12 December, 2007

Vegan Missionaries Find Certain Fields "Tough"

Dallas, Texas - Dellia Love is a vegan, a "raw vegan" to be precise. The word "vegan", which is taken from from the first and last syllables of the word "vegetarian" is a form of vegetarianism but differs in that vegans eat no animal by-products whatsoever. So as a vegan, Love not only refrains from eating any form of meat, but also from eating anything that comes from any living creature including milk and eggs. Furthermore as a "raw vegan" Love also does not eat any food that has been cooked above a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. So with such a strict diet, Love decided that the perfect way to spend her summer was on a missions trip to "the middle of nowhere."

After examining a number of different summer trips with different organizations, Love chose Mongolia for its "exotic flair."

"I was looking around on the internet at 3 in the morning and got really interested in Mongolia" said Love. "I thought, 'yeah Mongolia, it's so weird.' I just knew that's where I was like being called and stuff, yeah Mongolia, it's so exotic."

So Love proceeded to contact the mission agency offering the trip, filled out the required paperwork and raised her support to go. All seemed to be going well until, though, she arrived in Mongolia.

The team flew into the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and from there drove three hours to the remote village of Baala where the group stayed at the house of a small family of Christian believers.

"We were all starving when we arrived" said Love. "We hadn't eaten since the plane ride. The lady and the man whose names I can't remember, immediately started fixing us some food for dinner."

As it turns out the simple village family dutifully started preparing a small feast for their guests. The husband, whose name is Baat, began by slaughtering a goat and roasting it over a fire. He then proceeded to walk down to a small stream and catch five fish which he cleaned and cut into small raw pieces. In the meantime Oyon, his wife, went out to their chicken coop, killed three chickens, plucked them and began cooking them as she gathered several eggs to bake bread. Amazingly, within just about 1 hour the group sat down to a feast of goat, raw fish, chicken, bread, goat tongue, congealed and seasoned pig fat, boiled horse intestine and caviar. To wash it all down Oyon produced a Mongolian treat called Kymus, fermented mare's milk. While the other team members graciously began to eat what had been set before them, Love found herself in a bit of a dilemma.

"There wasn't a thing on the table that I could eat" said a frustrated Love. "They kept putting food in front of me, but I kept trying to tell them that I was a vegan. I pointed to the food and said it really loudly and slowly 'vegan, veee-gaaan' but they didn't seem to understand. They just kept encouraging me to eat."

Love's lack of Mongolian language skills coupled with the families lack of English language skills provided the perfect environment for a cultural misunderstanding to take place. And before long the Mongolian family had come to understand that "vegan" meant "sick" and quickly began to set out to find a remedy for their guest's illness.

Oyon left the table for a moment and returned with what appeared to be two recently severed chicken's feet. She then dipped the feet into some of the congealed pig's fat and took Love to a back room where she proceeded to try to spread the substance on her ears in an effort to remedy her sickness.

"I didn't know what this lady was doing" said Love. "She just kept trying to rub pig fat all over me with chicken feet."

Love resisted and "remedy" after "remedy" was presented to her. The family tried to get her to soak her feet in some of the kymus, all the while saying "vee-gaan, vee-gaan." They then attempted to get her to wrap up her throat with a rag soaked in a mixture of milk, egg and horse intestine oil.

As the evening wore on the situation became more and more frustrating for Love and her hosts. In the end, Love prevailed in resisting the "treatments" and dinner also. Still hungry, she managed to find a head of cabbage and finished it off before going to bed. Love spent the next two months in Mongolia living off of cabbage and raw potatoes.

"It was a miserable experience" said Love. "I'll never do it again. These people are barbaric. They don't eat any tofu or soy or anything. It's all just meat and dairy stuff."

Despite the bad experience, Love still has plans to keep trying at different mission fields.

"I'm not going back to Mongolia, I can tell you that for sure, but I'm seriously looking at some remote parts of Africa for next summer."

21 comments:

Jamesr said...

Same song, next verse...

Darrin said...

Good one. The natives had to minister to her. What a servant. She may need to settle on missions to California.

Fresnel said...

Perhaps the moon? She can live off the land eating sand-wiches there.

Seriously, I wonder what Jesus thought about coming to Earth, leaving the more sanitary conditions of heaven to slum with us "barbarians". If anyone had a right to be picky about his linens and culinary hygiene, it was Him. Yet, he forsook catering to himself so that He could live among us. Miss Love needs to find un-"barbaric" people she can serve--that is, who will come to her on her terms. Good luck with yeah, that exotic mission stuff!

Jamesr said...

Moon Sandwiches?

If the moon is made of green cheese (and of course we all know that it is), she's still going to have a problem!

And she might be assaulted by those jumping bovines escaping fiddle-playing cats, too! (Hey Diddle Diddle)

Thanks be to God for His Son coming here and living amongst us, dirt, pigs, and all.

Chris said...

I hope she never goes to west Africa. She would HATE the boiled beef intestines.

:/

CJ said...

Is something wrong with your site scripting?

The sidebars don't have any links to previous posts. I hadn't visited in a few weeks and wanted to read the back-posts.

Grace and peace.

Jamesr said...

Chris, you bring up a good point.

Perish the thought (pun intended) that the boiled intestines would be her own! Some folk can get pretty testy if you turn down their hospitality.

Anonymous said...

There are now several thousand full-time vegetarians in Mongolia. Different types of fresh, dehydrated and processed forms of tofu and soya products are easily available. There's even a vegetarian tour company: www.greentaratours.com and 5 vegetarian restaurants.

Sad that she had the wrong guides.

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Jamesr,

Rarely do I feel so compelled to be critical of one's comments, but suffice it to say that you've made three comments on one post and none of them seem to make the first bit of sense. I don't know if this is intentional or if there's some deeper meaning to your comments. For example...

Comment 1
"Same song, next verse..."

I have know idea what this is supposed to mean.


Comment 2
You go from talking about "green cheese" which I do NOT know what it's made of to a supposedly pious statement regarding Christ's first advent.

Comment 3
How in the world did anything Chris say even remotely allude to the idea that one would boiled for refusing hospitality?

If you're trying to be cute, then that's fine. But if you're actually making serious comments here, please take a moment and read a little better.

-Tom

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

CJ,

Everything appears fine on this end. Make sure you "refresh" a couple of times. If that doesn't seem to work try holding down "shift" and hitting "refresh."

The other solution is to make sure you visit our site Monday - Saturday.

;-)

-Tom

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Anon,

I love how people take these posts so seriously.

Yes, I'm well aware that there are vegan places in Mongolia. But I'm also aware that in many remote places of the world the people rely heavily upon animals and animal bi-products for survival. Since the fall, there are many cultures in many places around the world that could not have survived without the use of animals.

Let's face it, to live a vegan lifestyle often requires one of two things.

1. A geographical location with a long growing season, good soil and plenty of rain. Also other good sources of protein naturally and readily available.

2. A location that is modern or semi-modern which can import the products from the right geographical location.

Now I've never been to Mongolia proper, but I've been to the far east of Russia, just north of Mongolia, where the temperature reaches a balmy -40 in the winter time. The only way someone can live a vegan lifestyle year-round in a place like that is because of modern technology. When the temperature dips that low one either wears animal skins or synthetic materials.

Brenden said...

As an active Peace Corps volunteer, this is amazingly accurate and funny. There are a lot of vegetarian volunteers, but being full-time vegan in the developing world can have serious health impacts.

My group of Peace Corps Volunteers has 5 vegetarians out of a group of about 50, and they've definitely had to bend the rules a bit to be able to survive... most of them have gotten to the point where they'll eat a dish with meat in it, as long as they don't actually eat the meat. But vegans? No way... especially because the PC requires volunteers to live with host families. Explaining vegetarianism is difficult - explaining veganism is damn near impossible.

лахсүрэн said...

There are at least two amino acids that goes with meat that are inevitable for your brain to function normally. Now, if you made this far, it means you have been having them in some way. That means just stop being a hypocrite and be open about your use of those aminoacids(they can't be produced artificially)!

Stephen Newell said...

It was hard to read this post because of the eye candy. I didn't know vegans were that good-looking. But then again, I've never met any.

Thanks for another big laugh!

Suvine's blogger account said...

Humans are natural frugivores, like monkeys. Cooked meat makes you ugly and diseased.

suvine.com

Jamesr said...

Tom (TBNN),

I was not being serious at all in any of my comments.

(1) When you wrote about Miss Love wanting to go to Africa, I was thinking that the hassles she had in Mongolia would be repeated in Africa - hence "same song, next verse" with the assumption that the readers would know about the "a little bit louder and a little bit worse" part of it.

(2)An agreement with Fresnel's comments.

(3) Just a hope that her refusal to eat the boiled intestines served her would not result in her demise.


I'm sorry for the misinterpretation of stuff I meant to be silly. Please forgive me.

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Jamesr,

No need for an apology! People are free to be silly here all they want. Forgive me. I just wasn't sure if you were being silly or if I was missing some deeper point that you were trying to make. I'll be better prepared next time.

-Tom

Team Tominthebox News Network said...

Suvine,

Sure thing. I love good fruit and vegetables. Eat lots of them. But humans differ significantly from monkeys in that we are created in God's image and our cute little primate friends are not.

I'm assuming your comments about eating meat making you ugly and diseased is nothing but emotional spin. I've met plenty of good looking healthy meat-eaters. My wife tops that list.

What it all boils down to is whether or not there is a Biblical argument to be a vegetarian or not, and there is not. Jesus ate meat. The Israelites were commanded to eat the passover lamb. The priests were commanded to eat some of the meat offered up for sacrifice. So, I repeat, there is absolutely NO Biblical precedent that one must be a vegetarian.

Now at the same time, it is no sin if one chooses to be a vegetarian, but he or she must live with the implications of that choice. A person who chooses that lifestyle should not move to a place and live in a culture where animal husbandry is of extreme importance and suddenly expect everyone to accommodate him or her. A Christian who chooses to be a vegetarian might be better suited for work in India or Pakistan. A vegan might be better suited for mission work in California.

Anonymous said...

Jamesr,

For what it's worth, I picked up your allusions with no problem. I even thought they were humorous.

You can take that as a compliment if you want, but on the other hand, it might mean that your mind works like mine.

And that is no compliment, or so I've been told. :)

Pitchford

Chris said...

THIS WAS OFFENSIVE! I have been eating a raw vegan diet for almost 4 years and this article hurt my inner vegan.

HAHAHAHAHA seriously, I am not offended. I was being sarcastic.

It's true, I've been eating a raw vegan diet for almost 4 years but this did not offend me. I even want to be a missionary some day, so this article hit home.

I would like to say that my identity is found in Christ, not by what I eat. So please, please don't call me a vegan ;-) I prefer "Christian who eats a vegan diet."

If I were to become a missionary, I would obey 1 Corinthians 10:27 and Romans 14:21. Therefore I would eat anything that is served. Indeed, I obey these commands when I am a "missionary" at unbelieving relatives' houses. If they go to the trouble of preparing a fine meal of pork chops and milkshakes, I tell them, "Thank you very much and pass the ketchup." I like to tell my wife, "it is my duty and privilege to eat whatever is served" :-) (Because, let's face it, meat/milk/eggs/cooked food really do taste good!)

Team Tominthebox, I would like to take a slight disagreement about a comment you made. You said, "So, I repeat, there is absolutely NO Biblical precedent that one must be a vegetarian." I agree, there is no command to eat vegan, and I agree, Jesus ate fish and the Israelites were commanded to eat the lamb and the priests were commanded to eat the meat from sacrifice. It is because of these things that I feel no compulsion to correct my brothers for what they are eating; "By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died." (Romans 14:15 ESV)

But to say there is no precedent overlooks a very important passage: Genesis 1:29. That verse is why I have been eating the way Adam and Eve ate for almost four years now. It seemed to me as though a prescription for good health, as if it were God's original intention for humans. A prescription, but _not_ a command. Clearly we have the freedom to eat anything we want in the New Covenant, but I ask you to consider heeding Paul's advice: "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up." (1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV)

The diet really works; the majority of my health problems have disappeared, I have lots of energy and I've dodged the odds for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc., three big American killers. Clearly God has my days numbered -- I could die tomorrow from a heart attack or in 90 years from old age -- but consider this: There are exactly as many health problems in the Christian community as there are in the rest of the world -- despite that we have prayer. Do we believe that our God hears prayers and can heal? Of course we do! I therefore believe that God chooses to honor those who eat right by blessing them, generally speaking, with a healthier life. He tends to reward good stewardship with good health.

You've never heard anything bad written about blueberries or broccoli, and everyone knows they should eat more vegetables. It's because of all of these things, but particularly my meditation upon Genesis 1:29, that I decided to try the raw vegan diet out for three months. It'll be four years in January, and I'm still going strong.

I hope you'll consider increasing your raw fruits and veggies and decreasing your intake of meat, milk, eggs and cooked foods. The most lasting changes seem to come from small but permanent changes. For example, "tomorrow, and for the rest of my life, I will no longer eat anything with an egg in it." Small but permanent changes over time were how I got here, and it seems to work better than gradually reducing or going cold turkey on too much at once.

It seems as though raw fruits and vegetables and nuts were God's original intention for man to eat, His prescription for health, and my life bears out the wisdom of that prescription.

However you eat, it must be from faith. In that famous chapter on eating, Romans 14 concludes, "whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." (verse 23 ESV) And Paul's wonderful discussion in 1 Corinthians 10 about food concludes, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (verse 31 ESV) Eat that pork chop, but let it be to the glory of God. I'm restricting my diet to the glory of God: I want to be healthy in my retirement years so that I can be active in the church, as a pastor or missionary or whatever. I hope you choose food (even pork chops) with the glory of God in mind, as Paul commanded us to do.

I do hope you'll give my comments a serious consideration. I suggest you meditate upon Genesis chapter 1, 1 Corinthians 8 through 10, and Romans 14 while you think about these things, and ask God if you should also move in the direction of Genesis 1:29.

Finally, every time I read Romans 14:2 I laugh at myself. Paul called me weak: "One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables." (ESV) Hehehehe... I know he only meant one who diets because he thinks it's a sin to eat meat, nonetheless it's funny :-)

Please drop me an email if you'd like to talk more about this. I've spent time carefully considering verses in the Bible that seem to contradict this but after further consideration, don't. If you have such a verse I'd like to meditate upon it, or help you understand why I don't believe it contradicts my interpretation of Genesis 1:29. Email me: CBdeVidal (AT) GMail (DOT) com.

Funny article, I hope "Love" does reconsider missionary work some day hahahaha...

Your friendly neighborhood Christian who eats a vegan diet,
Chris de Vidal

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