Since North Eastern USA was our main supporting church area, we spent all 6 of our furloughs (oops!, Home Assignments)at homes for missionaries on ‘furlough’ in New Jersey at the Cedar Lane Missionary Homes. The homes were well constructed and equipped – ranch-style with an uninsulated attic used for storage. Folks there, both staff and other missionaries in residence, were always so kind and helpful and we were thankful for all that was done for us. (As an aside, we were later asked to be the Directors of the Homes and had a further 8 years there on staff.)
One of our ‘furlo’ times there was when milk began to be sold in plastic ‘jugs’ instead of glass. And the plastic ‘jugs’ did not have to be returned to the seller of the milk which saved that hassle.
Being from a ‘back’ area in Tanzania, I thought it would be a good idea to save the empty ‘jugs’ to take back to Africa – we could certainly use them and we could give some to our African friends. So, throughout the year, as a ‘jug’ was emptied of milk and washed out, it was thrown up into the attic. “Saving them to take back to Africa” was my explanation to whoever asked.
Our year in the States was now up. Time to get packed up and get ready to go back. I went up into the attic to get the ‘jugs’ and saw a huge – and I mean HUGE! – pile of empty milk containers. Did I say that I “threw” them into the attic over the year? I certainly had no idea just how many were accumulating up there! Missionary Mentality at its best!!
Needless to say, ‘downsizing and disposing’ was the order of the day. All I had was a smaller Plymouth sedan and it took several trips to the dump to dispose of most of them. We did take a few out and used them for several years. The ones I did take, I filled up with powdered milk and that came in very handy out where we lived. But, in short order, plastic ‘jugs’ and other plastic containers started appearing commercially in Tanzania and were easily available to all.
Since then, plastic ‘jugs’ that come into our household, when emptied, are crushed and disposed of in the proper trash pickup. So much for good intentions!