ACEs and OHs


My friends’ car flipped the other day while driving between cities. Because they live abroad–in a nation I love–getting the help they needed took extra time.

Getting proper medical care took time. Replacing the bifocals for one of them took weeks.

This is what I call an OH: an Ordinary Horror. We have them at home but missionaries seem to have them more abroad, and without the support we have at home.

So why are missionaries such nuts?

My current theory involves 3 parts:

1. God calls a particular kind of person who is uniquely gifted for this role. More often than not, a sort of abnormal person.

2. This abnormal person is a sinner with a past, present, and future in a fallen world. Check out the statistics on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) if you doubt the prevalence of messiness in the lives of North Americans.

3. This abnormal person, called by God and growing through ACEs, then faces Ordinary Horrors  (OHs) on the field.

These elements combine to make the kind of individual that… cannot be called anything but a missionary.

A cross-cultural worker?

It just doesn’t pass muster.

It is a strange vocation that cannot be explained or excused.

It is, quite frankly, offensive. Not even at the micro-level. At the old-fashioned I-challenge-you-to-a-duel level. (Smack!)

In any case, it all comes back to Christ. Who is he? What has he done? What does that mean for me?

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the autorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12

– Sister Still

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