to spend time with the two of them. I was especially thankful that Sarah got to sit at the dinner table and listen to real heroes tell real stories of hardship and joy and fulfillment and miracles. Indiana Jones and the Iron Man really have to wear the “hero cape” pretty lightly when they get put in the same line up as the McCulleys. They’re such an inspiration and an example of what it means to live our lives for others.

Even when it sometimes does involve camel livers. And clabbered milk.

________________

As an interesting postscript, we found out on Sunday that Bob preached his first sermon in Manteo over forty years ago. (He said it was a terrible sermon.) Also, Bob proposed to Murriell in Manteo--he said it wasn't his first proposal to her, but it was the one she (finally) accepted.

11 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Whitney said...

I really enjoyed hearing about your visit with the McCulleys, and especially seeing some of their photos. The house with the container is quite ingenious! I have an aunt and uncle who are also missionaries in Africa - in the Congo (DRC). I grew up watching their home movies and looking at their photos from Africa over the years. It's not an easy life, but like the McCulleys, they are devoted to their work there.

Anonymous said...

It's always so interesting to me to hear about the lives of people such as the McCulleys, sure it was great for Sarah too. It does make you appreciate what you have as well as want to get out more into the world and see it for yourself.

I wish I had your happiness for decluttering but I most definitely enjoy the result. It's amazing to me with both girls gone how neat our house stays, that part I like a lot.

Hope you are continuing to improve, take care -

Jean C.

MaryH said...

What a wonderful story - I would love to hear more.

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