We have been serving here at MRF for a little over a year and this week, we had to say our first goodbye to a family that has lived here for almost as long as we have! They landed this morning in a semi-closed country in the Far East, so to protect their identity, I’m going to refrain from using their names, so bear with me.
Over the past year, we were able to do something we hoped we would get to do here at MRF: get to know and encourage a family on their way to the mission field for the first time. A number of families have come and gone here at MRF and a few have been heading to the field for their first term, but for some reason, we just got to know this family more than the others. Their kids played with our kids, Brian took him out to breakfast on a regular basis, and I spent time with her fairly often. They even spent time at the Center for Intercultural Training (CIT) where we prepped for Peru about six years ago. When we found out they were headed there, we were ecstatic and able to tell them some of what to expect and encourage them that it was the best thing they could do before heading overseas [and we were right :) ].
We said goodbye to them Sunday night. They got on a plane Monday evening for their 15 hour flight and were to land this morning in a new world (for the first time for their kids).
It reminded us so much of our first time going to Peru. Unless you’ve done it before, it’s hard to understand all the emotion that goes into …. leaving. So much packing, planning, organization, thinking ahead 6-12 months, weighing your bags, checking your tickets and visas and passports, preparing your children, saying goodbyes – over and over and over – not just to people, but flavors, sights, sounds, language, and lifestyle. You know your world is about to be rocked and as ready as you are, you will never be fully prepared for what’s in store. The excitement outweighs the fear, but does not eliminate it.
If we had never gone to Peru, we would never be able to relate to the other missionaries coming through MRF. We know where they’re coming from and what they’re going through. We had a taste of cross-cultural living, have had to say multiple goodbyes, and have had to pack up and move numerous times. We know what it’s like to live out of suitcases, away from family. We have an idea of what people can expect when they’re first heading out and we know how beneficial cultural training can be. We also know what it’s like to return and experience reverse cultural shock, something that’s not talked about as often. We feel this helps us relate to those who come through MRF and we are so grateful for that.
As the summer is wrapping up, we are working on rearranging pictures, replacing bedding, and doing minor repairs inside as well as major repairs outside some of the homes that are currently vacant. One home is getting new skirting (it’s an old trailer). Brian crawled underneath two trailers and leveled them. Numerous woodchucks, that were doing serious damage underneath three of the homes, have been…. exterminated (Brian got a new toy… let’s just leave it at that).
Here are some very specific things you can do for us here at MRF:
- Pray for the families that travel through here. Some are on longer home assignments, one is still raising support for their first term, and we have had some pastors come through this year that are suffering from burn-out.
- Pass the word to your pastors and full-time ministry workers in your church that if their family needs a time of retreat, even just for a night, to contact us. Our rates are cheaper than a hotel and our homes are fully-furnished. We have two lakes, hiking paths, and are close to local attractions and shopping, and only 2 hours from NYC.
- Know a missionary coming back on home assignment and needing to pass this way? Have them contact us! We’d love to have them stop by.
- Done with some artwork, bedding, curtains, children’s books, or simple indoor or outdoor toys? How about DVD’s or board games? Instead of giving them to Goodwill, could we take a look at them and see if there’s anything we could use?
- Do you quilt, crochet, knit, sew? Would you be willing to donate your time and help us make new quilts, pretty blankets, throw pillows, and/or curtains for some of the homes?
We are so thankful we get to serve here at MRF. It’s an awesome ministry. Come visit us – we’d love to show you around!