Ten Things I Never Thought I Would Do

Ten years ago, the only missions experience I had was spending a week in a shelter for the homeless during my senior year of college. I had never left the United States, unless you count a couple of hours at Niagara Falls during my high school senior trip. I had no idea then, that I would be here now.

I’ve done a lot of things here––some smart and creative and some, well, otherwise––that I never, ever, ever thought I would do. I didn’t just think of those things and scoff and say “I would never do that.” I didn’t think of them AT ALL!

1. Whack baby cockroaches on the counter with my fist in rapid motion, like a real-life Whack-A-Mole game! (I am afraid of cockroaches, so this is whack-a-moleVERY out of character for me, but sometimes enough is enough.) If you run to get a shoe or some bug spray, it is always too late and they’ve escaped.

2. Learn to like powdered milk. I am way ahead of my family in this area.

3. See and greet men with automatic weapons on my street as if it is normal. Isn’t it?

4. Make my own sausage.

5. Give my child worm medicine, as in the same stuff we give our cats and dogs in the states, routinely.

6. Intentionally leave money in my pockets in hope that the smell will come out in the wash.

7. Cut my own hair.

8. Pick up a crying child who was not my own and was covered in his own waste without gagging.

9. Ride in the back seat of a car holding my child’s leg in the air to slow the bleeding while driving to a third world medical clinic (see Daniel’s Bottle Bucket Battle).

10. Eat cheese that smells like dirty gym socks. The orphan in item number 8 didn’t make me gag, but the cheese did.

Some of these experiences were once and for all. Some are experiences I will have repeatedly. The cool thing is that all of them have had an impact on me. Sometimes they revealed hidden strengths. Sometimes they revealed uglier traits that I had not seen in myself before and had to ask God to change in me. Sometimes, they made me laugh at myself, which is not a bad thing at all.

By the way, Whack-A-Roach can be a very effective way to vent stress and anger. No one gets yelled at, and there are fewer bugs in the house. Not that I’m saying you should try it or anything, but if you want to give it a try, you can come to my house!

How about you? What sorts of things have you done that you never thought you would?


  • Mark Snowden says:

    ::Get to steer an MAF plane around a thunderhead in West Africa.
    ::Spend the equivalent of US$1.82 on a three course meal and it cover three grown men in Central Asia.
    ::Share the gospel with an entire mountain top village that had not yet heard the gospel in Central America.

    • Nancy Burton says:

      “Share the gospel with an entire mountain top village that had not yet heard the gospel in Central America.” That must have been amazing! An experience to treasure! Thanks for sharing.

  • Aaron Bynum says:

    Most of that sounds fairly routine (I grew up as an MK in Bolivia). I was actually stumped the first time I had tea when we got back to the U.S. There were no ants floating on the top for me to pick off (ants love sugar bowls).

    • Nancy Burton says:

      Hi, Aaron! It’s routine for me now, but only recently so. This is our first term and we are still getting used to a lot of stuff and experiencing new things on a regular basis.

  • Tell an MAF pilot that it is okay to leave our team in the middle of a jungle in Papua New Guinea if the helicopter can’t get through the cloud cover; that we would rather spend the night hoping for clear skies in the morning than to have the airplane come back to get us. It didn’t, and we did! (7 June 2012; Fiyawana airstrip, waiting for NTMA helicopter)

  • Hello there, just wanted to thank you for the articles on your site.
    My significant other and I realize this isn’t the latest writing, then again it felt like the right spot to comment. haha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *