Ideally, there would be a picture of me with my freshly-cut hair right here. Imagine it, because I don't have one and don't feel like taking one of myself at the moment.
When I was first interested in missions, I was a little put off by all the skills required by most mission organizations. I wasn't a nurse, teacher, computer whiz, or pastor, and wasn't interested in becoming any of those things. As you all know, I ended up studying linguistics and joining Wycliffe, so it all turned out okay and my weird little skill is very practical for what I'm doing.
If you're thinking about doing short-term missions at a place where there are already some missionaries, do you know what one of the very most desperately needed skill is? Cutting hair. Yes, cutting hair. If you have white-person hair and you live in Africa, guess what - you can't go somewhere local to get your hair cut. And so you get it cut like the day before you leave your home country before flying overseas and then after a year or so, when things start getting pretty scraggly and awful, you break down and beg one of your expat friends to give it a go and you pray for decent results. Or, you wait until you go on vacation somewhere outside of East Africa and try your luck there and pray it doesn't cost too much!
And that's the women's side of things. Missionary men depend on their wives for regular cuts, and most end up with sketchy results because missionary women spent more time studying Greek than studying how to give haircuts. And if you are a single male missionary, well, good luck to you, buddy. Here's to hoping you can give yourself a buzz cut.
One of our American colleagues recently received a visitor from the States, her best friend, who just happens to be a professional hair stylist. This amazing friend decided to offer her wonderful services, free of charge, to all and any who needed their hair cut while she's here in Musoma for two weeks. Now if that isn't a fabulous skill and gift to everyone in the expat community here, I don't know what is!
So, if you are out there and thinking about missions and feel like you just don't have what it takes to be a missionary and wonder how you could ever be of use overseas, just think about that!