Editorial: January 2020

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As 2019 gives way to 2020, does your life still seem normal, or are you catching a fresh glimpse of how varied and extraordinary is the kaleidoscope of human experience on this blue dot we call earth?

Missions has a way of reminding us that the term “normal” rapidly loses its meaning as we broaden our view. Here are a few snapshots of “normal” life from the articles in this issue of Adventist Frontiers:

In the Philippines, Palawano people normally know to beware of murderous spirits taking the form of dancing cats (p. 11), and everyone knows that love spells often lead to insanity (p. 27). Also in southeast Asia, it is normal to see spirit houses alongside homes (p. 24). No expense or care is spared to keep Grandpa’s ghost happy so he doesn’t inflict misfortune or even death on his living loved ones.
Do you ever worry about catching a cold? Normal health concerns in the mission field include chronic, untreated tuberculosis (p. 28). And if you happen to be impaled by a pig spear during an argument in rural Papua New Guinea, medical help is normally a six-hour motor canoe ride, two-hour transit to the highway and four-hour ambulance drive away (p. 32).

But in the midst of this “normal” that can seem so exotic to us, AFM missionaries minister in ways that are very familiar. They build friendships with convenience-store clerks (p. 34). They spend time and pray for friends who are hurting (p. 45). They invest in children (p. 8, 27).

Into this colorful, bizarre tapestry of “normal,” we recently launched three new missionary families, the Rivers (p. 6), Alemans (p. 10) and Stroias (p. 46). May God use you to guide unreached hearts to a new normal of faith and joy in their Redeemer.

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