6 Reasons Furloughs are Awesome (sort of)

by Jonathan Trotter on October 6, 2015

6. A furlough is one of the best “weight-gain” plans out there. It’s sort of like pregnancy, but with furlough, the cravings occur every-mester. During furlough, scales become toxic and should be avoided at all cost. No worries, though, ’cause if you’re wondering whether or not you’ve gained weight, just get back on the plane and return to the foreign field. Your neighbors will poke your belly, tell you you’re much fatter than before, and smile. God bless ’em.
5. A furlough is great practice for dying. No, really. You get the unique chance to look back on your life (or term) and justify your existence to anyone who wants to listen (or send you money). You get all things “in order” for your departure, making sure all will go well during your absence. You make sure pets are taken care of. You make sure all the important documents are up to date and easily findable. You prepare yourself and your loved ones for “a long journey” that will be worth it because, at the end of it all, there will be Chick-Fil-A. And grandma.
4. A furlough’s like a really long vacation. Who else gets to take months off at a time? Actually, on furlough, you’re sort of like a backpacker, but without the dreadlocks. Or the pot.
3. Potable water (which, it should be noted, has nothing to do with the aforementioned pot). Clean drinking water is in the pipes, people! What kind of alternate universe are we in? On our first furlough, my son took a break at the public park, stating he was thirsty. When I pointed him to the water fountain, he looked at me incredulously and said, “Is it safe?” “Yup.” “For real? And it’s free?” “Yup.” “WOW! That is so nice!” I won’t tell you what he said about the toilet.
2. You get to trade in friend-sets. With a furlough, it’s sort of like you get to have two lives, but without all the complications (and secrets, which make for great TV but bad newsletters). Want to reboot your friend-set to a prior decade of life? Simply hitch a ride on a big metal tube with movies and free toothbrushes and you’ll be on your way. But be warned, as with all time travel, weird things (like Miley Cyrus and self-checkout lines) happen.
(And now for a serious one to justify the time you just wasted reading this list. Unless you’re reading this while on vacation, I mean, furlough.)
1. You get to share (and listen to) the Story of Stories in your own heart language. Yes, the Gospel is amazing in any language, but when it’s your language, when those are the actual words you first heard when you first heard Jesus, something magical happens. The Gospel is omni-cultural, for sure, but it’s also inherently personal. And the honor of serving in the churches that birthed you, that sent you, that love you, well that’s something to write home about.
Since I’m currently on vacation, er, furlough, I took
the liberty of adapting an old post from trotters41.com.
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About Jonathan Trotter

Jonathan is a missionary in Southeast Asia, where he provides pastoral counseling at a local counseling center. He also serves as one of the pastors at an international church. Before moving to the field with his wife of sixteen years and their four kids, he served as a youth pastor in the Midwest for ten years. He enjoys walking with people towards Jesus and eating imported Twizzlers. | www.trotters41.com | facebook: trotters41 | twitter: @trotters41
  • Rachel paraguay

    This made me laugh so much, great practice for dying was my fav part! Love it, thanks for sharing.

    • You’re welcome, Rachel! It’s always fun to make folks smile. : )

  • Julee

    This really did make me laugh out loud.

  • Just arrived in the US two days ago. This was timely and awesome. I laughed wholeheartedly.

    • It’s a crazy awesome weird fun life! Enjoy your time Stateside! : )

  • The one thing I miss about furloughs is the weight program I had to look forward to that start the minutes we stepped off the plane when we return to Papua New Guinea. Gained 15 pounds while on furlough, it’s a given I will lost it quickly as we leave all the fast food behind. My favorite part of furlough is telling over and over the same stories to a host of different people.

  • Maggi

    This is hilarious. 😀 Spot on!

  • Anna Wegner

    In the US right now, so I can really relate. I’ve learned that the politest response to the compliment, “You got fat,” is to say, “Thanks, you too.”

    • That’s awesome. I might try that one…

    • Elizabeth Trotter

      Laughing so hard at this one!!!

  • Hilarious. After coming back from China, my mom didn’t appreciate me throwing my used toilet paper in the trash can. I can totally relate. Thanks for this.

    • Elizabeth Trotter

      I have been tempted to do that SO MANY times! LOL! Glad I’m not the only one!!

    • Ha! : ) Oh, the strange things that happen to us when we live abroad…

  • Richard Senzig

    Love the humor – spot on. To #1 I would add singing hymns in my heart “music.” Love all the music of my national brothers and sisters, but am so deeply touched to come home and sing His praises with my church family in my own heart music. There is a deep intimacy, or as you say, “Something magical happens…”

    • Ah, that’s a great addition, Richard! “Heart music.” So true…

  • Sarah

    Funny. I appreciated what you had to say about furlough. However, I don’t like using the word ‘vacation’ because then it gives the impression that we are just living it up in the US when it’s not always easy, esp regarding support raising and sometimes living arrangements. Almost but not quite.

    • Hey there, Sarah! Yeah, I was trying to be facetious with that paragraph. : ) I definitely do NOT think furlough is a vacation. It’s work, and it’s hard. Hope that gives some more clarity. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Hmm… Yeah, I know you were being funny with the vacation comment, but it does drive me nuts when others think we’re on a really long vacation. The thing with us is the non-Christian people we know think we are in fact returning to the US for a (really long) vacation. When we tell them it’s for ‘work’ they’re a little disappointed… 🙂

        • Yeah, less than a week after we arrived this time, someone heard we were Stateside until January and said, “Wow, that’s a LOOOOOONG vacation.” Ummmmhmmmmm.

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