Home and Away
24 Oct 2016
Long term missionaries set up a house, build a life, join a church and establish friendships in the place where they live overseas. As the years go on, as they learn the local language and adapt to the culture, they become further bonded into their ‘foreign’ community. There comes a point where ‘Away’ feels like home, and ‘Home” can feel like being away.
We asked six of our missionaries who have been on the field for over ten years what the word “home” means to them?
South East Asia: Tropical
In our family we have always said that ‘Home is where our family is’, and by that we mean immediate family- us and the kids. No matter where we are currently living we are home when we are together.
Middle East: Oasis
‘Home’ has different nuances and can mean different things in different contexts. It’s where my spouse and kids are, where our possessions are, and where we come from and likely will return one day.
Central Asia: Desert
It depends where I am! When I’m overseas I sometimes talk of going ‘home’ meaning to Australia – where family is. When in Australia I often talk of going ‘home’ meaning back overseas where I have set up a house. I have learnt over the many years of travelling that home is where I put my head down to sleep.
Western Europe: Cosmopolitan
Home for us is truly a mixture of the field we live in and the home culture that we grew up in. Neither quite feels like home, yet both have elements that make us feel very much at home. This can be enriching, even if at times it is also discouraging. It reminds us that our true home is not here on this earth, but with our Father in Heaven.
East Asia: Urban
The concept of “Home” relates to wherever I happen to live at a given time, and also where certain people are, e.g. family and very close friends of long standing. Ultimately you start reflecting more and more on our eternal home as the resolution to this feeling of being at home everywhere and nowhere.
East Asia: Megacity
Home. Such a hard question. Four out of five in our family are TCKs*. For our kids, home is wherever we are. They are pretty comfortable on the field. They read, write and speak the local language (an advantage of going to local school). For us, we long for a place to be understood, a place where we are not struggling with our own sin, where the sin of others does not affect us. Heaven. That is our home. It is a daily struggle to remember this, but I think we would be in a better place if we can know this in our head and in our heart.
*TCKs refers to Third Culture Kids, children raised in a culture other than their parents’.
Would you pray for our Long-gamers: to continue to serve with joy and hope, in the Lord’s strength, with the generous provision of all that they need, and the grace to endure the hardships? For them to bear fruit both in their own relationship with the Lord, and in seeing many come to follow Jesus in the culture where they are serving.