Saturday, April 29, 2006

Why is M for Mud Guy?

Who am I?
My name is Jeff Dunson and I am a missionary in Porto Alegre, Brazil with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. I have one lovely and wonderful wife named Cam and two active boys. Blake is 6 and Parker is almost 2. We have served in Brazil since the year 2000.

As a member of "Team Gaucho" (a Gaucho is a Brazilian cowboy), my main responsibility is to start new churches in a way that new Christians in those churches can reproduce themselves, and thereby start new churches on their own, as well as to teach others to do the same.

So why is this blog called M is for Mud Guy?
And who on earth would call themselves "Mud Guy" anyway? As far as the "M" goes, it is short for "missionary" in most religious blogging circles, and is used because of the necessity of increased security for many of us living in cultures which are hostile to Christian influence.

The "mud guy" part will take a little longer to explain. Our first term of service was spent in the Northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhao. I had the privilege of ministering to and with wonderful people in extremely rugged third-world conditions in the swamps and forests of the Brazilian Amazon. On one very trying day, the head of the Baptist Association that I was working with spoke of the many different support roles that people had in the development of the work in that area. And then he concluded by saying, "but you and me, we're the mud guys", meaning that we were the ones with dirty hands where ministry was really happening. I have carried that simple statement it in my heart as both a badge of honor and as a reminder of what God has called me to and what is really important. It has been a check on my attitudes and motives many times.

We have now moved from the wild rural jungle of Northeast Brazil to the urban jungle of a vast urban area in South Brazil, but M is still for Mud Guy (perhaps because nobody has called me "asphalt guy" yet, and anyway, it wouldn't sound as cool).

So why Blog?
My goal is twofold. First, to personalize missions. I had a volunteer tell me that he had some idea of the challenges missionaries face, but had no idea what we do - he thought we sat under a tree somewhere and waited for people to come talk to us!
(Ah, if only it were that easy....) At the risk of demystifying missionaries and missions, I'd like to let you know what it's really like.

Second, I want to inform you how you can be involved in our ministry through prayer. Time and time again, we have seen God answer the prayers of His people when they were informed on how to pray in a timely and informed way. We serve in a very tough area, and we need your help in taking the needs of our ministry before God's throne and interceding for us!

Thanks for taking the time to read this - I'll do my best to post regularly. I welcome your comments. To make a comment, simply click on the underlined word "comments" below, fill out the little form (don't let this scare you off), and type away - I'd LOVE to hear from you.