“Is it worth it? Is having a visitor from home really worth all the time and money spent getting there?”
We were asked this question by our home church a few months ago. Naively, we smiled and nodded and affirmed casually that yes, it would be just fabulous to have someone come and see what we are doing here! How exciting if that worked out! We didn’t really know, though.
Until a few weeks ago when we said goodbye to my mother-in-law who, despite experiencing all manner of unexpected (yet typical!) third world complications as we coordinated her visit, still actually came!
And the thoughts and observations that impressed themselves on our hearts during her visit gave us an answer to give to our home church (and anyone else asking the same question!). Let me share some of those thoughts with you:
1. We are cared about! We are not forgotten! We are loved and prayed for! We are not in this alone!
2. Getting here isn’t exactly cheap or easy, and it’s NOT a 5-star resort once you arrive. We recognize that it cost you a significant amount of time, energy, and money to make this happen. And it speaks volumes to us. Thank you.
3. There is now at least one person to whom I don’t have to try to explain the unexplainable! (Seriously…why ARE you complaining about how hard it is to drive 5 km to pick up your kids from school??)
4. Someone from my past now understands my present. This is huge. There is now someone who “gets” me. Both my past and my present. They now can truly understand the adjustments and changes that have happened in our lives since we left “home.”
5. You bless us with firsthand news and treats from home! SOOO good for our homesick hearts!
6. We see your astonished, wide-eyed looks, and we are encouraged in our hearts that we have indeed learned a great deal since our own arrival.
7. You give us fresh eyes. Your raw emotions remind us to guard against becoming calloused in our own hearts to the hurts we see each day.
8. You remind us to look for new and exciting things to discover! Through you, we have an opportunity to be “new” again and find out answers to things we didn’t think of asking the first time around.
9. You see and appreciate the incredible beauty of the country, the culture, and the people. As time goes on, it is tempting to get sucked into the trap of seeing lots of negatives. Jesus, help us always see with Your eyes!
10. You are our spokesperson to the people back home. You’ve seen it! You’ve done it! You can help us explain the crazy world we call home and be a credible witness to what God is doing here.
BONUS: Hooray for family visits! That extra special blessing of family time is so sweet!
So. If you find that you have a little extra spending money in your mission’s budget, or your vacation budget, or whatever budget, prayerfully consider the idea of sending someone to visit one of your overseas workers. From our perspective, it is one of the most valuable things you can do to encourage your missionary!
Have you had someone come and visit you while you were overseas? Maybe you’ve been the one doing the visiting! I’d love to hear your comments and experiences!