Thursday, October 21, 2010

Take Time to go Back...

.......................  These are question that were asked of me for a  Missions Conference..................
                                                October 23-24

1. When you transitioned from one ministry/field to another or back to the States, what was the most difficult aspect for you personally?
The most difficult aspect for me transitioning back which most definitely outweighed some of the others was saying good-bye to 20 some years of friendships. Several that had become closer than actual family. Accepting the fact that they wouldn’t be just around the corner anymore and knowing that communication basically stops. The fellowship(face-to-face kind) with each other ends. Several other aspects were, change of culture, change of position in the ministry, making new friends and not necessarily in that order. Not to forget those tears, the tears…oh …the tears. I tried to keep them back and keep a positive attitude in front of the children least they thought God’s will is making Mommy cry.

2. What was hardest for your children/spouse?
Hardest for my children, was their educational changes the new school and making new friends. My children went to the public school system on the field. So you can imagine their English grammar was weak, weather, food/diet; other then these few things nothing that required counseling or special attention. My spouse, the answer to question #1 would apply for him too.

3. What were some great things other people said or did in your new location that made it easier for you or were an encouragement?
I really can’t recall any great thing anyone did for us. Not even our church, quite frankly I expected some sort of hoopla but we sort of slipped in/back quietly. In fact I think people seemed annoyed to seeing me break down to tears a couple of times. I could have been just my thinking it, but no encouragement at all. Hum…. I hope that I am not stepping on toes. Let me be clear, we did return to a location where we had relatives/family so maybe people assumed we were all set in the encouragement department.

4. What were some things that were hurtful or made the transition more difficult that others did, said or failed to do?
Because we suddenly re- appeared back without the above (lack of hoopla) I think people assumed we were back for some negative reason, would naturally lead them to ask questions that seemed to dig into one’s soul and hurt. So I think the answer to this question would be both did or failed to do and said or failed to say.

5. What would have blessed you or made things easier for you that you "wish" people would have done/said/not done?
I really feel uncomfortable with answering this question because I don’t want to judge I don’t know people’s hearts. But in their defense they really didn’t know how to help so I will answer this the best way I know how so to help others see the problem and fix it. 1. Pray with you; ask what they can pray for; 2. Have you over for a getting acquainted time; 3. Make sure one knows upcoming events that could help involve you back into it all 4. Encourage their children to reach out to yours and it doesn’t take much to encourage kids,

6. Looking back on your transition, would you do anything differently?
The actual mechanics of it all went very well. I insisted on bringing all my precious things (Praise the Lord I was able to) because if the truth be known and I recommend others to the same, it helped the children feel like they were home with all the familiar “things” surrounding them. Some wise old missionary had advised me to do this and I took her advice.

7. What advice would you give to anyone who knows a transitioning missionary?
I believe the advice has been given/specified in my last several answers. I could not reiterate/restate any better than I already have.

8. What (if any) resources were helpful in your transition ( ei: books, websites, etc)
What was helpful with our transition was that before we totally moved and said our goodbyes we were able to return for several summers and eased our way into the new ministry. It was less brutal then up and leaving.

9. If you feel comfortable sharing briefly, what were the reasons for your change in ministry?
The reasons for our leaving the ministry were to be able to serve our mission in a larger way, getting involved in the bigger picture. Our leaders felt that my husband’s gifts could help the whole of the organization.

10. Was your change a relief, very difficult or combination?
I would say our change was a combination.

11. If you remained in a supported ministry, how was your support affected?
We didn’t remain in a supported ministry but those that had supported continued to do so to the work we left behind.

12. How long were you at the previous location?
We were at our previous location 23 years.

13. How long did it take for you to feel "at home" in your new location?
I felt right at home at certain places like shopping…but socially it has taken longer.

14. Did you accept new ministry opportunities (personal) quickly or did you need a break for a little while?
I tried to get busy right away I got involved in a customer service capacity which allowed me to learn the system as well as make friendship the staff members.

I might add one more thing, I was saved at a early age and was a MK myself so I suppose that is a culture in and of itself in all these years of seeing God’s love and spirit touching lives and changing people and on and on. I am humble that He allowed me to do the same. Sure there are heart breaks and hardships and yes, it is hard to leave family and friends and transitions to places that make us uncomfortable…but I put my trust in Him and He promised to never leave me or forsake me when life seems unreasonable at times confusing…He has a plan because he loves me.
Hope this helps a little bit. God Bless

1 comment:

  1. I can relate to a lot of that. The friends we left behind - that was so difficult. FB has been a help, but we've missed so much of the lives of people who were important to us including other Americans who were there.