experiencing something of how a mission partner often feels.

Last week in our ‘To Sharpen Our Thinking …’ article, we were asked to ponder a series of questions on what the current world situation meant to our faith or actions and responsibilities to those around us in our communities.

Another interesting point to consider is whether our current lockdown situation could also be giving us a taste of what some of our mission partners have to live with daily.  We have shared with you below, some thoughts and comments from one of our mission partners, Frank and Joanne F, which may help provide you with some perspective on how this may indeed be true.  Here’s what they wrote of how their cross-cultural experience has always been for them.

We share many of the same feelings of isolation and disconnectedness from friends and family, with no social life and are now only able to communicate via apps of some kind. This is the only family engagement that we have.

We have to adapt and change our diet because of limits on food items at the supermarkets, lack of products, queues of people, and increasing costs.

We experience culture shock because we have no understanding or experience of our new norm nor the rules we are now required to live by.

We no longer have the freedom to choose when we do something, or where we go.  We are restricted to stay within our local neighbourhood. There are police out on the street stopping us wanting to know where we are going and why.

We are perhaps a little frightened, worried or concerned about the future as everything is uncertain and we just don’t know what is happening or why. Our employment is uncertain, the roles may change, or we may be asked to do something we just don’t know how to do. Our financial stability has gone out the window and we are forced to have to rely on God for His provision.

All of the above are very similar feelings, thoughts and experiences felt by missionaries all over the world. While it may all feel overwhelming and uncertain, those very same missionaries will also be very quick to point out there are also several blessings and advantages that come from these situations as well. Frank and Joanne conclude with some of the positives that they have experienced.

You learn to appreciate what you had in the past, and when you return to it, you are much more thankful.

You become much more proactive in seeking out positive, uplifting friendships and associates.

You become much more creative – learning how to make do, find alternatives, adapt, fix things, problem-solve, manage tricky situations, ration out special food etc.

You become much more empathetic and open-minded – putting yourself in others’ shoes, seeing things from another perspective, helping other people more, understanding the marginalised, refugees and immigrants.

As you learn to depend more on God and less on yourself, you see Him open doors and perform miracles that you would have never had otherwise experienced.

Your family becomes your number one “tight” unit – you understand and support each other against everything “out there”.

No matter where we are in the world, we are all in this together and know that He will bring you through this stronger and even better equipped to continue in Kingdom work!

Hang in there, and hang onto HIM!

Adapted from a newsletter from Franks & Joanne F.