Matt and I are often perplexed about relationships we have and we see other missionaries have. We thought that maybe it was time we shared with our friends and family some helpful tips.
Just so you know… We know that each one of our friends and family members only want to help and at times don’t know what to say or do. We thought it would be a good way to just let you know what helps us in our time away from all of you. We love you so much and it gets lonely, we get jealous, feel guilt and just want to make everything perfect. Just know that no matter what we love you and even if you are the perfect supporter or may say something hurtful by accident we will always be family in Christ Jesus.
Things people say that hurt more than help missionary friends.
- When are you coming home to visit?
This can be hard for us to answer because we are “home” and we don’t know when our funds or time will make it possible to visit. We also really miss our old “home”, friends and family so this only puts more pressure on us to make it happen.
- I could never do what you’re doing, it must be so hard.
Yes, it is hard and not everyone is called to go to a foreign land. However, everyone is called to do something and when your emphasis is that it is hard, it makes it even harder for us to cope with some of our fears of not being good enough for the job.
- Take more pictures.
We would love to share with you all that is going on especially through pictures but we are busy in the moment and to get out a camera might ruin what we are doing. You see some of the best moments in life are not captured through pictures. Just trust that I am trying and when I get a moment I will share, because what God is doing is awesome.
- Without you they would be so lost.
Well actually without me they will be just fine. God can use anyone to share his message. I am just so happy he chose me and I chose Him.
- Well don’t feel bad if you have to come home, you lasted a really long time.
Instead, just say I am praying for you as you go through this time of (fill in the blank). What you are doing is giving us a way out and we don’t need that; we need someone to hold us accountable to continue, even when it is hard.
Things people say, or don’t say that hurt missionary friends.
- Let’s Skype (but the connection is bad, time difference is a struggle, too busy)
- We will send you a care package (and they forget or realize it is really expensive to send stuff across the ocean)
- When you come home we will hang out (but then they are too busy or on vacation)
- We would love to hear about your ministry (but can’t find the right time to get together)
- We will tell all our friends about what you are doing (and then find it never comes up in conversations.)
What I am saying here is that we already know it probably won’t work out exactly how we would all like to stay connected when we are oceans apart; but don’t say it unless you are willing to work at making it happen. Let’s face it we are busy with life and even connecting with neighbors is hard. We get that; all we ask is you try and make an effort in the following ways.
Things that would help missionary friends.
- Praying by making an effort to find out what really is going on personally not just ministry.
- Contact Email, text, skype, WhatsApp, snail mail, Facebook message, packages (any contact that connects us to your family and life)
- Hospitality Make efforts to host us even if it means we just rest, play, eat or talk
- Share with others just as much as you share about the latest skincare, probiotic, wrap, oil or whatever you are interested in.
- Encourage us by telling us to keep going, to not give up, pray, support, communicate and stay connected.