Life in Community

I find that people often comment on what we as the McCropders are doing. It's different, and unique. It catches attention and piques interest, and it's fun for us to get to share our story with so many who are interested. Most of you reading this post already know our story, so I won't elaborate more. But I did want to talk a bit about what it means for all of us to be pursuing God's calling as a community instead of individuals.
There are plusses and minuses to community, a chance to get to know the good parts and bad parts of each other. Some silly things: you've heard of the term “airing out our dirty laundry,” I'm sure. Well, we all air out our clean laundry on the line together. I know exactly what kind of underwear every McCropder wears, which is a little more than I know about most people! When one kid gets sick, there's a good chance the other 4 will get sick. Abi and Maggie most days would rather spend time in each others' house than their own, and we are constantly chasing them down to bring them to the proper home.

The best parts of community are, well, the community. Adjusting to life at Tenwek has not been as difficult as most of us anticipated, and that's primarily due to the fact that there are three families—we all know each other, we're friends, we're sharing similar experiences coming from similar cultures, and we can talk about our triumphs and failures and frustrations with people who know exactly where we're coming from. We can talk about people and places back home with others who know what we're talking about. We can worship together, pray together, listen to Knox sermons together. And we feel that as a community of 6 adults, we can accomplish more than if we were 6 separate adults. Jess and Heather are fantastic at watching Maggie if I have to go in emergently for work. If I'm in the middle of a surgery and get “stuck,” Jason is there to help. When Eric and I get terrible pinkeye, John comes down and gives us eye drops. :)

When we first started talking about the McCropder concept, some people warned us about the downsides to community. One man warned about the “ideal” of community, the desire to have everything work out perfectly, destroying the members of the community. Many warned about being “exclusive” or clique-y and not reaching outside our group to get to know other missionaries, or other people we serve and interact with on a daily basis. Decisions get made much slower when 6 people have to agree. We can split the cost of a van between 3 families, but what happens when we want to go to 3 different destinations on the same day?

But I have to say, so far, our McCropder community has been a total blessing to me, and has been better than I could have hoped for. On days like today, when the only McCropders left at Tenwek are Maggie and me, I miss the community that we share! We thank all of you for your prayers in helping us grow together in community. Please keep praying as we have big decisions coming up on where to go next, trying to make our decision as the McCropders and not as individuals. We'll keep you updated!


Anonymous said...

Will do!

Sandy said...

I really like this update and had been wondering about this aspect of your adventure. Life in Community. Thanks for the great post!