Here are numbers 2 & 3 in the article “10 Things That Your Missionary Will Not Tell You.”
2. It is lonely being a missionary.
You won’t ever see this in a mission letter. We will tell stories of fun things and great times. We will be upbeat and happy and post photos of our family Christmas party.
You won’t see us posting videos of us crying or hear us complain about missing friends, but we do; and the harsh thing is that they do not always miss us. When we were planing on going to the mission field, we interviewed 10 different missionary families. We talked to people who were single, married, married with kids and older missionaries. I asked them a question: “What is the hardest part of being a missionary?” Their answer, all 10 of them at separate occasions without any knowledge of what others had said, replied, “Loneliness. After the first year people forget about you. Sometimes even your best friend will not continue communicating with you unless you initiate it first. ”
“The truth is that understanding why something happens does not mean that it doesn’t hurt.”
We decided to fight against this, and using Facebook and social media, along with monthly communications and blogs, we knew that we would stay in touch with our friends. What surprised us was how quickly they did not want to stay in touch with us. Oh, we understand that their lives are busy and we have moved. The truth is that understanding why something happens does not mean that it doesn’t hurt. This goes along with the first thing…not being part of the culture. We don’t feel like we have a home, but we do feel like those from our previous home have forgotten us.
3. We are normal people.
Many people think that missionaries are some sort of super Christian. We are one step up from being a pastor, and if you are a missionary pastor then even the Apostle Paul envies your spirituality. :0) You won’t be reading in a missionary letter, “This week I did not spend hardly any time in the Word, got mad at my wife, yelled at my children and was jealous after seeing photos on Facebook.” We won’t report that, but it is the truth sometimes. We are normal people seeking to honor Christ even though we are weak and fragile vessels. We sin, repent, sin, repent, and then repeat. We are like you.
So what are your thoughts on these two points? Have you ever considered them before? What is something that you might do differently now that you have this information?
Please comment and let us know!
Dave and Beth