ramblings of a lonely missionary

I’m reading “A Chance to Die – the Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael” and one of the chapters speaks to the romance of missions. There is a bit of romanticism about it – the act of packing up and leaving home to serve God in a foreign land. The selling of belongings. The saying goodbye. Of following in the footsteps of Abraham (Gen 12:1-4) or of Peter (Matthew 14:29). Of being placed on a pedestal or having it assumed that you are closer to God than someone else might be.

“Wings are an illusive fallacy…don’t imagine that by crossing the sea and landing on a foreign shore and learning a foreign lingo that you have burst the bonds of outer sin and hatch yourself a cherubim.”

And I’ve not sprouted wings. My faults and fears were packed in my suitcase beside my naivety and clothes.  In fact, they are more obvious here. I am no closer to God, not set apart or special, no purer than anyone else.

I’ve struggled with my struggles here. Placed assumptions on you that you didn’t want to hear them. Or thought I couldn’t complain because while I do feel like God called me here, I ultimately made the decision to leave. I am the one who packed up and left – I did this.

My daily struggle is loneliness.

I knew these days would be hard. And tried to mentally prepare myself for what those days would look like – but they are far worse than anything I could ever have imagined.

Lonely/loneliness: without companions; a state of separation or abandonment; dejected by the awareness of being alone

I am very rarely alone here, though. As a foreigner in a foreign land, you tend to gravitate towards people from your home culture – and so you situationally become friends.  And the people I meet here will only know me in the context of Uganda and 2013. Whereas the people at home will not know me in 2013. And the tension between the two is strange. Those you meet here have different agendas and schedules, and you will have to say goodbye to them. Or if they are staying here, you find that you will be the one saying goodbye. Let’s say you take time to invest in friendships with locals, it’s exciting and educational as you share your cultures, but can be exhausting as you have to work harder at these friendships than you do at home because of those differing cultures.

I long for normalcy. To not be an outsider. To see a familiar face.

The only thing I can think of to do is to cry out to God. For him to draw near me and my broken heart. But my painful prayer always starts off with thanksgiving for giving me the opportunity to serve him here.

Peacefully Miserable.


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