The other day I was talking with a friend that was helping me brainstorm creative solutions to some roadblocks we are having with our BAM (Business as Mission) in Southeast Asia. In the midst of this conversation, she made a comment that rattled me for a bit.

She said, “you know, for many American women you have a dream job.

A dream job? That hit me. As soon as I heard her say it, I knew it would take me a while to process.

More of a Nightmare Really

Later that day, I was in the workroom of our office cleaning a mosquito-infested, dirty bathroom, and my mind wandered back to her statement. Dream job?

I thought about all the frustrations and uphill battles I’ve fought day after day, month after month, for years to get our BAM where it is today. Dream job?

I went out in our city the next day and saw so many injustices, too hard to process emotionally or mentally, unfolding right in front of me on the streets. Dream job?

I thought about all the years we’ve spent away from our family, including our son who now lives back in the States. Dream job?

Why Not?

Our work here isn’t what I’d expect anyone to describe if asked about their dream job, but then I thought, “why not?” Shouldn’t I hope that this type of work would become everyone’s dream job?

Last night, I sat and talked with a lady that works for our BAM about several difficult transitions she’s dealt with during the Covid-19 lockdown. She’s had a rough life, but she said when we talk, she hears hope, and no one else talks to her like that. She’s going to come over for dinner tomorrow night. Dream job!

Weekly, if not daily, we hear about those in need in our community. Moms and Dads become ill and have no money to go to the doctor. Kids need help in school. Brothers get into motorcycle accidents. Sisters and daughters are given away in arranged marriages to someone they don’t know and need support. Grandmas wander off and need to be found. Neighbors argue and need mediators. We are here to step in and help share hope in seemingly hopeless situations because our BAM allows us to live here. Dream job!

We’ve been told that many here thought foreigners were all the same, and not in a good way. Now after meeting us they understand that stereotype is not true, and that foreigners can be good people. Dream job!

More Than a Yacht

When I was younger, my dream job always seemed to include a yacht in the picture somewhere. It never included cleaning bathrooms, feeling incompetent, living in another culture while trying to start a business, intense conversations about life’s hardships, and seeing horrific injustices everywhere around me. None of that is “dreamy” in any way.

I’ve realized though, that when life is about people more than it’s about things, my dream job will be very different than what others might normally think it would be. When people are what matters in this life, a cross-cultural BAM business becomes the perfect job. A dream job!

How About You?

So here’s a challenge for you. What’s your dream job? Is it about getting to the top of a corporate ladder? If you’re already at the top, or maybe close to it, then how can you leverage your current position to focus on people and not just things? If you’re climbing that ladder, what’s at the top? Is it more monetary gain? Is that what’s important? Consider the goals you’re reaching for and why.

We can’t lose sight of the most important reason why we are on this earth: to worship God and love and serve our neighbor. Living for the other person’s good is the ultimate dream job, even if it comes with days that are difficult and messy. 

It is a dream come true to live my life with those in our community, and to serve them with the hope of Jesus and a brighter future! My dream job isn’t about having a yacht (although I’d still take one!), it’s about having a heart as big as a yacht to reach out and help those around me.