Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith
From childhood, D.L. Mayfield longed to be a missionary, so she was thrilled when the opportunity arose to work with a group of Somali Bantu refugees in her hometown of Portland, OR. As the days, months, and years went by, her hopeful enthusiasm began to wear off, her faith became challenged, and the real work of learning to love and serve her neighbors grew harder, deeper, and more complex. She writes: “The more I failed to communicate the love of God to my refugee friends, the more I experienced it for myself. The more overwhelmed I felt as I became involved in the myriads of problems facing my friends who experience poverty in America, the less pressure I felt to attain success or wealth or prestige. And the more my world started to expand at the edges of my periphery, the more it became clear that life was more beautiful and more terrible than I had been told.”
In this collection of stunning and surprising essays, Mayfield invites readers to reconsider their concepts of justice, love, and reimagine being a citizen of this world and the upside-down kingdom of God.
Author: D.L. Mayfield. D. L. Mayfield has nearly a decade of experience working with refugee communities in the United States. Mayfield’s work has been published in McSweeneys, Christianity Today, Relevant, Geez, Curator, Reject Apathy, and Conspire!. She lives in Portland, OR with her husband and two small children. Visit her at dlmayfield.com.