Missions and loneliness.

I have to confess the loneliness that comes with living in a foreign country. It could be that now that I am going through something that usually bring gatherings of friends and family, I am feeling this separation more acutely. I woke up feeling sad today. Sad that we are so far away from home. Sad that I left my home country over eight years ago, and with that I have missed out on eight years of life with my parents, my brothers, my childhood friends.
Something I learned very quickly when we decided to become missionaries, is that friends and relationships are, for lack of a better word, "transitional." We were missions majors in college so many of our class mates are scattered around the globe. People come and go. We throw ourselves into making significant relationships with people, knowing that soon we will be saying goodbye. Of course in today's world we can skype and email. It's not like I have to wait for a slow boat to China for news from home. But still in the day to day being without the familiarity of the smell of your mother's hug, or the reassurance of your father's smile, or the comfort of your best friend's acceptance can just make you feel homesick.
When I decided to become a missionary almost ten years ago, I was in the North of Namibia staying with Peter and Ursula De Villiers, they have been working in the North for many many years. I was thinking about everything they had left behind, and I was wondering how they could do it. I was reminded of Matthew 19:2

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life."
So today while I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself, I turned on some music. A song by Chris Rice called "tell me the story again" came on. This song is about the story of Christ. The good news. THE good news. The reason we are here. The reason we left things and people again. It is as though I could feel God reminding me of why we are here. There is a story that needs to be told so people can be saved. Plain and simple. So the long winded point I am getting to is that today I feel encouraged and challenged. God is good, and His plans for us are good! 
Today I also want to mention and ask for prayers for some of our class mates. The Walton family is leaving for Ireland today. They have spent much time raising support and preparing and their day to leave for the mission field is finally here. Please pray for safe travels for them, and keep them in your prayers as they are about to embark on their mission in Ireland. You can head over to their blog here to read more about what they have done to prepare, and what they are hoping to do in Ireland! 
And just so this post is extra long, take a moment and listen to this Chris Rice song, I pray that you will be comforted and encouraged as you hear the story of Christ again. 


Mary Emberton said...

Sandy, even though I am not as far away from family as you and David are, going home for us is always a blessing. We have missed family and friends dearly over the years. Going back for visits, we can truly feel the disconnect with friends we left. We seem to feel like outsiders many times, but when we stop and look at the work that God is doing in our lives and through us-IT'S ALL WORTH IT! We wouldn't have it any other way! Remember that you are in our prayers often and that you are thought of and loved. You are truly NEVER alone!

Alisa said...

Thanks Sandy for the shout out and the encouragement to stick through even though loneliness is hard. I am constantly being reminded of God's strength and my weakness. He is the only one who is carrying me through this time, and I know He is strong for you as well. Great post.

Brianna Boes said...

Thanks for sharing! I think many people, especially women, go through this when they are in ministry. Even when you live in the same country as your family, if you don't have the money to drive there, you might as well live a million miles away. I had both of my babies away from family, and that was probably the hardest time for me. And as we consider planting a church even farther, I am feeling a little sadness along with my excitement. In any case, I have prayed a lot for contentment and some good lady friends to help with the loneliness, and I will pray the same things for you! On a side note, even though sometimes I wish we could live closer to family, I have begun to realize that our little family would not be nearly as happy if we were not seeking out the Lord's will and that we would be better off wherever we are sent that if we were to try to do things our own way. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy, and I hope that Jesus will be filling up some of that loneliness : )