In July and August, we came back to the US to take part in the International Ministries 200th Anniversary event at Green Lake for two weeks. Though we had been on the field for only 10 months, it was an emotional moment when our airplane touched down on our home land, and especially when we saw our children.
At the “All Staff Gathering” in Green Lake, in our session of meeting with fellow missionaries, several shared their concerns of missionary family life. One of the issues was “where is our home?” One shared that they were afraid to tell their 90 years old mother that they had sold their house and were going to the mission field. In the mother’s mind no permanent house (physical building/place) meant that they were homeless, and they did not want to hurt her feelings. Another shared that when they sold their house, their children were sad. Someone else shared that their children had difficulty transferring the idea of home, and even though they had a new rental house on field, they thought their memorable home sweet home was gone. Another one shared that when their children came to the mission field to visit them, she cried when she heard her husband say, “Welcome home,” to their children. When I heard those feelings, I had tears and asked myself, “Did we abandon our children, though they are adult and on their own, to become “homeless?” It was a “rain of tears” session when we shared our heartfelt concerns. The session leader commented, “Certainly, this is one of the proofs that missionaries pay a high price to serve people.”
When we began our return to Macau, one of our flights was canceled, and we were delayed two days in going to San Francisco to visit churches, relatives and our children. We tried to squeeze a five-day schedule into three days. So, we planned a late evening to visit our relatives on the day before departing the US. The relative suggested that we come early and have dinner at a restaurant. However, we already had plans with our children to have a “home made” dinner at our daughter’s apartment. We had taken our children to buy Chinese groceries in the morning, and Ivy cooked for hours and trained our daughter to make Zhongzi (sticky rice with bamboo leaves.) It was a wonderful and memorable homemade dinner, memorable because it was the family having dinner at “home.” The children later made the comment: “Making Zhongzi made the house smell good.” Certainly, there was the special ingredient added, the relational love of the family.
While at the All Staff Gathering, I was thinking about “what is home?” Is home a physical building/place? Do missionaries consider themselves homeless? Where is our home? Then I saw the double rainbow’s response during the conference. This sign reminded me of the promise of our eternal home. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
Please pray that
(a) The Holy Spirit will help us to discern the evil on every dark corner in Macau.
(b) The Lord will strength our physical condition to deal with the environment and weather.
(c) The Lord will call His children to support His ministry’s financial need.