What’s the hardest part of missionary life? Being forgotten?

(Photo: martingreffe)

The other day, I read through some answers, given by missionaries, to the question, “What’s the hardest thing about life as a missionary?” I’ve said before that I’d rather be hated than forgotten, so this response immediately grabbed me:

A. Being forgotten.

When I left for the field, I predicted we would be forgotten within six months. I was wrong. It was two months. Except for an occasional email directed to the entire Church, we received an email here and there. Birthdays and anniversaries were forgotten.

Even though we sent updates via email every month, very few people responded to them.

My emotions were already cracking at this point, but he continued…

That was my thing, but perhaps God knew that I was a people person and required a feeling of loyalty and support. Perhaps by not getting it, He taught me to depend only on Him. It worked! We have a great ministry. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!

Wow, what an amazing testimony. I love learning about dependence on God. I don’t always like the day to day struggle of being dependent, but when God helps me step back for the bigger perspective, I know He loves working this way.

As I thought more about this simple answer and how similar it sounded to some of my own experience, my eyes landed on the small, gray type below the post:

Answer from Jack, who has served in the Philippines for 37 years.

And that’s when I lost it.

Or found it.

The hardest part about being a missionary isn’t being forgotten – it’s learning to depend on God.

Even for 37 years.

Serving Suggestions:

(1) Don’t forget the people who are serving. Appreciate them. Maybe send them an email or even a hand-written letter… regularly, not just once.

(2) How do you learn dependence when no one else remembers you? Is it just sink or swim, give or give up? Or can we engage God in a way that helps us stay focused on Him despite a lack of support from others?

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