Editor’s note: Anyone serving overseas can relate to the truism of the post below: The life of an expatriate–missionary life included–is filled with farewells. “Goodbye” doesn’t just launch a life overseas. It defines part of this new, transitory existence.
Go. Serve. Love is psyched about featuring this post from missionary Joe Holman; it originally posted on his blog and is gratefully used with permission.
Fun fact about Joe: He and his wife totally pull off the missionary thing amidst a family of 13. They’ve served in Bolivia since 2007.
First, the Disclaimers.
I’m going out on a limb here, so I’ll put some disclaimers up in advance.
1. I love being a missionary.
This post points out bad aspects you’ll not hear us normally say. It doesn’t mean I’m unhappy or unfulfilled.
2. I’m speaking of feelings and perceptions.
I know what the Bible says and can give a counterpoint to each of these. For example, when I share how we feel about shortchanging my children, I know that there are 100 positive things that people can point out to me.read more
I recently spoke with a friend as she prepared for our church’s Fall Festival on October 31. They’re headed to India next year. They sent me the cutest photo of their family dressed up as Batman, Batwoman, and cherubic ittle Bat-kids.
I asked if that night’s festival might be hard. The “lasts”, you see, have begun.read more
It must have been around the time we left for Africa. I can’t tell you exactly.
In the midst of weighing (over and over and over) plastic bins and duffels, hauling kids for immunizations, and making decisions on an African rental, sight unseen–a phrase from my mom sticks in my mind.
She referred to my sister: Just remember that even though you’re losing a lot, you’re going toward something. read more
I grew up overseas. In fact, I attended 15 different schools by the time I graduated high school. So you could say I’ve experienced my share of saying goodbye. (Usually I was the one leaving.)
Now that I have a family of my own and have lived in the same city and the same house, for an amazing thirteen-year stretch, I’m now experiencing more goodbyes where I am the one staying behind. Recently I visited a friend during her final week as they loaded up their tilting piles of cardboard boxes and their kids to take a new job four states away. Before I arrived, I sat in the parking lot of a shopping plaza, scrawling her going away card. It felt like my pen also flowed with my own memories of bittersweet goodbyes. And I thought, What makes for the best goodbyes?