Going Home

As the time comes closer and closer to return “home” (the field, Thailand~Myanmar) it becomes more and more of a bittersweet time.  You always have the excitement to return to the working fields and building the Kingdom as you have been called to do.  Yet, at the same time, you are terribly missing those you are leaving and will be missing.

Below is an article that nicely sums up the life and thoughts of a missionary:


February 1, 2015

Here’s a truth you may have never realized before. It’s something I have dealt with for nearly 20 years. My whole adult life has been lived outside my own country, and though I sometimes struggle to fit in to the country I minister in, I feel similarly in my own “home” country.

I am foreign. It defines me.

When a new missionary first gets to the mission field, it is obvious where home is. It is that place where you just left. It is the place where you grew up, went to school, got an education, discovered a church family, and formed your most important relationships.

But when you live overseas long enough, a strange transition takes place.

Your “home” country doesn’t quite feel like home anymore. When you “go home”, some of the same people and places are there, but life has moved on in your absence. When you show up for the so-called “home assignment” or “furlough,” you can not just pick up where you left off. You are a visitor. An outsider. A guest without a permanent role. Your close friends have made new close friends. Half the people in your home church only know you as a line item on a list of prayer requests. Some new technology, slang, or cultural trend has become common place… expect for you because you missed it when it first came out.

On the mission field, you said things like, “Back in my country….” but few local people in your host country could relate to your story. They listened politely but you knew they didn’t really understand. But that’s okay. You comfort yourself with the thought, “People back home would understand me.”

But strangely enough, those people back home who were sure to understand…. well, they don’t. Now that you are home, you are full of experiences and stories from the place that has become your second home. You say things like, “Back in my host country…” But, of course, whatever story you tell them about your host country is hard to relate to. The things that you really miss about your host country receive a blank stare, or a “That’s weird.” After your quaint tale is done, people go back to talking about the local sports team, the latest in national politics, or something else that you haven’t given much thought to in the past few years. It is not that they don’t like you. They do. They are glad you are finally “home.” But those “back home” people simply can not relate to your experiences “out there” in that country with the funny name whose people have even funnier (and unpronounceable) names.

On “home assignment”, people say to you, “Isn’t it great to be home!” and you think, “Yeah, kind of.” Now that you’ve had a few of your favorite foods and seen a few old friends, there are fewer reasons to stay “home.” You start to miss all those things about your host country that you came to love. Certain foods, local friends, the ministry role that you were happily engaged in.

Home is no longer home. And sadly, that other place on the mission field will never truly be home either. Home is both places, and neither place, at the same time.

When at “home”, the missionary dreams about their host country. When in their host country, the missionary dreams about their home country.

Missionaries are forever caught between two worlds. They can no longer completely identify with the people whom they left behind in the home country. But they can never truly identify with the people in their host country.

Home is everywhere. Home is nowhere.

But that’s okay. There have been other travelers on this road.

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

While here on earth, we will always feel a bit unsettled and out of place. Missionaries and those of us living away from the place we grew up may experience that more than others. But someday, all those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ will finally be home again.

REF: http://davidjoannes.com/why-missionaries-can-never-go-home-again/

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2 Responses to Going Home

  1. Polehonki, Ralph says:


    Years ago, 1993, we made our first journey to a foreign land and returned in 1996 to the USA to experience exactly what you describe below.
    Two additional expat job assignments in Asia and Mexico further expanded our view of the world and the realization that we did not belong to one place but to all places.
    The gift to experience a new culture, meet new people, join God where He is at work, is truly a blessing that few can understand.
    Yes, it is true that upon a return, to anywhere, you bring a long list of experiences to share, but the reality is the people back home really never understand.
    At some point you realize that when you can find people that have shared the common experience of living abroad, a wonderful bond is offered. It’s like being part of a unique and special club so to speak.
    Being able to serve the Lord is icing on the cake.
    We hope you embrace this and are renewed by it.


    Ralph J Polehonki
    Director of Enterprise Systems Engineering
    704 990 3078 office
    704 302 3418 business cell
    915 526 6364 personal cell


  2. love4mexico says:


    So happy for you, in the fact that you were able to come “home” and help your family and be a part of the solutions to improve or take them to the next season so to speak.

    No truer words about out lives has ever been written, so relate to the article. It took Steve and I a couple of years of visits to realize that people are not interested but simply do not relate to our lives in the field and that is okay. Hard but okay. I am praying your return is without a glitch and it is like you never left! Your ministry is truly amazing and you are loved greatly! Our word the Lord has given us this year is joy!!! And I am praying you are filled to capacity and beyond with it!!!

    Love you BIG girlfriend!!!!

    Get Outlook for Android



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