A look into Allison Montgomery's Missions journal
February 2, 2009
One of the hardest things I had to do was smile at a little girl. We stood by her home in La Chureka. It’s the city dump of Managua where a couple thousand people live, managing to survive off of the rejected waste of the rest of the city inhabitants. Her home was made of garbage standing in garbage, and I had the nerve to try to be happy. How could I smile when I stood there by choice in a place that she was born into? But when I allowed myself to give her a smile her face broke into a pure look of joy, I guess it doesn’t matter where we live, we can still live with hope and happiness. But then I think of all the people back home who are drowning in their possessions—possessions that will one day rot away to add to this girl’s home. I am unsatisfied, always wanting more things. I am unsatisfied because I always want more things.
August 2, 2010
I was talking to my friend Deepak tonight and told him that if he ever found himself in Vancouver he would have a home to stay in. He smiled sweetly, but shook his head—“No…you see for you the world is a very big place; but for me it is very small.” It’s time for goodbyes.
May 5, 2011
Today Van, the Van Man, came to the orphanage. He’s an old quirky (actually outright weird) American missionary with a van, who takes the kids out on day trips. Today he was taking us to the jungle. Once we were settled—23 children and 4 adults in his 12-passenger van—we realized the van wouldn’t start. So as we waited, crammed with 3 layers of kids on top of us, he rolled the van down the mountain of Mixco. Backwards. I was terrified, but sure enough the van eventually started. Then I was exhilarated, and realized that life can never truly be appreciated until I recognize that none of it is mine—none of it is safe. We’re only just getting started when everything starts going backwards.
May 21, 2011
Mid-air. Departing Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Lessons learned in Guat:1. You can go 5 days without showering. 2. Cockroaches won’t kill you, and bed bug bites itch like none other, but you live through it. 3. Real people still love you if you wear the same clothes every day. 4. You really are more cool with Brazilian sandals. 5. All material things are replaceable. 6. Even though some children have been hurt, no matter how much, they still have a great capacity to love. 7. Some stereotypes are true. The diet of Guatemala really is rice and beans.
May 6, 2012
Koh Chang, Thailand
Walking along the path from our hut down to the beach, we passed an old white man I had seen around for the past couple days. He had been with a young Thai girl the whole time. I heard about and studied the sex industry of Thailand before coming here, but it hits you differently when it’s actually right in front of you. It’s a broken world, with people exchanging money for the innocence of another human being. But as I saw the man and girl walking along, I saw him reach out to hold her hand. She quickly pulled her hand away pretending to fix her hair to avoid him. He was paying money to own her for those few days, but he was searching for true intimacy and even hoping for some sign of romantic affection. We have seen a lot of single American males with single Thai girls, awkwardly sitting on the boat together, unable to really communicate across their language barriers. Barriers of brokenness- these girls aren’t the only ones with them.
January 27, 2013
I realize there are needs locally. There are hurting people all around us. But I can’t force myself to stay put. I’m obsessive about travel. Ever since coming home I have had it on my mind that I need to buy a legit Argentinian gourd mug, for maté tea. Then I realized the only reason I wanted it was because of the friends who initially shared it with me, and that interaction with their culture. Those relationships I’ve made with locals and fellow backpackers are formed into deep relationships, and we’d only spent a day together. It’s because we are put in vulnerable positions where we share in the uncertainty of adventure that we grow so close so fast—intimacy on a deadline. When you roll off that cliff of a routine lifestyle, you can’t help but feel alive.