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Moving to the mission field presents a dilemma for all who respond to the call to “Go Make Disciples of all nations”. Upon receiving the call, one feels excitement and apprehension as they imagine leading people to Christ while the church “back home” cheers them on and supports their efforts. Once the move is actually made, a new realization sets in. They are living in a foreign land without all their family and friends. Often the church “back home” is busy with their own lives and ministry. While they are only a phone call away, most missionaries begin to feel they are “out of sight, out of mind”.
Meeting new people and learning a new language and culture is a daunting task, no matter how outgoing you are. However, as the days turn to months and years, a new situation arises. The once close friends back home are still friends, though not as close as they once were. Instead, having adapted to this new land along with its customs and cultures, the missionaries find they have made new friends and family, not replacing the old, but adding to them.
The people who the missionary once saw as “ministry opportunities” are now much more. They are close friends, even new best friends. They are brothers and sisters in Christ. They are like family.
The longer a missionary lives on the field, the more the field begins to become “home”. This is good and how it should be. However, the missionary is still supported by their friends, family, and churches from their homeland. Those friends and family want to see and hear how the ministry is going. “Who are you reaching?” “How many have gotten saved?” “What families are you blessing?” “How many bible studies are you teaching?” all become common, sincere, questions the missionary is asked.